WTI 57 (1995) 165-86 (fonte: http://wts.edu/faculty/profiles/ksoliphint/kso_writings.html)
JONATHAN EDWARDS: REFORMED APOLOGIST SCOTT OLIPHINT
0, how is the world darkened, clouded, distracted, and torn to pieces
by those dreadful enemies of mankind called words!'
THOUGH when Jonathan Edwards penned these words he was dis- cussing morality, particularly of the Sabbath, his exclamation could just as easily be applied to the debates over his own words. Due to the sheer volume of Edwards' publications as well as the depth of his insight, there seems to be no end to the potential debates with regard to the "real Edwards" on a given topic or position.2 Perhaps Jonathan Edwards' many exegetes are the clearest example of the influence of one's presuppositions on any interpretive endeavor.'
The title of this article displays, at least implicitly, its twofold purpose. First, I will be attempting faithfully to explicate Edwards with a view toward a Reformed apologetic. More specifically, I will look briefly at Edwards' ontology and then a bit more specifically at his view of man, particularly as that view relates to the unregenerate. Secondly, in explicating such a view, I will be attempting to distinguish Edwards' insights from a so-called "classical" approach to apologetics and further to incorporate his work into a presuppositional or transcendental framework of apologetics. I am not trying to ask whether or not Edwards was a Van
I Jonathan Edwards, "Miscellanies #4," in The Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards (ed. H.G.
Townsend; Connecticut: Greenwood, 1955) 209. All "Miscellanies," unless otherwise noted, will be from the Townsend source.
2 Note, for example, Fiering's contention that Edwards was no Lockean (contra Perry Miller) in Norman Fiering, "The Rationalist Foundations of Jonathan Edwards's Metaphys‑
ics," in Jonathan Edwards and the American Experience (ed. N. 0. Hatch and H. S. Stout; New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988) 77-78. See also Douglas J. Elwood, The Philosophical Theology of Jonathan Edwards (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960), who seems to want to make of Edwards a neo-orthodox theologian, as one untimely born. Speaking of one of Edwards' arguments, the author says, "It is an argument from revelation, though not revelation as authority but as living encounter" (p. 16). Such misrepresentations can be found frequently throughout the book.
3 It may be important at this point to acknowledge my own bias. When I began to study Edwards' view of man, I suspected that Edwards was, at bottom, too heavily influenced by secular rationalistic thought in his view of man. Having looked closer, however, I am now convinced that my suspicion of Edwards' thought in this area was unwarranted. Though I began thinking Edwards to be non-Reformed in some significant anthropological areas, it seems to me now that, by and large, he was a Reformed, presuppositional apologist.