Posted in adopted son, beth moore, book review, God, jesus, Michael

Book Review: "Things Pondered," Beth Moore’s story of adopting a boy and giving him back

By Elizabeth Prata

Photo source

I wrote the essay below in 2014. Eight years ago is a lifetime on the internet, and many people do not know this about Beth Moore. I publish it again now after a short conversation with a few people on Twitter brought it back to mind. I hope to show:

1. Publicly available information on the internet consistently shows Moore as an unbeliever in what she says and does,

2. Moore talks a lot and writes a lot, but is an expert at obfuscating even the largest and most obvious details about her life. You come away after reading 153 pages of this book more confused about it when you started. See section below about true Christian transparency,

3. As always, my refrain is, though 2.8 million people follow Beth Moore on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, don’t you be one of them. Beth Moore is a false teacher who seeks to disqualify you from the prize.

Continue reading “Book Review: "Things Pondered," Beth Moore’s story of adopting a boy and giving him back”
Posted in book review, theology

Book Review: The Rain

By Elizabeth Prata

I love to join Tim Challies’ Christian Reading Challenge every year, despite the fact that I usually fail and then end up hating myself, lol.

I usually choose the ‘Avid Level’, which is a book every two weeks, or 26 books per year. I start to stall out early on, arriving home after a demanding day at school pretty tired, and after devotions and Bible reading, and writing the blog, it’s time for bed, which seems to come earlier and earlier with each passing year.

My eyes are getting older too, and weakening, according to the Doctor, so there’s that.

Anyway, with this quarantine happening and the forced stay-at-home mandate, I have been reading. I have lots of time to read. If I didn’t read, there would be indisputable proof that I have turned into a non-reader, despite having enjoyed that activity all my life. So there’s that. Continue reading “Book Review: The Rain”

Posted in book review, theology

Don’t seek signs and audible direction, “Just Do Something”: A Book Review

By Elizabeth Prata

I mentioned in this week’s Potpourri essay that I’d disappointed myself that I had not kept up with the reading schedule I’d set for myself, a la Challies’ Reading Challenge. I have not read as many books so far, this third month of the year, as I’d wanted. I also read Challies’ follow-up article encouraging us to read. He wrote that if we hadn’t read a lot by now we probably wouldn’t. Gulp. I agree with that. Oy, I better get moving on my reading schedule.

I did finish Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something. Continue reading “Don’t seek signs and audible direction, “Just Do Something”: A Book Review”

Posted in book review, theology

Book Review: Sarah Ivill’s “Never Enough: Confronting the Lies about Appearance and Achievement with Gospel Hope”

By Elizabeth Prata

Never Enough: Confronting Lies About Appearance and Achievement With Gospel Hope, at 128 pages, is readable and relatable.

Published August 2019 by Reformation Heritage Books, it’s written by Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary), a Reformed author, mother, homemaker, Bible study teacher, and retreat and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and is a member of Christ Covenant Church (PCA). Continue reading “Book Review: Sarah Ivill’s “Never Enough: Confronting the Lies about Appearance and Achievement with Gospel Hope””

Posted in book review, theology

Book Review: Mary Rowlandson’s captivity

By Elizabeth Prata

Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
Mary White Rowlandson

It’s a riveting account of a Puritan woman’s travail through an Indian massacre and three months’ captivity, and eventual ransomed release. (1675-6). It was the time of King Philips War and the colony had gotten very bloody very quickly.

Mary is articulate in her afflictions and fervent in her reliance on God through the ordeal. Contains many scriptures and references to God. If a reader is not a Christian they will likely not enjoy the account as much or at all. I enjoyed  seeing how Mary relied on certain scriptures as she saw her family killed, her children ripped from her, and as she endured hunger, thirst, physical hardship, and the devastating emotional loss of her child dying in her arms and her other children taken to different Indian villages, fate unknown.

In one scene that remains vivid in my mind, she looked to the left and only saw hundreds of Indians, and looked to the right and only saw hundreds of Indians, and became aware of the fact that she was the only Christian for miles and miles.

Some say the antiquated English the narrative is written in makes it hard to read. I didn’t, I found it less difficult than Shakespeare and enjoyed it at every part.

I first heard of this book (short narrative at 55 pages) when author Nathanial Philbrick referred to it in his book Mayflower, which I also enjoyed.

Free on Kindle.

