113 of 119 people found the following review helpful
C.S. Lewis was the greatest Christian author in generations. Anyone, no matter what stage of life they are in, can read his books effortlessly. Lewis' words formed Christian doctrine, shattered Pharisaical religious myths, and evangelized the lost. Few authors are able accomplish this with their life's work; Lewis accomplished it in every book he authored. And now Tim Keller has authored a book that is just as sweeping, applicable, and paradigm shifting as Lewis' best work.
King's Cross is a book about the life of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Mark. Keller, verse by verse, offers his thoughts on every major theme in Mark. There have been countless commentaries and just as many devotional works on the Gospels; King's Cross is both.
For the new Christian, King's Cross will bring the words of Jesus to life. Its easy to forget the power that Scripture has when you read it with fresh eyes. In King's Cross, Keller gives insight in the world of Jesus. He shows just how earth shattering the arrival of the Good News was. Keller will gently deconstruct the myth that the Bible is not a book that is inspired by God. You will walk away from King's Cross understanding just how radical the Gospel of Mark is.
For the pastor and Bible study leader, King's Cross should be a joy to read. Keller is a dedicated pastor whose love for his people comes across in each paragraph. Its easy be trapped in the intellectual realm of seminary or the spiritual emotionalism that infects almost every church. Keller never loses sight of his true purpose: sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is able to write intellectually without going over the head of anyone, emotionally without any saccharine-sweet spirituality, and evangelistically without Bible thumping. His exposition of the text should inspire those who teach others in the church.
For the Pharisee, King's Cross will convict you. Whether you are an old school Pharisee who still tithes off the mint and cumin or newer model that looks down on the people who are "too religious," Keller seeks to expose and redeem you with Jesus' words. Its easy to miss how much Jesus despises religionists when we pick a verse here or there. When you read any of the gospels in one sitting, it's hard to say what Jesus dislikes more. On page 47 Keller writes, "The gospel says that the humble are in and the proud are out. The gospel says the people who know they're not better, not more open-minded, not more moral than anyone else, are in, and the people who think they're on the right side of the divide are most in danger." Convicting for the Pharisee in all of us.
For the non-Christian, this is a book that will show you why Christians have fallen in love with Christ. You will see Jesus as the original readers of the Gospels did. You will read the words of Jesus and be changed. Forgive Christians of the arguments and the apologetics and the attitudes that turned you against Jesus. Read this book, read the Gospel of Mark, and just ask yourself if it could be true. Could there really be one person who defines history with His life and death? If you have come to cherish the belief that Jesus was nothing more than a great person and a good teacher, a worthy example to follow, then this book will take that away from you. Jesus did not leave us that option. "Either he's a wicked liar or a crazy person and you should have nothing to do with him, or he is who he says he is and your whole life has to revolve around him . . ." (45, King's Cross)
Keller has already written impressive works that are among the best in the last decade, including The Reason For God and The Prodigal God. King's Cross book does not fit into a certain category and exposes the power of the Gospel to modern readers. King's Cross is broad in its appeal, brilliant in its execution, and is Keller's best work to date. Buy at least two copies, because you will give it away.
77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2011
I debated on whether to give Tim Keller's new book, "King's Cross," 4 or 5 stars and finally settled on 4. It's a compelling book that supplies a fresh reading of the Gospel of Mark, but in some places it's also a little mundane.
What Keller does best is to take the Gospel of Mark and present its major themes in a new light, while maintaining a fidelity to the Bible as the Word of God and accurate record of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Keller's book fills a much-needed niche: it's not as detailed or as technical as a commentary and it's not as personal as a devotional work but it helps the reader understand the Gospel of Mark by presenting it through a series of compelling ideas or images. While "King's Cross" doesn't elaborate on every passage, Keller gives his reader the big picture that is so often lacking in works on the Bible and in modern Christianity in general. He thus avoids the error of many devotional works that take random verses out of context while at the same time retaining a personal style and touch.
"King's Cross" will help the reader understand the Gospel of Mark and the good news of Jesus Christ in a new, imaginative way that will be of great value to many readers. Hopefully, it will entice new disciples of Jesus Christ to Him and will help those familiar with Jesus Christ and the gospel to see them both in a new light. Maybe, by providing a slightly new perspective, it will wake many of us out of our complacency and take us from seeing the good news of Jesus Christ as merely advice and return it to being fantastic, life-changing news!
Essentially, Keller takes the life of Christ, as told by Mark in the Gospel of Mark and presents it in terms of 2 main themes: "The King" and "The Cross," from which Keller gets the title of his book.
