Revival Part 5: The Brimstone & Mysticism of Jonathan Edwards

“It is my earnest conviction that we have dreadfully complicated what Christianity is all about. I’m not saying supplemental materials are without value… But I do wonder what complex, interlocking, systematic theologies were bouncing around in Peter’s mind on the Day of Pentecost and in those fresh, exciting years that followed. Were the epistles only meaningful after the theologians had opportunity to tear them apart and glue them back together?” – David Needham – Birthright; Christian, Do You Know Who you Are?


I know there’s a lot going on that I could be writing about, but I’m going to continue to forge my way through this series about the Great Awakening “Revivals” and these men who are celebrated as “pillars” of modern Christendom. Because the more I dig, the more glaring the agenda behind these “revivals” to continue the Counter Reformation by diluting the gospel. Because eternity doesn’t rest on whether we get our money out of the bank before it crashes,  or if they forcibly inject us with poison or set up an AI “savior.” It rests on being found in Jesus Christ, having heard and responded to the Gospel of truth (Eph 1:3).

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (Gal 1:4-5)

OK, let’s dive in!


Today I want to share a few interesting things I found when I looked into (Calvinist) Jonathan Edwards. Edwards is known as the “Father of the First Great Awakening,” although he might more appropriately be called the Father of “fire-and-brimstone” preaching who brought the first “Toronto Blessing” to the church. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

Proficient in Latin and Hebrew, Edwards is lauded as a “scholar among scholars,” and regarded as one of America’s greatest and original Philosophical Theologians. Edwards was greatly influenced by Cambridge Platonism and Enlightenment thinkers John Locke and Isaac Newton. Cambridge Platonists were an influential group of Platonist philosophers and Christian theologians at the University of Cambridge, who, according to historian Frances Yates, engaged with the Christian Kabbalah and Hermeticism. Edwards endeavored to bring the Enlightenment’s Philosophical Rationalism to Christianity. The New Testament teaches no such friendship.

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Cor 1:20-25)

Edwards was the leader of a movement known as the “New Light” where personal religious experiences are based on one’s heart and reason. Essayist Marilynne Robinson writes in her 2014 journal article “Jonathan Edwards in a New Light: Remembered for Preaching“,

Never departing from strict reason, Edwards sanctified the unknowable… Edwards intended from his earliest work to create an all-unifying metaphysics and, though he did not achieve this, his thought feels shaped by the intention to keep the possibility implicit. It accommodates Locke and Newton, the best philosophy and science of his period. His thought asserted a great influence on the intellectual/activist movement that arose out of the Second Great Awakening that created many educational institutions across the country – NEH

Orthodox ministers condemned his work, while John Wesley, George Whitefield and others were inspired by him.

Edwards was likely a Freemason. I say “likely” because of his family associations and the positions he was able to attain. His wife was the daughter of James Pierpont, a founder of Yale College, Edwards becoming president of Princeton University toward the end of his life. His youngest son, Pierpont Edwards received “Masonic light” in Hiram Lodge No. 1 and served as “Worshipful Master” of the lodge from 1777-1778. Edwards also makes several references in his writings to the “architect of the universe.” Source

That brief history already gives us several reasons to think twice about Edwards. The Gospel Coalition writes of him,

“[R]eading Edwards correctly requires finessing his thought in light of his retrieval of an eclectic mix of natural philosophy and theology across history and located within his Enlightenment

Because New Light is based on one’s emotions and reason, “Jonathan Edwards drew on the religious experience of womenhis wife included—as models of God’s engagement of the affections.” Source (bold added)

Edward’s wife, Sarah Pierpont, was a Mystic and partner in his ministry. George Whitefield said of them, “A sweeter couple I have not yet seen.”

Sarah’s experiences of spiritual ecstasy profoundly affected Edwards religious life and formation of the “New Light.” The following are excerpts from an article about Sarah Pierpont-Edwards – sources are cited within the article.

“Beginning in late January 1742, Sarah fell into a depression or what may have been a nervous breakdown when her husband travelled throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut on a preaching tour. She became deeply distressed, and her personality changed dramatically. She became impatient and needful, and she experienced spells of jabbering, fainting, and hallucinating….

She went from feeling the piercing wrath of God for her sinfulness and then transformed in light and love. She then began to have profound spiritual experiences, called religious ecstasy, over nine days. She felt “swallowed up with light and love and a sweet solace, rest and joy of soul that was altogether unspeakable.” For uninterrupted hours at a time, she felt

“[I]nfinite beauty and amiableness of Christ’s person, and the heavenly sweetness of his transcendent love; so that the soul remained in a kind of heavenly Elysium, and did as it were swim in the rays of God’s love, like a mote swimming in the beams of the sun, or beams of his light that come in at a window; and the heart was swallowed up in a kind of glow.”— Sarah Edwards’ experiences documented anonymously in Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England

Overcome by these experiences, she had physical reactions including the loss of the ability to speak or stand, fainting, leaping for joy, or other physical reactions. She became committed to fighting sinfulness and to feel the intense spiritual awareness.