Represents one of the first publications of a woman in the New World (Anne Bradstreet’s poetry was first).

mary illustration.jpg

Posted in book review, theology

Book Review Shots: Updates on books read and to-read

By Elizabeth Prata

Time for a reading update!

I am on summer break from my job in an elementary school. I’m a teacher’s aide, now called “para-professional.” I enjoy summer break enormously and one of the ways I try to ‘redem the time’ is to catch up on some quality reading.

I set aside a bunch of books to read, and a schedule to read them in. Here’s the list of books and my short reviews of each.

  • Bible
  • Biblical Doctrine, John MacArthur et al
  • Competing Spectacles, Tony Reinke
  • Her Husband’s Crown, Sara Leone
  • Idols of a Mother’s Heart, Christina Fox
  • In a Different Key: Story of Autism, John Donovan
  • Internet Inferno, John Michael Beasley
  • It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
  • Life of David, RC Sproul (lectures)
  • Lit!, Tony Reinke
  • Margaret Paton Letters from South Seas, Margaret Paton
  • Phantom Rickshaw & Other Eerie Stories, Rudyard Kipling
  • Selina Countess of Huntingdon, Faith Cook
  • The Believer’s Joy, Robert M’Cheyne
  • Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennet, Ed
  • Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

I have added a few books to my original list:

Empty Nest, What’s Next by Michele Howe
Mayflower by Nathanial Philbrick
Life of Moses by James Boice

I decided to read Internet Inferno again even though I finished it, it’s THAT GOOD.
Books I’ve finished:

I mentioned that Beasley’s Internet Inferno is good. He applies the warnings and commands of James about the tongue to our practices and behavior online. Very clear writing and excellent application of the verses. Highly recommended.

The Phantom ‘Rickshaw & other Eerie Tales, is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1888. I always try to include a literary classic in my summer list, and this book was it. I’d found it in a vintage store for $1 and was delighted to try a Kipling. #TrueConfession: I’ve never read The Jungle Book or any other Kipling.

Kipling is no doubt a literary giant and a master storyteller. He is so good in fact, that this eerie set of stories made me highly uncomfortable and creeped me out. I stopped reading the book at the story about the living dead, it was vivid and put pictures in my mind I didn’t want to carry with me. However, the stories are well-done so if you’re less sensitive than me I recommend the book. It’s little known so you might have difficulty finding it.

It Can’t Happen Here is a Sinclair Lewis political novel written in 1935. It’s about just how easily a representative democracy (ours) can become a dictatorship. Last summer I’d read Lewis’ Elmer Gantry, (1927) which turned out to be the best book I ever read on religious hypocrisy. Talk about chilling, Kipling has nothing on creeping you out. Lewis definitively captured the emptiness and evil of a Christ-less convert turned celebrity pastor. The book was long and a bit of a slog, but I kept with it and I was glad I did. The book still haunts me.

It Can’t Happen Here is also a slog, but try as I might I couldn’t get through it. Lewis’ language is terrific, his turns of phrase and word pictures are unmatched. It’s just that there is so much of it. The story slows down and suffers because it seems Lewis was more entranced with his artful turns of phrase than just telling a good story. Gantry was a masterpiece, Happen Here, sadly, isn’t. I took it off my ‘currently reading shelf.’ Maybe next year.

FMI on 4 Lewis books that are better than It Can’t Happen Here

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (2018) was a ‘can’t put down book’. It’s everything a well-written, gripping, emotional novel should be. I raced through it. When I wasn’t reading it, I wished I was. Recommended.

I reviewed Her Husband’s Crown earlier this summer. It was just a 42 page book, a small pamphlet really. It’s a practical bundle of advice aimed at pastors’ wives but applicable to any women who is a member of a church. Recommended.

My Bible reading right now is through Proverbs, which, being wisdom books, coincide nicely with Lit!, Competing Spectacles, and Internet Inferno.

Ladies, don’t feel bad about reading books, even novels. Sometimes I get a twinge, thinking that if I have this time shouldn’t I devote it totally to the Lord, and read only the Bible and theological books. Are novels, or even historical fiction, taking away time I could better redeem? Tony Reinke in Lit! answers that. And because I agree with him, lol, I’ll post his bullet points here.

