Jonathan Edwards

Franklin Library Jonathan Edwards books

Freedom of the Will - 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature - 1984


Jonathan Edwards biography

Jonathan Edwards, born on October 5, 1703, in East Windsor, Connecticut, was a prominent American preacher, theologian, and key figure in the First Great Awakening—a religious revival that swept through the American colonies in the 18th century. Edwards is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians in American history. Edwards came from a family deeply rooted in the Congregationalist tradition, and his early education reflected a strong emphasis on religious studies. He entered Yale College at the age of 13, showcasing both his intellectual prowess and spiritual fervor. By 1720, he graduated as valedictorian, and his thirst for knowledge and understanding of divine matters continued.

In 1727, Edwards became the pastor of the Congregational Church in Northampton, Massachusetts. His preaching style was marked by intense emotionalism and a focus on the sovereignty of God, human sinfulness, and the necessity of personal conversion. Edwards' most famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741), delivered during the Great Awakening, is an exemplary piece of fire-and-brimstone rhetoric that vividly depicts the urgency of repentance.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is a sermon delivered by Jonathan Edwards on July 8, 1741, in Enfield, Connecticut, during the height of the First Great Awakening. This powerful and influential sermon is often considered a classic example of the "fire-and-brimstone" preaching style, characterized by vivid and frightening imagery to evoke a strong emotional response from the audience. Edwards begins by emphasizing the sinful nature of humanity and the righteous wrath of God towards sinners. He vividly describes the precarious position of sinners, held over the fiery pit of hell, and the wrath of God as a force ready to unleash destruction. Edwards underscores the inherent helplessness of human beings in the face of divine judgment. He uses the metaphor of a spider being held by a slender thread over a flame, suggesting that human existence is fragile and dependent on God's mercy. The sermon paints a picture of the immediate and imminent danger that sinners face. Edwards stresses that at any moment, God's wrath could be unleashed, and sinners could be cast into hell. While the sermon is undeniably severe in its portrayal of God's anger, Edwards also offers a message of hope. He calls on the congregation to repent and turn to God, emphasizing that salvation is possible through faith in Jesus Christ. Edwards highlights the concept of God's mercy and grace, noting that it is only through God's benevolence that sinners are not already consumed by the fires of hell. He urges the congregation to appreciate the opportunity for repentance and salvation.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God had an immediate and lasting impact on its audience, with reports of people crying out and expressing intense emotions during the delivery of the sermon. Edwards' vivid and dramatic language aimed to awaken a sense of urgency and conviction in the hearts of his listeners. The sermon is considered a defining example of the Great Awakening's emphasis on personal conversion and religious revival. While some critics have questioned the severity of Edwards' imagery, others recognize its historical and cultural significance in the context of the religious fervor of the time. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" remains a significant piece of American literary and religious history.

Edwards' theological masterpiece, Freedom of the Will (1754), delved into the complexities of human free will and God's sovereignty. His writings contributed significantly to the development of Reformed theology in the American colonies.

Despite his theological brilliance, Edwards faced controversy in his later years. A disagreement over the requirements for full church membership led to his dismissal from the Northampton pulpit in 1750. Edwards then took on a missionary role among Native Americans in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Tragically, Jonathan Edwards' life was cut short when he succumbed to complications from a smallpox inoculation on March 22, 1758, in Princeton, New Jersey. His death occurred shortly after he assumed the presidency of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Posthumously, Edwards' writings continued to shape American theology, and he is often remembered as a key figure in the history of American religious thought. His intellectual legacy extended beyond his own time, influencing subsequent generations of theologians and religious leaders. Jonathan Edwards remains a central figure in the narrative of American religious history, leaving a lasting impact on the theological landscape of the United States.


Freedom of the Will

The Freedom of the Will is a work by Christian reformer, theologian, and author Jonathan Edwards which uses the text of Romans 9:16 as its basis. It was first published in 1754 and examines the nature and the status of humanity's will. The book takes the classic Calvinist viewpoint on total depravity of the will and the need of humanity for God's grace in salvation. Although written long before the modern introduction and debate over Open Theism, Edwards' work addresses many of the concerns that have been raised today over this view. Edwards responded that a person may freely choose whatever seems good, but that whatever it is that seems good is based on an inherent predisposition that has been foreordained by God.

Having graduated from Yale at the mere age of seventeen, Jonathan Edwards is ranked among America's most pre-eminent philosopher-theologians. Edwards wrote Freedom of the Will in 1754 while serving in Massachusetts as a missionary to a native tribe of Housatonic Indians. In this text, Edwards investigates the contrasting Calvinist and Arminian views about free well, God's foreknowledge, determinism, and moral agency. As Edwards attempts to resolve the contention surrounding these topics, he relies on a variety of textual resources including the Bible and philosophy works of enlightenment thinkers. This book can be challenging due to Edwards' emphasis on philosophical reasoning, but Edwards strives to educate his audience by frequently defining confusing terms and explaining controversial passages in depth. Freedom of the Will is relevant to every Christian because it addresses difficult questions about desire, choice, good, and evil.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your best book review and recommendation

Best books in order by author list:

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z

Privacy Policy        |        Terms and Disclosure        |        Contact        |        About        |        Best Book Categories        |        Framed Tributes

© 2002 - 2024 Leather Bound Treasure