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A Comparison Of Winthrop And Edwards To The Apostles Of Christ

1986 words - 8 pages

A Comparison of Winthrop and Edwards to the Apostles of Christ

 
      I find John Winthrop and Jonathan Edwards to be the most fascinating writers I have ever read. For one, they are the "apostles" of our time. Second, their comparisons to the apostles of Christ are too close to ignore.

 

There are three historical, Christian milestones. One being after the death of Christ where an evangelical movement of Christ's disciples, friends and brothers preached on how Jesus Christ was the Messiah and the Son of God. The second milestone was when the Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom, and many ministers guided and directed the pilgrims toward the "City of God". One of the last historical Christian movements seen is the Great Awakening. This movement was to trade deistic notions of reason and rationality to faith, God, and Divine Providence. Among the apostles of Biblical times, the most influential were Apostles James and Paul. One of the great writers and speakers of his time, John Winthrop represents the second mark, leaving Jonathan Edwards as one of the most remembered preacher of the Great Awakening.

 

John Winthrop's writings are intensely related to the Apostle James' writings. Jonathan Edwards approaches his audience in the same manner as Apostle Paul, and both carry a burden to lead people to their Savior. Interestingly enough, Winthrop and Edwards are speaking the gospel, but one is speaking to a different circle of people than the other and with a totally different message. Likewise, as someone has written, "Paul and James do not stand face to face, fighting each other, but they stand back to back, fighting opposite foes" (McGee 64).

 

In John Winthrop's "A Model of Christian Charity", he is speaking only to the believers of Christ; therefore, he has no need to communicate the importance of salvation to this group. This piece could be considered as a how-to book on Christian living. This is similar to James' approach to the assembly of believers as the book of James is usually coined "the Christian's handbook". Also, James and Winthrop's characters mirror one another; each man struggles with the flesh and the spirit. Winthrop's struggle is obvious due to his confession, "I have gone under continual conflicts between the flesh and the spirit, and sometimes with Satan himself many falls I have had" (Heath 238). James struggles with the spirit when he rejects the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, both men test their characters and persevere through their trials. This is seen in their writings as they encourage their audiences who will inevitably struggle with the flesh and the spirit. James' encouraging words to the Christians are, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (1:2-3). Winthrop shares James' persevering spirit:

 

...when I could by no means attain sure and...

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