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Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit Paperback – October 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830822194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830822195
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Kenneson is professor of theology and philosophy at Milligan College. He is the coauthor, with James L. Street, of Selling Out the Church and has contributed to Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World and The Nature of Confession (both IVP).

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Customer Reviews

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It was evident that the author did lots of research and prayerful consideration to create the book.
Laurie C
This book is an excellent analysis of both the true meanings of the fruit of the Spirit and also of the Western culture.
John Seale
This book, however, is all about how the fruit of the Spirit is cultivated within a Christian community.
Robert Sweet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with fresh, insightful comments on the relationship between the Christian faith and our American culture. Kenneson's eyes see dangers to the faith that most of the Church misses; he also offers some helpful theological understandings of the Church. My only fear about this book is that not enough people will read it; whether everyone should agree with Kenneson's conclusions is beside the point: The Church would do well to devote energy to the type of discernment Kenneson undertakes in Life on the Vine. The question Kenneson poses is not often asked, but is essential to Christians of every sort: What does it mean to be Christian where and when I live? If you are a North American Christian, please read this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Huddleston on July 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Among the many church growth specialists who want us to rethink the purpose of the church, the many theologians who want us to rethink the purpose of the Christian life, and the many Christian activists who want us to rethink Christians' relationship with American culture, this book stands alone. It brings us back to the basics: Our purpose as Christians is to live out and cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, a task which (the author is careful to tell us) only God can do, but which we can help or hinder. If you want to know why it's hard to have love, joy, peace, patience, etc.; if you want to know what things in your culture might be blocking these fruit; and if you want to know what a normal Christian church can do about it, read this book. The book, while more insightful than how-to, should give enough hints for practical Christians to start changing our Christian communities into places where the fruit of the Spirit is not just a memory verse, but a way of life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Thomas Scarborough on April 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Life On The Vine is a deeply layered and thought-provoking book which gives significant insights into how Christian fruit would be distinguished from the norms of the dominant culture in North America. The book systematically "unpacks" each of the nine examples of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, then details how each fruit will draw one out of oneself, to live a life that is centred both in God and in others. Kenneson refers to this as the "displacement of the self". Each chapter further provides examples of how the dominant culture in North America creates obstacles to the cultivation of the fruit, and how each fruit may be developed in this context.

The purpose of the book, however, seems unclear. On the surface of it, Kenneson has the concern that the Church has become too far assimilated into North American culture. On closer analysis, however, he writes that "God is in the process of restoring the created order to a state of harmony and order", and that He has a "plan to restore harmony and order to all of creation". This raises the question: what "process" is he referring to, and how does this relate to the fruit of the Spirit? Kenneson would appear to be suggesting that fruit-bearing is significant to historical progress. Further, he by and large does not refer the fruit of the Spirit back to Jesus Christ or to the Holy Spirit - in particular when it comes to his treatment of an ABSENCE of fruit in people's lives. As an example, he surmises that Christians who "abuse their spouses" do so because of the way they are "schooled to think", and because of their "view of justice". Thus he routinely refers people's behaviour back to culture and worldview, rather than the standing of their relationship with Christ.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By scourge39 on September 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
I used this book as the text for a lesson plan I developed on the fruit of the Spirit. While I had preconceived notions about the nature of each fruit, I was unsure of what they 'looked like' in everyday life. Although Kenneson has been castigated by some Evangelicals for his pragmatic tendencies, I found his insights and practical applications to be VERY insightful and well within the pale of orthodoxy (although Reformed Christians will take issue with his synergistic view of sanctification). This book helped me to realize that cultivation of Spiritual fruit is not merely a Pauline concept to be deciphered by exegetes, but is meant to be a lifestyle fleshed out in everyday life. Kenneson's applications of each fruit serve to give cues for further application and cultivation of each fruit for our time. As with every book, it's best to eat the meat and spit out the bones. Here, the meat is so tasty, you won't mind feeling around for a few minor bones. This book would be an ideal text for any retreat, Sunday school class, or small group that wants to study the application and cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit in contemporary life.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James T Humphrey II on May 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book takes upon itself to critically reflect American society and its relationship to the difficulty of cultivating the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. In each of the fruits of the Spirit -love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control- Kenneson shows how bearing each fruit will not be without difficulty, as each fruit has something that is trying to choke it out in American culture.
The book as great as it is, has some short comings. Kenneson doesn't really like the term "self-control," and akwardly struggles to define it and look for a better word in the English language. He prefers to call the last of Paul's fruits of the Spirit "continence" instead of "self-control." Kenneson's find's the word "self" a little too bitter for his tasting, thinking it takes away from the work of Christ in some fashion.
However, I think the word "self-control" works just fine if the Christian realizes that "you are not your own." So, if we say "self-control" as a Christian, we simply must understand that it's not that we control ourselves, but rather, we yield control of ourselves over to Christ. Kenneson's alternative translation of "continence" in place of "self-control" I don't believe is warranted, and is too close of a synonym to hardly be considred better replacement.
Also, a somewhat minor beef I have with this book is that while it tries to refrain from being overly academic, it is still academic enough to be "over the heads" of many readers.
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