Was Jonathan Edwards a Puritan?

Dr. Mark Jones has written this post at Reformation 21 about the proper historical limits of “Puritanism.” He argues that Jonathan Edwards lived far too late for the term to be applied to him in any historically meaningful way. It is debatable when exactly the Puritan movement came to an end, but its terminus ad quem is probably in 1662 with the British Act of Uniformity. After that point, most Puritans stopped trying to “purify” the Church of England (that is, after all, how they got their name), and some of them became nonconformists. This was nearly a century before Edwards made his mark on the American continent. If anything, Edwards should be called an “evangelical.”

Dr. Jones has made quite a splash lately as a new contributor to Reformation 21. He has demonstrated his expertise in historical theology (especially the era of Reformed scholasticism in the 17th century) with the recent publication of his books A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (co-authored with Joel Beeke; you’ll see me quoting from this pretty regularly) and Antinomianism. In these works, Jones has managed to recover lost voices in our tradition who have direct bearing on many of the debates going on in the Reformed world today, including sanctification, the relationship of law and gospel, and covenant theology. I can guarantee you, pretty much anything he writes is worth paying attention to.

About Kyle Dillon

A teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), assistant pastor of theological instruction at Riveroaks Reformed Presbyterian Church, and theology/languages teacher at Westminster Academy in Memphis, Tennessee.

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