Puritan Minister Jonathan Edwards

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Jonathan Edwards was a Puritan minister in Northampton, Massachusetts who played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening. One of his great works called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is considered a classic of early American literature. Edwards, as a Puritan, strongly believed in the Doctrine of Predestination. However, when analyzing the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” one can also detect hints of the theory of Arminianism in the underlying meaning. This is because his sermon is based off of giving people the ability to turn to the God and accept his Grace or reject the Grace of God and spend eternity in hell. Thus this sermon both qualifies and compromises the Doctrine of Predestination. In his sermons Jonathan Edwards starts off his sermon by painting a picture for his congregation of the hell that is expected for them if they do not turn to God. He states that “their foot shall slide in due time,” meaning that as humans we are all born from sin and therefore, they all deserve damnation (Edwards). This vivid imagery was put into place in order to scare those who have not gotten saved, to turn to God and his Grace. Firstly, it is evident that Edwards upholds the Doctrine of Predestination when he states that it is God’s Graces that keeps them from falling into the fire. This means that it is only God’s Grace that holds them up because “there is no other reason to be given, why [they] have to dropped into hell since [they] arose in the morning, but that God’s will has held [them] up” (Edwards). This sermon quantifies one of the four underlying assumptions about the Doctrine of Predestination by implying that people are held over the pits of hell because they are born into sin and deserve e... ... middle of paper ... ...ine of Predestination. It qualifies the Doctrine of Predestination because it fulfills three of four underlying assumptions: all humans deserve damnation because of original sin, salvation is by faith (Grace of God) and faith is a gift from God. However, it also compromises the Doctrine of Predestination because it disqualifies the second underlying assumption of Predestination: humans have no choice in accepting the Grace of God. Edwards’ places an underlying theory of Arminianism throughout his sermon because he urges his congregation to turn to God in order to avoid eternal damnation; this implies that people have a choice whether to accept it or not, thus disqualifying the second underlying assumption of Predestination. Works Cited Edwards, Jonathan. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and Other Puritan Sermons. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2005. Print.
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