Was Jonathan Edwards a 5-Point Calvinist?

People often ask me about particular views of Jonathan Edwards. What would he have believed about this or that topic? For some questions, it would be impossible to answer. I simply don’t know what he would have believed on any given modern controversy. He didn’t say.

But when it comes to the 5-Points of Calvinism, there can be no doubt. He told us.

The acronym T.U.L.I.P. stands for Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and the Perseverance of the saints. John Calvin, of course, did not come up with the acronym illustrated by the glorious Dutch flower. Someone else made up that handy-dandy mnemonic device.

But Edwards did attempt to show his convictions with relationship to each of the 5-Points. He does so in his magnum opus, the Freedom of the Will. Personally, I have always thought Freedom is hard to understand. (I have a brief summary and explainer of the work here). It’s not exactly my favorite work of Edwards. I much prefer Religious Affections and Some Thoughts on the Revival.

Nevertheless, there can be no doubt by what Edwards says in his own words in the conclusion of this monumental work that he does support the 5-Points of the Synod of Dordt as over against the remonstrance of the Arminians. In this in-depth video, I am going to take you through Edwards’s defense of the traditional TULIP doctrines.

Check it out here:


The Immortality of the Soul: Edwards, Warfield, and Plato

In two recent videos on my YouTube channel posted earlier today, I shared a preview of my forthcoming 7,000-word essay for the Miscellanies Companion Volume 3 project (2023) entitled “The Immortality of the Soul: Edwards, Warfield, and Plato.” In this piece, I consider one of the most pressing questions that we as human beings can imagine — what happens to us when we die?

As it turns out, both philosophy and theology have repeatedly tried to answer that question.

Beginning with a rubric suggested by B.B. Warfield in his chapter entitled “Annihilation” in the Collected Works, Volume 9, we look at four possible outcomes for the soul after death. According to B.B. Warfield, they are 1) Pure mortalism, 2) Conditional Mortality, 3) Conditional Mortality (or Annihilation Proper), and 4) Unconditional Immortality.

Both Edwards and Plato would fit into this fourth and last box, though they obviously disagree on a great many things. In these videos, as well as the forthcoming article in the Miscellanies Companion series, we will look at how both Plato and Jonathan Edwards answer the question of what happens to the soul after death. Here are the videos:

Video One: Warfield and Plato on Immortality

Video Two: Edwards on Immortality

Miscellanies Companion Volume 2 is Now Available!

Buy them here from Amazon!


These volumes offer wonderfully rich resources for in-depth study of Jonathan Edwards’s thought. Scholars will find them to offer essential guidance and valuable commentary on Edwards’s wide-ranging theological reflections.

George Marsden, Author of Jonathan Edwards: A Life

The Miscellanies Project” is a remarkable step forward in Edwards scholarship and indicates ways that historiography and digital technology can bear surprising and fruitful results. The creativity of this project matches that of Edwards’s own mind, which is often best seen in the panoply of topics he dealt with in his “Miscellanies.” This second volume of the project utilizes the work of predominantly up-and-coming Edwards scholars to provide readers with a rich array of Edwards’s complex thought. They show very clearly that Edwards was both an explorative dogmatician, but one who was firmly steeped in the Christian tradition. Some of my favorite chapters in this volume dealt with Edwards and the natural law, the happiness of God, the conversion of infants, the nature of war, and the theology of the new earth. All of the essays, however, show the shocking range of Edwards’s intellectual interests and we now get the benefit of seeing those connected together in great detail.

Ian Clary, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, Colorado Christian University

Edwards’s spiritual sensitivity was poetic and his poetic sensibility was spiritual though he has been never credited poet per se. Not unlike his Master, however, he discerned God’s presence in the birds of the sky and the lilies of the field. Reformers from Luther and Calvin onwards have received and passed on the voice of the Gospel through oral proclamation. Edwards’s mind, however, was visual, a rare virtue in Protestantism. Edwards’s ultimately visual imagination inspired scholars of the early 21th century to visualize the words and the concepts of his texts by discerning a network of correspondences and thereby creating beautiful digital cosmos to impress the mind of the postmodern viewer. With this second volume to The Jonathan Edwards Miscellaneous Companions, Robert L. Boss, founder of The Jonathan Edwards Society, and his daughter Sarah B. Boss, a new generation of laborers in the vineyard of Edwards studies have collected and edited a superb collection of essays to the benefit and pleasure of the devoted congregation of Edwards scholars.