  • Fictional literature can help us explore abstract human experiences
  • Fictional literature can deepen our appreciation for concrete human experience
  • Fictional literature expands our range of experiences
  • Fictional literature provides beauty and creativity to be enjoyed

In Owens’ Crawdads book I thoroughly enjoyed her atmospheric descriptions of the Low Country, the marshes, estuary, and ocean of South Carolina, and the lushness of her language. The scenery reminded me of a fond memory I have of anchoring our sailboat in the Georgia marshes and hearing the rushes shake as the tide turned, and the owls hooting under the moonlight.

As for the remaining books on my list that I’ve begun already, I am enjoying them to greater and lesser degrees. I grade them all from a B to A+. More to come as I progress through each book.

Happy Summer Reading!

summer reading

Posted in book review, theology

Practical, helpful questions for the sermon hearer; plus Book Review

By Elizabeth Prata

I love to listen to sermons, especially my own pastor’s sermons. They are rich and deep with a lot to think about. He exposits verse by verse or chapter by chapter through a book of the Bible, and along the way he challenges us with his points. Just the way I like it.

I’m such a dunce though. I long to apply the words to my life so as to partner with the Spirit in my progressive sanctification. But I often don’t know the questions to ask myself in order to kick-start the process for that day. I found a helpful aid in the book I just finished reading, “Her Husband’s Crown,” a short exhortation of 9 points and a conclusion by Sara Leone.

Below are some good questions a woman can ask herself after hearing a sermon. Though the author’s intended audience is pastors’ wives, these questions are good for any woman to ask of herself after hearing her pastor’s sermon, or any sermon. I hope they help you as they helped me.

We remember the exhortation to “…receive with meekness the implanted word.” (James 1:21).

What has the word of God taught me today? Has it pointed to a sin I must confess? What promise has it encouraged me to claim? Is there a godly example for me to follow, a Christian grace to develop in my life? How should I apply the lessons of the sermon to my daily living? In other words, our goal should not be to critique our husbands’ sermons but to benefit spiritually from them.

Her Husband’s Crown, p 20 Sara Leone


summer reading

As I finish the books I’ve set aside for this summer’s reading, I’ll review them.

Her Husband’s Crown by Sara Leone is for sale at Amazon for only $3. It’s 42 short and sweet pages that I found practical and helpful. Sara is a pastor’s wife. The blurb says “Although written primarily for pastors wives, this booklet will encourage Christian wives in general and will stimulate prayer for and support of pastors and their wives everywhere.

I say it’s a helpful book for any Christian woman who is a member of her church, married, unmarried, pastor’s wife or not.

What I liked about it is that the advice inside is practical, no-nonsense and nothing you haven’t really heard before. But it’s bundled in such a way that the advice and points are brought to mind again in a good way. There are blessedly few anecdotes of a personal nature, just only enough to be lightly sprinkled throughout and helpful to her chapter’s point. There is a lot of scripture. Just the way I like it.

For example, Chapter 3’s point, “Be a sympathetic and confidential listener to your husband,” based on Romans 12:15, is a wonderful treatment on the importance of pastor’s wives to be, well, sympathetic to your husband’s cares and concerns but also keep them confidential. This can be applied to any situation where a person confides in you. In other words, it’s easy to apply her points if you are a pastor’s wife and easy to adapt her points if you are not. And her points are good.

Another example, chapter 2, Fulfill your responsibilities as a mother before seeking other ministries in the church. Here, Mrs. Leone speaks to a common misperception, that the pastor’s wife is ‘First Lady’ of the church and in that role must fill the gap or lead the way for many of the ministries going on. Not so.

If you’re not a pastor’s wife then the advice is still good to be reminded of that a mother’s primary role is mother, not ministry leader. I mentioned that her advice isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, so of course we know that if you’re a mom then motherhood is a primary essential. But I also said that her advice is needed. Why? When we see many Christian mothers podcasting, running all over the US in their book tours, being guests on podcasts, writing books, maintaining a strong social media presence, and raising 7 children or 4 children and the like, it makes many true stay-at-home Christian mothers wonder if they, too can “do it all” like these other, more famous women who seem to have successful myriad ministries yet claim also to be focused on raising their children. So, Leone’s advice is needed.

The author does not come across as bossy but gentle. She is sharing these 9 points from a long life of experience but also as reminders from scripture. Reading this book is like sipping a cup of tea with a friend in the shade under a dappled dogwood tree.