By using a succession of images to capture the meaning of Mark's Gospel (and the life of Jesus Christ), Keller has given us an imaginative approach to God and His Word that will be welcomed by many readers. For example, in Chapter 1, "The Dance," Keller portrays the coming of Christ in flesh as the result of the interpersonal, giving love of the Holy Trinity. Keller thus portrays the life of the Christian as a dance involving God and contrasts it to a life that is merely going through the motions. The temptation of Christ is portrayed by Keller as an attempt to get Jesus to stop the dance with God. In this way, even the spiritual battles we have, as Christ had, are seen within the ultimate reality of The Dance. He also provides good background to many chapters, such as Mark's inclusion of the Holy Spirit as being like a dove in Mark 1.
In Chapter 2, Keller portrays the gospel as "The Call" and again begins by situating it the historical use of the word (as he did with the image of the Spirit as a dove in Chapter 1). He explains, for example, that "Gospel" means "history-changing, life-shaping news. Unlike other religions or no religion, which are just advice, Christianity is primarily "news"! The difference is that Christianity and the call of Christ are based on what Christ has done, and not on what we do. Repentance and the call of the gospel to Christ are intended to take us out of ourselves and bring us true freedom and life. Unlike other religions, in which we choose who to follow, Jesus calls His disciples to follow Him.
In a similar way, in Part One, Keller takes on other topics associated with Christ as the King. Keller doesn't always relate them in an obvious way to Christ as King, and so sometimes the overall theme is lost. But each chapter is an engaging and helpful look at one aspect of Christ and His ministry. Not all of the chapters are as provocative or interesting (hence the 4 star rating), but there's something of value in each of them.
In Chapter 9, "The Turn," Keller addresses Mark 8, in which the Gospel turns from the King to the Cross. It's in Mark 8 that Jesus begins to teach that He, the King, will end up on the Cross. In this chapter, Keller also addresses the need for Christ to go the Cross and frames it in terms of the debt we owed which Jesus paid.
In the first half of the book, Keller deals with Mark 1-8 and Christ the King. But as soon as Peter makes his confession, the book, like the Gospel, deals with the purpose of Christ's coming. While the first half of Mark presents the call of Christ on us to follow Him, the second half of Mark presents a picture of all that this following Christ entails. In Chapter 11, for example, Keller deals with "The Trap" of riches and why Christianity always seems to migrate away from wealth and power (as witnessed, for example, by the growth of Christianity in Africa in the 20th century). I found Chapter 14 also particularly appealing, as Keller presents his chapter on "The Feast." In this chapter, Keller paints a compelling picture of the meaning of the Last Supper as a meal.
You might think that a more narrative or imaginative reading of the Gospel of Mark would lead to a downplaying of the seriousness of sin. But Keller manages to maintain a biblical view of sin while at the same time helping us to understand why it's such a big problem and how we must get out of ourselves to access God's salvation from it.
Throughout, Keller uses illustrations from many other works of literature, such as Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," George MacDonald's "The Princess and the Goblin," and C.S. Lewis' Narnia series. He also draws illustrations from non-fiction writers, as well as from movies and personal anecdotes. These all help drive home the point he is making and make the book a pleasure to read.
In spite of some more pedestrian parts, overall I highly recommend this book to Christian readers.
Here's an outline of the book:
Part One - The King - The Identity of Jesus
1. The Dance
2. The Call
3. The Healing
4. The Rest
5. The Power
6. The Waiting
7. The Stain
8. The Approach
9. The Turn
Part Two - The Cross - The Purpose of Jesus
10. The Mountain
11. The Trap
12. The Ransom
13. The Temple
14. The Feast
15. The Cup
16. The Sword
17. The End
18. The Beginning
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
I am not as theologically savvy as other reviewers and even though I was raised in the Christian family, I didn't understand what the Gospel is really like until I read Keller's first book: Reason for God. I just finished chapter two of King's Cross and could not stop my tears. Thank you. Pastor Keller, if you read this, please make this book available in my language (Indonesian language) so that I can share it with my family and friends back in my country.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
More than a few readers have dubbed Timothy Keller as the C. S. Lewis of our day. This is quite an impressive statement especially to me because of my particular fondness of Lewis' books. Not having read any of Timothy Keller's books, I was definitely intrigued.
His words, his illustrations, and how he presented the gospel message matches Lewis' style. It did not surprise me to read that Lewis is of Keller's favorite author.
In King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, Keller focuses on the Gospel of Mark and settles on some very interesting passages, not every single passage, but certain sections that point to Jesus and His Truth.
It is an exceptional book. There were many parts of this book that prompted me to think of Christianity in a different way, not a new way, but a different way.
This is what I love about reading various authors. The Gospel message is the same. It does not change. But reading it through the words of a surrendered heart, just leaves me in awe of a mighty God. Perhaps this is why we have four Gospels in our bibles. God must like that too.
