Books that "Confused" Timothy Keller

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 10:32 AM 1 comments

When you search Amazon’s best-selling Christian books, one of the authors who hit the list is Timothy Keller, senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and founder of Redeemer Church Planting Center. But this post is not intended to hover on his influential books but instead on the books that influenced him.

In the Reform and Resurge Conference of 2006, Keller preached on “Doing Justice” wherein he nailed my ear to his introduction:
“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone. If you really spend a lot of time listening and reading two thinkers, you become confused. If you really spend a lot of time in reading and listening to about ten thinkers, you'll start to develop your own voice. And you listen and read two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice. However, the first couple that confused you... always stay with you.”
I became curious of the books that perhaps “confused” Keller so I contacted asking for a list of Keller’s recommended books. I received the following entries from Tim Cox, Digital Engagement Manager of Redeemer City to City:

College Years
Seminary Years
Good Basic Reading I've Found Since Then
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Westminster Bookstore
The Reason for God (Keller, Timothy)

Westminster Bookstore
The Meaning of Marriage (Keller, Timothy)

Westminster Bookstore
The Prodigal God (Keller, Timothy)

Westminster Bookstore
King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus (Keller, Timothy)

The Love that Wants You Dead

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 10:34 PM 2 comments

Self-centeredness and loving others had always been oppositions to me. I always thought that you can’t truly love others when you deeply think about your own personal image. However, GOD is really weird. He harmoniously maintains His passion for His personal glory and His passion for our personal gain. I will try to illustrate this using a very familiar story.

1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." 4But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." 5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. (John 11:1-6)

The Sandwich
Lazarus and her two sisters are very close to the heart of the Lord. Christ’s love for them is in verse 3 and Christ’s love for them is in verse 5. And there is a sandwich: Christ’s love in verses 3 and 5 sandwiches the glory of GOD in verse 4.

The So-Dilemma
Verse 6 will give a dilemma for the critical reader. Most literal Bible translations initiate verse 6 with a “so” or with a “therefore.” “So” implies a transition from reason to outcome.
  • I studied hard so I passed.
  • I was soaking wet yesterday so I am sick today.
  • Anna loves pink so she wears pink almost daily.
Verse 5 is then most likely the reason for the outcome in verse 6. I, therefore, paraphrase, “Christ intensely loves the three SO, when Lazarus was dying, He made sure that he would die (He stayed two more days).” If you think I am implying that it was Christ’s very love for them that wanted Lazarus dead, then you got my point. Jesus loved Lazarus much SO He wanted him dead.

The Love that Wanted Lazarus Dead
This was a problem to me and I believe it still is a problem to some. The problem arises primarily because of our poor definition of love. For most people, to love is to desire no harm for the loved. But true love is much more than just desiring no harm – it is desiring the highest possible good for the loved. And there is no higher possible good than GOD Himself. Jesus, in His love, wanted Lazarus dead because He wanted them to see the glory of GOD (verse 4). I strongly believe that these three whom Jesus loved never had a weaker faith after seeing this display of GOD’s glory. They had received a gift infinitely more valuable than life from the One who loves them much.

GOD desires to show us His glory. And His glory most of the time shines the brightest when our pits are the deepest. He Himself digs these pits and He Himself puts us in the deepest. And when He finally decides to show His glory, He will shine the brightest. He loves to show His glory because He loves you and wants to attract you to Himself. He loves you much and may perhaps want you dead.

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