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The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

The Prodigal God (edition 2011)

by Timothy Keller

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2,022354,866 (4.42)8
Title:The Prodigal God
Authors:Timothy Keller
Info:Riverhead Trade (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:The Nature Of God, Salvation / The Gospel

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The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller



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I didn't get on with this at all. It started with the title and although someone tried to persuade me not to get distracted by it, it is on every page! Choosing a less offensive title, however, wouldn't have made this a better book.

Keller dissects the parable of the prodigal son. He introduces the subject as if he has some new and profound revelation, but actually most of the material has been documented before. The things that were new have, in my opinion, been found as a result of Keller reading far more into the parable than was intended by Jesus. John MacArthur once mentioned that numerous preachers had spent a lot of time considering what various characters in the parables may have been intending/thinking. He points out that none of them were thinking anything because they were fictional! Sometimes, it's best just to take the story at face value. It can be worth looking at the cultural context but going beyond that and seeking hidden meanings can lead to some dubious places.

Keller reintroduces a lot of the material found in Desiring God by John Piper. I didn't rate this book either. He focuses on affections as being triggered by an emotional response to God/Jesus. He makes this an essential part of salvation. He doesn't back this up with Scripture. In fact, I found that a lot of what he said wasn't backed up convincingly with Scripture....He does talk about obedience but fails to mention that we are told in John 14 vs 15 "If you love Me, you will obey My commands." There is nothing in this verse or elsewhere about manipulating emotions or affections.

Someone else commented in their review that Keller is trying to get us to worship God for Who He is. Obviously this should be our goal, but the reviewer pointed out that God encourages us to look for eternal rewards. (Store up treasure in heaven etc) He points out that if the hope of eternal life was removed then it would leave people desperately trying to force themselves to worship God with no expectation of reward. How can any of us be expected to do that especially with fallen hearts....? I think Keller may be setting a lot of people up for disappointment when they can't find the experiences or emotions they have been told to seek...

A pastor I know once said that he thought Keller was a dangerous man. Now, I can see why. He has enough intelligence for his opinions to be adopted and to become mainstream. I will stick to the likes of MacArthur who quote Scripture throughout. He has also written a book on the prodigal son which I highly recommend; A Tale of Two Sons.

( )
  sparkleandchico | Nov 10, 2017 |
I read this book with my staff team for a devotional. It is a modern day classic that I will come back to again and again. Every chapter encourages and exhorts. It gets to the heart of what it means to be a believer in Christ by uncovering your motives and false beliefs. If this is on your To Read list, move it to the top of the list and read it next. ( )
  kerchie1 | Jun 9, 2017 |
This is Tim Keller'summation of the gospel through the lens of the parable of the prodigal God. Some really rich reflections here. Keller speaks of the sins of both the younger brother (who seeks happiness through self autonomy) and the older brother (who looks for happiness in moral conformity). Keller observes that the way that the story is told (in relation to the lost sheep and lost coin, parables), Jesus is also hinting at the 'true elder brother' who would search out the lost younger son.

I read this book as part of preparing to preach on the Prodigal's son parable. There is a lot here, and it got me thinking about God's love for us. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Reviewed on The Light Network
  coldwaterchurch | Jan 29, 2017 |
Amazing how someone can take a passage that you've heard taught a million times and bring profound new application from it. Great short book that every Christian should read. ( )
  HGButchWalker | Sep 21, 2016 |
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With Gratitude To Edmund P. Clowney and my other mentors
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525950796, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Uses the biblical tale of the prodigal son to provide both an introduction to Christianity and a clarifying primer on the nature of the gospel for believers, in a resource that reveals how Jesus's essential message is revealed by the story in ways that can enable greater understandings of the Christian faith.… (more)

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