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Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God's Love Paperback – June 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“I am thrilled that Kyle Strobel has edited this new edition of Edwards’s Charity and Its Fruits. This series of sermons holds a special place in my affections for Edwards for three reasons. First, in Munich, Germany, my wife and I read it aloud to each other in 1972. What a way to build a young marriage! Second, Edwards’s treatment of ‘Charity seeketh not her own’ profoundly shaped my emerging Christian Hedonism. Third, the last chapter, ‘Heaven Is a World of Love,’ is simply unsurpassed in its power to make me want to go there. I am unabashed in my love for Jonathan Edwards—and the grandeur of his God. May God give him an ever-wider voice.”
John Piper, Founder,; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary

“This new edition of Charity and Its Fruits is a most welcomed addition to the growing library of books by and about the great Jonathan Edwards. For those who mistakenly think that Protestant theologians overemphasize faith at the expense of love, these classic sermons by Edwards will be an antidote to a stereotype. But even more important, this deep mining of 1 Corinthians 13 is a pathway into spiritual theology that will draw every believer closer to Christ.”
Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

“For Jonathan Edwards, the true Puritan understanding of Christianity as love-life in God through Christ was a lifelong theological-pastoral-devotional focus, and his fullest display of it is found here. Kyle Strobel’s comments help us appreciate this classic on communion with God.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“As best I can tell, this is a first in Edwardsean studies. No one has done with Charity and Its Fruits what Kyle Strobel accomplishes here—providing us with an enlightening commentary and a readable text of one of Edwards’s most important, though highly neglected, treatises. All who love Edwards (and everyone should) will profit immensely from this exceptional volume.”
Sam Storms, Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Jonathan Edwards is America’s most famous theologian, and he is experiencing a resurrection among some evangelicals today. Not all who clap for Edwards have read him extensively, and for some the applause appears to be little more than groupthink. But this annotation of Edwards’s seminal exposition of 1 Corinthians 13, edited by a competent young Edwards specialist who offers an informed introduction to Edwards’s moral thought, holds promise for all of us to become more dedicated to the theological vision for the glory of God at work in the theology of Edwards. All who read Edwards aright know they are in for an experience of sensate knowledge, and not simply academic intelligence. Read this book into worship.”
Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, North Park University

About the Author

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703–1758) was a pastor, theologian, and missionary. He is generally considered the greatest American theologian. A prolific writer, Edwards is known for his many sermons, including "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", and his classic Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. Edwards was appointed president of the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) shortly before his death. 

Kyle Strobel (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is the author of Metamorpha: Jesus as a Way of Life and founder of Metamorpha, an online community for Christian spiritual formation. He has served as a fellow at Yale’s Jonathan Edwards Center, has published several academic reviews of works related to Edwards, and has taught graduate courses on Edwards’s spirituality theology.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (June 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143352970X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433529702
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ta ethica on October 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Serving as the editor of this new edition of Charity and Its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards, Strobel packs this book with an introduction, extensive "foot" (more on that below) notes and discussion, conclusion, and appendices containing reading suggestions (both primary and secondary sources) for those wanting to delve deeper into Edwards' thought.
The introduction gives the reader a bird's eye view of what Edwards is up to in this excellent piece of moral theology. Strobel's analysis is incredibly illuminating and helpful in order to see certain themes (e.g. an ethic of imitation) resurface throughout the work.

While I will not comment on the text itself, I want to focus on Strobel's editorial notes by way of two comments.