Tibor Fabiny, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center Hungary, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary

The “Miscellanies” manuscripts are a treasure trove of Jonathan Edwards’s unpublished private thoughts that later became a basis for many of his later published works. This volume provides cutting-edge essays that delve deeply into the thinking of one who many consider to be America’s greatest theologian. This collection, however, does more than just that. It connects Edwards’s vast and far-reaching reflections by means of a new technology called the “Visual Edwards.” Just as Gutenberg’s printing press of the fifteenth century replaced the tedious and expensive practice of copying by hand, the advent of computers and the Internet are displacing printed paper with screens and hypertext. Harnessing this digital revolution, Robert and Sarah Boss link each of the contributors’ essays to Edwards’s complex web of ideas with a pictorial matrix that makes for a helpful, striking, and aesthetically appealing visualization.

Chris Chun, Director of Jonathan Edwards Center Gateway, Professor of Church History, Gateway Seminary

The tools of digital humanities allow researchers to identify or represent patterns in literature in ways that would have been prohibitively time consuming or impossible with tools based in print technologies. Because of the structure of the “Miscellanies” of Jonathan Edwards and the breath of his corpus, an exhaustive analysis of a theme is difficult. Topical mapping allows researchers to clarify Edwards through his own writings. The “Visual Edwards” interface is clean and easy to navigate from the links that accompany the essays. The essays in this volume contextualize the concepts mapped. This project exemplifies what can be done to enrich theological research with data gathered from projects similar to The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online.

Jonathan McCormick, Director of Library Services, Gateway Seminary

My friend and academic accountability partner Rob Boss made another splendid work of compiling together works of emerging Edwards scholars. Tied with the amazing “Visual Edwards” project, these papers weave through treasures hidden in repositories of Edwards’s “Miscellanies” notebooks, reconstructing important themes such as covenant, conversion, happiness, glory, infant baptism, hell, the new world, and more. Summoning a new generation of Edwards scholars, the Jonathan Edwards Society is, by this contribution, showing a new direction of the study of this America’s greatest theologian.

Reita Yazawa, Professor of Christian Studies, Hokurikugakuin University, Japan

The Jonathan Edwards Miscellanies Companion, Volume 2 reflects the excellent ongoing work of JESociety Press. It is expertly edited, beautifully designed, and high quality. The second volume, like the first volume, is a collection of some of the best international Edwards scholars writing on a series of topics from Edwards’s “Miscellanies.” It is a strong collection and highly recommended.

Joshua R. Farris, Professor of Theology of Science, Missional University

Here’s a Jonathan Edwards Reading Plan!

Want to read more of Jonathan Edwards? Not sure where to begin or how to get started?

Here is a 2022 Jonathan Edwards reading plan. You can either print the PDF from here, or save it on your computer and use the hyperlinks. The links will take you directyly to the relevant portions of the official Edwards/Yale site.

This chart contains materials that are listed in order from shortest to longest. There are no specific days or timelines attached to the chart, so you can read at your own pace. Each checkbox represents one page of material from Edwards. You can read as fast or as slow as you want. No pressure.

Materials range from the Resolutions (just six pages) to the Religious Affections (several hundred pages). This chart will give you a good sampling of materials that include personal writings, sermons, and larger treatises.

Jonathan Edwards & the 70 Resolutions

This past week, Gospel Fellowship PCA hosted the Pursuit of Christ conference at our church, just North of Pittsburgh. We were very pleased to host a number of skilled pastors and professors to discuss faith in Christ. Several speakers had themes related to the puritans. I gave a talk on Jonathan Edwards and the 70 Resolutions (WJE 16). Here is the video.

