Chapter

Public Theology, Society, and America

Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott

in The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791606
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791606.003.0032
Public Theology, Society, and America

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Edwards not only provided philosophical reasoning for the Christian's engagement with society beyond the church, but argued that social engagement is necessary to faith, and active concern for the poor is a sine qua non. Edwards has been accused of nationalistic chauvinism in his treatment of New England and America. But examination of his use of the national covenant reveals otherwise. The chapter delineates his views of the magistracy and duties of government. It also shows that, in some respects, Edwards distanced himself from the racism so prevalent in his day. Yet despite his condemnation of the African slave trade, his support for slavery as an institution and his own practice of buying and owning slaves show that he was a man of his times.

Keywords: public theology; Christian charity; New England; America; national covenant; slavery

Chapter.  6612 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christian Theology

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