A Jonathan Edwards Center will be established at Gateway Seminary, Jeff Iorg, the Southern Baptist entity’s president, has announced for the Los Angeles-area Ontario campus.
The center, or JEC, will be affiliated with the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University in New Haven, Ct. An agreement between the two institutions was signed in October.
“The JEC at Gateway Seminary will serve as a research, education and publications hub for the study of Edwards and his connection with Baptist history,” Iorg said. “We expect to officially open the center in the Gateway Seminary library sometime in 2018.”
The JEC at Gateway will be the third in the U.S., joining the one at Yale and one at Trinity International University in the Chicago area. Worldwide, there are 11 such centers.
Edwards (1703-1758), a key figure in the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s, was a Congregationalist pastor in New England, revivalist, theologian/philosopher, missionary and president of what is now Princeton University. Widely regarded as one of America’s greatest theologians, he is the subject of scholarly interest due to the legacy he left on America’s religious, political and intellectual landscapes.
Edwards’ writings, such as his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” are consulted by religious leaders, pastors and churches worldwide because of the fervency of his message and the acumen with which he appraised religious experience.
Global interest in Edwards has increased in part by the work of Yale’s JEC in its mission to support inquiry into the life, writings and legacy of Edwards by providing resources that encourage critical appraisal of his historical importance and contemporary relevance as a theologian.
The Yale JEC hosts the digital Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, a learning environment for research, education and publication encompassing all of Edwards’s writings along with editorial materials to allow readers various ways to examine Edwards’ thought. The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, as well as the Jonathan Edwards Studies journal online and the Global Accelerated Sermon Editing project are accessible through the JEC website, edwards.yale.edu.
Chris Chun, director of JEC at Gateway, said the seminary is “looking forward to collaborating with international Edwardsean scholarly communities as well as local churches in California. Under the auspices of the seminary, it will host conferences followed by publications and will strengthen existing visiting scholar programs.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kathie Chute is director of communications for Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention.)