Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions

Many people are blogging on this right now, so I won't belabor the point. Rather, I wanted to give just one more source through which to see Edwards' Resolutions. I have created a google internet page with the resolutions here.

Justin Taylor linked to which had these posted. He also passed on a warning which you should read and which I will reiterate. For all Edwards' erudition, he had a tendency to fall into a moralistic mindset. Many of his resolutions - while personal and not meant to be theological treatises - are devoid of the work of Christ. Instead, they are self-focused and depend on the work of man. These resolutions certainly have their place, but if you decide to adopt them for yourself, you may want to compare them to Scripture, changing them as needed.

For example: Edwards' #31. "Resolved, never to say any thing at all against any body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution." Let us compare that to Col. 3:17, "Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him", and 1 Cor. 10:31, "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Edwards' statement is certainly noble, but there is no reason given for its nobility. Christ and his words must be the reason for the nobility of action. I would rephrase the resolution thus: I will never say anything against anyone that isn't true or useful, remembering that Christ's name is at stake in everything I say. Indeed, I must remember to honor the glory of God in all I say.


Darby Livingston said...

You make a good point. Resolutions are only as good as the gospel they point to and flow from. Otherwise, they're just a new form of law to try to box ourselves in with. However, I do think one would be more inclined to live gospel-centered with resolutions than without - as long as the righteousness of Christ is nearby for all the times of breaking. :)

Steven Douglas said...

Thanks for stopping by Darby. I think you are absolutely right, resoultions are good within bounds - we may want to be careful that we are not making a rash vow, and, as you said, as long as the resolutions are based in Scripture.

Thanks again for stopping by the Rabbit =;}