My Paper for ETS Farwest 2014

This is going to be a busy season for me, In early March I will be presenting a paper on Jonathan Edwards and Latino Theology out at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, then in the middle of March I am going to Liberia to help make prescription glasses for people in rural areas in addition to leading some trainings for pastors and leaders in a church planting network, then I will wrap up the busy season by presenting a paper on Jonathan Edwards and intra-Trinitarian violence at ETS Farwest in Pasadena on April 11th. Here is the abstract for that paper:

“The Son in the Hands of a Violent God?”

Assessing Trinitarian Violence in Jonathan Edwards’s Covenant of Redemption

Christopher G. Woznicki

Eternity Bible College

Due to his hellfire and brimstone sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Jonathan Edwards has gained a reputation for portraying God as angry and violent. Although in recent literature most accusations of divine violence have been leveled against penal substitution, these accusations could also be made against what Edwards calls “The Covenant of Redemption.” In this paper I intend to examine these accusations and answer the question: “Is the Covenant of Redemption in Jonathan Edwards’s Trinitarian theology a form of violence by the Father against the Son?” I argue that the Covenant of Redemption does not meet the necessary and sufficient conditions for a violent act, thus accusations of divine violence cannot be leveled against Edwards’ conception of the Covenant of Redemption.

Beginning by setting out the necessary and sufficient conditions for a violent act, namely coercion and harm, this paper turns to Edwards’s primary treatise on the Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption: “Observations Concerning the Scripture Economy of the Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption.” By examining Edwards’s understanding of 1) the ontological relations between the persons of the Trinity, 2) the economy of the immanent Trinity, and 3) the economy of the Trinity in the Covenant of Redemption it becomes clear that this covenant does not meet the necessary and sufficient conditions for violence. Thus Edwards is not guilty of placing the son in the hands of a violent God.

Jonathan Edwards - Wood
“Jonathan Edwards.” White pine tinted with oils by C. Keith Wilbur


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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