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Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2005)

by Miroslav Volf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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691532,592 (4.06)3
We are at our human best when we give and forgive.But we live in a world in which it makes little sense to do either one. In our increasingly graceless culture, where can we find the motivation to give? And how do we learn to forgive when forgiving seems counterintuitive or even futile? A deeply personal yet profoundly thoughtful book, Free of Charge explores these questions¬ - and the further questions to which they give rise - in light of God's generosity and Christ's sacrifice for us. Miroslav Volf draws from popular culture as well as from a wealth of literary and theological sources, weaving his rich reflections around the sturdy frame of Paul's vision of God's grace and Martin Luther's interpretation of that vision. Blending the best of theology and spirituality, he encourages us to echo in our own lives God's generous giving and forgiving. A fresh examination of two practices at the heart of the Christian faith¬ - giving and forgiving¬ - the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lenten study book for 2006 is at the same time an introduction to Christianity. Even more, it is a compelling invitation to Christian faith as a way of life."Miroslav Volf, one of the most celebrated theologians of our day, offers us a unique interweaving of intense reflection, vivid and painfully personal stories and sheer celebration of the giving God ... I cannot remember having read a better account of what it means to say that Jesus suffered for us in our place."- Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury… (more)
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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
Begins with careful explanation of giving, to others and where God fits in, then moves on to forgiving, and being forgiven. The writing is methodical but this makes it too long to be of wide appeal but if you persist there is a very good explanation of satisfaction atonement and unity with Christ. Good interaction with modern literature and films, final chapter addressed, (a bit late), to a sceptic about the very idea of God. Ends up recommending Paul and especially Luther's understanding of him. ( )
  oataker | Apr 7, 2020 |
I've worked my way through this book in fits and starts over the past several months which hinders the task of "reviewing" a work. For those who want a brief synopsis of the text, Volf's afterword gives a great 4-point summation of the book's intentions:
> To present a "case for Christianity"
> To present a particular reading of the Apostle Paul
> To present a particular reading (in the Finnish tradition) of Martin Luther
> To do so in a way that bends and blends the categories of "theological" and "spiritual" writing

That's a good summation of what Volf accomplishes here, and the accomplishment is brilliant: He achieves that elusive point of being utterly convincing that he's broadly read and deeply studied...that he has truly mastered the content about which he writes (and since that content is the writings of Paul and Martin Luther, that is no small feat)...WITHOUT falling over into the over-explanation and "and furthermores..." that are the bane of most theologians.

This is a book that ANYONE can read with profit, including scholars of Paul and Luther. It is a gift from a master theologian with a fine sense of how to speak to the true issues of our day. ( )
  Jared_Runck | Aug 3, 2015 |
An exploration of the questions of how we can find the motivation to give in our increasingly graceless culture and how we can learn to forgive when forgiving seems counterintuitive or futile. Volf draws from popular culture and from a wide variety of literary and theological sources to provide us this compelling invitation to Christian faith as a way of life. ( )
1 vote rushans | May 5, 2008 |
Good stuff! One of these books that are easy to read but then need reread because there is so much in them - Volf is like that. ( )
  DrJane | Aug 9, 2007 |
Engaging treatment of giving and forgiving. Volf shows what theology should be: he draws from Scripture, tradition, history, and his personal life in a playful and sober way while exploring his topics. While the discussion can touch on emotional topics, Volf never employs cheap sentimentalism or manipulation. More accessible than Exclusion and Embrace, though not as hard-hitting. ( )
  twatson79 | Jun 29, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miroslav Volfprimary authorall editionscalculated
Williams, RowanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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We are at our human best when we give and forgive.But we live in a world in which it makes little sense to do either one. In our increasingly graceless culture, where can we find the motivation to give? And how do we learn to forgive when forgiving seems counterintuitive or even futile? A deeply personal yet profoundly thoughtful book, Free of Charge explores these questions¬ - and the further questions to which they give rise - in light of God's generosity and Christ's sacrifice for us. Miroslav Volf draws from popular culture as well as from a wealth of literary and theological sources, weaving his rich reflections around the sturdy frame of Paul's vision of God's grace and Martin Luther's interpretation of that vision. Blending the best of theology and spirituality, he encourages us to echo in our own lives God's generous giving and forgiving. A fresh examination of two practices at the heart of the Christian faith¬ - giving and forgiving¬ - the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lenten study book for 2006 is at the same time an introduction to Christianity. Even more, it is a compelling invitation to Christian faith as a way of life."Miroslav Volf, one of the most celebrated theologians of our day, offers us a unique interweaving of intense reflection, vivid and painfully personal stories and sheer celebration of the giving God ... I cannot remember having read a better account of what it means to say that Jesus suffered for us in our place."- Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

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