I just started reading “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller and my thoughts probably have little if anything to do with the premise of the book (remember I just started reading) but I was provoked by a statement in the opening chapter. Tim Keller notes that “Jesus’ teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day.” Whoa! I had to re-read that sentence several times. As I read and re-read that sentence I wondered how many Pastors, Youth Pastor, Christian artists, CHRISTIANS in general are attracting the irreligious? Are they conforming to or offending the Bible-believing, religious people?
Tim Keller elaborates further as he observes that most contemporary churches in our era attract “conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people.” Are they? Is this true? Do you agree?
Lately I’ve been really interested in Church Plants and have been following many Church Planters, Pastors, Youth Pastors and of course many Christian artists. With that in mind let me offer Tim’s statement above in a question form with a slightly different perspective. Are the newer, more progressive “contemporary” churches, strategically aligning themselves to a specific demographic in the interest of attracting a social class that can secure the church’s long term financial and corporate sustainability? Are Christian artists making music for Christians to buy or spread the good news? Are Christians in general living in a bubble with other yuppy believers because the alternative is just too messy? In contrast are we attracting the hungry, the orphans, the widows and the poor in spirit?
Mr. Keller ends the chapter by making the following statement: “If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.”
Ouuuuchhhhh!!! We (pastors, artists, CHRISTIANS) are all commissioned to BE the Gospel, BE the Church, BE the Good News… are we having the same effect on people that Jesus did? Are we attracting the irreligious? If not, we must ask what message are we communicating? Is it remotely reflecting the Gospel?
What are your thought?
The Prodigal God
“Newsweek” called renowned minister Timothy Keller aa C. S. Lewis for the twenty-first centurya 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
About Timothy Keller
Renowned minister and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller illuminates the central Christian message with one of the most powerful yet most misunderstood parables of the Bible.
Newsweek called 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 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 the skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.
Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has over five thousand regular attendees at five services, a host of daughter churches, and is planting churches in large cities throughout the world.
For additional info on Timothy Keller or “The Prodigal God” visit: www.theprodigalgod.com