The Religious Affections
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The Religious Affections

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  2,335 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Jonathan Edwards is best known as the theologian of revival. In this, his major study on the theme, he analyses the nature of a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.
Paperback, 382 pages
Published October 1st 1986 by Banner of Truth (first published 1959)
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Andy
Very interesting. I'm going to be thinking for a long time about three ideas from this book: 1) that we do not truly love God if we have no actual affection for him in our hearts. Dutiful obedience is not love, knowledge about the things of God is not love. Love is love. 2) Edwards' idea that true love for God is founded upon God's own loveliness, which, combined with #1, means that true love for God means, among other things, a deepening trust in the face of mystery, a deepening confidence that...more
Stevie
As was about a 1/3 of the way through the book when it hit me that I was reading an abridged and modernized text. I was quite frustrated and felt like I was not even reading Edwards' actual words. Despite this I was thoroughly roughed up in my soul by his words. The whole book is about how we need to examine our own sense of salvation. He argues that the surest sign of inward salvation is outward Christian obedience and character.

Poignant Excerpts:

"So it is God's way of dealing with mankind to l...more
Kathleen
Can't really put into words what kind of affect this book had on me. Reading it once will not do it justice... Mr. Edwards is most notably a keen intellectual...a brilliant mind & has the most unique way of communicating the timeless truths of scripture... This book is only for the serious seeker....and I wouldn't hesitate to say this book 'changed my life & the course of my Christian walk.'
Daniel Alvers
Jonathan Edwards is brillant. I thought reading this book I would find something complicated and brainy. It was very straight foward. It slowly became thought provoking and caused me to think all sorts of thoughts. I was very convicted by this book. It challenges you to live a truly authentic Christian life. It goes to the reaches of depravity in the mind a person who boasts in humility. It challenges you to think about geniune religious affections and not the show. After reading this book I hav...more
Kent
For Edwards there is no way to reason your way into a faith. The "religious affections" he's talking about is a sincere love and devotion to God. And in the sense that most people think of Puritans as judgmental beings, Edwards takes half the book to discuss the twelve signs a person will have if he is faithful.

But the key here is that these signs can only be used for yourself. You can only judge you, and no one else. In fact, as the introducer to this edition points out, Edwards' subject has st...more
Tom
Written to help put into perspective the awakening going on in New England at the time, Edwards is very careful to lay out how to determine genuine faith. While he does acknowledge that there will be immediate external indicators, he also points out that these can easily be counterfeited. Ultimately it comes down to the internal affections being changed so that the convert loves Jesus with all their heart and as a result the fruit they bear, as the Bible defines fruit, will witness to the genuin...more
Mike E.
INTRODUCTION
Edwards’ topic of discussion in Affections was one of great controversy in his day and continues to be a significant and perhaps troublesome issue for many evangelicals today. How does one determine if he/she is truly saved? Or, in a language more in step with Edwards, What affections are signs of a truly gracious and efficacious miracle of redemption? This is the question which Edwards meticulously works through in his soteriological magnum opus. The book is divided into two main s...more
Bob
This is a well known classic from the pen of Jonathan Edwards. It is very good and thought provoking. I would recommend that one should read through this slowly. It is very profitable. He makes statements such as "If there is no great & abiding change in people who think they have experienced a work of conversion, they are deluded." The following is not Buddhism it is Christian thinking: “The great Christian duty is self-denial. This duty consists in two things; first, in denying worldly inc...more
Julia Bucy
Ok, so this particular author is not one whose books you fly through in a week. The language is quite cumbersome and the content requires a slow pace to absorb and appreciate it all. Jonathan Edwards is my favorite reformed theologian/philosopher/writer. Here is a very convicting snippet from this treatise:

"A true saint, when in the enjoyment of true discoveries of the sweet glory of God and Christ, has his mind too much captivated and engaged by what he views without himself, to stand at that t...more
Joshua
This is one of the best books I've ever read. Reading it was like putting up a mirror to our present culture in the USA. Edwards precise definitions, distinctions, descriptions, expositions, and elaborations complete a masterpiece on the subject of discerning vibrant faith from counterfeits. There are too many profound things to share that I'm just going to say that anyone who hasn't read this book is deprived of profound riches until they do.
Hank Pharis
Edwards' thesis is that "true religion consists in great part in holy affections." In other words, genuine saving faith is not lifeless or indifferent
but passionate about God.

Many people struggle with issues like God's existence, the problem of evil, evolution and creation etc. But my greatest struggle is the gap
between what the New Testament says Christians and the church should be and what we are in contemporary America. Are we a nation of spiritual infants or only deceiving ourselves as to th...more
Bob Ladwig
Brilliant work by Edwards differentiating the signs of true conversion from false, and true revival from false. A must read for those serious about studying revival. A bit dense so it will take the modern reader some time but once you get used to the Edwardsian prose you will realize that it is the modern writers who can't communicate rather than the puritans.
Greg
I've read this book only once, but plan on reading it at least a few more times. Edwards' main emphasis in this book is on what true revival is, and true conversion. It challenged my own walk with the Lord tremendously. This is not an easy read, but the jewels that you do get out of it is worth it. It is one of the best books I have ever read.
David
This is a tremendously helpful book as it explores the evidence of personal salvation in a believer's life. The evidence that we can rely upon is an increasing love for God and for others, as evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit. Edwards thoroughly explores this evidence.
Kristi
Phew. It is a miracle I finished this book. I am not one to put down a book lightly. Unlike some people, like my sister, I can't be 20 pages from the end of a book and just walk away. I can't stop midpoint and never pick it up again. I am haunted to know, what happens in the end? Does it get better and redeem itself? Does it live up to the hype when taken as a whole? In the case of a book revered as a "classic," these quandaries push me all the more to complete a book and not leave myself wonder...more
Seth Urquhart
This was one of the hardest books I've ever read. First, because Edwards’s use of the English language is older than most authors I've read. Second, he writes a book about the characteristics of a true Christian called religious affection, and while doing that he calls out all hypocrites that try to play religious affections as a game, most of the time his darts aimed at the hypocrites will hit me in the heart showing me my own foolishness. He shows us truly what a religious man that has been ch...more
Josh
After a second reading, I think this is both the best book I've ever read on Christian hedonism, and one of the most dangerous on various other problematic doctrines.

