Transitional Role of the Reverend Solomon Stoddard in 17th - Century New England Religion: From National Covenant Through Halfway Covenant to Evangelical Revival
|Author: ||Holland, Denise|
This is an historical explanation of the development of the Puritan idea of a "national covenant and church" into the evangelical idea of an individual conversion and a "believers church". The author focuses on the crucial role played by Solomon Stoddard, the grandfather of Jonathan Edwards.
Blind Peer Review:
"This is the clearest and best documented account of the first three generations of New England theology that I have ever read."
This book is an account of the struggles of New England clergy to maintain
their original religious commitments over the first one hundred years.
The problem was that the second generation of settlers did not share the
strong commitment of the first generation, and the third generation drifted
even further from their grandfathers’ faith.
This book studies the anguished efforts of the Puritan clergy to cope with
the increasing secularization of their society. These efforts involved the
creation of a half-membership in the church for those who had not had a
personal experience with Christ, but were still nominally religious.
The most radical of the accommodators was Solomon’s daughter, the
granddaughter of Jonathan Edwards. Stoddard went far beyond the
half-way membership clergy and introduced the idea of the church as an
all-inclusive community association. (In particular, he made the Holy
Communion open to anyone who wished to receive it, thereby negating the
distinction between serious Christians and the irreligious.)
It was Stoddard’s own grandson, Jonathan Edwards, who rebelled most
vigorously against these innovations and attempted to restore the original
full covenant to the New England church. This book is the best description
of the generational development in New England during this period of time.
Table of Contents
II. The Origins of Discontent
III. Reform Through a Return to Orthodoxy
IV. An Innovative Ministry