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The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith Hardcover – October 30, 2008
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book for beginners or seasoned saints. Keller expertly captures the depth of Christianity through the parable of the Prodigal Son.Published 2 days ago by Devin K Schaffer
The Prodigal God challenges the reader to identify and expose the blind spots in their own soul. The book acknowledges that there are clearly the lost that make up our families... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
A great comparison and contrast of the sons of the father. Makes me keenly aware of the straight and narrow. To the left rebellion... To the right legalistic religion. Great read!Published 12 days ago by Steve Glover
This is a great book with a completely different way of viewing Christianity. I had never viewed it quite like this and in turn will never see it the same again. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Doug Johnson
The Gospel of Christ is familiar to all believers, yet Keller shows us that there are two lost sons in the parable of the lost son. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Jim Ray