Jonathan Edwards and the Stockbridge Mohican Indians: His Mission and Sermons
By Roy M. Paul | Foreword by Michael A.G. Haykin
The story of the Stockbridge Mohican Indians, unlike that portrayed in the legendary Last of the Mohicans, is a story of tragedy and deceit, and yet one of endurance and strength. This proud people, despite the many efforts to remove their identity and eradicate their unique culture, have endured and continue to flourish, ensuring future generations will benefit from their rich legacy.
This book chronicles the history of the Mohican people, highlighting their desire to know more about the “Great, Good Spirit,” by asking for a Christian minister to come to them. After the untimely death of their first missionary, John Sergeant, they were blessed by the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, the foremost theologian in American history. He has been described as, “an activist, preacher, contemplative, missionary, philosopher, and theologian.” Not only did Edwards bring them the Word of God, he fought relentlessly for their rights. Herein lies a glimpse into the history of this noble people and Edwards’ efforts for their physical and spiritual well-being.
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“God weaves together the golden threads of His love and truth in Christ with the dark threads of human sin and misery. This rich and informative study by Roy Paul traces those threads through the tapestry of Mohican history, especially as they intersect with the life of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards’ sermons to the Mohicans, together with his advocacy for their often-abused rights, show us that God is not the God of one nation, but the God of all peoples. A fascinating read!”
—Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI
“Roy Paul’s work on the Mahican people and the mission at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, provides a new and vital perspective: beginning not with English missionizing, but with the Mahicans themselves. Their relation to Jonathan Edwards, highlighted here, is an important one, as illustrated through his sermons, but he is only a part of their story, a story of connection to place, of deep spirituality, and of survival and recovery.”
—Kenneth P. Minkema, Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University, New Haven, CT
“It has been my privilege to know Roy Paul, first as a fellow congregant, then as his pastor and, in recent years, as a fellow pilgrim committed to the study and teaching of Jesus the living Word, revealed in and through the written Word. From the outset I was struck by Roy’s keen mind, which he has applied consistently over decades to the understanding, clarifying and proclamation of his faith and spirituality. However, unlike some academics, Roy brings a passionate heart to this effort. Hearing him describe the research that led to this book was all the assurance I needed to conclude that you will find herein the same confluence of reason and passion. You will also learn a lot about the Christocentric spirituality of Jonathan Edwards, America’s foremost philosopher-theologian.”
—Sunder Krishnan, Pastor Emeritus, Rexdale Alliance Church, Toronto, ON
“It has been a long while since I visited the New England awakening. I recall how I often sought the Lord for a similar moving in our own day. I rarely considered its impact on the native peoples. Roy Paul’s research gives valuable insight to the way God prepared the Indian heart to receive the gospel. In spite of the failures of those associated with the Indian mission, the intrinsic beauty and sheer power of God’s Word drew them irresistibly to the cross. This is an encouragement to every generation of believers who desire to be faithful in mission. Thank you for such a sweet blend of story, theology and devotion.”
—Bob MacGregor, Lead Pastor, Grandview Baptist Church, Kitchener, ON
“The history of Europeans bringing Christianity to Native Americans is a complicated mess full of misunderstandings, mistakes, and—let’s not mince words—murder. To undo the racist narrative of the valiant cowboy versus the savage Indian, educators have rewritten the historical narrative to portray Christians as the evil culprit behind the genocide. Sadly, this argument has some merit, but there is so much more to the story. With a passion for research and accuracy, Roy Paul strives to set the record straight about what happened when the first Christians of America interacted with their first neighbors. While there were men who used the religion of power for personal gain, there were also men who used the Gospel message of salvation to minister to the Natives. The most famous of these men was Jonathan Edwards, who ministered to my Mohican Nation and made a huge impact in their eternal lives as their earthly lives were coming undone.”
—Mark Shaw, Enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Nation
“The Muh-he-con-neok have a rich and diverse history. From their homelands in the East to their current reservation in Wisconsin, they have never forgotten who they are and where they came from. Roy Paul has managed to combine the history of the Mohican people with the history of the tribes’ Christianization in a way that is both respectful of their traditions and honest about the atrocities inflicted on them by colonization.”
—Heather Bruegl, M.A., Enrolled Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and Descendant Stockbridge Munsee; Director of Cultural Affairs-Stockbridge Munsee Community, Bowler, WI
Roy M. Paul was born in Perth, Ontario. He completed a B.A. in Chemistry and Psychology from Queen’s University, and an Honours B.Sc. in Biomedical Science from the University of Guelph. After a successful 25-year career as a drug product development scientist for Johnson & Johnson, he took an early retirement. Feeling unsettled and still eager to learn, Paul attended Heritage Theological Seminary in Cambridge, completing a Master of Theological Studies, magna cum laude. He subsequently went on to do a Th.D. in Church History, and currently serves as the Executive Research Assistant at the Canadian office of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.