[Part One Review and Reflections] Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity: The Essential Edwards Collection by Owen Strachan and Douglas Sweeney
Authors: Owen Strachan and Douglas Sweeney
Publisher: Moody Publishers 2010
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian growth, discipleship, basic foundation belief
Rating: 5 Stars
The Works of Jonathan Edwards volumes 1-26 are free for download @ http://edwards.yale.edu/
A summary of The Great Awakening: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/242887/Great-Awakening
Another biography from Christian Classics Ethereal Library: http://www.ccel.org/e/edwards
I've heard several authors lately refer to Jonathon Edwards and I made the decision a few days ago to finally read this book. True Christianity, is a beginning point for reading Jonathan Edwards. The bulk of the book is the authors Owen Strachan and Douglas Sweeney, commenting on Edwards sermons pertaining to "lukewarm" Christians. To read more of Jonathan Edwards, I recommend using the free source on the Internet from Yale and Christian Classics Ethereal Library (links posted above.)
What does "lukewarm" Christian mean to you?
Lukewarm, meaning moderately warm; tepid, unenthusiastic; indifferent. Definition from Oxford Pocket American Dictionary of Current English.
My own definition of lukewarm Christian, meaning just enough to get by, uninterested in deep theology or spiritual concepts, shrugs shoulders at uncomfortable topics, warms a church bench and keeps a dusty Bible.
Once upon a time I was a lukewarm Christian. I attended Sunday school and church every Sunday, was able to quote several Scriptures, was familiar with well-known Bible stories, was able to take part in minor discussions of the Bible. When I was in my early thirties a friend invited me to Bible Study Fellowship. This was the beginning of a process of growth in Christ Jesus. Notice I did not say spiritual growth, but growth in Christ Jesus. I wanted to make a clear distinction. Often I read of people defining themselves as spiritual. I have One Spirit and He is the Holy Spirit abiding in me. Apart from Jesus Christ and the cross, I am a very unspiritual person, not to mention a dead woman walking.
I believe it is a lifelong journey of growth in Jesus Christ and the following descriptions are apart of it: reading the Bible, studying the Bible, praying, having a teachable heart, humility, listening to instruction, submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, trusting in Jesus, seeking His will in all things, sharing the Gospel message with unbelievers. While I am on this earth there are no vacation breaks from growing as a Christian. Nor do I live a two-faced existence of putting on a sparkly Christian costume, only to remove it when no one I want to impress is looking. Being a Christian is serious business, it is a matter of life or death.
Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity, touches on a serious problem in the current Church today: People who do not know what they believe nor are they willing to learn. I'm reminded of a quote I read (I have it printed out and keep a copy in my Bible):
"I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much-just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don't want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust. I certainly don't want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation. I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don't want to love those from different races-especially if they smell. I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would like about three dollars worth of the gospel, please." D. A. Carson, Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians, page 12-13.After reading the above quote aloud I wanted to cry, because there is another thing that's happened along the way in my growth in Christ Jesus: I cry for the unsaved.
When my son David was a young boy, about 9, our church had an Easter pageant. He and I and younger son Paul, sat in the audience watching the production of the Passion story. During the moment when the Roman guard was hammering the nails into Jesus-David began to cry, actually he sobbed, with big tears streaming down his face. This is a moment from David's life that I will always hold dear. Why? Because there are many Christians who have never shed a tear for other sinners nor their own sins, they've also never shed a tear because of the Love that poured out of Jesus Christ through His horrific death at the cross, and finally they have never personalized the suffering of Jesus as being done for them.
Stay Tuned for Part Two.