Jonathan Edwards Up for Grabs ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Jonathan Edwards Up for Grabs

(Blogger Down for Repairs)

In an ironic turn of events, 100 degree weather combined with a cold/flu bug has temporarily incapacitated this blogger. He doesn’t feel up to writing a prolonged post, so he is defaulting to the more modest role of Link Promoter...

WORLD magazine’s latest issue features an interview with Stephen J. Nichols, author of a new book, Heaven on Earth: Capturing Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Living in Between. Combine the topic of heaven with the theology of Jonathan Edwards, and this book is already eyeing its place on my shelf.

In the course of the interview, Nichols points of the centrality of pleasure in the Christian faith, notes that “heaven is something that starts now” (see my post on Heaven, the “priorlife”), takes a swing at the stupid prosperity gospel, quotes C.S. Lewis, and throws in a sports analogy for good measure—all to the end of explaining Edwards’ thought. Nice work!

Here’s an excerpt:

WORLD: So why, in Edwards's time and our own, has Christianity been saddled with the reputation of being anti-pleasure?
SJN: Some of it's a caricature, but some of it's deserved. Christians often stumble when talking about pleasure. We tend to talk about what we're against. For instance, we tout sexual abstinence when we should also be touting the pleasures of sex in marriage. We tend to be, or at least appear to be, uncomfortable in this world, which is tragically ironic since this world belongs to our Father. On a deeper level, we should also be challenging contemporary society's redefinition of happiness from a life of virtue to the rather vacuous self-centered and self-absorbed life. My pleasure isn't only about me; pleasure is more than what makes me happy.

After you scan the whole interview, you may conclude the book is also a must-read.

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Iambic Admonit said...

Wish I could post so relevant and perspicious a piece when suffering from cold and hot together. Thanks for pointing us to this book; looks excellent. Here's a question I'm thinking of posting on my blog sometime, but I'll pop it here meanwhile. What do you think we'll be doing in heaven? My particular interest is in the arts: will be be able to read books, watch movies, and go to plays whose strength and power comes from their depiction of sin and/or suffering? Will there be any Hamlet in paradise? I wonder....

Jamie said...

I read the Nichols interview in World last night and was kind of intrigued by the book myself. Too bad I already have about 25 books on my list of must reads to finish by the end of the summer!


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife