The Reason for God by Timothy Keller–Book Review

Timothy Keller, pastor of a large church in Manhattan, has written an excellent apologetic work, based on his own experience defending and explaining the faith to skeptics.  In a reasoned and logical way he answers questions such as:

  • How can there be only one true religion?
  • Why does a good God allow suffering?
  • How can a loving God send people to hell?

He also refutes some common assumptions such as:

  • Christianity is limiting
  • The church is responsible for so much injustice
  • Science has disproven Christianty
  • The Bible can’t be taken literally

Finally, he lists a number of good reasons for accepting Christianity as the most rational explanation for what is wrong with the world and the best hope for a meaningful identity and life.

I found this book to both readable and persuasive (however, I am no skeptic so possibly I am biased).  However, his success in attracting a large number of urban doubters to his congregation would argue that he is quite convincing.  If you are a skeptic, Pastor Keller’s book may win you over;  if you’re a believer, it will provide you with logical arguments to face the skeptics in your own life.

He did not delve deeply into doctrine (he is Presbyterian) as his focus is on the beliefs common to all Christians.  I did have an issue with his explanation of hell — he contends that we “choose” to send ourselves to hell.  This implies that we also “choose” to believe, which is contrary to Lutheran belief.  Most of his other positions were unobjectionable, and overall I found this an interesting and thought-provoking read.

I checked and there is a study guide available for use with this book, so it would make a choice for use with a small group.

VERDICT:  4 Stars.  Read this one and discuss it with a doubting friend!

For more on apologetics (the defense and explanation of the faith) see these posts:

Why I Still Believe by Mary Jo Sharp –Book Review

Film Review — The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

Jesus Among Secular Gods by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale–Book Review

For more on Timothy Keller see this post:

Ministries of Mercy by Timothy Keller — Book Review

 

 

Ministries of Mercy by Timothy Keller — Book Review

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” Luke 10:36-37

These are some excerpts from a book review prepared by one of our Fanning the Flame Team Members, Ted, and presented at our last monthly meeting.

The phrase “ministry of mercy” comes from Luke 10:37 where Jesus commands us to “go and do likewise.”  Timothy Keller asks in his book, “Are we as Christians obeying this command personally?  Are we, as a church, obeying this command corporately?”

For decades we are told that evangelicals have avoided the radical nature of the parable of the Good Samaritan.  At most we have heard it telling us to prepare a fruit basket for the needy each Christmas or to give to relief agencies when there is a famine or earthquake in a distant nation.

It is time to listen more closely.  We are finally beginning to wonder why there are suddenly hundreds of thousands “stripped and lying half dead” in the streets of our own cities.  There are problems in the world that bring misery and violence into the lives of most of humanity.  These include war, injustice, oppression, famine, natural disasters, disease, mental illness, physical disabilities, racism, crime, scarcity of resources and class struggle.  We need to see that we are all living on the Jericho Road.

Under the principles of mercy, there is a call to mercy.  Love is essential in the call.  We are required to love God above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Mercy is not optional.  Although believers are to give their first and greatest aid to the needy within the church, mercy must also be show to all people.  Most of us have not come to grips with the clear directive that all Christians must have their own ministry of mercy.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.”  Galatians 6:10

A question to ponder (from me, not Ted):  What is your ministry of mercy?

Forgiveness as a Resurrection

Forgiveness must be granted before it can be felt, but it does come eventually.  It leads to a new peace, a resurrection.  It is the only way to stop the spread of the evil.

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God:  Belief in an Age of Skepticism

 

Another Resurrection Quote

Timothy Keller

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
What do you think of this quote?  Do you agree or disagree?  Send us your comments.