Tim Keller: "A C.S. Lewis for the 21st Century?" ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tim Keller: "A C.S. Lewis for the 21st Century?"

Tim Keller, the founding pastor of NYC's Redeemer Presbyterian Church, is releasing an apologetic book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, this week.

Keller's first book since Ministries of Mercy (1997), The Reason for God has already earned some attention, with Newsweek trumpeting Keller as "a C. S. Lewis for the 21st century, a high-profile Christian apologist who can make orthodox belief not just palatable but necessary." The article (go read it) describes Keller's church as well, sketching a man who comes off as a professor/pastor:

Don't let your mind drift, or you will miss the main attraction. At 9:40, the voice you hear reading from the Scriptures changes suddenly; it becomes deeper, more authoritative and coarser, with traces of Pennsylvania and Georgia in the vowels. Look up. The callow junior minister has disappeared. Standing at the microphone is a man more than six feet tall with a shiny bald head and wire-rim spectacles, looking more like a college professor than a megachurch pastor. This is the Rev. Tim Keller, a Manhattan institution, one of those open urban secrets, like your favorite dim sum place, with a following so ardent and so fast-growing that he has never thought to advertise. He rarely speaks to the press. His reticence, though, is about to belong to the past.

I'll be reading Tim Keller's book in the weeks ahead, and thought I'd give you a heads up. Keller has been quick to deflect the C.S. Lewis comparisons, but the fact that he and Lewis can be mentioned in the same sentence is saying quite a bit. Needless to say, The Reason for God is a book I'm looking forward to.

Like what you read? Don't forget to bookmark this post or subscribe to the feed.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, mentioning C S Lewis is the same sentence as any number of writers is a publishing and marketing ploy. There is no C S Lewis of the 21st Century except C S Lewis. . . and that's not to say that Keller is not good at what he does, but no one, certainly no contemporary pastor, brings together the erudition, breadth and depth of knowledge, and supreme commitment to nonsectarian Christianity that Lewis did.

Whenever I see that hyped up "next C S Lewis" statement I cringe, both because it won't be true, and, worse, just sets up the author for disdain. Just ask N. T. Wright.

Enjoy the book, learn what you can, but don't add to the hype by using the C S Lewis tag in your comparison. Selah.

Ariel said...

Unfortunately, mentioning C S Lewis is the same sentence as any number of writers is a publishing and marketing ploy.

I hear you. However, when I see the Lewis comparison made in the public domain (Newsweek), I give it a little more credence than if I'd seen it in a press release.

Maybe I'm being quick on the trigger--got to admit, the comparison does excite me, even though I'm not expecting to see "another" C.S. Lewis in my lifetime. Keller's not going to start writing jaw-dropping children's books anytime soon.

The idea here is that The Reason for God may serve a similar purpose to Mere Christianity--I'm willing to entertain that possibility.

Also, in passing: N.T. Wright, set up for disdain? Wright is one of the most respected living theologian/writers that I'm aware of, Lewis comparisons not withstanding.

Pop Culture Devotions said...

I have heard a lot about this book and am looking forward to reading it as well.
I noticed that you mentioned you are reading Tim Challies book on discenrment. Do you know Tim, or just hear about the book?

Ariel said...

@ pop culture devotions: I've never talked to Tim, although we kind of move in some of the same circles.

His book wasn't initially on my radar, but I heard enough interesting comments that I decided to give it a shot. Also, Crossway did a very good job promoting it.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife