Jonathan Edwards and World Mission (PDF)



“NOW THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST shall in the most strict and literal sense extend to all nations and the whole earth.” Jonathan Edwards’s bold assertion envisioned a future in which the gospel of Jesus Christ would progress into non-Christian lands and eventually the glory of God would encompass the entire earth. The gospel will make steady progress out in the world, as the world would “look to Christ and be saved.” The telos of human history will be God’s glorification in the redemption of the world. Just as the waters cover the seas, God will communicate his glory to the nations by the advancement of Christ’s kingdom. Edwards wrote, “There shall be no part of the world of mankind but that shall be covered with the knowledge of God.” This abiding hope of the advancement of the Christian religion proved to be a major facet of Edwards’s theology. This hope has inspired countless pastors, missionaries, and theologians throughout church history. Michael McClymond and Gerald McDermott note that Edwards’s massive influence has led some to call him the “grandfather of modern Protestant missions.”

While numerous projects have shed light on related areas, this book seeks to fill a lacuna in Edwards studies by presenting a historical-theological construction of Jonathan Edwards’s theology of world mission. The major weakness of the current research is that most of the studies have not seen Edwards as a theologian of mission. They have merely presented him as a missionary or as a theologian. While these studies are extraordinarily helpful, they have not taken up extensive historical-theological analyses of the theme of world mission within Edwards’s wider theology. But what was Edwards’s theology of mission? How can it be identified? This book argues that upon a reading of key texts within the Edwardsian corpus, a coherent theology of mission emerges.


In view of the abundance of literature presenting Jonathan Edwards as a “missionary” or a “theologian,” it is rare to find a lacuna in this terrain. Nonetheless, this book makes a fresh contribution by insightfully amalgamating these two dimensions---analyzing Edwards as a theologian of world mission. Adam Cavalier’s innovative missional emphasis on familiar treatises such as, The End for Which God Created the World, Original Sin, Freedom of the Will, An Humble Attempt, and Religious Affections makes not only for a fascinating read but an inspiring one as well. — Chris Chun, PhD, Director of Jonathan Edwards Center and Professor of Church History, Gateway Seminary

This new work by Dr. Cavalier on the missiological vision of Jonathan Edwards, who has been rightly described as “America's Augustine,” provides an important monograph on one of the key ways that Edwards’ legacy has impacted the church. English Baptists around William Carey were led, for instance, by their reading of Edwards’ literary corpus available to them, to launch out into a bold plan of cross-cultural missions...This compact monograph incisively details the scope of Edwards' thought and its contours and is a very welcome addition to the secondary literature of Edwardsiana. — Michael A.G. Haykin, FRHistS, Chair and Professor of Church History and Director of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Even though Edwards lived before the great century of Protestant missions, his theology is filled with missional instincts which sought the spread of the gospel around the world. Missionary and historical theologian Adam Cavalier skillfully draws together the pertinent texts in Edwards's corpus to demonstrate the missional thrust of his theological vision. He does so in such a way that is both faithful to Edwards and motivational to the missionary cause in the twenty first century. — Robert Caldwell, PhD, Professor of Church History, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary


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Jonathan Edwards and World Mission (PDF)

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