Monday, April 4, 2016

The Prodigal God - Timothy Keller

The Prodigal God
Title: The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Author: Timothy Keller
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 139
Genre: Faith / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I used to work with a huge Tim Keller fan; this was his favorite book.
Date Completed: 2/25/16

Summary: "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."

What I Thought: Just after college, I worked with a guy who was a huge fan of Keller's work. He was and is one of the wisest, most thoughtful Christians I have known. This particular book was one of his favorites by Keller. I've been meaning to read it for years. Challenging myself to read at least one faith-based book each month of 2016 has finally given me the catalyst to do so. 

I really enjoyed this book. Keller's premise is an examination of the parable of the prodigal son - and his brother. He compares modern Christians to each of the two types. The younger brother, the "prodigal" one, runs off seeking fortune and freedom, ultimately returning to the father ashamed and destitute. The elder brother follows all the rules and the path expected of him, but his heart is bitter and prideful. Both are equally in need of redemption.

The book is very short, but contains a lot of wisdom. Keller is not afraid to go after the legalistic, prideful Christian. Nor is he bending on Scripture and being accommodating of a loose lifestyle. He advocates balance and salvation from ourselves coming exclusively through Christ. It's the very heart of the gospel; we are weak and broken without Him, but He is the loving, redemptive, accepting Father willing to forgive us.

There was nothing here that felt particularly groundbreaking to me, perhaps because that coworker years ago espoused the truths so well himself. Yet, it was all a good reminder. After all, there can never be too many reminders of grace. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Yeah, I think I probably will
If You Liked This Try: Erasing Hell / Searching for Sunday / Jesus Feminist

A Reduced Review: A short but powerful reminder of grace and the gospel.


  1. Eliana Neufeld BasingerApril 4, 2016 at 8:44 PM

    I like your goal to read one faith-based book per month! It's a really good idea. Have you read anything by Sr. Helen Prejean? I think she does a good job of writing about her faith, not just her theology.

    1. I haven't, but I'll have to check her out!