I bought this book for my brother's birthday -- he hasn't finished it yet but says its a great book! Challenging him in many ways. I chose to buy this one for him, not because I knew that much about Keller but because I know that as Christians we need to always remind ourselves of the importance of Jesus Christ in our lives and our faith!
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Tim Keller takes us on a tour of the gospel of Mark, emphasizing key points along the way. The first part of the gospel establishes Jesus as King, the second part displays him as a suffering King on a cross. The main problem with this book is that it keeps disrupting the incessant pace of Mark's gospel (the gospel of Mark is not padded, to say the least) with Keller's insights. Sometimes Keller gets in the way of the story, but he also provides worthwhile insights at key points in the story, especially where he enlightens us as to what the audience of the day would have thought of Jesus' words and deeds.
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Having recently discovered Tim Keller, I have to say that I am becoming a fan. Keller is able to connect so many different worlds together: The Old and New Testament worlds (which are not the same), the present and the past, the wounded and the healed, the temporal and the eternal, the worldly and the divine. Mr. Keller's writing reflects his joy in knowledge, wisdom and the foundational belief that if God is who He is in the Holy Scripture, He is as relevant today, to everyone, no matter who and where they are, as to the members of the early church. This idea comes out in spades in this book. This is not a commentary, but in many ways suggests lines of academic thought concerning the Gospel of Mark that are often neglected. The basic message that one comes away with is that of a loving God who is present and active in reconciling a broken, distant humanity to himself, in the only way that was (and still is) possible. The result of this reconciliation is one of gratefulness, transformed life and promise of eternity. These eternal truths are editorially and sometimes poetically drawn out in King's Cross.
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104 of 110 people found the following review helpful
Keller's Best Book YetFeb. 25 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
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 book 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.
71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Brings the Gospel of Mark to Life!Feb. 22 2011
Fr. Charles Erlandson
- Published on Amazon.com
I debated on whether to give Tim Keller's new book, "King's Cross," 4 or 5 stars and finally settled on 4. It's a compelling book that supplies a fresh reading of the Gospel of Mark, but in some places it's also a little mundane.
What Keller does best is to take the Gospel of Mark and present its major themes in a new light, while maintaining a fidelity to the Bible as the Word of God and accurate record of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Keller's book fills a much-needed niche: it's not as detailed or as technical as a commentary and it's not as personal as a devotional work but it helps the reader understand the Gospel of Mark by presenting it through a series of compelling ideas or images. While "King's Cross" doesn't elaborate on every passage, Keller gives his reader the big picture that is so often lacking in works on the Bible and in modern Christianity in general. He thus avoids the error of many devotional works that take random verses out of context while at the same time retaining a personal style and touch.
"King's Cross" will help the reader understand the Gospel of Mark and the good news of Jesus Christ in a new, imaginative way that will be of great value to many readers. Hopefully, it will entice new disciples of Jesus Christ to Him and will help those familiar with Jesus Christ and the gospel to see them both in a new light. Maybe, by providing a slightly new perspective, it will wake many of us out of our complacency and take us from seeing the good news of Jesus Christ as merely advice and return it to being fantastic, life-changing news!
Essentially, Keller takes the life of Christ, as told by Mark in the Gospel of Mark and presents it in terms of 2 main themes: "The King" and "The Cross," from which Keller gets the title of his book.
By using a succession of images to capture the meaning of Mark's Gospel (and the life of Jesus Christ), Keller has given us an imaginative approach to God and His Word that will be welcomed by many readers. For example, in Chapter 1, "The Dance," Keller portrays the coming of Christ in flesh as the result of the interpersonal, giving love of the Holy Trinity. Keller thus portrays the life of the Christian as a dance involving God and contrasts it to a life that is merely going through the motions. The temptation of Christ is portrayed by Keller as an attempt to get Jesus to stop the dance with God. In this way, even the spiritual battles we have, as Christ had, are seen within the ultimate reality of The Dance. He also provides good background to many chapters, such as Mark's inclusion of the Holy Spirit as being like a dove in Mark 1.
In Chapter 2, Keller portrays the gospel as "The Call" and again begins by situating it the historical use of the word (as he did with the image of the Spirit as a dove in Chapter 1). He explains, for example, that "Gospel" means "history-changing, life-shaping news. Unlike other religions or no religion, which are just advice, Christianity is primarily "news"! The difference is that Christianity and the call of Christ are based on what Christ has done, and not on what we do. Repentance and the call of the gospel to Christ are intended to take us out of ourselves and bring us true freedom and life. Unlike other religions, in which we choose who to follow, Jesus calls His disciples to follow Him.
In a similar way, in Part One, Keller takes on other topics associated with Christ as the King. Keller doesn't always relate them in an obvious way to Christ as King, and so sometimes the overall theme is lost. But each chapter is an engaging and helpful look at one aspect of Christ and His ministry. Not all of the chapters are as provocative or interesting (hence the 4 star rating), but there's something of value in each of them.
