Book review: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

by Jonathan Edwards


This is a little pocketbook sermon Edwards preached in Enfield, Massachusetts in 1741. From the back cover: “With this marvelous sermon, Jonathan Edwards changed history and helped spark a spiritual awakening … Historians recognize Edwards as one of the most brilliant men of all times.”

The torments of hell are vividly described, but according to the book, “Throughout the sermon Edwards demonstrates the utmost compassion for the lost.” See if you can locate the compassion in this quotation from the sermon:

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath toward you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire.

I’m speechless. What can I say? My generic rating of three stars reflects an utter refusal to grade the sermon.

One minister on the platform pulled on Jonathan’s coat and cried, “Mr. Edwards! Is not God merciful?” Yet the results were remarkable. People cried aloud and grasped the back of the pews lest the ground open up and swallow them alive into hell. Others fainted, wept uncontrollably or quivered like a leaf in the wind.

Gimme that old time religion.

(The text of the sermon may be read here: )

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