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Chris Atwood, Ph.D. 2014

Recipient of the Thor W. Burtness Fellowship

Senior Pastor

First Presbyterian Church of Miami, Miami, FL

My dissertation is entitled, “Jonathan Edwards’s Doctrine of Justification: A New Reading of Edwards’s Treatises, Sermons, and Miscellanies” (supervised by Dr. Daniel J. Treier). My primary argument is that Edwards’s doctrine of justification can best be described as one of “double justification” where a regenerated person is both justified on account of faith and on account of works. While it may be difficult to grasp logically how double justification might work, for Edwards, I argue, double justification satisfied his exegetical, pastoral, and aesthetic principles. The bulk of the dissertation is a painstaking walk through nearly all of Edwards’s writings on justification, meanwhile demonstrating that most of the secondary literature on Edwards’s doctrine of justification selectively uses Edwards’s corpus to draw an incomplete picture of his thoughts on the topic. 

My experience at Wheaton was extremely positive. I was surrounded by faithful and thoughtful faculty and other graduate students. My dissertation supervisor, Dr. Treier, was a wonderful friend and guide through my project and I am so very thankful for the chance to study under him. Studying at Wheaton has opened up lots of doors for me vocationally and I would highly recommend the program to anyone wanting to be a part of a learning community which top-notch scholarship and a passion for serving Christ and his church.