Posted in book review, theology

Book Review Shots: Disciplines of a Godly Woman; Can I have Joy in my Life?; Amy Carmichael; The Machine Stops

By Elizabeth Prata

Crime novel writer James Patterson issues books in a series called “BookShots.” These are novellas, short books he writes in beteeen the longer ones. I like the idea.

I’ve been participating in Tim Challies’ annual Christian Reading Challenge. I’m keeping up pretty well, and enjoying the structure it provides so I do not lapse into total couch potato with brain of mush.

Here are a few of my Book ReviewShots, short reviews of the books I’ve recently read.


Disciplines of a Godly Woman, by Barbara Hughes

I do not recommend this book.

I like the topic, and there were a few good nuggets in it, but overall it was simply a rehash of normal things any women has already heard, if she has been saved for any length of time. Few new insights.

Issues I had with the book were:

–LOTS of anecdotes. The book would be half as long if Mrs Hughes cut the personal anecdotes and stories that supposedly cemented her point and just stuck to the Bible. Anecdotes the author thinks makes her case, don’t always connect with every reader, but the Bible unfailingly does.

–Some misused scripture, or relying on a traditional view of famous verses rather than teaching their real meaning. (Mt 18:20, Jeremiah 29:11)

–Quoting doubtful characters, i.e. William Barclay, a confirmed universalist who denied the Trinity; Watchman Nee, a mystic whose views on sanctification, the Holy Spirit, hermeneutics, baptism, the church and sin contain significant error; Christy the missionary written about by Catherine Marshall, who was a social justice warrior missionary who gravitated to Quakerism; Win Arn, church growth guru who partnered with C Peter Wagner, demon delivery guru for one of his books, and more. Her Resources page also contains iffy books.

In the book was the following statement- “Apostle Andrew became the patron saint of three diverse countries.” As if that helps his stature! But it lessens the author’s though, for promoting Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic “tradition”. There is no such thing as a “patron saint” of a nation. Statements like these should never be included in a book aimed at evangelical women.

I found this book hard to get through and problematic to pass on.

Better books are:

Praying the Bible by Don Whitney
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies
Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You by John F. MacArthur
Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.
The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer



Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes, by Iain Murray

A short book and an easy read. Murray seems a bit glowing over Amy, but then again, what Amy did was amazing. He didn’t gloss over some of her known issues, however, such as her subjective approach to interpreting the Bible, or her (often misunderstood, according to Murray) imperiousness. Thus, I believe this to be a fair assessment of her life. It isn’t deep, since the book is short, but it’s a good introduction to a remarkable woman’s life lived for Christ. It contains a lengthy bibliography if one wants further info on Amy’s life and work in India.

See also:

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
The Little Woman by Gladys Aylward
Lady Jane Grey: Nine Day Queen of England by Faith Cook


Can I Have Joy In My Life? (Crucial Questions #12) by R.C. Sproul

A short, extremely helpful book on the topic, from RC Sproul. (50 pages). I bought it at the Ligonier $5 Friday sale for $1.88. It’s worth much more than that. Great to keep and re-read at various times, or to give away. Recommended.

I also purchased but have not read others in the series:

Can I Lose My Salvation? (Crucial Questions #22) by R.C. Sproul
Are People Basically Good? (Crucial Questions #25) by R.C. Sproul

Crucial Questions is a good series. Many books covering oft-asked questions. Since the book length is pamphlet sized and they are inexpensive, it makes a perfect giveaway to any brother or sister struggling with any of the questions the book covers.


The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster

Written in 1909 as a short story (only 47 pages for this edition of the paperback) it is a masterful dystopian novella with an eerie bull’s eye to today’s tendency toward individual isolationism and over-reliance on technology. Who knew that the author of A Passage To India, Maurice, Howard’s End, A Room With a View and other familiar novels, had such a prescient eye for the future and could create a totally dystopian, subterranean world. “The Machine Stops” was named one of the greatest science fiction novellas published before 1965 by the Science Fiction Writers of America. This book influenced future authors such as Isaac Asimov and filmmaker George Lucas.


See also:

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
The Running Man by Stephen King

Posted in book review, theology

Book Review: “You Who?: Why You Matter & How To Deal With It” by Rachel Jankovic

By Elizabeth Prata

“Feelings are a bunch of monkeys. Our feelings are not bulletins from the Holy of Holies.”

