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Jonathan Edwards: Revivalist Preacher And Philosopher

1784 words - 8 pages

Jonathon Edwards has been known as one of the most influential people of his time. He changed the way people thought, the way people believed, and the way people worshiped. He had thousands of listeners who hung on his every word, letting him mold them into new thinkers and believers. He mixed the old ways of believing with the new and came up with a way of preaching all of his own.
Jonathan Edwards was born on October 5, 1703, in East Windsor, Connecticut to Timothy Edwards, his father, and Esther Edwards, his mother. He was part of a family full of prominent congregational ministers, like his father, and was a brother to ten sisters. In 1716, when Jonathan was not even thirteen yet, he was admitted into Yale University, where he graduated as the Valedictorian of his class in 1720. Edwards studied Newton, Locke, Malebranche, and the Cambridge Platonists which impacted Edwards’ studies and views profoundly. He later returned to Yale to receive a Masters degree in art, which he finished in 1724. That same year, he became a senior tutor. In such a short time and such a young age, Edwards achieved many impeccably successful things. He was what we would call today, a child prodigy.
After achieving his education, a church in Northampton chose Edwards to succeed his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, who was the pastor there. Solomon had gained himself a reputation by being willing to admit and confess all of his scandalous doings to communion. He did this in the hope that it would provoke a conversation between the other members of the church and in doing so, he blatantly ignored and rejected the traditions set by the church. He ignored the notion that the center of the church was made up only of saints who were able to describe and persuade the other people of the church about their experiences with God and grace (Williams 143). Solomon was also a revival preacher and was extremely successful with that. The reason for going into detail about Edwards’ grandfather’s career has to do with the fact that this is how Edwards learned and began to preach in the church, and later on his own. His grandfather’s way of preaching greatly impacted Jonathan and his later successes. While preaching at the church, Edwards took part in many revivals, the most well-known being the ones in 1734-1735 and in 1740-1741 which later became known as the Great Awakening.
Jonathon Edwards was known as one of the most influential people in the Great Awakening. In all started in the end of 1734 to the beginning of 1735 when Jonathan noticed that his congregation was beginning to stir. He then began to put a great deal of emphasis on one particular theme, justification by faith. In doing this, many people began to convert and Edwards believed that it was the doing of God and his grace. He believed that it was a miraculous and wonderful event of the Lord. This was the beginning of many conversions to come. Edwards’ role was very crucial in that he...

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