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Journal carries previously unpublished sermon by 1700s’ Jonathan Edwa


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–A previously unpublished sermon of Jonathan Edwards is the highlight of the latest edition of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, published by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
“Reason, Revelation, and Preaching” is the title of the sermon Edwards preached in 1740 at the ordination service of Edward Billing in Cold Spring, Mass. Edwards (1703-1758), often considered the greatest theologian in American history, served as minister in Northampton, Mass., from 1727-1750. He was a leader in the movement known as the First Great Awakening.
The sermon “is important not only for what it reveals about Edwards’s conception of the ministry but also for what it tells us about his views on the relation of reason and revelation, and the implication of that relation for the minister’s office,” write Kenneth Minkema and Richard Bailey, who prepared the sermon for publication.
“Including several passages that appear to be taken nearly verbatim from his personal writings, this sermon also demonstrates the importance of Edwards’s notebooks, particularly his ‘Miscellanies,’ in the development of his thought.”
“Biblical Preaching” is the topic for the journal’s summer edition. Other articles include “The Divine Majesty of the Word: John Calvin, The Man and His Preaching,” by John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis; “Thus Saith the Lord,” a sermon on Ezekiel 2:4 by James Petigru Boyce (1827-1888), founder and first president of Southern Seminary; “The Anatomy of Exposition: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos” by Kent Hughes, pastor of The College Church, Wheaton, Ill.; “Sermon: Expositional Preaching as a Mark of a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.; and “Is Application Necessary in the Expository Sermon?” by Hershael York, Southern’s associate professor of preaching, and Scott Blue, a doctoral student at Southern.
“It seems that almost everyone trumpets the importance of expositional preaching, and yet genuine and powerful expository preaching seems to be in short supply,” journal editor Thomas Schreiner writes in his editorial. “Too often the text that is read before the sermon is abandoned or distorted when the preacher arises to proclaim the word.” Schreiner is professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern.
“One reason for the decline of expositional preaching is lack of faith,” Schreiner continues. “Do we say that the Bible is central, but in practice depend upon church growth strategies, recent insights from psychology, and leadership techniques?”
Schreiner does not deny that such things “may profit us in our ministries. Problems arise, however, when such things become supreme rather than the Scriptures,” he writes.
Expositional preaching ensures that pastors will preach God’s message and not theirs, Schreiner notes. “My prayer is that this issue of the journal will encourage pastors to persevere in the task of biblical preaching.”
People interested in ordering The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology may call 1-800-626-5525. Selected articles from back issues are also available on Southern Seminary’s Internet website at www.sbts.edu.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth
    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.Read All by Tim Ellsworth ›