Jonathan Edwards

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Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is widely recognized as one of America’s most profound Theologians. Some might even consider him the master of Puritan revival, since he was the leader of the Great Awakening. During his time he was a devout Calvinist who had the power of single-handedly keeping the Puritan faith strong for over twenty-five years, by using vivid imagery to provoke his audience. Edward's dialect was exquisitely influential and yet wielded with class and ease. This essay argues that Edwards was a prestigious theologian in his time that helped shape modern religious culture. From an early stage Edwards was influenced by his family tremendously. “As the only boy, he was the center of attention. From early years his parents groomed him for college and the ministry, and his older sisters often oversaw his lessons. Throughout his life Jonathan especially admired female piety, which he first saw in his mother and sisters” . His father was very strict and had only the highest expectations for his son. He taught young Edwards how to read and write Latin and Greek, languages that were necessary to enter college. “Jonathan was born a student, and his remarkable aptitudes must have gratified his father” . Edwards’s grandfather, Reverend Solomon Stoddard, also greatly influenced him. Solomon was often referred to as the “Pope of the Connecticut Valley” . While Solomon was preaching in Northampton, Connecticut he helped liberalize church policy by broadening “the standards for full church membership to all adults who professed the doctrines of the church, submitted to its discipline, and promised to attempt to live morally” . These extended standards meant that almost, if not all members of the community could and wo... ... middle of paper ... ...ogy, Edwards started with the premise that God was the primary actor in any relationship. God was always communicating his love and beauty” . In December 1734 the awakening took another electrifying growth and moved to a new level of intensity. By the spring the whole town seemed to be partaking in the awakening. . In one of his more powerful sermons, Sinner’s in the Hand of an Angry God, Edwards used words of parallelism that moved his listeners. He described his view of a vengeful God and the consequences of sin with such strong emotions and vividness that it was sure to astonish most, if not all of those who had the privilege of hearing or reading it. Edwards clearly portrays an image of a fearful and powerful God in relation to a simple and weak man. Edward's words were potent and astonishing and he was sure to have shaken anyone who came across them.
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