“Singly, Particularly, Closely”: Edwards as Mentor


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Published Date: 06 Jul 2012

Presentation Date: 06 Jul 2012

File: Download File "Mentoring and Edwards"

Paper by Rhys Bezzant

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Excerpt: It is now a commonplace to assume Jonathan Edwards’s pastoral ineptitude in the period after the revivals. His bungling in the Bad Book Affair of 1744 sees him naming and shaming the witnesses along with the alleged perpetrators of the scurrilous use of a midwifery manual. He baulks at pastoral visitation of members of his parish, and instead spends long hours each day in his study reading and writing. He finds himself in the middle of pamphlet warfare in the late 1740s when he tries to justify his actions in limiting the qualifications for communion, though it appears no one is listening, or at least no one is reading his defence. He is portrayed in this crisis as mounting a rearguard action to squash lay rights by asserting his patrician, Puritan, and clerical authority over the congregation, despite the fact that he released new energy amongst the laity through his preaching during the revivals. He is ultimately dismissed in 1750 after twenty-three years ministry in Northampton. He has become known as a poor shepherd of the flock, even if a preeminent philosopher and theologian.

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