Culture Influencers: Joshua R. Farris

Joshua R. FarrisDr. Joshua R. Farris, assistant professor of Theology, has co-authored a biographical sketch and documentary history of New England theologian and pastor Maltby Gelston with S. Mark Hamilton in the Jonathan Edwards Studies Journal. The present article represents some of the contributions made to the Edwards and New England literature in a forthcoming introduction and transcription of Maltby Gelston’s system of theology in what is called, New England Dogmatics (forthcoming in the Princeton Theological Monograph Series with Wipf & Stock publishers). Unique, to the period of time, New England Theology modifies, advances, and, in some cases, significantly revises aspects of the theological traditions received from the broader Reformed tradition of which it is a part. Gelston’s systematic accounting reflects some of the modifications, advancements, and revisions to that larger tradition, while much of his systematic theological work reflects close similarity to it. As is common to New England theology, Edwards, and his successors (e.g., Joseph Bellamy, Jonathan Edwards Jr.), we find innovations made to common receptions of natural theology in the Reformed tradition. We also see a surprising fascination with the atonement. Edwards’s successors, in some cases, depart from the standard penal substitution theory in favor of a Moral Government theory, Anselmian Satisfaction, or some hybrid therein.