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Abstract

In contemporary evangelical circles, Jonathan Edwards has gained wide popularity for his theological writings and vital role in the First Great Awakening. However, despite these often romanticized views, Edwards nonetheless stood in the midst of an eighteenth century society that began to develop new norms for sexual practice and new legal guidelines to support them. In order to combat what he saw to be a decaying moral culture, Edwards took a strong stance on marital issues, often to the displeasure of his congregation. What lay behind these convictions was a deep theological understanding of the sanctity of marriage. These views, although not new to the history of Christian thought, were uniquely reinvigorated by Edwards to a Calvinist generation that had recently abandoned them. It is both Edwards’ theology of marriage and reinforcement of its practice that not only make him a unique preacher for his time, but also a worthy study for Evangelicals today in the midst of modern marital controversies.