Book review: Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God

Dane C. Ortlund. Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God. Wheaton: Crossway.

In recent years, Jonathan Edwards has experienced a resurgence in popularity in evangelical circles. The onset of the so-called “Young Calvinists” and general resurgence of Reformed theology has helped to re-popularize older authors and preachers. Given Edwards’ mammoth intellect and voluminous writings its no surprise that Christians hungering for deeper exploration of theological and philosophical topics would return to his works. While I do not share many of this esteemed thinker’s convictions – especially covenant theology – I have come to appreciate his high view of God and the Scriptures. Dane Ortlund’s book does a great service by focusing on Jonathan Edwards’ teachings on the Christian life; therefore, it makes his teaching more accessible and practically useful to modern believers.

Ortlund obviously read deeply in preparation for this work, yet I am grateful that he doesn’t get bogged down in minutiae. The book is a delightful read, and furnishes many choice quotes from the gargantuan Edwardsian body of literature. Though he obviously respects and admires his subject, this book does not fall into the trap of hagiography. Ortlund criticizes Edwards where he thinks that he is off base.

Even non-Calvinist readers (like me) will benefit by reading this brief work on an influential thinker from both Church and American history. Hopefully they will also be moved to think great thoughts of the triune God.