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A Divine Light: The Spiritual Leadership of Jonathan Edwards

By David Vaughan
Cumberland House Publishing

431 Harding Industrial Drive
Nashville, TN 37211

A Divine Light, The Spiritual Leadership of Jonathan Edwards is the latest installment to Cumberland House's Leaders in Action series. A Divine Light is an attractive little chunky book. It is the perfect-size book to cuddle up with--thick enough to keep you seated for a long while yet small enough to not wear out your arm muscles!

According to the book's dust jacket, the Leaders in Action series "is dedicated to the notion that leadership is more caught than taught." To this end, David Vaughan shares Jonathan Edwards's life with readers in such a way as to reveal his character and inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

A Divine Light is broken into three parts. The first 119 pages consist of a short biography of the life of Jonathan Edwards. The second section of the book is dedicated to the character of Jonathan Edwards. By highlighting particular anecdotes of Edwards's life, quoting his own writings, and investigating what others said about him, A Divine Light seeks to reveal several facets of Edwards' moral fiber. His discipline, determination, love for God, humility, civic leadership, and family are but a few of the aspects considered. A Divine Light ends with a short section entitled "The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards," including a 2-page list of the "Lessons of Leadership" we can learn from his life.

A Divine Light would be a delightful book to add to your family's historical studies of Colonial America or the Great Awakening. It would satisfy a desire for family devotions centered on church history or biographies of godly people. The book is written at about a seventh-grade level for silent reading, but it could be enjoyed by much younger children as a family read-aloud.

I appreciate the fact that David Vaughan does not paint Jonathan Edwards as being divine but rather a follower of the Divine. Vaughan does not hide Edwards's human frailties. He also paints a realistic picture of the times Edwards lived in. Sometimes it is easy to romanticize the past, especially a particular season in which "God was at work." It was surprising and reassuring for me to learn that the human struggles of that time were similar to those we face today (church division, dealing with false teachers, folks getting upset over petty issues, working through conflict, etc.).

The author seems to have a strong belief in Providence, as did Jonathan Edwards himself. If you have strong objections to the idea of God being sovereign over all, you may find yourself at odds with much of this book.

A Divine Light draws the reader into Jonathan Edwards' legacy of faith. In a very readable style, David Vaughan brings Jonathan Edwards into your living room, making this man accessible. Children and parents can learn a lot from Edwards' life experience and character. God is raising up leaders from amongst our children for the next generation. Perhaps the Leaders in Action series could be incorporated into your leadership training. I plan to integrate several books from this series into our family's reading.

Product review by Deborah Burt, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June 2007

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