a man who made a difference

Many people know Jonathan Edwards for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.” I’ve actually heard highly intelligent people dismiss Edwards and his sermon. And many uninformed people picture him as some kind of fundamentalist fire and brimstone preacher from the age of puritan revivals.

But Edwards was an amazing thinker. In fact, “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God” came out of Edwards firm belief that the more graphic the image he could give his listeners the more those pictures would stick in the mind of his listeners. It obviously worked. And Edwards read his sermons without much emotion at all.

Edwards was more than a revivalist preacher. He was a man of great intellect. In fact, some call him the greatest philosopher the United States has ever produced. And recently, there has been a revival of scholarship studying Edwards for his philosophy at Harvard. Some say he is still ahead of our time, which is amazing because he died in 1758. Edwards had an incredible impact on his time. A lot of the psychology of William James, the man who founded Harvard’s school of psychology, came from Edwards.       

Edwards was more than a preacher and a great thinker, he was a man of great character. In fact, the family line of Jonathan Edwards has been studied and it reads like a who’s who of American history. This is what has come from Edwards and his wife:

 300 members of the family have become preachers, missionaries or Theology professors

100 became college professors

30 became judges

60 became physicians

100 became attorneys

60 became authors

14 became presidents of universities

1 Vice-president.

This man of character, this incredible thinker, this pastor and preacher, has helped change the United States in a profound way.

We desperately need people like Edwards in our day. People who are thinkers, who are uncompromised in their faith and able to articulate it in a way that transforms the world. We need people who will live it out in the public arena. We need Christians who are willing to think. We need Christians who take those thoughts and explain them to the world.


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