It does an excellent job answering the question, are affections really important in religion? And it also does an excellent job (far better than I realized the first time I read it) at laying out the essential parts of pursuing such affections for God. It's laid a number of principles out that I can see myself diving into for years...more
Dr. David Steele
Religious Affections is a classic work by America’s greatest theologian, and my favorite theologian, Jonathan Edwards. The thesis: True religion, in great part, consists in holy affections.

Section one discusses the nature of the affections and their importance in religion. Edwards defines his terms early in the work. He describes the affections as the exercises of the "inclination and the will of the soul." He notes that one may have doctrinal knowledge and speculate in matters of theology, but...more
The Men's Ministry of Denton Bible Church
This stands as Edwards’ most penetrating interpretation of the awakenings of his time, not to mention one of the most penetrating of any time. As in "Some Thoughts," he argued against the extremes of emotionalism on the one hand and intellectualism on the other. Affections were essential to true religion, but they had to be tested. First, Edwards lays out his religious psychology of affections, which encompassed both understanding and will and involved the total range of human faculties. Answeri...more
Dave Shulse
Aug 04, 2007 Dave Shulse rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pastors
This book was a tough one to read, not because of the style so much as what he was saying. Edwards was greatly distressed, by the condition Christianity had fallen into so soon after so many had embraced the Christian faith as a result of the revivals of the Great Awakening. He seems to encourage serious heart surgery by Christians so that they can discover if they have truly embraced faith in Christ. He speaks frequently in this work of a needed "principle of grace" which must be placed in the...more
Dick
A little group of six friends read this together and met to discuss it weekly (and sometimes weakly). Edwards wrote it in 1746 to address a controversy in his day regarding the authenticity of some New Englanders' emotionally enthusiastic response to an re-awakening of Christian faith. He aims to establishe a balance that neither dismisses 'religious affections' as trivial nor credits them with too much authority.

The book is not an easy read. Edwards is long-winded, never stopping at one support...more
Ryan Micheal
Jonathan Edwards is one of those rare gifts that God has blessed the church as a whole throughout the ages. This is an excellent read.
Caroline
This is definitely one of the most life-changing books that I have ever read. Jonathan Edwards knew the Scriptures and was mightily empowered by the Holy Spirit. It was beautiful watching this classically trained mind reason through the evidences of true salvation. Though not a light read, this book is definitely an important and powerful exposition of genuine Christianity.

After I finished, I felt as if I could sing. The timeless truths Edwards expressed made me fall deeper in awe before and in...more
Vaclav
i find it so thrilling to read the good old authors! Edwards is so intellectual and experiential at the same time! your mind and heart will be filled to overflowing with praise and adoration of our God who alone can do in us what he requires of us!
Mike Hyatt
Dec 24, 2011 Mike Hyatt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Postmoderns
Shelves: theology
A good, challenging book on distinguishing between true and false signs of Christian conversion. Edwards provides a good balance between the two extremes of barren intellectualism and fruitless emotionalism. This is a profitable book, even for our time, especially since there is an over-emphasis on personal experience in the Christian life. Get a copy, read it and be convicted on how shallow we truly are.
dthaase
Sep 02, 2007 dthaase rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: spirituality
I can't believe I haven't read this book until now. It is a must read for any Christian. I would also highly recommend this edition which was edited by Houston -- it makes Edwards so readable & enjoyable. The wedding of the mind and heart are truly within these pages and much is to be gained from ruminating on his logical statements as well as his high view of the Holy Spirit.
Jason
What is the most legitimate means of attaining a reliable assurance that a person is in Christ? - by observing the fruit produced in that person's life.

Here are some words that come to mind regarding this book: Humbling. Sophisticated/nuanced. Prudent. Scriptural. Thorough.

Reading this book provided me with what I think was a healthy self-evaluation.
Eric
Jul 21, 2013 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Evangelical Christians
I bought the book for a specific discussion of "enthusiasm." I have since just started to read it through. Tied directly to the Word and the Jesus. I have heard that Jonathan Edwards is a true heavy weight. So far, I find that to be an accurate assessment.
Giju Abraham
Jonathan Edwards wrote Religious Affections more than 200 years ago but it remains relavant even today. I believe it is a great resource not just to discern what is genuine faith and worship and what is not. This book also helped me understand how hyprocritical I too am when it comes to matters of faith and worship.
Tim Lapetino
A challenging read because of the language style, but though-provoking -- Edwards' intention of truly exposing the excesses of the Great Awakening while defending the Church as well. There is some great Truth in these pages but for a modern ready the journey to digging it out is a long and challenging one.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards was the most eminent American philosopher-theologian of his time, and a key figure in what has come to be called the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s.

The only son in a family of eleven children, he entered Yale in September, 1716 when he was not yet thirteen and graduated fou...more
More about Jonathan Edwards...
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God The Life and Diary of David Brainerd Freedom of the Will Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions: And Advice to Young Converts Charity & Its Fruits

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“Godliness is more easily feigned in words than in actions” 24 likes
“A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble broken-hearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires. Their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable and full of glory, is a humble broken-hearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit, and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behaviour.” 18 likes
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