Book Review; Edwards on Heaven and Hell by Starchen and Sweeney


Starchen and Sweeney have  done the church a real service by publishing this series of books on Edwards. This volume focus on Edwards preaching and writing on the topics of heaven and hell. What makes this book so helpful is that the authors have read tons of Edwards and arranged it in an easy, approachable way around  the theme.

This is coupled with Starchen’s and Sweeney’s ability to to look at the contemporary scene and what is facing the christian community and the church today and argue successfully as to why it must adopt and Edwardian view, and by extension a biblical view, of eternity. the book is split into the following four parts:

  • the reality of heaven and hell and its disappearance form the life of the church today.
  • the frightening prospect of hell; Edwards on hell.
  • the glorious prospect of heaven; Edwards on heaven.
  • how to live with eternity in view; applying the lessons of Edwards.

I found this book a joy to read and a fantastic introduction to Edwardian though concerning heaven and hell. What I was NOT expecting was the warm pastoral tone of the authors. Also Starchen’s and Sweeney’s ability to go back and forth from Edwards day and our own and to draw out the relevant points for today’s reader is areal strength. Not only was this accomplished but it was done with an eye for detail and with a heart to help the reader apply. One rarely finds such a powerful blend of historical accounting of theology and coupled with apply it today’s challenges. Starchen and Sweeney through Edwards’ voice and their own have increased my awareness of eternity. I am eager to put into practice the lessons learned from this work.


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