Wednesday, March 2, 2011
C.S. Lewis was the greatest Christian author in generations. Anyone, no matter what stage of life they are in, can read his books effortlessly. Lewis' words formed Christian doctrine, shattered Pharisaical religious myths, and evangelized the lost. Few authors are able accomplish this with their life's work; Lewis accomplished it in every book he authored. And now Tim Keller has authored a book that is just as sweeping, applicable, and paradigm shifting as Lewis' best work.
King's Cross is a book about the life of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Mark. Keller, verse by verse, offers his thoughts on every major theme in Mark. There have been countless commentaries and just as many devotional works on the Gospels; King's Cross is both.
For the new Christian, King's Cross will bring the words of Jesus to life. Its easy to forget the power that Scripture has when you read it with fresh eyes. In King's Cross, Keller gives insight in the world of Jesus. He shows just how earth shattering the arrival of the Good News was. Keller will gently deconstruct the myth that the Bible is not a book that is inspired by God. You will walk away from King's Cross understanding just how radical the Gospel of Mark is.
For the pastor and Bible study leader, King's Cross should be a joy to read. Keller is a dedicated pastor whose love for his people comes across in each paragraph. Its easy be trapped in the intellectual realm of seminary or the spiritual emotionalism that infects almost every church. Keller never loses sight of his true purpose: sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is able to write intellectually without going over the head of anyone, emotionally without any saccharine-sweet spirituality, and evangelistically without Bible thumping. His exposition of the text should inspire those who teach others in the church.
For the Pharisee, King's Cross will convict you. Whether you are an old school Pharisee who still tithes off the mint and cumin or newer model that looks down on the people who are "too religious," Keller seeks to expose and redeem you with Jesus' words. Its easy to miss how much Jesus despises religionists when we pick a verse here or there. When you read any of the gospels in one sitting, it's hard to say what Jesus dislikes more. On page 47 Keller writes, "The gospel says that the humble are in and the proud are out. The gospel says the people who know they're not better, not more open-minded, not more moral than anyone else, are in, and the people who think they're on the right side of the divide are most in danger." Convicting for the Pharisee in all of us.
For the non-Christian, this is a book that will show you why Christians have fallen in love with Christ. You will see Jesus as the original readers of the Gospels did. You will read the words of Jesus and be changed. Forgive Christians of the arguments and the apologetics and the attitudes that turned you against Jesus. Read this book, read the Gospel of Mark, and just ask yourself if it could be true. Could there really be one person who defines history with His life and death? If you have come to cherish the belief that Jesus was nothing more than a great person and a good teacher, a worthy example to follow, then this book will take that away from you. Jesus did not leave us that option. "Either he's a wicked liar or a crazy person and you should have nothing to do with him, or he is who he says he is and your whole life has to revolve around him . . ." (45, King's Cross)
Keller has already written impressive works that are among the best in the last decade, including The Reason For God and The Prodigal God. King's Cross does not fit into a certain category and exposes the power of the Gospel to modern readers. King's Cross is broad in its appeal, brilliant in its execution, and is Keller's best work to date. Buy at least two copies, because you will give it away.