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The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith Kindle Edition
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, Keller takes his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity and uses the parable of the prodigal son to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation.
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.
"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.--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B0017SYNZM
- Publisher : Penguin Books (September 25, 2008)
- Publication date : September 25, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 1595 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 139 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #65,839 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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It is God who is the lavish giver in this parable. He lavishly gives to his undeserving sons, both of them.
spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant.
"prodigal habits die hard"
synonyms: wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, improvident, imprudent, immoderate, profligate, thriftless, excessive, intemperate, irresponsible, self-indulgent, reckless, wanton
"prodigal habits die hard"
having or giving something on a lavish scale.
"the dessert was crunchy with brown sugar and prodigal with whipped cream"
synonyms: generous, lavish, liberal, unstinting, unsparing, bountiful; More
noun: prodigal; plural noun: prodigals
a person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way.
Think you know the story of the “Prodigal Son?” Trust me. You don’t! But you will if you read this short book. Think you know the definition of “prodigal?” You don’t! But you will when you read these pages. Never thought God could be described as a “prodigal?” I didn’t either— until I read this book!
It is a very short book but it took me a while as I kept on re-reading each chapter as I wanted to really understand and for the message to marinate inside of me.
This is a book for me, the older brother, the seasoned christian. A good wake-up call for me to step up in faith and look to my Loving Father’s example and be repentant than drown in comparison and self righteousness.
You might be familiar with the Prodigal Son but this is just oh! so good! Grab your copy now it will never disappoint you!
The title "The Prodigal God" indicates that it is God who has "spent" his resources. He maintains love for both, the younger who accepts his mercy and grace and the elder who rejects his gifts. Perhaps the real "Prodigal God" is seen as our Lord, Jesus Christ. He spent what he had to become human, and by temporarily separating from God, the Father, and by his death on the cross paid the ultimate sacrifice to save man-kind from our sins. Keller's theology and Biblical references are right on point. I heartily recommend this short book to all who would like to engage in a personal reflection on the numerous issues Keller raises.
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It's quite true the elder son is the focus of the parable and the pharisees, scribes, and their modern counterparts of all shades the Lord’s target for gentle reproof.
However read Ps. 19 or better Ps. 119 to see the ugly and antichristian* spirit of this book exposed. The author has wickedly conflated loving Divine Law with self righteousness. This is a common charge levelled by the ungodly at the saints, Job’s three Satanic ‘counsellors’ did the same. Only Elihu knew how to justify Job by exposing his utter vileness, vindicate God's Law and remind of His gift of a sinner’s ransom, Keller on the other hand has chosen to undermine and disqualify the Law severely. Elihu was angry with Job & the three counsellors for their inept & harmful remediation, so was God, he'd be angry with this companion too. When Paul explains free justification without works, he adds, 'Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law' (Rom. 3.31).
Never does the Lord endorse the pharisees as wholly, properly or fully keeping the Law. The author however continually chooses to differ describing them as ‘extremely good’, ‘living very moral lives’, as ‘virtually faultless regarding the moral rules’, ‘ethical’ or exhibiting ‘careful obedience to God’s law’. On the contrary the Saviour exposes them repeatedly for misuse or mishandling of the Law’s probing, convicting & spiritual character, and for hypocritical pretence that harbours a deep hostility to the commands of God's kindness. Isaiah writes of such religious hypocrites, ‘From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.’
Keller however has constructed a wholly false dichotomy between lovers of Law and lovers of sin, in the guise of the two sons. He thus violates the Lord's Law, not honouring it, as is the common task of those at enmity with it. By eschewing the instrument of diagnosis, he has also rejected the kernel of its root remedy, and the means of validating cure. He is opening the gate to freer sexual licence, the public practice of homosexuality, easy divorce and a multitude of worldly snares within the church, in express opposition to apostolic teaching. He has, as Jude warned, subtly turned grace into licence (v. 4). He is sowing tares which will be quickly evident in the tragic congregations that follow this pernicious doctrine. This is of a piece with the Christian hedonism of his school, (see Christian Hedonism by E S Williams Christian Hedonism?: A biblical examination of John Piper's teaching
Amazon link unreliable).
