A God Entranced Vision of All Things is a wonderful look at the legacy and relevance of Jonathan Edwards life and teachings. John Piper and Justin Taylor have assembled (and also contributed to) a remarkable series of essays on the different aspects of Edwards' legacy. As the back of the book declares: "This book's contributors investigate the character and teachings of the man who preached from a deep concern for the unsaved and a passionate desire for God. Studying the life and works of this dynamic Great Awakening figure will rouse slumbering Christians, prompting them to view the world through Edward's God-centered lens."
The book is divided into three sections. Part I "The Life and Legacy of Jonathan Edwards" introduces the book, and contains 3 essays on our need to rediscover Edwards, a biography of Edwards, and information about his marriage and family (ably done by Mrs. Noel Piper). Part II "Lessons from Edward's Life and Thought" contains some excellent essays by J.I. Packer and Mark Dever. But, for sheer impact and power, the highlight of this section was the essay by Sherard Burns, "Trusting the Theology of a Slave Owner". Mr. Burns, an African-American pastor and theologian, thoroughly and fairly looks at the reality of Edwards' ownership of slaves, and the failure of Edwards to apply his theology to that area. Burns, without excusing Edwards, gives a remarkable analysis of this sin in Edwards. Here are the paragraphs that blew me away:
"As an African American, I know daily the pressures of being in a predominantly white society. Yet how I approach that society, the grid by which I engage that society, is more telling than anything else. God cannot be sovereign over some things and yet not in control of others. This is no justification for abuse or racism, for such perpetuators will have their day of reckoning. But the eradication of racism today, as would be the case with slavery then, will not come about through programs, but by means of a God-centered and God-entranced view of reality. We must not be governed by the political persuasion of today, but governed by the sovereign reign and rule of God. Whatever we may think of Edwards, one thing is for certain: He left the American church with the necessary theological truths to kill racism in our hearts and to be conquerors of it in the church.
In light of that, though we fight and should fight the residue of such hatred in our day, the reality is that the desire to be theologically orthodox means we must add to our shelves books by dead white men who owned slaves. All our heroes today have clay feet. Jonathan Edwards was not a perfect man, and he did not get everything right, nor did he stand for all the right things. Neither do any of us. His blind spots and sins are pointers to our own blind spots and sins. To ask for grace and mercy on our own sins is, by logical implication, to be ready and willing to extend it to Edwards." (p. 170-171)."
Wow! 'Nuff said!
Part 3 "Expositions of Edwards's Major Theological Works" is also very helpful in understanding some of Edwards more(admittedly) difficult works. The book concludes with an Appendix by (of course) Piper, who writes an "Edwardsean Sermon" in honor of Edwards, and a helpful guide by Justin Taylor on "Reading Jonathan Edwards: Objections and Recommendations".
All in all, I highly recommend this work to anyone interested in gaining a more God-centered, God-entranced view of all things.