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Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace Paperback – January 19, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (January 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310265746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310265740
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arguing that Christians are called to imitate God's generosity, Volf, a theology professor at Yale Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, explores what that looks like in the area of giving and forgiving. Volf relies heavily on Martin Luther's writings in this accessible book that demonstrates how to build "a bridge from self-centeredness to generosity." The first half of the book, on giving, and the second half, on forgiveness, are divided by a short interlude that tries to connect the two parts. While there is a relationship between the two, this book might have been more successful as two separate volumes. Nonetheless, Volf's thinking and writing are lucid and instructive. He eschews pop psychology, relying instead on biblical, ethical and theological understandings of God's generosity. Volf never shies away from the difficult personal and communal issues that giving and forgiving pose; the result is a practical and hopeful resource for those struggling to understand their responsibilities in these areas. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote the foreword.
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About the Author

Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. He has published and edited nine books and over 60 scholarly articles, including his book Exclusion and Embrace, which won the 2002 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

More About the Author

Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. He has published and edited nine books and over 60 scholarly articles, including his book Exclusion and Embrace, which won the 2002 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Customer Reviews

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If we truly follow, then our lives must mirror such giving and forgiving.
Kindle Customer
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about God and themselves, but especially to those who long to give generously and forgive deeply.
Gift Recipient
In this practical and profound book, Volf gets down to the nitty-gritty of what it means for us as Christians to forgive those who have wronged us.
Becky Garrison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. Ward Jr. on October 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
As far as understanding the nature and power of forgiveness, this was a paradigm shifter for me. More importantly, it moved me to action, literally becoming a catalyst for mending, what was at the time, a seriously damaged relationship. I have not read a better book on the subject. Volf's a deep thinker, but he doesn't have his head in the sand. He writes from a place of humility and grace. And his understanding of the Gospel and what it makes us capable of becoming is so illuminating and life-giving. I hope I don't sound too enamored with the man, but his insights have proven to be very wise. I feel that I am in his debt.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Becky Garrison on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this practical and profound book, Volf gets down to the nitty-gritty of what it means for us as Christians to forgive those who have wronged us. Simply put as he states in his book, "We forgive because God forgives. We forgive as God forgives. We forgive by echoing God's forgiveness." While this is one of those deceptively simple lessons that takes me a minute to learn but a lifetime to master, Volf has given his fellow Christian brothers and sisters some tools to get us started on this journey toward reconciliation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Aphekah on March 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
Volf does an incredible service for the church in writing this. He is neither preachy nor condescending, but is thoughtful, articulate and weaves together a beautiful theology of forgiveness. This book fills a large gap in the thought and reflection of the church in America, and deserves careful attention to anyone wishing to follow Jesus.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on February 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Short

This is a book that many readers will enjoy "living with." Volf's stated purpose for the book is to encapsulate the whole of Christian living within two axiomatic concepts. In other words, what does Christianity really look like when it is lived in a contemporary life? In Free of Charge, Volf's answer follows two principles - one that flows from the nature of who God is and, by way of extension, another that reveals the heart of the Gospel. According to Volf, the Christian life can be summarized by participating with God in giving and forgiving. Because God's nature is so bound up in his ability to give purely, forgiveness becomes the backdrop of all of his interactions with a creation marred by sin. If we truly follow, then our lives must mirror such giving and forgiving.

As such, the book serves as a wonderful devotional tool. While it is deeply theological, it is admirably accessible. He does not drown the text in technical writing or lofty language. I have many friends that started reading this book a long time ago. Often, in eager anticipation of their thoughts on the book, I'll ask how it is going. They always reply, "It is so good, but I can only get so far before I have to put it down and reflect on it." In this sense, this book is not only a wonderful resource for those that want to practice generosity or forgiveness, but it might just be the kind of reading experience that drives self-reflection in order to help those who struggle with selfish ambition or unforgiving hearts break those chains of bondage.

At Length

In Volf's own words, the book does four things. First, it is an examination of whether the landscape of Christian perspective can appropriately be viewed through the lens of giving and forgiving.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mom of 3 book lovers VINE VOICE on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are very few books that I whole-heartedly recommend, but Miraslov Volf's Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace is one I would not only recommend, I would encourage people of all faiths and even those without to read.

Volf is a professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, but this is not an intimidating read. Each of the two sections, giving and forgiving, begins with discussing how God does each. He reminds us that God is neither a negotiator nor a Santa Claus. God gives because that is His nature, and He delights in giving to us so that He can also give through us. He uses the visual of God pouring gifts out to us and makes the point that the flow of giving was never intended to stop there...it should flow through us and on to those around us, who in turn give to those around them, and all of it flows around and then back to us to begin again. He often refers to the necessity of living within a giving community of givers (the body of Christ), not only so that we encourage one another in the grace of giving but so that we pour those gifts onto others outside the body so that they, too, will come to know God through us. This picture is one that has me captivated. Certainly it is of the ideal...the one that God intended and not the one that we as sinful humans are able to create perfectly...but the ideal is the goal.

The second half of the book deals with forgiving, and for me there were ideas here that might be called transforming. I was especially impressed with his discussion of the relationship between forgiving and repentance.

I can not recommend this book highly enough. It is not expensive and not so "theological" that those of us without a degree in theology can't understand it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By T. Wolfe on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
Have you ever wondered what is missing in our culture? In our churches? In our workplaces? In our homes? In our "selves"? Volf offers a compelling diagnosis for one of modern culture's most significant and serious problems. I dare anyone to read this book and walk away unchanged. At the very least it will change your perspective, at best it may change your life.
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