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The Religious Affections Paperback – April 1, 1961

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Jonathan Edwards’s classic 1746 study Religious Affections—abridged and updated—describes the signs, true and false, of conversion, highlighting the role of truly balanced emotions in Christian living. Edwards shows that the evidence of true conversion are the “religious affections”—the fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5.


  --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a colonial American Congregational preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian," and one of America's greatest intellectuals. Edwards' theological work is very broad in scope, but he is often associated with his defense of Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first fires of revival in 1733-1735 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts. Edwards' sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," is considered a classic of early American literature, which he delivered during another wave of revival in 1741, following George Whitefield's tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is widely known for his many books: The End For Which God Created the World; The Life of David Brainerd, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the nineteenth century; and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals read even today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (later to be named Princeton University), and was the grandfather of Aaron Burr. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Banner of Truth; Reprint edition (April 1, 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851514855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851514857
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,090,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Edelen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
As grape soda is to Louis Roederer Cristal, so today's Christian books are to Edwards' "The Religious Affections". Espousing a theology foreign to most postmodern Christians, Edwards lays out the cornerstone of Christian thought of the mid-18th century.
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.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Kellemen on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Edwards penned "Religious Affections" in a day much like our own. Battle lines were drawn over religion of the heart and religion of the head. Edwards, the consummate scholar, but his biblical mind and spiritual heart fully into the task of explaining the scriptural, theological, and practical truth of the nature of spiritual conversion and spiritual growth.

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."
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Westerholm on May 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm a minister of music at an evangelical church. Almost every week, I have the conversation with someone "what are the role of emotions in our services and in the Christian's life in general?" (Nobody really asks it THAT way, but you get the idea.)
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.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Rob G. on May 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't misunderstand me: This is a great work by Jonathan Edwards. Please take time to slowly read and understand what he is saying in order to grasp it. Do not get in a hurry, there is much here to help our understanding of Christian things and use to examine our hearts and draw us closer to God. Again, it is a difficult read for most, yet slowing down to grasp each word, each sentence and each paragraph is of utmost importance to being able to follow him in his thinking throughout.

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.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Douglas VanderMeulen on June 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am amazed how often the great work by America's greatest thinker has insight and application to modern church ministry. As a pastor, this work ranks among the top works I have read in understanding the gospel, the work of the Holy Spirit, the nature of genuine salvation. There are three major parts to this work. The first section Edwards defines what a religious affection is and how it is different from what he calls animal affections. This distinction is both necessary for understanding his work, but also is a helplful tonic for insight into today's religious movments and modern worship experiences. In the second section, Edwards develop 12 marks that do not argue for or against the work of the Spirit. The Great Awakening had many excesses and abuses which Edwards neither support the event nor do they necessarilly take away from it. What is interesting about this section is that Edwards is saying that these marks ultimately mean nothing. Yet, most of what is found here is the basis of much of today's evangelical church. In my first reading I kept finding myself saying but this is what I was taught to be Biblical Christianity. Edwards was saying if you have this experience or don't have this experience means is not proof one way or the other about your conversion. In the third section Edwards develops the 12 marks that are truly evidences of the working of the Holy Spirit. This section is extremly helpful for the modern minister. With great care and lengthy development of thought, Edwards walks you through the marks of genuine conversion.
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.
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