To support the First Great Awakening but from a Calvinist view, Jonathan Edwards gave a speech titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. The speech’s whole point was to try and persuade people to believe in God. He went about this the wrong way.
On the other hand, George Whitefield spoke, from a Catholic view in his work, Marks of a True Conversion. As you read this, ask yourself the following my teacher asked me, “If you
had heard these sermons would you believe to be the target?” Since I have read them and then went over them again with Mr. Gary North, I believe I can answer the following: yes and no. Also I can answer the why or why not. In this case I will have to answer both.
Edwards and Whitefield were both Catholic Protestants but Edwards was also somewhat of a Calvinist. Some Catholics believe that you have to have done good works in order to be saved and go to heaven. However, others believe that you have already been chosen to be saved. Thus, from reading both men’s works I believe they believe the above.
Whitefield said people’s heads and hearts deceive them. This, I believe, means you can’t really judge to see if you really do believe with all your heart, soul, and mind, because he said they deceive you. However, the thing he mostly stuck with to become saved was the following: we must become like children. But, as to add more confusion on his audience, he says that there are saints and sinners. He leaves you asking if you are a saint or a sinner. You are one or the other, he believed. But I believe I am both.
Edwards went on the more “evil” side. He tried to scare people into believe in Christ. He took metaphorical images and used them to give the audience a scare. One example was the spider web. He said that God is like a spider web holding the spider or some helpless insect, also known as us, over a long drop or a fire. Edwards believed that He God, or the
spiderweb was not holding us up out of love, but out of hatred. He believed that God only wants us dead but first He’s going to give us a scare. Then He will pull the sting and watch us fall to Hell. Therefore, Edwards said, repent and believe in an angry god. This is not the God I know though.
I said that I believed I was and was not the target. Why? Because I am a Christian, not a Catholic or a Calvinist. I believe Jesus died on the cross for me and every single last human on the planet. I believe He did this because He loves us not because He wanted to get back at us. Also, as I mentioned, it was for everyone. Every sinner, which is every single last person on the planet Earth. You, me, your friends, etc. This is why I believe I would have been a target. Because I don’t believe in everything Edwards and Whitefield said. But I do believe this target would not have been persuaded.