The Religious Affections Paperback – 1 Apr 1986
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About the Author
Jonathan Edwards was a Colonial New England minister
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Top Customer Reviews
When you read this book, one cannot help but admire the supernatural illumination that underpins it. Otherwise, no man could ever write like this. This book probes very deep into the transformation that a real Christian goes through, distinguishing the false religious affections from the genuine all along. It tells us what is not. This is important because of an asymmetry. Those who possess the true faith can tell what religious affections or experience are only counterfeit; but those who have only experienced the counterfeit religious affections cannot tell the difference and believe that they are the elect when they are not. Jonathan Edwards painstakingly goes through nearly all scenarios commonly encountered and carefully analyses which are true and which are not and why with biblical references. Some are really subtle and it takes a spiritual giant who was truly blessed in skills, intellect, and spiritual walk with God to be able to see through both sides and attempt to put into words something literally out of this world. When I read this work, I was reminded of 2 Cor 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
This book is essential for spiritual discernment. I am surprised how relevant this book is even today.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As unflinching as his more famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", this work develops the idea that what we feel and our true status in Christ are at war with one another, a constant battle that requires the searching of our souls by the Spirit of God in order to find the truth of our standing in Him. For some, the level of introspection and faithfulness demanded of the believer is higher than we might otherwise be prepared to endure. But only by complete surrender, the development of an inner craving for Christ, and spiritual examination can we rest in the assurance of our salvation.
This work also holds up a Christian faith that seems radically different - and more vital - than what we know. For this we should thank Edwards for allowing 21st century men and women a tie to historic Christianity, especially as seen through early-American eyes.
"The Religious Affections" is an extremely difficult book to read, not only because of the sentence structure and word choices of the 18th century, but also because of the loaded theology. It is a bombshell to the heart of anyone who earnestly desires to follow Christ. Impossible to ignore, Edwards' book demands a response. No one can read it and be unchanged. The level of discipleship it asks is shocking to modern readers, but ultimately necessary for our salvation.
Unlike many Christian scholars today, Edwards recognized the age-old (Old Testament, New Testament, and Church History) truth/tradition of the affections. He saw them as the relational motivation that impelled the soul. Further, he saw the affections, or our longings, desires, and thirsts, as God-created/designed core components of the healthy human personality.
He then traced the relationship between the affections, our cognitions, our volition, and our emotions. Brilliantly he demonstrated that we pursue (volition) what we perceive (cognition) to be pleasant (affections) and pleasing (emotions). In other words, the "action" is in the affections. Capture the affections through the imagination (the deepest aspects of our cognitive capacity) and you capture the soul.
To understand the biblical psychology of the soul, other than the Bible itself, this is THE book to devour.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and the forthcoming "Beyond the Suffering: The Story of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
I've come to the point where I won't even begin the conversation without having them read this book. Seriously! Edwards covers ALL the issues in a thorough and practical way.
Strap on your thinking cap, but know it's worth it! I read this book every year and God never fails in using it to refocus my heart on Him.
However, this book produced by Eremitical Press out of Vancouver, is filled with typos and missing/extra words. It is poorly edited and filled with error, even the blurb on the back cover shows this and contains error itself; "Edwards preached both encourage to true Christianity and to alert congregations to superficial imitations." Read it again and note the missing word "to" in the text between "both" and "encourage."
I am disappointed in this edition, not in this work. If you are bothered by typos and the sort and they turn you off, avoid this edition and purchase another edition by another publisher. You may also want to avoid any and all other publications by Eremitical Press, as perhaps this is status quo for them?
Keep in mind this book and subject itself is of great value otherwise.
Edwards is hard to read for those who are just getting started with him. However, the more you read the easier he becomes. Don't give up too soon - you will get back 10 fold for all the effort you put in. The particular edition you are reading about is easy on the pocket book. If you have limited funds, it is a good way to get started. However, if you are serious about reading Edwards, don't forget to check out the Yale editions. They are very expensive, but the foot notes, extensive introductions, and indexs are worth the extra money.