Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Review: Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney


Jonathan Edwards Stands the Test of Time; Do We Stand the Test of True Christianity?
By Lauren Yarger
There’s nothing like a good dose of Jonathan Edwards, the 18th century New England preacher who made sermons like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” famous and helped propel the Great Awakening period in the United States, to get you back on track spiritually.

An informative series of books published by Moody Press gives readers a chance to go a little deeper into the preacher’s thought with “Jonathan Edwards: Lover of God,“ Jonathan Edwards on Beauty,” “Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell”, “Jonathan Edwards on the Good Life” and “Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity (2010).”

I sampled the latter title, assuming that it would have current application given the confusion that can occur these days when someone defines a Christian. I was right. Edwards, with the help of authors Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney, speaks to the reader about what it means to really be Christians and even though some 300 years have passed since the preacher voiced his thoughts from his Northampton, MA pulpit, we still need to hear what he has to say.

“Many … people are likely in evangelical churches that ostensibly teach biblical doctrine, and yet they hold views on various spiritual and moral subjects that directly conflict with the biblical witness. If their beliefs conflict with true Christianity, it is likely that their lives conflict as well,” the authors write.

This same concern is voiced by Edwards in writings, reprinted, followed by a discussion of pertinent points. It’s a nice combination which gives the essence of Edwards’ thoughts without asking the reader to digest a whole sermon. The authors come off a little preachy, but concerned, and most of what they say is rater convicting, just as Edwards is.

My favorite section was entitled “The Marks of True Conversion.” It’s a great way to ask yourself some pointed questions about just how seriously you take your faith.

His “marks” of a true Christian conversion include:
 An increased esteem for Jesus. He becomes Messiah, not just someone who lived a long time ago who was a good teacher.
 Hatred of sin. No more excuses for behaving contrary to God’s will.
 Love of the Word. It’s not just a book. It’s the actual word of God.
 Love for truth and the things of God. Abiding in Him.
 Love for believers. This should be overflowing and is lacking in many congregations today, the authors lament.

The truth of Edwards’ words is a challenge to take our commitment to a new level.

“… many professing Christians are floundering, “ Strachan and Sweeney write. “They know basically nothing about the bible or Christianity, they struggle to attend church, they hold beliefs in direct contradiction to the Scripture, and they neither witness nor have even the most basic success in educating their children in the things of God.”

It’s a call to get serious.

Information about the series “Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity” can be found here. Just input the title into the search. You can purchase the books on this site as well.

A free reviewer's copy of this book was provided by Pure Publicity.

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The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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