What did I enjoy most? I loved reading Kellers' expansion on Lewis' view of the Trinity as a `dance`, how he constantly reminded the reader of the difference between religion and relationship, the reason he named the book as he did (ingenious), and the thought-provoking quotes like...
-"When Jesus comes back everything sad will become untrue."
-"Because faith is ultimately not a virtue; it's a gift."
-"All love, all real, life-changing love, is substitutionary sacrifice.You have never loved a broken person, you have never loved a guilty person, you have never loved a hurting person except through substitutionary sacrifice"
-"Jesus is both the rest and the storm, both the victim and the wielder of the flaming sword, and you must reject him on the basis of both. Either you'll have to kill him or you'll have to crown him. The one thing you can't do is just say, `What an interesting guy'"
My recommendation? Listen to me, if you buy only one book this year, buy this one. There is deep wisdom here, both from Keller and others. I highly recommend it for the novice to those who've walked with Jesus for years. You will read it and want to reread it again. I did.
Reviewed by: Keiki Hendrix
Reviewed for: The Vessel Project
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2011
Full discretion: I really like Timothy Keller. I'm a Christian who grew up skeptical of religious (human) authority, and as a result, I am extremely picky when it comes to pastors. But every time I go to Timothy Keller to learn, I always leave enlightened and light-hearted.
Timothy Keller is non-polarizing, yet able to deliver difficult and necessary Gospel truths in a wise and thorough manner. His sermons at Redeemer in New York and the books that he has written offer this consistent, guiding exegesis of the Bible.
However, of all of his works, King's Cross was the one I thought I'd be least likely to enjoy, and it's turned out to be my favorite.
Keller looks at the life and character of Jesus through the Gospel of Mark. Before now, Mark was probably my least favorite Gospel. It always felt a little drier than the other 3 Gospels, and even felt a little more emotionally distant. After reading King's Cross, I can no longer see Mark in this way. In fact, now the opposite is true; I find it the most inspiring and loving look into the life and nature of Jesus Christ.
The book of Mark is the oldest Gospel (slightly newer than the letters of Paul), and Keller uses the writer's proximity to Jesus's life to illuminate all aspects of it, from the most well-known parable to the carefully selected Greek word choice. Matthew may have had the most Torah knowledge, Luke may have been the most scholarly, and the author of John may have been the "disciple Jesus loved", but Mark writes as an eyewitness who stands so close that he feels the absolute majesty and love of Christ.
I thoroughly recommend this book to Christian and non-Christian alike.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Timothy Keller is being lauded as the next C. S. Lewis, and it's pretty easy to see why. He's got a distinctive writing style--intellectual, but not complicated. While his thoughts aren't as complex as Lewis's, his prose is much more enjoyable.
King's Cross (just in time for Easter) is essentially a commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Keller focuses on the actions of Jesus, and he cites Mark's journalistic approach as the reason he chose to center King's Cross around that gospel.
Keller's premise is that the cross of Jesus is the turning point of all of history. As you can tell from the cover, he claims that the story of the world was and is being told through the life of Jesus. His argument is compelling, as he weaves a narrative of reconciliation, not of just the world, but also of individuals. This is the story of the world, says Keller: reconciliation, to God and to each other. And the King's Cross accomplished this.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2011
"Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander the Great, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of school, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times"( Philip Schaff) and in "King's Cross" pastor Timothy Keller winsomely allows the reader to find life-changing truth in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazereth.
Tim Keller's "King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus" offers a compelling look at the love, power, and majesty of Jesus Christ revealed in the Gospel of Mark.
Keller discusses many of the key themes concerning the life and ministry of Jesus Christ the Son of Man. This easy-reading volume is not exegetically technical inasmuch as it is not a commentary but a fresh contemporary reading of Christ's life in Mark written in an engaging and personal style. This volume will assist the new believer or the nonbeliever in understanding the good news of Christ; it delivers a powerful look at Christ's life.
The reader will grow in the knowledge of:
- The love of God in Trinity
- The significance of the temptation of Jesus Christ
- Important background information concerning the Gospel of Mark
- Motivation to live a more godly life
- How to follow Jesus
- How to Live in the power, call, and rest of Christ.
Mark 1:1-15 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of
God. ... Then a voice came from heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased." Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the
wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted
by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to
Him. Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee,
preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time
is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe
in the gospel."
"Fundamentally, our Lord's message was Himself. He did not come merely
to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely
to give bread; He said, `I am the bread.' He did not come merely to
shed light; He said, `I am the light.' He did not come merely to show
the door; He said, `I am the door.' He did not come merely to name a
shepherd; He said, `I am the shepherd.' He did not come merely to
point the way; He said, `I am the way, the truth, and the life'"
In "King's Cross" the reader will grow in the understanding of Jesus because Keller has a pastor's heart and it shows on every page. Get a copy for your children in college, new believers, and unbelieving friends.
