The Great Awakening With Jonathan Edwards

1398 words - 6 pages

From the dawning of man, all the way to the second millennium, you will come upon wars, reforms and conflicts all having to do with religion. One of the most influential religious revivals of all time, and especially in our nation's history, was the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening revived the recognition of religious importance that had once been present in the seventeenth century.What historians call "the first Great Awakening" can best be described as a revitalization of religious piety that swept through the American colonies between the 1730s and the 1770s. The Protestant cultures during the middle decades of the eighteenth century, reaffirmed the view that being truly religious meant trusting the heart rather than the head, prizing feeling more than thinking, and relying on biblical revelation rather than human reason. Jonathan Edwards, sometimes known as the postmillennialist's postmillennialist, is best known for his role in the Great Awakening, which began as a revival in several churches along the Connecticut River Valley. Through his preaching, revivalistic ferver spread like wildfire throughout the colonies.Religious enthusiasm quickly spread from the Presbyterians of the Middle Colonies to the Congregationalists (Puritans) and Baptists of New England. It began among the young people who had been drifting away from the church. If a nation is to be revived spiritually, then it must first start with the younger generation of people. Why the younger generation? It is because young people are not fixed-minded or corrupt like older people. Young people tend to be learning and pure in their desires. Acts 2:17 says, ``In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions....'' Young people, especially those of college age are best suited for enhancing a spiritual revival. They are the hope of the country and its future. And many young people can lead their parents to the Kingdom of God.By the 1740s, the clergymen of these churches were conducting revivals throughout that region. Using emotionally charged sermons, all the more powerful because they were delivered extemporaneously, preachers like Jonathan Edwards evoked vivid, terrifying images of the utter corruption of human nature and the terrors awaiting the unrepentant in hell. Hence Edwards's famous description of the sinner as a loathsome spider suspended by a slender thread over a pit of seething brimstone in his best known sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." His point was that at any moment, our hold on life could break and we'd be plunged into fires of eternal damnation. In his sermons, you will find that he spoke quietly, reasonably, and logically. Indeed, he was dry and even a bit boring. But he began to experience a harvest of conversions that were accompanied by exaggerated behavior. People would bark, shout, and run when they were converted. He was interesting to people because...

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