Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Self-Determination Cannot Lead to Conversion

A portion of a letter from Jonathan Edwards to Rev. John Erskine in Scotland about the fatal doctrine of self-determination. He was sounding a warning against the pernicious errors of Henry Home (Lord Kames) who had distorted the truth of evangelical conversion. The letter was written on August 3, 1757.

And this notion of self-dependence and self-determination tends to prevent or enervate all prayer to God for converting grace; for why should men earnestly cry to God for his grace, to determine their hearts to that, which they must be determined to of themselves? And indeed it destroys the very notion of conversion itself. There can properly be no such thing, or anything akin to what the Scripture speaks of as conversion, renovation of the heart, regeneration, etc. if growing good by a number of successive self-determined acts, be all that is required, or to be expected.

Jonathan Edwards: Letters and Personal Writings, edited by George S. Claghorn, vol. 16 in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Yale University Press, 1998, p. 723.

No comments: