Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Essence of Religion

Here’s a quote from Encyclopaedia Britannica 2007, about American theologian and revivalist Jonathan Edwards: “At Stoddard's death in 1729, Edwards became sole occupant of the Northampton pulpit, the most important in Massachusetts outside of Boston. In his first published sermon, preached in 1731 ... Edwards blamed New England's moral ills on its assumption of religious and moral self-sufficiency. Because God is the saints' whole good, faith, which abases man and exalts God, must be insisted on as the only means of salvation. The English colonists' enterprising spirit made them susceptible to a version of Arminianism ... it minimized the disabling effects of original sin, stressed free will, and tended to make morality the essence of religion.” QUESTION: Was Edwards right about “the essence of religion” in New England? Has anything changed?

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