The most vocal critics of Edwards and the Awakening were those who tended to identify the essence of Christianity with intellectual accuracy. In other words, true religion consisted primarily in proper thinking, moderate living, and a sophisticated cultural style. The passions or affections of zeal and love and joy and fear and yearning were a threat to the standard way of doing things in those days. They seemed unruly and out of order, if not chaotic.
Edwards himself certainly insisted on theological precision and decency in all of life, but he also believed that when truth is properly apprehended it awakens and inflames white hot affections for Christ. It's not a matter of either / or but of both / and. Edwards insisted on both right thinking and vibrant affections. For many of the established clergy in his day, the latter were a constant threat to the integrity and validity of the former. But Edwards refused to allow our emphasis on one to exclude the validity of the other.
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