Keller’s Reason

I’ve just finished reading Tim Keller’s Reason for God. I enjoyed it greatly, found it encouraging and also a challenge to engage others with the great gospel in a world that is tossed about with all kinds of ideas. It’s always difficult when you’re already persuaded to weigh the arguments made in an apologetic work. But Keller’s work is helpful on a number of levels.

First of all, the arguments he is dealing with are contemporary arguments and how they are put in the contemporary world. He does not try to engage with straw men as some apologists seem to do. Secondly, there is much to learn from the clear yet irenic tone of his work. I’m reminded of Francis Schaeffer’s words that the aim is to win a  convert not an argument. His tone is very different from the virulent tone of Dawkins, Hitchens et al. Thirdly, he deals very well with the whole demand for ‘cast iron certainty’ that many seem to seek today. His approach that in building the case for Christianity we are not trying to make the whole case rest on our ability to make watertight arguments but to encourage others to weight the overall evidence is a useful approach. Fourth, and perhaps above all, Keller is writing from his own experience. These are the arguments he has engaged in and with as he has engaged New Yorkers as he has seen the church grow in the city.

My biggest problem with Keller’s work, and it’s my problem rather than his, is how we deal with these arguments not with the intelligentsia of New York but the middle class, apathetic materialists I encounter. A book about that is one I would really like to read.

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