Edwards on the 3GT Podcast!

From the Three Guys Theologizing Podcast…

Once again the parishioner and professor invite another pastor on for tryouts (just kidding, Kyle). For Dr. Matthew Everhard, Senior Pastor of Gospel Fellowship Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Valencia, PA, joins the boys to discuss his new book Holy Living: Jonathan Edwards’s Seventy Resolutions for Living the Christian Life.

Matthew introduces the listeners to Jonathan Edwards and his purpose for his resolutions. He explains what the resolutions meant to Edwards as a young man, how they helped guide him, and why he stopped using them toward the end of his life. From there, the men discuss the different types of resolutions Edwards made, which Matthew helpfully groups into three categories: existential, ethical, and eschatological. They then discuss the devotional and theological nature of Matthew’s book. He shares some of his favorite resolutions.

Those who study Edwards and especially his resolutions will want to have a copy of Holy Living in their hand as they do so! However, sadly because of supply problems, the release date of the paperback version of this book was moved into the future. But you can still purchase a Kindle copy of the book here. Therefore, resolve yourself to listen to this episode of Three Guys Theologizing and then go get a copy of Holy Living!

To listen to the audio podcast, click here.

Jonathan Edwards on the Brevity of Life

(From Modern Reformation, Web Exclusive Articles)

Resolution 6: Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.[1]

Life is short.

When we were children, it seemed like ages from one birthday to the next. We marked our lives by six-month increments because years were too long to comprehend. We boasted, “I’m five and a half!” Now into my fifth decade, I am convinced that the passage of time increases in velocity, relative to the age of the observer. I cannot seem to slow my life down, even when I try. Birthdays seem to come every fortnight rather than every year. The past and future seem as vast as the sea, but the present is as thin as a razor blade. Grain after grain slips through the hourglass, and no one can slow it down or cling to even one moment.

The teenage Jonathan Edwards—not yet famous, not yet influential—realized that his time on this Earth was going to go by fast. On December 18th, of 1722, when he was just nineteen years old, he began a series of seventy resolutions—or personal vows—that would guard the trajectory of his life. “While I do live,” he resolved, I should live with “all my might.” I take this expression as a determination to face life head on, intentionally and purposefully; rather than carelessly and matter-of-factly. The brevity of our lives only seems to increase the urgency of living them purposefully. Our lives (though short) are deep, beautiful, and meaningful if we view them as means to glorify the eternal God. According to Edwards, life is to be seized and apprehended actively, rather than carrying us along passively like corks bobbing on the water.

To read the full article on Modern Reformation, click here.

JE-mail: Correspondences on our Favorite Revivalist

Pastor Everhard,

I’m reading through Jonathan Edward’s book, The Religious Affections and even though I’m early into it (less than a quarter) I have to say hands down it is some of the best writing I’ve read in a long time. I’m so glad to have stumbled across your channel and to have been introduced to such a blessing in this man, Jonathan Edwards. One of the gems he tucked away in this book that snuck up and hit me with an uppercut of truth was when he talked about prayer as a means of expression in true religion. To paraphrase he says, prayer is not essentially a means to declare God’s attributes for the sake of his benefit, but for ours. In prayer and other outward expressions of worship the intent, in part, is to affect our hearts and the hearts of other people.

When I read that I thought wow, no wonder my affections toward God in many ways lack the fervency and vigor that I know that God deserves and commands. My lack of a consistent and hearty prayer life correlates to my lack of Joy (at times) in my Christian walk. I was very humbled by this truth. I could go on further but I’ll leave it at that. I’m marking up this book because there are so many questions I have about his theology and like I said I’m only a quarter through the book. His eschatology shines through and his anthropology (if that’s the right term) when he discusses the affections of saints in heaven, and the affections of the heart (inward motion of the soul) in relation to the external actions such affections have on the body; it’s all unchartered territory for me. So I’m really excited to read this book. It’s my first venture into Jonathan Edwards as I stated earlier and part of what motivated me was your Youtube channel and also having read A Theology of Joy.

