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Even More Keller

2010 January 28
by Tim V-B

This blog is in serious danger of being a list of posts about Tim Keller. Believe me, I do not spend all my life reading and listening to him. Do you want proof? I have a very large quantity of mp3 sermons by him sitting on my hard-drive which I haven’t listened to yet.

Hmm, that doesn’t exactly prove my case!

Tim Keller Reviews The Shack

Tim finally gets around to reading The Shack and posts a review here.  [HT: Buzzard Blog]  To whet your appetite:

At the heart of the book is a noble effort — to help modern people understand why God allows suffering, using a narrative form. The argument Young makes at various parts of the book is this. First, this world’s evil and suffering is the result of our abuse of free will. Second, God has not prevented evil in order to accomplish some glorious, greater good that humans cannot now understand. Third, when we stay bitter at God for a particular tragedy we put ourselves in the seat of the ‘Judge of the world and God’, and we are unqualified for such a job. Fourth, we must get an ‘eternal perspective’ and see all God’s people in joy in his presence forever.

…However, sprinkled throughout the book, Young’s story undermines a number of traditional Christian doctrines. Many have gotten involved in debates about Young’s theological beliefs, and I have my own strong concerns. But here is my main problem with the book. Anyone who is strongly influenced by the imaginative world of The Shack will be totally unprepared for the far more multi-dimensional and complex God that you actually meet when you read the Bible.

In his review, Tim references a “good (and devastating)” review from the most recent print edition of Books and Culture: A Christian Review (Jan/Feb 2010.)  I’m pretty sure he means this one here: I am not who you think I am.

For what it’s worth, I read The Shack last summer and enjoyed a lot of it.  There are lots of good and helpful things he says about the problem of suffering and the way we foolishly respond to suffering.  But William Young has a serious problem with authority – he cannot conceive of authority and love coming together, which is why he ends up emphasising God’s love but not his rule or anger against sin.  For someone who tries hard genuinely to allow Jesus to be the revelation of God, it seems strange he misses the obvious fact that Jesus does reveal both authority and love.

Mini-review over.  Back to Keller.

Tim Keller and The Prodigal God

I mentioned The Prodigal God before.   You’ll find a very favourable review of the DVD over at Tim Chester’s blog.

I can’t praise this resource too much – it’s magnificent. The presentation of the DVD is beautiful and the content is dynamite. Even though I was familiar with the material from sermon mp3s and the book, I cried as I watched – twice!

Well, that pushed me over the edge and I’ve just gone and ordered my own copy.  I’m inclined to say “I’ll post a review when I’ve seen it” but, let’s be honest, this blog is so irregular it would be an empty promise.

Finally… the next post will give you easy access to lots of free Keller sermons, in 4 easy downloads.  Watch this space!

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