Jonathan Edwards: Head and Heart

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Romans 5:1-11 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (v. 1 NIV) The 18th-century Great Awakening began in Northampton, Massachusetts, under the preaching of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). The moral and spiritual passion of the first generation of colonists had waned. The Christian faith had become more institutional and less personal. Their children lacked conviction. Edwards himself called it “a time of extraordinary dullness in religion.” In December …

John Bunyan: The Worst and Best of Times

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Hebrews 11:30-40 Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (v. 16 NIV) The Stuart monarchy was restored when Charles II returned to England from exile in 1660. He was witty, immoral, and believed in little except the divine right of kings. While outwardly accepting the Church of England, Charles despised Presbyterians and Protestants alike. Parliament ordered that all non-Anglican ministers stay five miles from a city or …

John Calvin: A Man of Genius and Faith

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Ephesians 1:3-14 He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. (v. 9 NIV) Life ought not to be measured by ease and length of days, but by how one lives and dies. John Calvin (1509-1564), a spiritual father of the Reformation, was well educated, but always poor. He fought excruciating headaches throughout his life and suffered poor health. He failed to reach his 55th birthday. In …

Martin Luther: By Faith Alone

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Romans 1:1-17 In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. (v. 17 NIV) Martin Luther (1483-1546) might be the most important figure in Europe in the past five-hundred years, for his ideas not only changed the church, but also the world. Created and loved by God, each human being is significant. But rarely does one person so affect the course of history. Luther’s father sent him to …

John Wycliffe: The Morning Star

Ron Geschwendt

READ : 2 Timothy 3:10-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (v. 16 NIV) Most of us are indebted to someone in the past. The great men of the Reformation era learned from those who lived before them. John Wycliffe (ca. 1329-1384) was an early morning star of the Reformation. Educated at Oxford and influenced by Augustine’s writings, he became a great teacher, who challenged the church for its theological errors …

Augustine: Sinner and Saint

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Romans 13:6-14 Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. (v. 14 NIV) Augustine (AD 354-430) was born with a brilliant mind. But genius is no guarantee of moral goodness. His early life, though filled with intellectual success, was dominated by lust. He later wrote in his Confessions: “I found it sweet to love and be loved in return – especially if I could enjoy the body of the person I loved. So I polluted the fresh water of …