The Lord’s Supper in the Hands of a Sensitive Preacher: The Bible in Edwards’ Sermons on 1 Corinthians 10
Keywords:American Religious History
In 1677, Solomon Stoddard (1643–1729), a prominent minister of a church in Northampton, made a controversial decision. Contrary to the established practice of New England Puritan ministers that allowed only those with evidence of conversion to partake in the communion, he opened the Lord’s Supper to anyone who professed Christian belief and lived a respectable public life, calling the sacrament a “converting ordinance.” Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803) later wrote that Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)—Stoddard’s grandson and successor at Northampton—had been hesitant about adopting this view upon his coming to the church, though he did not have the “conviction” fully to judge it negatively at first. After Stoddard passed away in February 1729, Edwards took over his ministry. However, he kept silent regarding his view on the topic.