This book seeks to shed new light on the development of the ecclesiology of Jonathan Edwards from the writings of his youth until his Stockbridge treatises, setting this within the context of Reformation and Puritan debates, and his experience of the revivals during his Northampton ministry. Bezzant contends that Edwards repristinated an ossified New England ecclesiology by ackwledging the church's dynamic relationship with the created order, history and the nations, and by advocating renewal in ecclesial life through revivals, itinerancy, Concerts of Prayer, missionary initiatives outside of the local congregation, and doctrinal clarification. Bezzant shows that Edwards accommodated the Christendom model of ecclesiology to the new philosophical, political and social realities of the mid-eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. His ecclesiology can be aptly summarized as prophetic, in as far as the church makes identification with its social context, while yet providing an alternative millennial vision for human flourishing. Edwards's Gospel is preached within a larger vision of transformed society and the glory of God, for whom the church is an orderly but t ordinary instrument to promote visible union between believers and Christ.
Rhys S. Bezzant teaches Church History, Theology and Christian Worship at Ridley Melbourne, having studied at the University of Melbourne and the University of Cologne. He directs the Jonathan Edwards Center Australia, a satellite of the JEC at Yale University, and is a visiting fellow at the Yale Divinity School and research associate at the University of the Free State in South Africa.