To understand the tragedy of the Balkans is to understand mans need for forgiveness. Miroslav Volf uses stories of his homeland in Croatia and its environs as poignant illustration of the need for forgiveness. These illustrations serve to bring the reader into the heart of the matter as Pauls insights and Luthers writing provide theological structure to the work. Yet this is a very practical work which uses plain language that should threaten no one. Volf has written a readable document which would profit all readers as it is filled with the living out of the Gospel. Volf teaches the reader that forgiveness, though hard, is in fact a gift we should give. But it is not just about forgiveness, it is about giving too. Followers of Jesus who seek to reach out to and connect with the post-modern person would profit from this book since Volf makes it clear that sitting down and listening to people is a gift we can give. This is apt counsel for those of us seeking such connection. The approach, as mentioned already, is readability and is an excellent book for group discussions and as fodder to help meaningful individual conversations happen. I urge the reading of Free of Charge followed by giving it away to be read by others.
In the afterword, Volf describes what he has done in four ways: Free of Charge is an invitation to the Christian life; an interpretation of the apostle Paul; a reading of Martin Luther; and, finally, a theologically informed spiritual writing. I am certainly not qualified to assess Volf on the second and the third points, but as a spiritual work that invites the reader to the Christian life, in which it certainly succeeds. In a genre that today includes much shallow sentimentality, Volf's theological depth and biblical grounding disclose a wisdom that comes only through a life wisely lived. For those seeking counsel in the way of Christ, one can find few contemporary guides like Miroslav Volf. Highly Recommended. Dan Olson, Christian Book Previews.com (read full review at www.christianbookpreviews.com)