Recommended. Normally, I have some sort of allergic reaction to the sermon-turned-literature types of books. Why spend extra money on the transcript of a sermon when you can simply listen to the audio version online? It’s much easier to digest and probably saves more time, right? Well, that’s what I thought when I began reading, and it’s precisely why I was shocked that this book, Timothy Keller’s newest sure-to-be-a-hit King’s Cross, was so compelling to me. The fact that Keller is one of the few remaining pastors to still charge sermon fees has kept me away from immersing myself in his teaching, but I’ve known him (from previous books) to be a closet intellect with an uncanny ability to communicate with his audience whether through preaching or writing—and all that shines through in this new book of his.
In King’s Cross, Keller takes a brisk stroll through the book of Mark with great insight and instruction. His clear explanations of passages that are commonly confused are the result of valuable years of careful study and preaching in New York City. Mostly, the book is a look at the life and gospel of Jesus Christ, yet Keller selects specific passages on which he focuses his attention and exposits thoroughly. The entire book is filled with nuggets of universal truth that on one hand, combat the realm of secular reasoning and doubt, and on the other, paint a clear picture of Christ from a biblical perspective. For example, Keller writes this about those who elevate their own human knowledge over the knowledge of God (while blaming him for creating suffering in their lives): “If you have a God great enough and powerful enough to be mad at because he doesn’t stop your suffering, you also have a God who’s great enough and powerful enough to have reasons that you can’t understand.” Sentences like that are weaved throughout the book that give a new perspective on the reader’s actual heart condition. He exposes our selfish tendencies for what they are and replaces them with an accurate portrayal of the man called Christ.
This book was personally helpful for me in crystalizing my understanding of the confusing passages in Mark. But beyond that, it’s one of the few books that actually caused me to reconsider what I thought I knew about Scripture in light of what was actually there. This book made me what to know God’s word better, and to be more accurate in my preaching. It made me want to intimately know Christ to the point where I recognize his voice and his personality in Scripture. And it affirmed in my heart that not only is Christ relevant for our society, but he is the only logical explanation for the salvation of sinful man in a chaotic world.