20 Pages


This chapter introduces the discourse of 1738, providing an introduction to the various materials, definitions, and arguments. It examines the central dispute over the definition of justification, whether justification is more than the forgiveness of sins. The chapter demonstrates the consistency of a robustly Reformed definition of justification in Edwards' thought and his articulation of it in the context of the Arminian controversy. It deals with the broader issues surrounding faith as the 'act of unition' with Christ and develops exposition of the discourse of 1738 in the context of Edwards' specific and stated polemic against the imported Arminian theology of Archbishop John Tillotson. More particularly, this debate concentrated on whether faith could be understood in more than moral categories. The chapter illustrates the polemical nature of Edwards' discourse on justification and the importance of the historical context for a correct interpretation of the text. It shows that Edwards' initial presentation of his argument is minimalistic.