If any would object to exposing the sins of our theological heroes, let them hear from Jonathan Edwards himself. In his Miscellanies, he gives us a vivid picture of the depths of sin and its ugliness. Racism and slavery is a “bad wound” in the Reformed tradition that has been “skinned over” for too long and we are just starting to “lay open its core.” Indeed, each succeeding generation of Christians in America has seen this sore “break out again.” Edwards gives us great warrant for exposing–searching!–and lancing the deep, bad wounds present in his own life and theology:
635. CONVICTION. HUMILIATION.
Bad wounds must be searched to the bottom; and oftentimes when they are very deep they must be lanced, and the core laid open, though it be very painful to endure, before they can have a good cure. The surgeon may skin them over, so that it may look like a cure without this, without much hurting the patient, but it will not do the patient much good. He does but deceive him for the present, but it will be no lasting benefit to him; the sore will break out again. This figures forth to us the case of our spiritual wound. The plague of our hearts, which is great and deep and must be searched, must be lanced by painful conviction. The core must be laid open. We must be made to see that fountain of sin and corruption there is, and what a dreadful state we are in by nature, in order to a thorough and saving cure.
Jeremiah 8:11, speaking of the teachers of Israel, their prophets and priests, “They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, peace, peace, when there is no peace.”