Jonathan believed that she was brought to the brink of deep sadness to build a stronger personal connection with God. He said, “She was overwhelmed in the light and joy of the love of God,”   and he considered her to be the “model of a truly Spirit-filled person.” He asked her to write down her experiences, which he edited for a work called Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England…

In the July 2021 issue of the William and Mary Quarterly, historians Kenneth P. Minkema, Catherine A. Brekus, and Harry S. Stout published a newly discovered early version of Sarah Pierpont Edwards’s “Experiences” that provided a far more graphic account of herbodily agitations” than appeared in the accounts published by Jonathan Edwards and, later, by Sereno Dwight, suggesting that both Jonathan Edwards and Dwight were deeply concerned about the vividness of Sarah Edwards’s original account, which they suppressed from the sanitized versions they offered to the public.” Source

So wait, if she was the “model of a truly Spirit-filled person” why would the “more graphic” version of her experiences be suppressed? Edwards’ “Distinguishing Marks of the Spirit of God” correctly lists his wife’s “more graphic” experiences as “Negative Signs; or, What are no signs by which we are to judge of a work–and especially, What are no evidences that a work is not from the Spirit of God.” So, something doesn’t add up. 🤷‍♀️

There is even an account of Sarah Edwards LEVITATING ACROSS THE ROOM during one of her spells of ecstasy. (secondary sources below) There isn’t anything in scripture about Christians levitatingWikipedia records Buddhist, Gnostic, Hellenist and Hindu accounts of Levitation. Of the examples listed, those credited to “Christianity,” with the exception of Jesus walking on the water, are either Catholic or Demonic.

Indian levitation trick

Among Christians (Catholics) levitating there’s this account of (Catholic) St. Thomas Aquinas, in an article titled “Miracle of the Cross of St. Thomas Aquinas.”

“Later on, when St. Thomas was in Salerno, finishing the third part of his Summa, which deals with the Passion and the Resurrection, he was kneeling before the Altar in ecstasy. He could feel the overpowering presence of the Lord in the room. He looked up at the crucifix. It began to glow brightly. Jesus came alive and spoke to Thomas. There is a very special conversation St. Thomas Aquinas had with the Lord, which we have used as a motto for our ministry. He was told ‘You have written well of Me, Thomas. What would you desire as a reward?’ Thomas broke into tears, as he replied, ‘Nothing, Lord. I’m doing it all for you.’ At this point, St. Thomas Aquinas went into ecstasy, and LEVITATED. His entire body FLOATED into the air and hovered over the chapel. All the brothers in the convent came into the chapel where he was praying and beheld him suspended in the air.” Catholic365

In a 2022 article entitled “St Thomas Aquinas and Pope Leo XIII” the Pope saying that the “golden wisdom of St. Thomas” needs to be restored:

“Finally, the Pope exhorts the bishops of the world “to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas, and to spread it far and wide for the defense and beauty of the Catholic faith, for the good of society, and for the advantage of all the sciences.” Source

The Counter-Reformation never ended. And  again, Catholicism is a Mystery School religion, meaning it encompasses the paganism of ancient goddess worship and the Mysticism of Gnosticism and Kabbalah which are witchcraft.

We recognize Sarah’s “Experiences” in the more Charismatic churches today.

YouTube video
The information about Edwards and his wife is easily found. So, I was surprised and disheartened at the support that I found for him among influential Christian scholars. I had to read and re-read the words of the revered Martin Lloyd-Jones among them.

“No man is more relevant to the present condition of Christianity than Jonathan Edwards. [He has that much right, but…] None is more needed.” (Martin Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Banner of Truth, 1987, p. 367)

Lloyd-Jones repeatedly esteems Edward’s knowledge of the “psychology” of human nature, and mentions the account of Edward’s wife “levitating” at a meeting. But he still remained supportive…

“He had to defend a number of unusual and remarkable phenomena that occurred in the revival of the 1740’S. He had to defend, and does defend, the fact that even the body may be affected. Edwards’ wife, on one occasion, exhibited the phenomenon which is known as LEVITATION. She was literally carried from one part of the room to another without making any effort or exertion herself. Sometimes people would swoon and become unconscious in meetings. Edwards did not teach that such phenomena were of the devil…

OK, Edwards didn’t think it was demonic. Must be alright.