And just like that, Rachel Jankovic’s new book “You Who?: Why You Matter & How To Deal With It” is off and running. Oh and by the way, she first mentions sin on page TWO. Take that, every other feelings-laden, soft-sell, ‘messy lives’ snowflake books.

Because, Rachel’s new book isn’t for the easily melted. Then again, it is. It’s for every woman who claims Christ. It’s a straight shot across the bow to all the carefully contrived me-oriented schemas, constructs, and operating theories women in Christendom have been presented with, (I’m talking to you, Lifeway & Ladies Ministry) and a good deal more. But I get ahead of myself.

Here is the official blurb of this upcoming book*, slated for publication on January 15. Canon Press is the publisher and you can also buy from Amazon.

If “Who am I?” is the question you’re asking, Rachel Jankovic doesn’t want you to “find yourself” or “follow your heart.”

Those lies are nothing to the confidence, freedom, and clarity of course that come with knowing what is actually essential about you. And the answer to that question is at once less and more than what you are hoping for.

Christians love the idea that self-expression is the essence of a beautiful person, but that’s a lie, too. With trademark humor and no nonsense practicality, Rachel Jankovic explains the fake story of the Self, starting with the inventions of a supremely ugly man named Sartre (rhymes with “blart”). And we–men and women, young and old–have bought his lie of the Best Self, with terrible results.

Thankfully, that’s not the end of our story, You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal with It takes the identity question into the nitty gritty details of everyday life. Here’s the first clue: Stop looking inside, and start planting flags of everyday faithfulness. In Christianity, the self is always a tool and never a destination.

When do we start being us? The existentialist will say we become who we are when we start knitting together our actions that create the story of our identity. Our identity is all about ‘our story.’ The Christian woman should say, as Jankovic explains, that “our valuations are built in a completely different foundation. Who you believe does the creating makes all the difference. Which creator do we honor?”

In asking the question ‘Who am I?’ we are really asking the question ‘Who is my God?’ Knowing, understanding, and living the answer to that question correctly gives the Christian woman relief and joy. Jankovic expertly outlines how to achieve that relief, and it’s not in what we do, but knowing who we are.

Rachel’s contention is that we have no practical idea of what makes us who we are, because we have absorbed too much of the world and its philosophies. As we grow up we adopt titles of identities that have either been thrust on us or that we take on ourselves. “Carefree grrrrl”, or “The Fashionista” or “The Nerd” might satisfy for the moment, but they are a lie. Why? Because they are only temporary. We outgrow the youthful grrrl and become a mom, or an employee, or a boss. But God never changes. When we find our identity in Him, we rest satisfied because we know and are known, unchangeable, no matter the temporary worldly title our family or the world might put on us.

Rachel punctures every misnomer, every misapplication, every fad (like the Christian fad telling us women “You’re a princess”) attempting to be the terminus identity. Defining ourselves by man-made categories simply gets between us and Christ.

Here is an example of her explosive language drilling down to the main point of our Christian identity as women:

Jesus Christ did not come into the world and die so that you might live. That is only the partial truth, the truth that skips all the action. Jesus Christ came to this earth, struggled, suffered, and died so that you might die.

I have to say, as a matter of personal preference and bias, I don’t enjoy podcasts, from men or women. I don’t enjoy interviews and very few Q&A’s. I’m not a fan of banter, filler, giggling, or circuitous points. I participated in Rachel’s DVD seminars, which is comprised of hours of her talking and us listening/watching via a flat screen. The Valley Girl accent that so many millennials have these days, the rabbit trail points, and verbal tics are very distracting. Like?…like?…like… you know what I mean, like?

I am of the opinion that if one wants to have a speaking career, one should speak clearly and concisely. This skill is directly taught to pastors in Homiletics classes. But it seems that anyone with an internet connection who decides to launch a podcast (as Rachel has) or embarks on a speaking career does so without a minimum benchmark most people learn in high school speech classes. There IS such a thing as adhering to a minimum standard of craftsmanship. I’ll expand on this point in another blog essay but for now let me admit that when I was handed Rachel’s book, though obviously highly intelligent, based on her speaking persona I wasn’t expecting much.

I’m thrilled to say that not only were my expectations on her writing craftsmanship exceeded, but I’m actually blown away by the book’s brilliance.


I appreciated Rachel’s continual turning to Jesus as the answer. She urges total submission and makes a clear point about just what that answer is (and it’s more than being a “Princess”). There is not a hint of eisegesis, narcissism, or me-centered, self-esteem, pop psychology so often present in the glut of books flooding the Christian publishing market today.