Truth, Knowledge and the Reason for God: The Defense of the Rational Assurance of Christianity
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2011
The C.S. Lewis of the twenty-first century? That is the statement that Newsweek so boldly proclaimed concerning Tim Keller. Nonetheless, he has lived up to the description. I first read Tim Keller when I picked up his book The Prodigal God. Since that day, I have listened to countless sermons and read countless articles by him. I quickly picked up a few of his other books Counterfeit Gods and Generous Justice. You can imagine the excitement when I picked up The King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus.
From the inside of the cover: "The most influential man to ever walk the earth has had his story told in hundreds of different ways for thousands of years. Can any more be said?"
The answer is absolutely. Written by a scholar with a pastor's heart, Keller looks at the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Mark. Masterfully written, Keller speaks to both believers and non-believers. Each step of the way, Keller is drawing us to a deeper understanding of Christ and therefore a deeper relationship.
The book is divided into two parts: The King and The Cross. In the first part of the book, Keller examines the identity of Christ through specific stories from the Gospel of Mark. He explains and applies scripture in a way that stirs the affections and produces a deeper love for Christ. The second part of the book begins to look at the mission of Jesus. Following the outline of Mark, Keller explains and examines Jesus' journey to the cross. Concluding his book, Keller explains the story of Christ can be our story too. Keller states, "It can be your story as well. God made you to love him supremely, but he lost you. He returned to get you back, but it took the cross to do it. He absorbed your darkness so that one day you can finally and dazzlingly become your true self and take your seat at his eternal feast".
As a masterful storyteller, Keller draws us deeply into every story. The story of Jesus comes alive and fresh as we journey through Mark together. The book is of tremendous value. I have already recommended it and given it to a few friends. Anyone seeking to pursue Jesus will benefit from greatly from this book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Tim Keller does another wonderful job of communicating the truths of God in this devotional commentary on Mark. This is not an in depth, verse by verse exposition. Instead it takes each chapter of Mark and develops the themes that Mark was trying to convey about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
It is Keller's view, as well as most scholars, that Mark is merely the scribe for the Apostle Peter in the retelling of this the ministry of Christ. Thus you find the stories come with an eyewitness feel even though John Mark was not an eyewitness of the events. It is also believed that Mark was written for the Christians of the persecuted church in Rome, thus more for a Gentile audience than a Jewish audience. Further, Mark is the first of the Gospels that was written, but also the shortest. Mark doesn't spend time developing major story lines as much as just reporting what happened.
I have been amazed at how often Mark says, "immediately" to express how something happened. There is an urgent feel to the work and Keller does a good job of picking up on that.
Keller is a great communicator of the truth of God's word. While we would often say he brings new light to this material I would prefer to say that he gives us the ability to connect in new understanding to this material. There is nothing new here, just the newness of a great communicator who has wrestled with the text and given us an explanation that is rich yet easy to understand.
Read through the Gospel of Mark in one sitting, it shouldn't take you overly long even if you are a slow reader. Then go back and start in on Keller's book and you will be refreshed by the insights that you gain and the understanding you pick up about the different stories that are related.
I very much appreciate how Keller handles the story of the rich young ruler. He does not tell us that wealth is wrong, what he tells us is that our priorities of how we live our lives is what makes the difference. Jesus came to serve. He asks us to serve. To do that effectively we have to not be putting our trust in our wealth or our material belongings, instead we have to be committed to giving all that up if necessary to be able to love others the way that Christ loved us and calls us to love others.
Christ had all the wealth possible. He is God, He dwelled in the heavenly places, He had everything under his control. But he willingly gave all that up so that He could come and love us enough to die on a cross for us to present us to Himself as a bride without blemish. Christ understand fully what he was asking the rich young ruler to do, because He had done it.
That is just one short part of this wonderful book. You won't be disappointed with how Keller communicates and how he develops the theme that this King, Jesus came for a Cross not a throne.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
This book brought tremendous insight into the teachings of Jesus and the significance of various Biblical events, using the Gospel of Mark as a guide. As one example, prior to reading this book nobody had ever explained to me the significance of the curtain tearing in the temple when Jesus died. Keller explains that this signified the removal of the barrier between people and God. If you ever scratched your head over the meaning of a Gospel event, this book can likely answer your questions. The subtitle of "The Story of the World in the LIfe of Jesus" is a bit misleading. I was expecting to read about the historical backdrop against which Jesus taught. Instead, the book explains Jesus' teachings in their historical context.