Edwards: Theologian. Pastor. Blogger?

28 01 2008

My wife and I watched ‘Amazing Grace’ a few nights ago, the biopic of William Wilberforce. As the various media utilised by the great Christian statesmen in his pursuit of the abolition of slavery were portrayed, we commented on what kind of use he could have made of the Internet!

It is fascinating to think of how different our society, and the face of Christianity, would have been had the communication technologies we enjoy today been available earlier in history. One individual who expressed intimations of how science would speed and help the work of the Gospel was the eighteenth century, pastor, theologian and philosopher, Jonathan Edwards. In the introduction to his biography of Edwards, Iain H. Murray writes of these sentiments in moving terms:

“He believed…that the age of scientific discovery was only in its beginnings and that there would come new and better contrivances for assisting one another through the whole earth by more expedite, easy and safe communication between distant regions than now.’ The vast distances separating the nations of the eighteenth century would disappear, ‘the distant extremes of the world shall shake hands together’, and this progress would be God-given towards a day when ‘the whole earth may be as one community, one body in Christ’.”

How amazingly and fully these words are being realised in our age, when I can read the thoughts of bloggers from Wiltshire, London, California and Japan, and when I can listen to last Sunday’s sermon preached from Minneapolis or Donaghadee. We ought to give thanks to God for these gifts which He has provided and (whilst exercising due caution and integrity in their use) seek to see His kingdom extended through them.

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