High School AP English in I.F.

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Every year in Idaho Falls, high school juniors are exposed to a small slice of the sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards.

The discussion then tends to gravitate toward the negative.

I read the full sermon today.

I would enjoy discussing with teenagers the Puritans and Jonathan Edwards.  By reading only The Scarlet Letter and a paragraph or two from the “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, I fear that our young people in the I-15 Corridor are not being exposed properly to the richness of a historical and literary depth in our American heritage.  When it comes to the Puritans and Jonathan Edwards, go further.  Go deeper.  I think you will be very surprised by what you find.

AP teachers ought to give the teens bonus points for reading The Admiral Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Christ Jesus by Edwards.  The title alone invokes a rhetorical analysis.  I chuckle.

What do you think?

At least, read what Edwards wrote as a late teenager:  70 resolutions (modern English).  Teens, by internalizing these resolutions by grace, you could be used to start a new movement in Idaho Falls.


  1. Jonathan’s wife Sarah found her own way to fellowship with God:

    – – –
    . . . on one occasion when Edwards was out of town, another local preacher came to visit Sarah and her children. He offered to have a prayer with the family, and she agreed. Afterward, she recorded in her journal that while the Reverend Peter Reynolds was offering his prayer, she found herself feeling “an earnest desire that, in calling on God, he should say, Father.” She asked herself, “Can I now at this time, with the confidence of a child, and without the least misgiving of heart, call God my Father?”

    In consequence of this reflection, she recorded, “I felt a strong desire to be alone with God,” and withdrew to her chamber. In the moments that followed, she continued:

    The presence of God was so near, and so real, that I seemed scarcely conscious of any thing else. God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, seemed as distinct persons, both manifesting their inconceivable loveliness, and mildness, and gentleness, and their great and immutable love to me. . . .

    The peace and happiness, which I hereupon felt, was altogether inexpressible.
    – – –

    Cited by Terryl Givens, http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1508

  2. “Long before Joseph Smith offered his first prayer, thousands and millions of people must have yearned, as Sarah did, for the assurance that God is not the severe, distant, impersonal deity of Jonathan Edwards but the kind, loving, and very personal God that Joseph found in the Sacred Grove.” – Terryl Givens.

    Givens is not accurate in what Edwards wrote of God. Distant? Impersonal?

    But what I love about this quote by Sarah is the expression of her heart affections caught up in the fellowship with the distinct persons of the Father and the Son. She defends what her husband was writing about by her own experience.

    See link for larger context:

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