Beck, Peter. The Voice of Faith: Jonathan Edwards’s Theology of Prayer. Ontario: Joshua Press, 2010. 336 pp. $29.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.
Dr. Beck is assistant professor of religion and director of the Honors Program at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina. He has become a notable scholar on Jonathan Edwards.
Divided into eight chapters, Beck offers an “internal” and “external” look at Jonathan Edwards. He begins with a chapter on the prayer hearing God before offering a chapter on the early life of Edwards. The third chapter looks at the excellent Christ while the fourth chapter gives detail on Edwards’s conversion.
The fifth chapter looks at the importance of understanding the true spirit of prayer before moving into the final third part of the external biography of Edwards – that of his controversy and dismissal from North Hampton.
The final two chapters offer insight into Edwards’s congregation, their happiness, and how all of this assimilates into a deeper understanding of what motivated Jonathan Edwards…communion with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If you are interested in Jonathan Edwards, you will thoroughly enjoy this heretofore little studied aspect of the life of Edwards. I greatly appreciated the interweaving of biography with academic study. It helped to locate the theological growth of Jonathan Edwards in its proper context.
While many will know about the life of Jonathan Edwards through many excellent biographies available, not as many will have studied his prayer life. In fact, according to many of the endorsements, this is the first book that intentionally studies the prayer life of Jonathan Edwards. That alone is worth the price of the book.
Further, this book does not read like an academic paper though it is obviously that. It does elucidate many unknown qualities about what drove Jonathan Edwards and will leave a fresh imprint in the mind of the reader today to strive toward a closer communion with the Lord through prayer.
If you enjoy reading Jonathan Edwards and have benefited from his works, I highly recommend you read The Voice of Faith by Peter Beck. It may be more instrumental in your walk with Christ and will certainly bring to life the wisdom of Jonathan Edwards in a radical way that will cause you to reread what you have of Edwards already.