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The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith Paperback – March 1, 2011
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Praise for Timothy Keller and The Prodigal God
"Thrilling . . . Brilliant. Keller elegantly explains the goodness of God, redefining sin, lostness, grace, and salvation." —HeartsandMinds.com
"An amazing, thought-provoking, illuminating work." —Examiner.com
"The insights Tim Keller has about the two individuals in the story, and about the heart of God who loves them both, wrecked me afresh. Tim's thoughts deserve a hearing worldwide." —Bill Hybels, founding and senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
"Explain, explode, expose, explore—all of these Jesus did by telling the parable of the prodigal son. In this book, Timothy Keller shows us something of how this story actually reveals the heart of God, and, if we read it carefully, our own hearts. This brief exposition is unsettling and surprisingly satisfying. Like seeing something as your own home, or your own self, with new eyes. Enjoy and profit." —Mark Dever, senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
"When it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ, Timothy Keller is simply brilliant." —Mark Driscoll, pastor, Mars Hill Church and president, Acts 29 Church Planting Network
"Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians." —Christianity Today magazine
"I thank God for him." —Billy Graham
About the Author
Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. His first pastorate was in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has nearly six thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start more than three hundred new churches around the world. He is the author of The Songs of Jesus, Prayer, Encounters with Jesus, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, Every Good Endeavor, and The Meaning of Marriage, among others, including the perennial bestsellers The Reason for God and The Prodigal God.
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Top customer reviews
This book is an exposition of sorts centered around the Parable of the Prodigal Son as it is comonly known (or the Parable of the Two Sons as Keller likes to name it). The parable is only found in Luke 15:11-32. It is a familiar parable to many Christians, being found in works of literature, stage productions, art and popular music.
The basic story is that of a father and his two sons; and the younger son decided to ask for his share of the inheritance and decided to go and make a life on his own. He ends up squandering everything and eventually comes back to his senses and returns to his father. The father forgives him, but the older brother who did not rebel, does not. The story illustrates both the futility of sin and the futility of unforgiveness.
Tim Keller does an amazing job of explaining the meaning of this parable. He teases out the nuances of the story and helps the reader face the story on a personal level. One of his main points is that there are many "older brothers" in our churches today, just as there are many younger brothers who are estranged from the church. They stay away because they want to avoid the older brother and reject his judgmental attitude and lack of compassion.
Keller helps the reader to see themselves in the story. He writes that many of us are close to the older brother in our attitudes. What keeps us separated from God is not so much our moral failures, but our self-righteousness. We think that by "being good" that we deserve God's blessings and a relatively trouble free life. What we need to realize is that we are just as bad off as the younger brother in the story.
In the context of when Jesus originally told this parable, he was probably referring to the Pharisees. They were like the older brother in that they looked down on others and did not care for the lost sheep. The parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep show the priority of Jesus. Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus cares for the lost one. He seeks to save them from eternal death.
I thought that this was a wonderful book. Tim Keller is a talented writer. While the book is based on a sermon, it certainly does not read like one. It flows very well and tends to draw the reader into the story. This book made me think more deeply about a very familiar parable. In the end, Keller encourages us to appreciate the importance of the gospel every day. We are all sinners in need of the grace of God. We will not experience freedom from sin through our own efforts, but only as we are transformed in our thinking by the gospel. God's undeserved grace towards us and the high price that he paid is what motivates us to live in gratitude to God.
I would agree with Keller's assertion that "Jesus is pleading not so much with immoral outsiders as with moral insiders. He wants to show them their blindness, narrowness, and self-righteousness, and how these things are destroying both their own souls and the lives of the people around them. It is a mistake, then, to think that Jesus tells this story primarily to assure younger brothers of his unconditional love...Jesus is saying that both the irreligious and the religious are spiritually lost, both life-paths are dead ends, and that every thought the human race has had about how to connect to God has been wrong." (page 11)
In the end, I found this book very helpful. I was challenged and encouraged at the same. Any book that can do that is definitely worth a read.
Since I finished the book, I have taught it in my community group at our church, given it as a gift (audio and kindle) to my brother and dad, and referred to it countless times in conversations with both Christ followers and seekers.
In a short 149 pages, Timothy Keller will transform the way you think about relationships.