Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

I do a lot of reading and thought it might be beneficial to occasionally review a book on my blog. Here is one of my favourite books from this month.

The Prodigal God (2008) is recommended by Billy Graham and Rick Warren. It's a nice length (133 pages). It is one of the clearest and most powerful explanations of the Christian message I have ever read. It follows the familiar story of the prodigal son, but teaches it in fresh and compelling ways. I found myself saying as I read, "That's a great way to say it, I'll have to remember that." "Wow, that is life-changing; I will mark that and come back to it...ouch!" "If only we Christians could grasp this afresh, it would renew the church."

The prodigal son is a story of two brothers. They approach life two ways. These two ways represent humanities approaches to life. Jesus shows how both of these ways are wrong and introduces a radical third way. Keller introduces true Christianity as neither religion nor irreligion; rather it is something different altogether.

Rather than argue against the common trend in secular culture of blaming religion for many of the world’s problems and wars, Keller readily agrees. He simply sees the message of Jesus as something so radically different, that once understood it could never be clomped in with religion.

The elder brother and the prodigal son are both lost. But the elder brother is worse off because he is more blind to his lostness. This is why Jesus was so hard on devout religious people. "Elder brother" religion has it's claws firmly entrenched in all the world’s religions and in much of so-called Christianity. We desperately need the radical message of the gospel to be clearly seen.

"God's reckless grace is our greatest hope, a life-changing experience, and the subject of this book." (pg xv)

I highly recommend this read. Keller has good reformed theology (my favourite) and is solid biblically. He is a great communicator. I am sure you can order it at our great local Christian bookstore in Moose Jaw: Gemstones.