The cross delivers us from sin and into not from purity and holiness, it writes the Law in our hearts and does not in the least efface it. Real disciples love & delight in the heart, spirit and letter of the commandments far more than the scribes and legalists. It is the cherished manifesto of their Lover (Matt. 5.17-19; Jn. 14:15,21; 15.10; Rom. 13.12-14; Gal. 5.21; 1 Jn. 2.2-3; 3.22-24; 5.2-3; 2 Jn. 6; 3 Jn. 11). The Gospel makes us cheerful servants of righteousness, not shifty excusers of sin. It shatters the chains of our depravity, not merely explaining them away. Ultimately the cross serves as a strong barrier to the impenitent fornicator, adulterer or homosexual, thief or extortioner, just as much as it serves as a door to the brokenhearted forsaker of his wickedness, for it removes all our excuses (1 Cor. 6.9-11).
As well as proposing to redefine sin, the estate of the lost, and the character of their hope, it is no wonder the telling original subtitle for this work, since withdrawn, was ‘redefining Christianity.’ This is a heretical and a poisonous book, for all its sweet expression, read it if you must with care, go back often to the prophets, psalms and Gospels to see just how widely it errs. Isaiah predicts the Messiah will 'magnify the law, and make it honourable'.(Isa. 42.21)
Mr Keller has done quite the opposite.
Hear Psalm 112, ‘Blessed is the man that fears the LORD, that delights greatly in His commandments.’ Here is the character of real joy and communion.
*(ἀνομία = without law, a key characteristic of enemies of the Lord, 2 Thess. 2.7)
After the scene is set, Keller goes on to redefine sin and lostness. This is when I feel Keller may be less then his best in expounding the root cause of our common sinfulness. The focus is still too much on the outward appearance - the wrongdoings or not. He mentions nothing about our original sin. Our original sin means that there is no righteousness in us. This is why when the elder brother uses God's laws to earn his own righteousness by "never disobeying" them, his self-righteousness turns out to be hideous - more detestable than the waywardness of the younger brother because at least he is saying openly he is sinning. This is why the elder brother is hypocritical, bitter, resentful, loveless, joyless, judgemental - but above all, he serves his father grudgingly, and he hates his father rather than loving him. Keller does not say that there is only one kind of righteousness acceptable to God which is through Christ (Phil 3:8-11) because as soon as we try to get right with God by ourselves, we are our own saviour, as we worship ourselves, breaking the first commandment.
Keller also uses the term 'pardon our sins' but Christ does not just die to pardon our sins. How does he wash our guilt away? It is not teased out, and can be confusing.
When talking about the difference that salvation makes to us, I am quite shocked by what he implies with what he writes. 'Jesus not only preached the word, but also healed the sick, fed the hungry, and cared for the needs of the poor. In Matthew 25, Jesus describes Judgement Day. Many will stand there and call him "Lord," but Jesus says, stunningly, that if they had not been serving the hungry, the refugee, the sick, and the prisoner, then they hadn't been serving him (Matthew 25:34-40). There is no contradiction to what we have heard from Jesus in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. He is not saying that only the social workers get into heaven. Rather, he is saying that the inevitable sign that you know you are a sinner saved by sheer, costly grace is a sensitive social conscience and a life poured out in deeds of service to the poor. Younger brothers are too selfish and elder brothers are too self-righteous to care for the poor.' (p.111-112)
This sounds great but when we think deeper, it is wrong. Having broken down elder-brotherness in the book, it is surprising that Keller gives us another yardstick to meet in order to be recognised by Christ on the last day - service to the poor. No, the sign that we are saved is not a sensitive social conscience and a life poured out in deeds of service to the poor. Our response to the costly grace is obedience in taking up our cross. Our cross is assigned by God, whatever it might be for his kingdom. The citation of Matthew 25 is inaccurate. Verse 40 actually reads, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' It sounds to me that Christ is talking if we cares for his sheep, not social welfare in general.
For me, I find Keller in this book is not theological precise. As the book develops it gets more confusing. When the application goes broader from the parable, I cannot agree with all that he is saying. For this reason I will not recommend the book, especially non-believers in their formative age.
It takes a fresh look at the message of the parable, examines ALL the charactersand their parts in it, goes considerably deeper than anything I'd ever really considered and - and this is really brilliant -gently but firmly makes it personal to each one of us.
Timothy Keller teaches without preaching, challenges without guilt, encourages without overwhelming and has really made me think about my faith, life and how I'm living it.
His style isn't heavy with indigestable theological terminology whilst being soundly Biblical and reading it feels like an invitation to explore together the message and its relevance to us in the 21st century.
It has also made me want to read other books by him and I'd highly recommend "The Freedom of Self Forgetfullness"
which is an even slimmer volume (48 pages) but, as with "Prodigal God", every word counts and it's definitely a case of quality over quantity.