Jonathan Edwards, Enthusiasts and the Brownsville Revival

This was going to be part of the review of Authentic Fire, but this bit of research ended up taking me longer than I thought.  Thanks to the people who pointed me to various resources for doing my research.  If my Authentic Fire review becomes an e-book at some point, this will likely be one of several appendixes.

 

I’m getting rather tired of charismatics calling on Jonathan Edwards to the defense of any number of absurd “manifestations” of the Spirit.  I first encountered the “Summon Forth the Edwards!” argument 2 decades ago and I’ve run into it continuously ever since.

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In my recent review of Authentic Fire by  Michael Brown, I encountered it again.  I noticed that Dr. Brown regularly reads his Charismatic experience back into the writing of Edwards and thus finds support where there would have been serious condemnation.  Dr. Brown frames the debate with some rather subtle rhetorical slight-of-hand says things like this:

To explain the background to this book, we need to remember that it is common during times of revival for there to be intense and unusual physical and emotional responses to the Spirit’s work, such as weeping, crying out, shaking, falling into trances, and the like. These can be disruptive, alarming, and unsettling, and not all of this activity can be attributed to the Holy Spirit. Is it demonic? Is it simply emotionalism? Or is it a genuine response to the Spirit? (Authentic Fire, Kindle Locations 2002-2005).

Now let’s unpack the statement “it is common during times of revival for there to be intense and unusual physical and emotional responses to the Spirit’s work, such as weeping, crying out, shaking, falling into trances, and the like…” Continue reading