Mentioning some of the extreme emotionalism Edwards dealt with amidst the revivals, Lloyd-Jones continues to endorse him,

“…But, of course, his one interest was the glory of God and the benefit of the church.” (ibid)

I mean no disrespect to Martin Lloyd-Jones and I sincerely hope this was just an oversight. But at the same time, it’s hard to believe that he could miss something this big. Isn’t that a prime example of how most Christians think though? Rather than getting to the bottom of something that puts a check in their spirit – (and this is by design) – they accept the opinion of a spiritual authority figure.

“Well, brother Joe-Bob says so, that’s all I need to know!”

Looking through more for views on Edwards from church “intelligentsia,” I did find this article on the Reformed Heidelberg blog advising caution of him. I can hear it now; “But that’s a REFORMED SITE!” Well, it may be, but in this case they’re pointing out the same things I’m seeing.

“[The] modern Evangelical movement [has] roots in Pietism, which, in brief, was a reaction to the European and British state-churches. The Pietists feared what they (and their theological offspring) called “dead orthodoxy,” i.e., a mere confession of an orthodox faith without sufficient evidence of what people today call “lived experience…”

[T]he later Pietists abandoned [orthodoxy] in favor of religious liberalism—and they sought perceptible evidence (e.g., religious and social activism) of new life and they set up tests[!] to measure, if you will, the temperature of one’s religious experience. [🤨]…

… One simply finds no such thing in Scripture…  – R. Scott Clark

In my opinion, all of the above is plenty to close the book on Edwards. Yet the book remains wide open.

Reading about Edward’s great revival meetings where countless people were “saved,” we’d expect his words to exude the love of Jesus. But we find no such thing in his infamous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” where, largely leaning on Old Testament verses, Edwards paints God as a cruel, bloodthirsty parent in order to bring conviction on believers to stop sinning.

““Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth; yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell…

“The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood… 😳

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell.” – Jonathan Edwards, Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

There are no examples in the New Testament where fear is used to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. To the contrary, there are 300 or more verses exhorting believers not to fear. What a contrast Jesus’ words are to those of Edwards.

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Lk 12:32) 

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matt 10:29-31)

Rather than being told to stop sinning, the New Testament assures us that we are a royal priesthood, dearly loved, and assures us that no one can snatch us from God’s hand.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet 2:9) 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) 

Believers are led and inspired by the indwelling Holy Spirit, not the teachings of man.

[F]or God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim 1:7) also (Lk 2:10, Jn 14:27, 1 Jn 4:8…)

Nowhere in his infamous sermon does Edwards speak of the Love of God revealed from heaven through the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved.

Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. (Acts 16.30-32)

The Judaizers were the first to insist that Law be added to the gospel. (Gal 3:3). And the Roman Catholic church continued this with its perpetual cycle of guilt-and-confession.

Remember the Jesuit Oath and occultist’s plans to destroy Christianity.

“Among the Reformers, to be a Reformer; among the Huguenots, to be a Huguenot; among the Calvinists, to be a Calvinist; among other Protestants, generally to be a Protestant; and obtaining their confidence, to seek even to preach from their pulpits, and to denounce with all the vehemence in your nature our Holy Religion and the Pope; and even to descend so low as to become a Jew among Jews…”

Edward’s sermons supposedly produced thousands of “converts,” and yet, in his day of church-going, no increase in church membership was noted.

No different than today, there was a problem with the church-goers/believers of Edward’s time lacking zeal for the gospel, but that did/does not result from a lack of fearing hell. It results from the lack of a genuine conversion as the result of having heard and received another gospel.

Right from the earliest days of Protestantism, we see these “revivals” trading the simple preaching the Gospel of Grace for an enlightened, psychological manipulation of the human psyche to stir man to better himself.

And Salvation through man’s effort to improve himself is Mystery School/Enlightenment thought in a nutshell.

Next up is John Wesley!

God bless!

Revivals Pt1 – Asbury: Let’s Talk About Revivals

Revivals Pt 2 – Enlightenment in the Land of the Plumed Serpent

Revivals Pt3 – Mystery Schools, The RCC and the Reformation

Revivals Pt4 – The First Great Awakening & The Enigmatic George Whitefield

Revivals Pt5 – The Brimstone and Mysticism of Jonathan Edwards

Revivals Pt 6 – John Wesley (1 of 2) – The Mystery School Dialectic and Christian Mysticism

Revivals Pt 7 – John Wesley (2 of 2) More Mystics & Papal Doctrines of Men

Revivals Pt8 – From Wesley to Finney By Way of Count Zinzendorf

Revivals Pt9 – Charles Grandison Finney, Freemasonic Moralism and Modern Evangelicalism

Revivals Pt10 – The Pagan “Virus

Revivals Pt11 – The Third Great Awakening: Pentecostalism!

Revivals Pt12 – Pentecostalism Pt2: The Founders of Pentecostalism

Revivals Pt 13 – Social Justice Pt 1 – They Don’t Mix

Revivals Pt 14 – Social Justice Pt 2 – A City Upon A Hill

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