Item description for Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by Iain H. Murray...
Overview Edwards' theology is set here in its proper context of his everyday life. We are able to follow him in public and private, as pastor in the days of the Great Awakening as well as in the 'wilderness' years in the outpost of Stockbridge.
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Studio: Banner of Truth
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.84" Width: 6.22" Height: 1.28" Weight: 1.66 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2003
Publisher BANNER OF TRUTH #535
ISBN 0851514944 ISBN13 9780851514949
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More About Iain H. Murray
Murray, born in Lancashire, England, was educated in the Isle of Man and at the University of Durham and entered the Christian ministry in 1955. He served as assistant to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminister Chapel (1956-59) and subsequently at Grove Chapel, London (1961-69) and St. Giles Presbyterian Church, Sydney (1984-84), Although remaining a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, he is founding trustee for Banner of Truth Trust.
Iain H. Murray currently resides in Edinburgh. Iain H. Murray was born in 1931.
Iain H. Murray has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography?
Fascinating Man Dec 4, 2007
This book is written by an enthusiastic believer of the reformed faith about a reformed theologian. He debates that the reductionists theories to explain the Great Awakening in terms of social/economic/political causal relationships. Murray asserts the Great Awakening was a work of God. To understand Edwards's role in the Great Awakening one has to understand this point. Depending on your world view this book will be an exciting read or a frustrating read.
The book covers all the controversies in his life. The book is extremely well researched and documented. He argues well for his point and quotes extensively from Edwards, Edwards's family and contempories. This is part of the problem with the book for me. I was looking for more of how the writings of Edwards fit within his life. The book did provide some information on this topic, but the book focused mainly on the controversies. The book bogs down for me because Murray quotes so extensively, I had a hard time keeping with the flow.
In summary, I strongly recommend the book. It is the most balanced biography I've read of Edwards. Murray covers the controversies and events of Edwards's life well. The final chapter traces Edwards's legacy today, which I found interesting. I also recommend Marsden's book "Jonathan Edwards: A Life." It has a slightly different perspective and is a little more readable. Although, I think Murray's biography is better researched.
An Edifying Study of the Life of Jonathan Edwards May 9, 2007
I have been recently observing an unfortunate phenomenon: Jonathan Edwards is not well known. My referencing of Edwards in conversation has usually been met with an astonishing, "Who?" or, the caricature of the angry, downcast, miserable, depressed, joy-stealing preacher of "Sinners in the hands of an angry God," springs to mind and immediately prejudices the hearer against considering anything positive about the rural pastor from North Hampton, Connecticut. Sadly, this trend has settled in among those who should know and love him best: the Church of Jesus Christ.
I certainly do not directly blame the Church for casting Edwards' life and ministry aside and remaining ignorant of the truth he labored to give to God's people for their health and spiritual good. It is probably mostly the fault of the secular schoolbooks and scholarly critics that speak of Edwards from heavily biased opinion and from misinterpretations his life and teaching. This has, regrettably, painted a picture of Edwards in the minds of Americans that is very unlike the original.
And how tragic! The God-exalting, Christ-centered, humble, love-filled life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards has provided us with deeply satisfying, spiritually nourishing, life-giving, fruit-bearing sustenance for our souls, and yet we have forsaken this well of pure water because we have come to believe, essentially, that it is contaminated! Let us not be content to allow secular authors and critics to have the sole voice to speak to us about our founding fathers! O that we would reclaim that original portrait of this great man from the theft of misinterpretation and place it back securely in its proper place: the Church of Jesus Christ, so that all people can come, see, and enjoy!
Iain Murray, with great skill and spiritual insight, has certainly provided us with the means to do just that in his book, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography. With this book, Murray has provided us with an accurate, edifying, truthful account of Edwards' life that not only examines his theological convictions, but also demonstrates how those convictions flourished in his everyday life. Edwards is portrayed in real life, with real struggles, real passions, real heartbreak, in the context of a real family, supported, and held up by a God who was more real than all the aforementioned.
Along with a detailed, evangelical interpretation of Edwards life, thought and ministry, Murray provides many excerpts from Edwards' pen that are helpful and practical for any reader. Most notable is Edwards' keen insight on the issue of spiritual pride. Edwards writes, "Spiritual pride is a most monstrous thing. If it be not discerned, and vigorously opposed in the very beginning, it very often soon raises persons above their teachers, and supposed spiritual fathers, and sets them out of the reach of all rule and instruction, as I have seen in innumerable instances" (341).
