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Marks of Authentic Revival

imageAmong the books read but not blogged last year is The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards by Steve Lawson.

The Great Awakening, of which most of you are likely to have heard at least a little, was a movement that took place in the American Colonies in the early 1740s. Through the preaching of pastors and evangelists such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield, thousands were led to repentance and faith in Christ. The Spirit of God was clearly at work in an extraordinary way. People being what they are, however, the movement was not without attending problems. Along with the emotions such a movement would naturally and properly incite came emotionalism. In response to that emotionalism came questions and challenges to the legitimacy of the awakening. The theologians of Yale College were divided between supporters of the movement and those who, due to the accompanying excesses, opposed it.

Jonathan Edwards supported the awakening, but recognized the reality of counterfeit revivals. In his commencement address at Yale in 1741, in which he expressed his support for the movement, he also addressed the nature of true revival. Steve Lawson writes,

imageIn an exposition of John 4:16, Edwards identified five marks by which an authentic work of the Spirit is to be recognized. Such a true work, he said, (1) raises [peoples] esteem of Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the world, (2) leads them to turn from their corruptions and lusts to the righteousness of God, (3) increases their regard for Holy Scripture, (4) establishes their minds in the objective truths of revealed religion, and (5) evokes genuine love for God and man. Each of these, he believed, was present in the awakening. The message was published a month later under the title The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God (1741) and was given wide circulation.

Steve Lawson, The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards (Reformation Trust, 2008), 13.

Posted 2010·06·29 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Church History · Jonathan Edwards · Soteriology & the Gospel · Steve Lawson · The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards
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