“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV)
Why is a study of church history so important when the church exists in a day and time when what occurred yesterday is so quickly forgotten? Perhaps the reason for any study of history, especially church history, is summarized by philosopher and writer George Santayana (1863 – 1952) who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
Dr. Nicholas Needham, minister of Inverness Reformed Baptist Church in Inverness, Scotland, explains, “We study church history not merely to learn from and remember the past but to help us wisely serve and glorify God now and for the future. We look to the great figures of eras gone by in order to learn from their successes and failures. We examine their lives that we might be encouraged to imitate them insofar as they followed Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). For until Christ returns, we must be concerned to see the conversion and discipleship of our neighbors and the nations. As we labor toward this end, we must rest in the glorious truth that God is sovereignly fulfilling His purposes as He sovereignly works in and through us as His instruments. As some have said, history is a story written by the finger of God, and that story is centered around the history of the cross of Christ Jesus, who is coming again at the culmination of His mission, when the Great Commission has been fulfilled and all the elect have been saved from every tribe, tongue, and nation.”
Any study of the heroes from church history must include the finest philosopher and theologian that the United States has ever produced; Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). He was one of the leaders of the First Great Awakening, a pastor who articulated and lived a sound biblical, pastoral, and Reformed Theology.
18th century pastor, theologian, author, missionary and college president, Jonathan Edwards, was truly a renaissance man. This means that he was not only a man of many talents and abilities, he was also a master of those talents and abilities.
Why is Jonathan Edwards so admired by believers in Christ, even in the 21st century? Please consider the following comments.
“That good and sensible man…that great man.”
JOHN WESLEY, Works, vol.10, 1831, pp. 463 and 475
“Jonathan Edwards, saint and metaphysician, revivalist and theologian, stands out as the one figure of real greatness in the intellectual life of colonial America.”
BENJAMIN B. WARFIELD, Studies in Theology, 1932, p.517
“No man is more relevant to the present condition of Christianity than Jonathan Edwards…He was a mighty theologian and a great evangelist at the same time…He was pre-eminently the theologian of revival. If you want to know anything about true revival, Edwards is the man to consult. Revivals have often started as the result of people reading volumes such as these two volumes of Edwards’ Works.”
D. MARTYN LLOYD-JONES in The Puritan Experiment in the New World, The Westminster Conference Papers, 1976, p.103 ff.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!