Scholars say most Americans know just one thing about Edwards: he once preached the terrifyingly famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Yet at this tercentennial, many are discovering the instrumental role he played in shaping the institutions and culture they take for granted. ...If you want to read the sermon for which he is famous, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", I highly recommend it. It's renowned for a great many reasons, and no matter what your beliefs are it is an amazing piece of work and history.
Born on Oct. 3, 1703, Edwards came of age in New England as a Puritan theocracy was giving way to a revolutionary democracy. Through this titanic shift, Edwards' writing and preaching bridged two worlds of thought: one of Calvinist trust in a sovereign God, the other of burgeoning Enlightenment trust in the powers of science and sheer reason.
With help from itinerant preacher George Whitefield and others, Edwards revived a waning Calvinism with a vengeance by rigorously defending orthodox doctrines and leading his sometimes resistant flock to tearful conversions in the 1730s. But it was Edwards' ability to understand and incorporate the cutting-edge of science and philosophy that made him a formidable intellect on the international stage and ensured him a spot among the standouts of Christian history.