Thank you for all you do and for the part you played in God’s economy to bring this work into my life.

Cape Coral, Florida


Dr. Matthew,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all your videos and specifically your information on the miscellany system of Jonathan Edwards! I have been taking my Bible reading to the next level by trying various note taking methods, but organization has been the Achilles heel of all my efforts. As a digital native, it’s easy to attempt to pair notes with some app, be that a Bible app or a productivity app. The unfortunate eventuality of this practice is the fragmentation of notes as well as the “vendor lock-in” of proprietary technology.

Taking things back to pen and paper is just the kind of meditative exercise that enhances time in God’s word. Indeed, I think of Deuteronomy 17:18 and how the practice of physically copying God’s word is the fit duty of one with the responsibilities of a king. Edwards’ indexing system is real app-killer for me though—it keeps things organized, flexible, and is doable in any Bible’s margin. This exercise has actually kindled a love for returning to well-practiced, cursive penmanship and fountain pens. I hope to make my notes last as an heirloom for my family.

Some ideas on extending the Edwardsian system I thought I would share if you use it yourself: You can start multiple miscellany notebooks by presuming a 1-entry-per-page rule (or whatever your smallest entry size is), and then offsetting your next notebook by the number of pages in the previous book. If you fail to exhaust all the entries you offset, no big deal. Much better to drop M93-M99 than to have a collision between 2 volumes. If you want to keep your entries more well focused to long studies through particular books, but you are running more than 1 study at a time, use the above method and bounce between a pair of notebooks. This will cluster the scripture studies in each book rather than interleaving them (but at the expense of carrying around extra notebooks).

Use an extra notebook to act as a master index of each of your miscellany volumes. This would tell you at a glance that M100-250 are in Volume 2, the navy blue Leuchtturm notebook for example. You can also add an inverted index which goes from enumerating “Vol. 1: M1 – M200” to indexing by content, such as “Romans: M33-45, M103-112”.

If you practice bullet journaling (a sort of life calendar productivity system), you can thread references to your miscellany entries in your daily or monthly logs. This has the added benefit of allowing you to cross reference what was going on in your life with your own scriptural insights. I suppose dates do this as well, but miscellanies are indexed by their ID, not their date.

Anyways, thank you for sharing the wisdom of the ages, both in God’s revealed word and salient personages through time. This journaling experiment itself has been massively impactful in achieving the Psalm 1 lifestyle, and you certainly were a laborer in that.

Youtube Viewer, Phoenix AZ.

Help! I need a basic Edwards bibliography for seminary!

Dr. Everhard,

First, I would like to thank you for your YouTube channel. I happened upon it by chance and have been blessed by it ever since. Now, to the primary reason I’m sending this question. I have a question regarding research and Jonathan Edwards. I have just started at Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary on the MDIV track. In one class, I have to pick two reserach topics to create two bibliographies. I want to create at least one on Jonathan Edwards; however, I am not sure what topic to pick. Whatever topic I choose needs to be able to support 8-12 books, 20-30 articles (including dictionary and encyclopedia entries), and 8-12 Internet links (to substantial information). I was wondering if you could give me a few recommendations that I could study? In my undergrad, we were always given the topics, so I’m struggling to make my mind up on a narrow field. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

For His glory and honor,



Well, the book section will be easy enough! Pretty much everything Jonathan Edwards ever wrote is here on the Edwards.Yale.edu site; this is the standard and most highly respected Edwards content available, utilized by all serious scholars. These are available both in print (volumes 1-26) and in digital form (volumes 1-72). Aside from that, you may consider the Edwards Studies online journal here. And there is an entire Edwards Encyclopedia available here in print so that covers that. Anything philosophical could be found in the Stanford site, highly regarded for sure.

As far as topics go, the world is your playground with Edwards! He wrote so much, you can do practically any topic you want: God, faith, Trinity, predestination, the will, baptism, Lord’s Supper, angels, revivals, preaching. Pick something interesting and dig in! If you need ideas, check his Miscellanies as a place to get started! Hope that helps!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Matthew Everhard D.MIN.