In Chapter 9, "The Turn," Keller addresses Mark 8, in which the Gospel turns from the King to the Cross. It's in Mark 8 that Jesus begins to teach that He, the King, will end up on the Cross. In this chapter, Keller also addresses the need for Christ to go the Cross and frames it in terms of the debt we owed which Jesus paid.
In the first half of the book, Keller deals with Mark 1-8 and Christ the King. But as soon as Peter makes his confession, the book, like the Gospel, deals with the purpose of Christ's coming. While the first half of Mark presents the call of Christ on us to follow Him, the second half of Mark presents a picture of all that this following Christ entails. In Chapter 11, for example, Keller deals with "The Trap" of riches and why Christianity always seems to migrate away from wealth and power (as witnessed, for example, by the growth of Christianity in Africa in the 20th century). I found Chapter 14 also particularly appealing, as Keller presents his chapter on "The Feast." In this chapter, Keller paints a compelling picture of the meaning of the Last Supper as a meal.
You might think that a more narrative or imaginative reading of the Gospel of Mark would lead to a downplaying of the seriousness of sin. But Keller manages to maintain a biblical view of sin while at the same time helping us to understand why it's such a big problem and how we must get out of ourselves to access God's salvation from it.
Throughout, Keller uses illustrations from many other works of literature, such as Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," George MacDonald's "The Princess and the Goblin," and C.S. Lewis' Narnia series. He also draws illustrations from non-fiction writers, as well as from movies and personal anecdotes. These all help drive home the point he is making and make the book a pleasure to read.
In spite of some more pedestrian parts, overall I highly recommend this book to Christian readers.
Here's an outline of the book:
Part One - The King - The Identity of Jesus 1. The Dance 2. The Call 3. The Healing 4. The Rest 5. The Power 6. The Waiting 7. The Stain 8. The Approach 9. The Turn
Part Two - The Cross - The Purpose of Jesus 10. The Mountain 11. The Trap 12. The Ransom 13. The Temple 14. The Feast 15. The Cup 16. The Sword 17. The End 18. The Beginning
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Gospel saturated book!Feb. 27 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I am not as theologically savvy as other reviewers and even though I was raised in the Christian family, I didn't understand what the Gospel is really like until I read Keller's first book: Reason for God. I just finished chapter two of King's Cross and could not stop my tears. Thank you. Pastor Keller, if you read this, please make this book available in my language (Indonesian language) so that I can share it with my family and friends back in my country.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
King's Cross by Timothy KellerApril 14 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
More than a few readers have dubbed Timothy Keller as the C. S. Lewis of our day. This is quite an impressive statement especially to me because of my particular fondness of Lewis' books. Not having read any of Timothy Keller's books, I was definitely intrigued.
His words, his illustrations, and how he presented the gospel message matches Lewis' style. It did not surprise me to read that Lewis is of Keller's favorite author.
In King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, Keller focuses on the Gospel of Mark and settles on some very interesting passages, not every single passage, but certain sections that point to Jesus and His Truth.
It is an exceptional book. There were many parts of this book that prompted me to think of Christianity in a different way, not a new way, but a different way.
This is what I love about reading various authors. The Gospel message is the same. It does not change. But reading it through the words of a surrendered heart, just leaves me in awe of a mighty God. Perhaps this is why we have four Gospels in our bibles. God must like that too.
What did I enjoy most? I loved reading Kellers' expansion on Lewis' view of the Trinity as a `dance`, how he constantly reminded the reader of the difference between religion and relationship, the reason he named the book as he did (ingenious), and the thought-provoking quotes like...
-"When Jesus comes back everything sad will become untrue."
-"Because faith is ultimately not a virtue; it's a gift."
-"All love, all real, life-changing love, is substitutionary sacrifice.You have never loved a broken person, you have never loved a guilty person, you have never loved a hurting person except through substitutionary sacrifice"
-"Jesus is both the rest and the storm, both the victim and the wielder of the flaming sword, and you must reject him on the basis of both. Either you'll have to kill him or you'll have to crown him. The one thing you can't do is just say, `What an interesting guy'"
My recommendation? Listen to me, if you buy only one book this year, buy this one. There is deep wisdom here, both from Keller and others. I highly recommend it for the novice to those who've walked with Jesus for years. You will read it and want to reread it again. I did.
Reviewed by: Keiki Hendrix Reviewed for: The Vessel Project
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Polished Commentary of MarkFeb. 27 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Timothy Keller is being lauded as the next C. S. Lewis, and it's pretty easy to see why. He's got a distinctive writing style--intellectual, but not complicated. While his thoughts aren't as complex as Lewis's, his prose is much more enjoyable.
King's Cross (just in time for Easter) is essentially a commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Keller focuses on the actions of Jesus, and he cites Mark's journalistic approach as the reason he chose to center King's Cross around that gospel.
Keller's premise is that the cross of Jesus is the turning point of all of history. As you can tell from the cover, he claims that the story of the world was and is being told through the life of Jesus. His argument is compelling, as he weaves a narrative of reconciliation, not of just the world, but also of individuals. This is the story of the world, says Keller: reconciliation, to God and to each other. And the King's Cross accomplished this.