Category Archives: Tim Keller

“The operating principle of the gospel” by Timothy Keller

“There is a great gulf between the understanding that God accepts us because of our efforts and the understanding that God accepts us because of what Jesus has done. Religion operates on the principle, ‘I obey– therefore I am accepted by God.’ But the operating principle of the gospel is ‘I am accepted by God through what Christ has done– therefore I obey.'”

–Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 179-180.

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“The radical nature of the gospel” by Timothy Keller

“One of the signs that you may not grasp the unique, radical nature of the gospel is that you are certain that you do.”

–Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York: Dutton, 2008), xi.

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“The smelling salts” by Timothy Keller

“Christianity is by no means the opiate of the people. It’s more like the smelling salts.”

–Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 113.

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“The basic premise of religion” by Timothy Keller

“The basic premise of religion– that if you live a good life, things will go well for you– is wrong. Jesus was the most morally upright person who ever lived, yet He had a life filled with the experience of poverty, rejection, injustice, and even torture.”

–Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 182.

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“The purpose of Biblical miracles” by Timothy Keller

“I don’t want to be too hard on people who struggle with the idea of God’s intervention in the natural order. Miracles are hard to believe in, and they should be. In Matthew 28 we are told that the apostles met the risen Jesus on a mountainside in Galilee: ‘When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted’ (verse 17).

That is a remarkable admission. Here is the author of an early Christian document telling us that some of the founders of Christianity couldn’t believe the miracle of the resurrection, even when they were looking straight at Him with their eyes and touching Him with their hands. There is no other reason for this to be in the account unless it really happened.

The passage shows us several things. It is a warning not to think that only we modern, scientific people have to struggle with the idea of the miraculous, while ancient, more primitive people did not. The apostles responded like any group of modern people– some believed their eyes and some didn’t. It is also an encouragement to patience. All the apostles ended up as great leaders in the church, but some had a lot more trouble believing than others.

The most instructive thing about this text is, however, what it says about the purpose of Biblical miracles. They lead not simply to cognitive belief, but to worship, to awe and wonder. Jesus’s miracles in particular were never magic tricks, designed only to impress and coerce. You never see Him say something like: ‘See that tree over there? Watch me make it burst into flames!’ Instead, He used miraculous power to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and raise the dead.

Why? We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that He has power but also wonderful foretastes of what He is going to do with that power. Jesus’s miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.”

–Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 95-6.

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“We will be brought into the feast” by Tim Keller

“Jesus, unlike the founder of any other major faith, holds out hope for ordinary human life. Our future is not an ethereal, impersonal form of consciousness. We will not float through the air, but rather will eat, embrace, sing, laugh, and dance in the kingdom of God, in degrees of power, glory, and joy that we can’t at present imagine.

Jesus will make the world our perfect home again. We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’ always wandering and never arriving. We will come, and the father will meet us and embrace us, and we will be bought into the feast.”

–Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York, NY: Dutton, 2008), 104.

[HT: Of First Importance]

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“The Dust Wins” by Tim Keller

“In the beginning, human beings were made to worship and serve God, and to rule over all created things in God’s name (Gen 1:26-­28). Paul understands humanity’s original sin as an act of idolatry: ‘They exchanged the glory of the immortal God… and worshipped and served created things rather than the creator’ (Rom 1:21–25).  Instead of living for God, we began to live for ourselves, or our work, or for material goods. We reversed the original intended order. And when we began to worship and serve created things, paradoxically, the created things came to rule over us. Instead of being God’s vice-regents, ruling over creation, now creation masters us. We are now subject to decay and disease and disaster. The final proof of this is death itself.  We live for our own glory by toiling in the dust, but eventually we return to the dust—the dust ‘wins’ (Gen 3:17–19). We live to make a name for ourselves but our names are forgotten. Here in the beginning of the Bible we learn that idolatry means slavery and death.”

–Tim Keller, “Talking About Idolatry in a Postmodern Age,” Accessed at <http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/articleprint.php?a=2> on July 1, 2007.

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