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Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit [Paperback]

By Philip D. Kenneson (Author)
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Item description for Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit by Philip D. Kenneson...

Philip Kennson here combines rich, theologically grounded reflection on Christian life and practice with stunning cultural analysis. After a probing introductory chapter on the necessity and complexity of cultural analysis, Kenneson takes up each of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galations 5:22-23. He explores what each fruit means in its biblical context, then investigates how key traits of late modern Western culture inhibit the development and ripening of each fruit.

Publishers Description
Many books--many fine books--have been published on the fruits of the Spirit. But none are quite like Life on the Vine. Philip Kenneson combines in this book rich, theologically grounded reflection on Christian life and practice with stunning analysis of contemporary culture. After a probing introductory chapter on the necessity and complexity of cultural analysis, Kenneson takes up each of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. He explores what each fruit means in its biblical context, then investigates how key traits of late modern Western culture inhibit the development and ripening of each fruit. Life on the Vine is that rare book that will reward the reader on many levels. It may be read as a biblical and theological study, as an inspirational work on spirituality, as incisive cultural criticism and as a practical guide to Christian discipleship.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Books
Pages   1
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.24" Width: 5.49" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1999
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830822194  
ISBN13  9780830822195  

Availability  19 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2017 10:14.
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More About Philip D. Kenneson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Discipleship
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Ministry
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Topical
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit?

How to Embody the Good News in the Context of the United States  Jan 2, 2007
Kenneson in Life on the Vine, does more than simply define the fruit of the Spirit, he engages in the art of bilingual theological reflection; enabling us to learn how to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in a culture that wants to squeeze us into its mold. Kenneson helps us to recognize the grammar of the dominant culture and the grammar of God so that we can better embody the good news in the context of the United States. He wisely uses Raymond Williams working definition of culture - that of shared practices, convictions, institutions and narratives that order and give shape to the lives of a particular group of people - to help us understand the ways in which the dominate culture inhibits the church in bearing the fruit of the Spirit. But he doesn't stop there. He also becomes a capable guide in helping the community of faith to cultivate love, so that the church might embody the fruit of the spirit and thus be a faithful sign and foretaste of God's kingdom.
Deep Thought and Welcome Emphasis  Apr 18, 2005
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.

This having been said, all told, the emphasis of the book is a welcome one, since the subject of the fruit of the Spirit is often marginalised in favour of other aspects of the Christian faith. Also, Kenneson's analysis of the Spirit's fruit is deep and rewarding. If one can overlook the insufficiencies of the book, it does provide a very valuable resource concerning the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Revealing  May 26, 2003
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. I admit that as a Jr in Bible college, I had some difficulty reading the book at times because of Kenneson's superior command of the english language (even though I did read the book in about half a week). I had to use the dictionary enough to be minorly annoyed (maybe I should go read again the chapter on patience!). I fear that this book will not have the impact that it could because many people will not be able to read it.

However, this book could still be a useful tool for any church bible study on the fruit of the Spirit, and I would highly recommend it. This is the second book I've read by Kenneson (previously read the must-read "Selling out the Church"), and am amazingly refreshed to see that there are still good Christian reads out there. I look forward to reading this book again.

Application is Key  Sep 15, 2002
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.
Back to the Basics  Jul 6, 2002
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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