Book Review: Edwards on The Christian Life by Dane C. Ortlund

"To become a Christian is to become alive to beauty.” – This sentence serves as both the opening of the book and the core of what Jonathan Edwards contributes to the world’s understanding of theology.  This book by Dane Ortlund’s is an excellent introduction to the central passion and teaching of perhaps the greatest American thinker and theologian.

Edwards helped countless people in his day and beyond to behold the glory and beauty of God. Though, for most, wading into the sea of books and sermons by Edwards would be too much to begin with. In this book, you’ll get a quick glimpse of the framework of how the beauty of God shaped Edwards’ view and teaching on issues such as regeneration, justification, sanctification, prayer, the pilgrimage of the Christian life, spiritual warfare, the primacy of our souls, and our eternal hope of heaven with God.

One thing I really appreciated from this book was the final chapter which addresses four Criticisms of Edwards and his teachings.  Clearly Ortlund has a deep respect and love for Edwards, yet he is able to see some of the blind spots in Edwards life (which is not always the case for biographers).  Perhaps most notably, how Edwards could learn from some in our current generation with their emphasis on the continued need for the gospel in the life of the believer.

Finally, those familiar with John Piper, his works, and his theological emphasis, probably already know that he has learned much about the beauty of God from the works of Edwards.  As you read this book, you’ll recognize many of the same choruses that Piper so often sings.