Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a Congregationalist preacher who became a Protestant "pastor" in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1724, the same church his grandfather lead until 1729. Here he exerted considerable influence on the religious development of the early American colonies, partly because of his dynamic style and partly because it was the most important Protestant Massachusetts pulpit outside of Boston.
He began his advanced education when he went to Yale Collage at age 13 and graduated as valedictorian at 17. He is best known as the author of the classic "fire and brimstone" sermon Sinners in the hands of an angry God. However, one of his most important contributions to the "awakening" was his book, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising work of God (London, 1737), which provided guidance to other so-called clergy as to how to conduct a revival.
Scholars generally consider his preaching to have been the spark which lead to the first "Great Awakening" (1735-1735), a grassroots Protestant religious revival movement which redefined American religion for decades to come. Edwards was very dogmatic and conservative in his Calvinist beliefs; however, his commitment to traditional Calvinism was not an unthinking loyalty - over many years he had struggled with objections to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, for example, although he did finally reach a conclusion which satisfied him.
Edwards was a Calvinist; however, traditional Calvinist maintain that only the elect, who had been chosen before the creation of the world, could achieve salvation. By the time of the "Great Awakening", most Calvinist clergy had altered their views that one could alter their eternal fate (which was the point of most of Edward's sermons.)
For Edwards, the principle enemy appears to have been Arminianism - a theological perspective to which the English colonists were susceptible because of their enterprising spirit and seemingly boundless optimism. These attitudes minimized the power of Original Sin and, for him, falsely increased the power of Free Will - as a result, religion became less a matter of relying on God and more a matter of simply promoting simplistic moral dictums.
One result of this was the growing belief that participation in the Eucharist required not simply a knowledge of church doctrines and upstanding moral behavior, but rather a conversion and genuine acceptance of the faith of the Congregational church. For Edwards, true religion was not a matter of simply accepting particular doctrines but instead an experience of God which takes complete possession of the individual. This was not the tradition of the churches in the area, including his own, and thus the church members grew dissatisfied with Edwards' changing ideas.
As a result, on June 22, 1750 he was officially dismissed from his job and on July 1, he gave his "Farewell Sermon." Although personally defeated, Edwards' position on this matter was ultimately the one which would take hold and come to define Congregationalism. In 1751 he became "pastor" of a frontier church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and in 1758 the accepted the position of president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). His son-in-law, Aaron Burr, had been the previous president, but Edwards himself only served a month before dying of smallpox contracted after taking an early, experimental smallpox vaccine.
Matthew 7:21-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Here we see that he who "doeth" the will of God will enter Heaven, not all who consider Jesus to be the Lord despite doing anything. Then Jesus emphasizes the point by stating that you must do what He says to be His.
Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock… And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
How clear does it have to be? It's a matter of whether you hear His words and do them. It's not by faith alone.
James 2:14 "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?"
James 2:24 "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."
This is the only place in the entire Bible that the words faith and alone (or only) are joined together. The Bible says that MAN IS NOT JUSTIFIED BY FAITH ALONE, BUT BY WORKS!
The majority of Protestants not only believe in faith alone, but also in eternal security, which means that according to them, a true believer cannot lose his salvation. These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. A person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.
Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."
How clear does it have to get? You can lose your salvation if you do certain things.
As Christians, of course, we don't believe as the heretic John Calvin and his followers, who held a predestination according to which no matter what one does he is either predestined for heaven or hell. That is a wicked heresy. Rather, as Christians we believe in the true understanding of predestination, which is expressed by Romans 8, Acts 13.
Romans 8:29-30- "For whom He foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son: that he might be the first-born amongst many brethren. And whom he predestinated, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
Acts 13:48- "And the Gentiles hearing it, were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were preordained to life everlasting, believed."
This true understanding of predestination simply means that God's foreknowledge from all eternity makes sure that those who are of good will and are sincere will be brought to the Faith and come to know what they must – and that all those who are not brought to the Faith and don't know what they must simply were not among the elect. It is a point of faith, that this foreknowledge of the Almighty no ways interferes with man's liberty, but leaves him still a perfectly free agent, and therefore responsible for his actions.
If there were truly people of sincere and of good will who had not yet attained the faith, and if they cooperate with the natural law (or choose to follow it), then God would send a preacher (even miraculously, if necessary) to bring the Catholic Faith and baptism to him.
St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, 14, A. 11, ad 1, Objection: "It is possible that someone may be brought up in the forest, or among wolves; such a man cannot explicitly know anything about the faith. St. Thomas replies- It is the characteristic of Divine Providence to provide every man with what is necessary for salvation… provided on his part there is no hindrance. In the case of a man who seeks good and shuns evil, by the leading of natural reason, God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him…"
St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, 28, Q. 1, A. 4, ad 4: "If a man born among barbarian nations, does what he can, God Himself will show him what is necessary for salvation, either by inspiration or sending a teacher to him."
St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. III, 25, Q. 2, A. 2, solute. 2: "If a man should have no one to instruct him, God will show him, unless he culpably wishes to remain where he is."
2 Corinthians 4:3: "And if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them."
St. Augustine, Tractate 89, on John 15:22-23- "What, then, does He [Jesus] mean by the words, If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin? [John 15:22] Was it that the Jews were without sin before Christ came to them in the flesh? Who, though he were the greatest fool, would say so?...To these inquiries, with the Lord's help and to the best of my capacity, I reply, that such have an excuse, not for every one of their sins, but for this sin of not believing on Christ, inasmuch as He came not and spoke not to them."
Jonathan Edwards was sadly a non-Catholic heretic that died outside the Church of Christ. Jonathan Edwards is sadly in Hell now. It is too late for him. If Edwards did not deny the Bible or was a heretic he would not be a Protestant because the Bible clearly proves the teachings of the Catholic Church.