Faith Bible Blog

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Jonathan Edwards & Janet

Now if you’ve read much about Jonathan Edwards, the title of this may be puzzling you.  You see, Jonathan was married to Sarah Pierpont.  Janet Edwards, on the other hand, is Jonathan Edwards sixth-great granddaughter.  It is sad to see the present day course of his descendants and to consider how exceedingly rare it is in the Bible that one’s grandchildren and their grandchildren remained faithful to God.  Here’s a bit of the story on Janet.  It is a resounding call to pray for our future grandchildren and theirs…

Nearly 265 years after her legendary fire-and-brimstone forebear
delivered his historic sermon warning of hell’s horrors, a Squirrel
Hill clergywoman is under church scrutiny for joining two women in

The Rev. Janet Edwards, 55, likens performing the ceremony to her
famously orthodox ancestor, Jonathan Edwards, preaching to the Mohicans
in the 18th century, when racism made Native Americans the object of
scorn and fear.

"I would say his acceptance of the Mohicans of the time is
similar to my inclusion of gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered people
now," Janet Edwards said.

Edwards is one of about a half-dozen Presbyterian ministers
nationwide being investigated by local churches for marrying same-sex

"If the point of (Janet Edwards’) analogy is that he followed his
conscience and so did she, and that they both went beyond some boundary
or other, that’s not enough," religious historian and retired
University of Chicago professor Martin Marty said.

But Jonathan Edwards scholar Amy Plantiga Pauw, a doctrinal
theology professor at Louisville (Ky.) Presbyterian Seminary, calls
Janet Edwards’ argument persuasive.

"There is a kind of parallel — Jonathan Edwards was not afraid
to challenge so-called respectable Christians of his time," Pauw said.

Born in 1703, Jonathan Edwards is best known for his sermon,
"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," with its fiery warning to the
unrepentant: "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one
holds a spider or some loathsome insect over a fire, abhors you and is
dreadfully provoked: his wrath burns towards you like fire."

Edwards’ sixth-great granddaughter remembers him for an activism that still inspires her own.

"Marriage is a sacred union of two people who are committed to
each other, without regard to gender," Janet Edwards said. "I do not
feel I have done anything wrong. On the contrary, I felt I was holding
up the vows of my ordination."

Author: John Pleasnick

John serves as a pastor and elder at Faith Bible Church

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