Ask most Americans what they know about Jonathan Edwards and they are most likely to mention reading “”Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in high school. Being known for preaching the most famous sermon in U.S. history is no small accomplishment. But Edwards was one of our country’s foremost intellectuals and (arguably) our greatest Protestant theologian.
He was also, as Greg Forster notes in an article for TGC, a champion of economic justice. As Forster says, Edwards believed that economic justice and gospel proclamation should not be separated:
onathan Edwards considered it a central part of a pastor’s job, for the sake of the gospel, to exhort people to charitable economic works, to confront economic injustice, and to promote economic development. Of course there will always be strains and difficult choices. But we are in need of a fresh encounter with the potential harmony of the gospel and economic justice in pastoral ministry.
American evangelicals today are tempted to feel smug when looking back on the church that fired Edwards for insisting that all church members must be regenerate. But what about a pastor who insisted all church members must be generous and just? How many pastors today, if asked to explain how people can have “spiritual discoveries,” would even mention working with the poor—much less make it the top item on the list, as Edwards unashamedly did?