Japan + Jonathan Edwards = A Surprising Work Indeed

My oldest daughter, who is much smarter than her father, just forwarded me the latest monthly e-mail newsletter from Yale University. Honestly, I thought it was a joke, something straight out of The Onion.

I’m glad I was wrong.

The headline of one of the sections? “Global interest in Jonathan Edwards spurs new interest in Japan.” Japan? Jonathan Edwards? Together?

Yes. And it only gets better.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For the American revivialist (sic) and philosopher who wrote A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls in Northampton in 1737it would no doubt be equally surprising that the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan recently announced establishment of the Jonathan Edwards Center Japan, affiliated with the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University….

The Jonathan Edwards Center Japan will serve as a research, education and publications hub for study of Edwards and early American history and develop links with the academic community in Japan, including, but not limited to, Sophia University, a private research university in Tokyo.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), pastor, revivalist, Christian philosopher, missionary, Yale College graduate, and president of Princeton University, is regarded by many as North America’s greatest theologian. He is the subject of intense scholarly interest because of his significance as an historical figure and the profound legacy he left on America’s religious, political and intellectual landscapes.

“Our plan is to pay sustained critical attention to Edwards’s and early American historical thought,” said Edwards scholar Anri Morimoto, a professor at International Christian University. “Jonathan Edwards was an important American theologian and, more specifically, America’s greatest contributor to catholic and philosophical theology.”

Kenneth Minkema, executive director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, observed,  “The establishment of the Jonathan Edwards Center Japan at International Christian University is a significant expansion of Edwards and early American history scholarship and will serve widely both academia and the church.”

This is an astonishingly encouraging development. The last I checked, Japan is a 1% Christian nation. Who would have ever predicted that interest in Jonathan Edwards would result in a university in Tokyo, along with the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, together creating a research center solely devoted to his thought? I’d like to think that Edwards himself would be surprised at this new development, but I’d probably, and gladly, be proven otherwise.

Many thanks to the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University for their strategic partnership to make The Jonathan Edwards Center in Japan become a reality.

[Also seeYale, Jonathan Edwards, and My Daughter]

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