Sin was stated as sin, not ‘brokenness’ or ‘messiness’ or ‘mistakes’. Rachel never whitewashes who we are as sinners but continually points to Christ. She offers practical, optimistic responses that slay the philosophies we have been pummeled with in the Christian publishing industry for the last 20-odd years. Rachel is skilled at mounting up responses and excuses to women use to rebut her points but then blowing them all away like the milkweed they are. When the title says ‘how to deal with it’, it means it.

Rachel spends a good deal of the book focusing on giving God glory. What glory is and how to express it. And that expression is never more glorious and God-honoring than when we obey. We are never more our true selves than when we obey God’s word.

Rachel shows restraint in using personal anecdotes and momisms. As any good preacher knows, illustrations are a double edged sword. Once you start making an illustration on which to revolve your sermon, you’ve lost any demographic that doesn’t identify with it. Rachel uses few, but they are sprinkled in to the chapters at just the right moments.

Now, don’t run away when I say this, but Rachel begins with an examination of various philosophies, such as nihilism, cognitive psychology, and in a lengthy treatment, existentialism. I’ve always had a hard time wrapping my mind around these philosophies, but Rachel does a brilliant job of making a practical analysis of how they compare to Christianity, specifically, Christian identity. Yet for all its weighty themes, it is a highly readable book. I read it in just a few days.

You Who? Why You Matter & How To Deal With It” is an important addition to the  Christian woman’s bookshelf, and one I believe is a “must read.”


*Oganizers of the Jankovic DVD seminars were offered a pre-publication advanced reader copy of this book, with a request if so accepting, to also write a review of the book. No expectation was given as to the type of review nor its content. This review was completed without influence of any kind.

Posted in book review, theology

Book Review- Heaven and Hell: Jonathan Edwards on the Afterlife by John Gerstner

By Elizabeth Prata
Heaven and Hell: Jonathan Edwards on the AfterlifeHeaven and Hell: Jonathan Edwards on the Afterlife by John H. Gerstner
Dr. Gerstner was an enthusiastic student of the famous Jonathan Edwards. He spent a good deal of his professional life studying Edwards and his theology. In this book, he examines the teaching of Edwards on the subjects of heaven and hell.

A short work, at times felt more like Cliff’s Notes, but it is such a weighty subject, particularly the way Edwards deals with it, that I don’t know if my heart and soul could stand the pain of reading about hell any more deeply that was already presented.

I didn’t agree with all Edwards had to say on the subject (i.e. earth being the location of hell after the conflagration, or that devils torment us in hell) but alternately, Edwards did raise interesting points. Like this one: are men punished for sins IN the state of punishment as well as in the state of trial?

One comes to appreciate Edwards’ attention to the doctrine. His pleas, constant and earnest as they were, to avoid hell ran consistently with the Bible’s frequency on the subject (3-to-1 in favor of threats and warnings vs comforts and lovelies). Here is one excerpt from an unpublished sermon where Edwards remarks on his own frequency of hell’s mention-

And indeed when I went about preparing this discourse it was with considerable discouragement. I thought it was now some time since I had offered any discourse of this nature. But so many had been offered with so little apparent effect that I thought with myself I know not what to say further.

But however because I must warn you from God whether you will hear or whether you will forbear I have warned you again. It has now been told once more, whether you will yield to the power of God’s Word, to the force of the awful warnings and threatenings which the Word of God sets before you [or not]. If you will not hear now you may possibly solemnly lay these things to heart when you come to die. And if you continue in your stupidity to the last, being given up of God to a dreadful degree of hardness that is beyond the alarm of approaching death, which is the case with some, yet as soon as ever you are dead you will be fully sensible of all.

Edwards’ motivation for the frequency of hell’s mention stems from a vivid understanding of God’s character, his wrath and His grace. His sermons are clear on the wondrous character of God and his unchangeableness in dealing with sin. Edwards fervently wanted his hearers to spend eternity in grace, not wrath. Some were converted, some were not. Some even stayed on the fence, Edwards says that “they were neither awakened, nor at ease.”

Gerstner uses copious amounts of quotes from Edwards’ sermons and writings, and many footnotes for further study.

Edwards once remarked that the only way for men to have ease on earth is to delete the doctrine of hell, and so it is the same to this day. Recommended.