From Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God

Sinners at the Hands
of an Angry God
Jonathan Edwards
• Pre reading Activities. -- View this PowerPoint
– the section offering Historical context and
The Great Awakening.
• Take Cornell style notes on these and …
• Read Page 100 “Meet Jonathon Edwards” and
“The Time and Place”
• Individually or as group read the Text. Starting
on page 101 – Take notes, read carefully this
can be challenging material. Reread.
Historical Context
Sinner’s at the Hands of an Angry God is a
Sermon written and delivered to his
congregation in Enfield Massachusetts in July
1741 by Calvinist minister Jonathon Edwards.
Historical Context
As was customary in 18th-century New England,
the sermon was printed and copies were distributed
to a wide audience. It has proven to be an enduring
expression of the revivalist Calvinist theology and
preaching that was espoused by many prominent
figures in The Great Awakening.
The Great Awakening
What historians call "the Great
Awakening" can best be described
as a revitalization of religious
piety that swept through the
American colonies between the
1730’s and the 1770’s.
The Great Awakening
That revival was part of a much
broader evangelical movement taking
place simultaneously in Europe, most
notably in England, Scotland, and
Germany. A new Age of Faith rose
to counter the currents of The
Enlightenment or the Age of Reason.
The Great Awakening
The intellectual movement of which
advocated reason and science as the
primary basis of authority. This
revolution of knowledge was inspired
by the likes of Galileo and Newton, in
a climate of increasing disaffection
with repressive rule.
The Great Awakening
In colonial America, the frontier in
spread out into the wilderness,
making both communication and
church discipline difficult. Because
people often lived great distances
from a parish church, membership
and participation suffered.
The Great Awakening
On the frontier concern for
theological issues faded before the
concern for survival and wrestling
a living from a hard and difficult
The Great Awakening
Because the individual was largely on
his own, and depended on himself for
survival, authoritarian structures of
any sort met with great resistance. As
a result, by the second and third
generations, the vast majority of the
population was outside the membership of the church.
The Great Awakening
With the publication of Isaac Newton's
Principia Mathematica in the 17th
century, traditional Christianity was
challenged. Implicit in the work of
Newton and others was the assumption
that human beings had the ability to
discover the secrets of the universe and
could thereby exert some control over
their own destiny.
The Great Awakening
If men could discover and read the
blueprints whereby God had made
and ordered the world-- (creation).
What would be the result?
The Great Awakening
The consequence was a lessening of the gulf
between God and man.
This tended to undercut traditional
Calvinism which held that the gap between
the Deity and his creatures was quite large.
This affirmation of human ability and reason
had an extremely corrosive effect on the
reigning orthodoxy which held that one's
destiny was solely in God's hands.
The Great Awakening
With a growing emphasis on man and
his morality, religion becoming more
rational and less emotional. The
Great Awakening was a church driven
backlash, and a drive to regain God
through the church. One of the
leaders of this movement was
Jonathon Edwards.
The Great Awakening
Edwards sermon Sinners in the Hands
of an Angry God used the image of a
spider dangling by a web over a hot fire
to describe the human predicament. His
point was that at any moment, our hold
on life could break and we'd be plunged
into fires of eternal damnation.
Tasks and Activities
1. You may work with one other student. (
2. Use a full sheet of paper. Properly title the
paper. Neatly print each students name who is
to earn credit for the assignment. Indicate the
period and date.
3. Work must legible and written in black or blue
4. Write the complete question or task statement.
Then answer fully, with complete sentences
and proper grammar and punctuation.
5. Vocabulary will be tested individually
6. This assignment is due at the end of the
period. Stay on take and get the work done.
Figurative Language
• Symbol:
• Edwards warns his congregation, “Let everyone fly out of Sodom!”
• What is Sodom? Explain the allusion.
• How is Edwards using the term Sodom symbolically?
Definitions for Symbol and Allusion may be found in the text starting on page
• Specifically, what does Edwards want
people hearing or reading these words to
• How does he want them to behave?
• This sermon was considered quite persuasive, (even
today it is considered persuasive).
• What arguments are used in the sermon to convince
people what they should do and think and behave?
Give specific examples.
• Edwards repeats the word “you”
several times. What effect does this
have on the reader, listener?
• Edwards repeats the word “nothing”
several times. What effect does this
have on the reader, listener?
• Picture the congregation in Enfield Massachusetts that hot July
day of 1741 listening to Edwards on the pulpit.
• How might those people have reacted?
• What might their outward behavior tell how they are reacting
• How did they respond to the call for repentance?
1. Take note of the vocabulary words (Copy
2. Look up the vocabulary words definitions
in a dictionary. Some have meanings of
which you are probably unaware.
The End

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