Some have compared Tim Keller to C.S. Lewis. Other believe he is the C.S. Lewis for our generation. One thing is for certain though – Keller’s book, The Reason for God is a terrific read. I read Keller’s apologetic treatise when it first hit the shelves in 2008. The second read was even better!
The title of the book is revealing. The author aims at the heart at mind of the skeptic. And he’s good at it. He has a way of peeling off layer upon layer of unbelief. His strategy is simple. First, seven typical arguments are presented which appear to militate against the historic Christian faith:
1. There Can’t Be Just One True Religion
2. How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?
3.Christianity is a Straitjacket
4. The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice
5. How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
6. Science Has Disproved Christianity
7. You Can’t Take the Bible Literally
Careful reader immediately notice that Dr. Keller gently unravels each of these arguments. And this is what makes The Reason for God such a compelling read. Honestly, Keller’s arguments against skepticism are quite devastating. But his approach is gracious and humble. His knows how to interact with skepticism in a winsome way – without compromise, all the while instructing Christians to do the same.
Part two contains the heart of the book. The author presents seven reasons for faith:
1. The Clues of God
2. The Knowledge of God
3. The Problem of Sin
4. Religion and the Gospel
5. The (True) Story of the Cross
6. The Reality of the Resurrection
7. The Dance of God
These reasons are soaked in Scripture and come face to face with real life. Keller argues that there are sufficient reasons for believing Christianity – what he calls “critical rationality.” Again, he reasons gently. His arguments are convincing and compelling. But he refuses to steamroll the unbeliever.
Keller is quick to criticize religion and prop up grace: “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.” He continues, “It is only grace that frees us from the slavery of self that lurks even in the middle of morality and religion. Grace is only a threat to the illusion that we are free, autonomous selves, living life as we choose.” Herein lies the biggest strength of Keller’s work – the emphasis on grace and the gospel. While the arguments are most helpful, his emphasis on the saving redemptive work of God in Christ make the book a must read for skeptics and believers alike.