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Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography [Hardcover]

Iain H. Murray , Banner of Truth Trust
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 19.93
Price: 17.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 503 pages
  • Publisher: The Banner of Truth Trust (Mar 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851514944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851514949
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 15.8 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 407,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising life. 24 May 2011
I'd heard of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) as a preacher and author greatly used in the Great Awakening in America in the 1740s, and I'd read one of his books, but I had never read about his life before. So when this biography came into the Library, I was keen to read it. I was not disappointed!

It is easy to assume that Christians who are greatly used by God have blessed, easy, lives. Not so for Mr Edwards! Born into a godly, Christian family (his father was a Pastor), Mr Edwards was 18 when he was saved. He attended college, and was soon licensed as a minister. After a period teaching at Yale, in 1726 he was invited to join his Grandfather's church in Northampton, New England as minister. His ministry here was fruitful, and the church experienced the Great Awakening in the early 1740s, when Christians experienced revival in a deeper relationship with God and many were saved. However, division followed and Rev Edwards became a `prophet without honour' in his own time, when his Church asked him to leave after 23 years service as their Pastor. He was made homeless and had no income, and it was a while before he was called another Pastorate - a tough job on the frontier. He died aged 54, 3 months after accepting the Presidency of Princeton College.

Ian Murray is an excellent biographer; thorough in his researches, and yet spiritual in his approach. When you read a biography by him, not only will you learn a lot about the person, you will also learn spiritual truths and lessons from their lives. I recommend you read books by Mr Murray - and also books by Mr Edwards!
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Look into the Life of a Great Man 17 Feb 2010
By Brian Chang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jonathan Edwards continues to be one of the most prominent figures in Anglo-American Christian history and Iain Murray presents a stirring, sensitive, and comprehensive evaluation of his life. Maybe (in my mind, definitely) one of the most exciting Christians to study, Jonathan Edwards' life is an inspiring example to all Christians across the globe. Murray captures Edwards' life of great achievement and heartache, and reveals the depth of thought that Edwards himself displayed throughout his life. This biography is thorough and very detail-oriented; Murray allows the reader to delve deep into Edwards' life and offers the opportunity to get acquainted with the entire family. Using letters that were passed throughout the Edwards family, Murray is able to convey a very doctrine-centered and eloquent biography that will edify its readers and inspire all Christians to strive "to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace than before."

This book has great personal sentiment, as well. Though I attribute its impact more to the actual life of Jonathan Edwards, this biography got a hold of my heart from the start. From the very first chapter I was introduced into a world of faith that I had never experienced; I was able to see and experience another's Christian life that has since altered my entire view of what it means to love and glorify God. I would recommend this book to any person who is looking for an example of what a Christian life--and a Christian family, for that matter--should look like. It is an eye-opening experience, one that is honest and reliable: Murray doesn't sugarcoat the difficulties that Edwards was blessed with. From Edwards' early education through the Great Awakening to his death as the President of the College of New Jersey (Princeton), I was blown away with how this man of God handled his entire life. Edwards is proof that an undivided concern for the Lord's glorification breathes true life into all things. All that being said, I can honestly say that I'm a better worshiper of God for having read this book.

I would definitely recommend this book to any person, especially Christians seeking to understand God through a lifestyle of faith. Biographies in general provide stirring examples of God's sovereign work. This book, though it might take a degree of interest in American history, has a universal audience as a result of Jonathan Edwards' universal theology.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fearless Defender of the Word of God 19 Oct 2013
By Theodore Zachariades - Published on Amazon.com
Iain Murray is one of my all time favorite authors. His scholarship and piety are well known in Evangelical circles both here and the UK, not to mention Australia. When I read his biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones a few years ago, I was settled in my conviction that a better biography could not be penned. I have since read several “lives” of various persons throughout the ages. Recently, I took up a book I had wanted to read for a long time, and had two prior false starts with it. Iain Murray’s Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Banner of Truth, 1987) is that work. Though not as long as the Lloyd-Jones two-volume text, this work is of supreme value to the historian, the theologian, the pastor and the missionary. I suspect that mostly preachers will dare to tackle the Lloyd-Jones bio and probably only those of serious evangelical predicament, where as I have a hunch that this book on Edwards will appeal to a much broader audience. I wish every Christian could read it. It is seamless in its flowing prose. It is superbly documented, with attention to detail, and thus allows one to attempt further and deeper study in Edwards himself and past masters of his life. This book may be one of the best biographies written on any subject. Having read to and with my children a biography on Edwards geared to younger readers (grades 6-9) we thought we knew Edwards. This superb book by Murray has opened vistas and allowed glimpses into Edwards’s soul. His forthrightness in standing upon Scripture at the cost of his own reputation, sustenance and future livelihood is highly challenging in a day of compromise and climbing of the ministerial ladder. Would to God that preachers everywhere were more concerned with the honor of the Triune God of the Bible than with their 401Ks. Do yourself a favor; buy a copy of Murray’s Jonathan Edwards. In fact, get a few and give them to the pastors in your church. It may prove to be a catalyst for holiness and revival, in that order!

Theodore Zachariades
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Man 4 Dec 2007
By Jeffrey A. Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
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.
26 of 106 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing 16 Dec 2002
By Roy Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
This biography gives an accurate account of the basic events of Edwards' life, but the potential buyer should know that he is writing from a distinctly Christian perspective, which, in this case, results in a rather uncritcal interpretation of some of the more ambiguous events under consideration. For example, saying that the Great Awakening was really a direct, divine intervention in the lives of men, while it may indeed be true, leaves too many legitimate historical question unanswered. Why did it occur in N England, Wales Northern England and Germany in particular? To what extent was it linked to the diversification of N. England society and the corresponding erosion of the clergy's political power? Moreover, while Murray's critique of previous biographers' religious skeptism is well taken, he dismisses their work too quickly. For example, in his attempt to discredit Perry Miller he actually mis-quotes him (p xxi), putting words into Miller's mouth that aren't anywhere to be found in Miller's book. Murray also places within the same quotation marks two excepts that are 132 pages apart in the original book. Murray's assertion that Miller's interpretation "has long since been abandoned as untenable" simply isn't the case. Admittedly those in the school of Miller, avowed atheists, necessarily interpret Edwards in a way that Edwards himself would not have appreciated, but Murray's biography could have benefited from some of there hard-nosed, prying investigations into N. England family rivalries and political power-plays. I think most Christians would also appreciate it.
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