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The Prodigal God [Kindle Edition]

Timothy Keller
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (719 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Newsweek called renowned minister Timothy Keller ?a C. S. Lewis for the twenty-first century? in a feature on his first book, The Reason for God. In that book, he offered a rational explanation of why we should believe in God. Now, in The Prodigal God, he uses one of the best-known Christian parables to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation.

Taking his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity, Keller uncovers the essential message of Jesus, locked inside his most familiar parable. Within that parable Jesus reveals God's prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic. This book will challenge both the devout and skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.


Editorial Reviews

Review

'Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbours, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.' -- Christianity Today magazine

Review

'Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbours, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.' -- Christianity Today magazine

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
381 of 388 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! November 1, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"This short book is meant to lay out the essentials of the Christian message, the gospel." So begins Timothy Keller's new book The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith. Keller targets both seekers who are unfamiliar with the gospel and longtime church members who may not feel the need for a primer on the gospel.

Keller's book, as the provocative title suggests, is built on one of Jesus' most famous stories: the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Keller consents that "on the surface of it, the narrative is not all that gripping." But, he contends that "if the teaching of Jesus is likened to a lake, this famous Parable of the Prodigal Son would be one of the clearest spots where we can see all the way to the bottom." Keller has taught from this passage many times over the years, and says, "I have seen more people encouraged, enlightened, and helped by this passage, when I explained the true meaning of it, than by any other text."

The book is laid out in seven brief chapters which aim to uncover the extravagant (prodigal) grace of God, as revealed in this parable. Keller shows how the parable describes two kinds of "lost" people, not just one. Most people can identify the lostness of the "prodigal son," the younger brother in Jesus' story, who takes his inheritance early and squanders it on riotous living. But Keller shows that the "elder brother" in the parable is no less lost. Together, the two brothers are illustrations of two kinds of people in the world. "Jesus uses the younger and elder brothers to portray the two basic ways people try to find happiness and fulfillment: the way of moral conformity and the way of self-discovery." Both brothers are in the wrong, and when we see this, we discover a radical redefinition of what is wrong with us.
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178 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What does 'Prodigal' Mean again? October 30, 2008
Format:Hardcover
When I received a copy of The Prodigal God I was greatly intrigued by the title. To be honest I thought the author was trying to be a little too cute in his choice for a title. As a result I jumped right in and in effort to figure our where he was going, could not put the little book down.

Author Tim Keller recently wrote the bestselling book The Reason for God to reach out to skeptics. Here in The Prodigal God it seems as though he is reaching out to both those who are flagrantly irreligious and to those who are by common estimation, morally and religiously together.

Keller helpfully reminds us (me) of the definition for prodigal: "recklessly extravagant, having spent everything". Many of us may have a definition that centers on a returning wayward son rather than the reasons why he was actually returning. Keller aims to remind us of the God-centeredness of this parable and by application the stinging rebuke that it is intended to have upon the Pharisees and all of their self-righteous grandchildren.

Throughout the book Keller deals with the characteristics of the younger brother (morally bankrupt), the older brother (morally upright) and the Father (representing God who is abundant in grace to the contrite and opposed to the proud).

A strength of this book is the way in which the author keeps the gospel out of the commonly constructed religious categories. The gospel is never about what you and I do but about what God does. Therefore to try to put Jesus and his message into some sort of parallel religious system simply does not work.

Keller writes:

It is typical for people who have turned their backs on religion to beleive that Christianity is no different. They have been in churches brimming with elder-brother types.
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117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book by Keller October 30, 2008
Format:Hardcover
After the publication of The Reason for God, Newsweek hailed Tim Keller as "a C.S. Lewis for the twenty-first century." That is a lofty comparison and one I'm sure must make Keller quite uncomfortable. Yet at some level the comparisons are becoming undeniable. Keller's ability to communicate to believers and unbelievers alike and to do so on an intellectual level clearly parallels that of Lewis. Where Keller's first book offered an explanation as to why we should believe in God, his second, The Prodigal God, focuses on Jesus' best-known parable (and arguably the best-known and most-loved story of all-time) to challenge both believers and skeptics.

In this book Keller makes no claim to originality. He states forthrightly that the message he conveys here is based on a sermon first preached by Dr. Edmund Clowney. That simple sermon, a fresh take on the parable of the Prodigal Son, changed Keller's life and in many ways shaped his ministry. Over the years he has often taught from this parable, both at his church and elsewhere, and he has seen God's hand of blessing in this message. And here he offers it in the form of a short book.

Traditionally, readings of the parable of the Prodigal Son have focused on the younger son and his reconciliation with his father. We learn from such readings that God is willing to receive all those who wander from him. Yet too often we overlook that third character--the older brother. Were the story only about the father and the younger son we would expect that the Pharisees, among those who first heard Jesus tell this parable, would react with joy. Yet we know from Scripture that they walked away in disgust and disbelief. Why? Because the parable pointed to them as examples of the older son.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A most amazing look at the "Prodigal" parable!
Published 15 hours ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Would highly recommend adding this to your reading list
Fabulous, fabulous book! Would highly recommend adding this to your reading list.
Published 6 days ago by nerak
4.0 out of 5 stars New approach to an old parable
Awesome new perspective on the parable of the prodigal son. It's great for those new to the faith as well as older believers.
Published 6 days ago by Leonard Carrejo
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh perspective on the story of the prodigal son ...
A fresh perspective on the story of the prodigal son: fresh to us but the story as told by Jesus and how it was understood by the Pharisees
Published 7 days ago by Margaret Fraser
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful!
Just finished this insightful book. It begs the question of its readers: "are you an elder or younger brother?" Highly recommend.
Published 8 days ago by Wackiejackiechan
4.0 out of 5 stars Great analysis of a parable that most of us have ...
Great analysis of a parable that most of us have just taken at face value. It causes me to wonder how many others I'm missing the true meaning of. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Ameganda
5.0 out of 5 stars the book is fine, which I will use at our retreat this ...
Yes, the book is fine, which I will use at our retreat this weekend. L ooks perfect and arrived in time.
HS
Published 8 days ago by Hans J. Schnitzler
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful hints to avoid "older brother" syndrome. The older ...
Helpful hints to avoid "older brother" syndrome. The older brother (in the parable of the prodigal son) is often overlooked. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Seattle Sleuth
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing and challenging book
What an amazing and challenging book. As it turns out, I am studying it in 2 different Bible studies (not planned) but each discussion is different. Read more
Published 12 days ago by bhamreader
5.0 out of 5 stars worth reading
Clear and insightful
Published 13 days ago by Mallison
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More About the Author

TIMOTHY KELLER was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has more than five thousand regular attendees at five services, a host of daughter churches, and is planting churches in large cities throughout the world. He is the author of COUNTERFEIT GODS, THE PRODIGAL GOD, and the New York Times bestseller THE REASON FOR GOD.

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