The Director of the Henry Center, Doug Sweeney, has authored an important text entitled Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word (InterVarsity, July 2009). The book covers the life and Word-centered ministry of the colonial pastor-theologian, a subject area in which Sweeney has already produced numerous important works, including Volume Twenty-Three of the prestigious Yale Works of Edwards series.
The text’s 200 pages stretch over seven chapters that each address an aspect of Edwards’s biblically based ministry. The writing style is characteristically Sweeney: clear, thick, vivid, and doxological. Readers of all kinds–pastors, laypeople, Edwards devotees, and even the uninitiated–will benefit greatly from Sweeney’s comprehensive grasp of the Edwardsean corpus and his ability to distill that knowledge for readers.
This is historical theology for the church. The book succeeds in repositioning Edwards as, first and foremost, a minister of the Word. Sweeney shows that Edwards was nothing if not a pastor, a shepherd who gave the full force of his mind and heart to strengthen the faith of his people. Sweeney does not call pastors to be just like Edwards, but he does call them to be Edwardsean–that is, to embody a rich pulpit ministry centered on the Bible that will fill ordinary Christian living with the glory and grandeur of the gospel.
This is an important book, one that promises to transform modern conceptions of the pastorate. The text will also permanently affect one’s understanding of both Jonathan Edwards and the Christian life. Readers can purchase Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word from InterVarsity Press or Amazon. Blogger Justin Taylor recently posted about the text. In addition, a diverse and distinguished group of commentators has praised the text. Selections below:
A “masterful analysis”–Harry Stout, Yale
“Admirable” and “authoritative”–George Marsden, Notre Dame
“Nourishing and tasty”–Gerald McDermott, Roanoke College
A “blessing to pastors, preachers, and spiritual leaders”–Kenneth Minkema, Yale
A “vibrant portrayal”–Sam Storms, Brideway Church
“Accessible and accurate”–Mark Dever, Capitol Hill Baptist Church