Flying High since 1998.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

The above title is the name of a sermon given by Jonathan Edwards. Jonathan Edwards has come down to us in history as one of the all-time great men of the Protestant mold. He was a leading player in what came to be known as the "Great Awakening," an American revival of the 18th century.

Jonathan Edward's God was an angry god. He followed the footsteps of his apostle in the faith, John Calvin. John Calvin did not bring people to their own self-destruction. He burned them himself! (Read some books about how he had Michael Servetus burned to death.)

John Calvin followed after his apostle in the faith-Augustine. Augustine was perhaps the most influential early church leader in bringing the doctrine of eternal punishment from paganism into Christianity. Prior to Augustine, there were few who held such teaching.

Augustine was in the Persian Manichaean religion for nine years before converting to Christianity. Although he wrote against Manichaeanism as a Christian, it is quite obvious to anyone who has studied Manichaenism that Augustine incorporated some key Manichaeian beliefs into his Christian theology. Manichaeanism derived its foundational beliefs from the Persian religion called Zoroastrianism.

When one studies the basic components of Zoroastrianism, one will become quite uncomfortable in discovering an amazing similarity between modern Christianity and Zoroastrianism.

Clearly modern Christendom owes a great deal to the teachings of Zoroastrianism and Manichaeanism. The main feature is that both taught that at the end of time, there would be two separate kingdoms: a kingdom of good and a kingdom of evil. They were both very ascetic religions and they both had an angry god. Calvinism certainly owes its concept of predestination to eternal torment to Zoroastrianism.

It seems most, if not all the early religions, had gods that were easy to anger. They acted like earthly leaders who thought nothing about wasting thousands of lives in a fit of anger.

Within ancient religions, we find such gods. These are the gods today peddled by many preachers who still preach the "angry god." Yes, they even call Him Jesus. But it may be surprising to you that the Manichaeanism Babylonian religion also preached a Father, a Son named Jesus, a Holy Spirit, and a Satan.

In the Zoroastrian religion, the predecessor of Manichaeanism, the two leading gods were Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. Ahriman was also known as Angra Mainyu. The word "Angra" is also found as "Angri" in some dictionaries. "Angri" was the bad god who would eternally have all the bad people in his kingdom when time ceased.

Now it seems our friend Jonathan Edwards, in his famous sermon, (a sermon copied by many modern day preachers) has made the God of Christianity an "angry" God. Unbeknownst to him, he has put himself in the hands of the bad god of the religion, which is the basis for his theology. How ironic!! Those who want an angry god will get an angry god. But I am afraid they will be surprised to discover on whom the anger will fall. "Judgment will be merciless for the man who acted mercilessly.

But mercy can laugh at judgment." (James 2:13, Barclay trans.) Angry people are usually least merciful. Ever notice how angry preachers get when they get into their hell-fire and brimstone routine? They are always pointing their finger at something which is going to be judged without mercy not realizing that when judgment falls, it will fall on their own heads.

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