Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tim Keller's "Prodigal God" Tells The Story Straight

The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian FaithI seem to have providentially stumbled into a streak of soul-stirring and uplifting books.  The latest in this streak should not have surprised me, since Tim Keller's books have been powerful and edifying reads-- The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism--was an apologetic masterpiece (even in those places I disagreed with a point or two, I had to admit it was masterfully written); then Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (wow, the title says it all, but doesn't--read the book).

Now its The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith that has stirred by soul.  Keller's treatment of Luke 15's parable of the prodigal son is not original--he cites Edmund Clowney's sermon as his inspiration, and others have made similar points.  But I have not read as powerful a treatment as this short book.

Most compelling in my mind is his argument that the sons represent two equally dangerous rejections of the loving Father--either through total disregard of his character and desires, or through rigorous rule keeping that establishes a debt from the Father.  I think that my own life and my ministry seem to be much more challenged by the attitudes of the older, moral brother.  I would encourage anyone and everyone to read this book and see if you see yourself in the stories.