Calvinism The Reverend Mr. Edwards: Human Relationships To God As Expressed In The “sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.”

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Calvinism the Reverend Mr. Edwards: Human Relationships to God as expressed in the “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”


Brown's discovery has important implications including how we hear the Gospel. Take the title of the fiery sermon preached by the early American preacher Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God for example. Consider too the tone of Edward's message illustrated in this brief quotation: The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. (Kesich, 56-77)

Clearly Edward's harsh tone and emphasis on anger portrays a vengeful and merciless God. Based on my years of counseling experience however, other titles might fit as well: Children in the hands of an angry parent, spouses in the hands of angry spouse, workers in the hands of an angry boss, citizens in the hands of an angry civil authority, laity in the hands of an angry priest, priests in the hands of an angry bishop, bishops in the hands of an angry patriarch. Edward's conception of God's relationship to mankind in other words, mirrors the relationship many people have with angry authority figures. If we follow Brown's discovery, Edward's angry tone can mute and even distort the Gospel message. The scriptures reveal however, that Christ most often took a gentle approach toward His hearers. His words were intoned with love and consideration, not anger and wrath. (Kesich, 56-77)


And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:35-38). (Emphasis added.) Compassion is defined as "a sad concern." The Gospel writers record Jesus expressing compassion nine times. St. Matthew records Jesus saying, "I am gentle and lowly in heart"(Kesich, 56-77)

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." He also said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). Those who are "meek" are described as showing patience, humility, gentleness. Peacemakers use a gentle and soft voice." Jesus is never harsh and strident. He is never shown as argumentative by the gospel writers. When an argument broke out around Jesus, He ". . . perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side. . ." St. Luke tells us (Kesich, 56-77)

Children are drawn to gentleness and it is unlikely that a child would allow himself to be next to such a man. St. Matthew records, "Then children were brought to him that ...
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