First, a big difference between Strobel's notes and John Piper's notes in Edwards' The End for Which God Created the World concerns formatting. In Strobel's, the notes are put in callout blocks embedded in the page, while in Piper's, the notes are traditional footnotes. On the one hand, I like that Strobel's notes are not footnotes, because the font size is a bit bigger than it would be as a footnote. On the other hand, the one downside is that I occasionally had a difficult time discerning what part of the page the callout box was referring to (this is avoided when using footnotes), especially when the callout box was almost the same length as the page.
Second, I really enjoyed Strobel's insight throughout the book. In Piper's notes, you are going to get strict analysis of the text qua text. In Strobel's, you have instances of that (e.g.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Craig Stephans VINE VOICE on October 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Strobel provides an excellent Introduction and conclusion to Edwards' sermons that are included in full. These sermons are inspired by his meditation and study of 1 Corinthians 13. Charity and Its Fruits is sure to provide readers an in-depth and inspirational reflection on the love of God and our relationship to Jesus. The sermons stand out to me for their depth and breadth of spiritual and theological reflection that is all based on Edwards' Biblical theology and study. These sermons are all focused on the Triune God and his gospel to us. They are heavy sermons that require and I think are worthy of deep meditation and measured reading. The topics are comprehensive in regard to living the Christian life.

Something that stood out to me in reading these sermons compared to many contemporary Christian books and sermons is that Edwards rarely if ever focuses on himself or makes himself the topic of the sermons. There are no anecdotal stories or tangental illustrations or lighthearted humor. Edwards zeros in on Jesus, the Word, the Holy Spirit, the spiritual warfare, and other Biblical matters. These sermons are refreshing, enlightening, convicting and truly life-changing.

These meditations on love have the power to transform your life and your relationships. This is the kind of teaching and living our marriages need and our spiritual health needs. I fully recommend this book for mature Christians. By God's grace, this sermon series will lead readers to a practice of love.

My one criticism of the book is based on Edwards' cessationist teaching. He emphasizes in at least two of the sermons that he believes that the gifts of the Holy Spirit that he describes as "extraordinary" ceased with the closing of the apostolic era.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stanislao Esposito VINE VOICE on October 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I picked the book because the title and subtitle really attracted me. I am Catholic so I am not familiar with Edwards' writing. This was my first exposure to his theology.

The book is a collection of sermons on the topic of God's love in us and for us. I found the book to be excellent. Although I wanted to use it for meditation, as I started to read it, I found myself to go back and started to underline passages. It's an "intense" book - both the language and the way he organizes the message requires attention. Each paragraph is packed with insights that could be easily missed if read too quickly.

The side notes are incredibly helpful. Again, I am talking as someone who has never read anything about Edwards or written by him. I have to leave to others the evaluation of the notes.

The book is worth reading at the very least because it calls us to go back to "basics" - God's love; it is this Love that changes us. We ought to meditate more and more on this topic because it is ultimately "what's it's all about." I believe that if Christians would live lives based on God's love Christianity will be more credible to non-believers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By blbooks on July 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Edwards was a scholar, a theologian. He was a deep thinker; his ideas and concepts are complex, very complex. This publication seeks to bring Edwards to a new audience. The text is Edwards, this is not an abridgment or adaptation. But some additional helps have been added. Strobel has added footnotes defining tricky words that Edwards was so fond of using. Words like concatenation, for example. There are also side-boxes where he highlights key concepts, usually in reader-friendly terms. Sometimes he brings in other quotes to help clarify. And, as you might expect, it adds an introduction and conclusion written specifically to help guide and influence modern readers. Both are very straight-forward. Both ask HARD questions of readers. The questions challenge you to truly reflect on the text and your relationship with God.

Why read Edwards at all? Why seek to honor America's greatest theologian? Why read a text that is hundreds of years old? I think Strobel would agree with me that the SOLE reason to read Edwards would be to learn MORE of God, to come to a better understanding of who God is, and have a clearer perception of ourselves in relationship with God. That is, by studying God, who He is, what He has done, what He requires of us, etc., we can better KNOW OURSELVES. Some might think it odd that we would need to know God in order to know ourselves, or to know ourselves truly, but I think it's essential to have a right understanding of who we are, we need God, we need to see ourselves as God sees us.

It's a collection of sermons on 1 Corinthians 13. It is an in-depth study of 1 Corinthians 13, Edwards doesn't quite go word by word by word, but, he certainly goes line by line by line. A few of the sermons are broader in scope and focus on several verses.
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