It can be safely assumed that Edwards saw the `beginnings' of such pride when he personally wrote a young lay-man who had taken the pulpit during a time when the regular pastor was absent, instructing him to stop this practice. In the letter that Murray supplies, we read from Edwards, "I am fully satisfied by the account your father has given me, that you have lately gone out of the way of your duty, and done that which did not belong to you, in exhorting public congregations...I hope you will consider the matter, and for the future, avoid doing thus. You ought to do what good you can, by private, brotherly, humble admonitions and counsels; but `tis too much for you to exhort public congregations" (222). Murray also supplies essential quotes from Edwards regarding proper understanding of the Great Awakening, true conversion, and pastoral study, just to name a few.
Without making an unnecessary overstatement, I can easily that Murray's New Biography has been one of the most edifying and helpful books I have ever read. I often take it back off my shelf to reflect and meditate on significant portions of the book. It is well-written, detailed, thorough, extremely helpful, very interesting, and will provide the reader with a clear understanding of the life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards; not to mention a solid introduction to his theological thought. I heartily recommend it!
Superb Nov 26, 2004
Unfortunately in academic circles today it has become taboo to express biases; to be sure, they all come through sooner or later. But, in academia, the writer must separate his own proclivities from his account of "the facts".
The simple fact of the matter is that the same God that Murray worships is the same God Edwards worshipped and now worships in heaven and so we are left with an account of Edwards by a man who is also thoroughly acquainted with the spiritual realities that Edwards experienced (perhaps not to the same degree).
Biographers like Perry Miller are atheists and so they start with naturalistic presuppositions in their accounts. This, for the Christian reader, is an untenable and unfortunate way to look at the life of one of God's choicest saints.
The book is remarkably well researched. Murray is concerned to chronicle the details of Edwards' life with painstaking thoroughness and his account of Edwards' dismissal from his Northampton congregation leaves the reader shocked. Not surprisingly, Calvin was dismissed from Geneva in similar circumstances - such has been the unfortunate tendency of Christians over the centuries.
Murray's writing style is wonderful. He's perspicuous and leaves the reader with the impression that many of today's Christian writers would do well to pack away their pens and take up different activities.
Lastly, this book is a devotional gem. I've written a three-page essay on hos Edwards' life, ministry and thought have affected my own and this has been a pleasure rather than a pain.
Excellent Biography of a Great and Godly Man! Nov 4, 2003
I heartily concur with some of the other reviewers - Murray's book is the definitive biography of a godly man who was an important part of the Great Awakening.
The book is comprehensive, covering several areas of Edwards' life:
1. Early childhood and Christian influences. 2. His salvation experience. 3. His happy home as evidenced by the large number of children, loving relationship with his life, and hospitality to others. 4. Associations with David Brainherd, George Whitfield, and other religious leaders of his day. 5. His important contributions to the Great Awakening and the resultant opposition he experienced. 6. His expulsion from the Northampton Church based on his stance on the Lord's Supper. 7. Missionary endeavors to the Indians. 8. Later years and service at Princeton University.
Murray successfully portrays Edwards as a man who although reserved in some respects, was actually a very warm and caring man towards others.
As for the reviewer from France, I only have to say - God alone determines where He will move His Spirit! That is not our choice to make!
A Soul Stirring Biography May 8, 2003
Jonathan Edwards is maybe the most exciting historical Christian to study (except for Luther. Part of this explanation is the fact that history shows us a much differnt picture than the modern stereotypes show us. Murray is to be commended for his standard setting work on Edwards. Murray is very warm and doctrine centered. As periodical "Christian History" said of Murray's work, "this is the biography Edwards himself would have most appreciated." (Spring 2003).
This book is long, complex, and well researched. It is not bed time reading, but rather, Sabbath reading as it will stir one's thoughts to the Lord. Murray pulls no punches as he shows his view of Edwards: This man saw more of the glory of heaven and the terror of hell than any modern Christian ever will. Murray's aim is that after reading, Christians will then take up Edward's works and discover the glory for themselves.