King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, by Timothy Keller, 2011.
Regardless of what kind of heat and pressure Keller has come under by the PCA, he is still someone I admire. He is able to combine good theology with capable writing which comes the closest to a C.S. Lewis figure in my day as anyone I have run across. That is not to say that he can touch Lewis and his legacy, because it is almost wholly untouchable, but he has the capabilities to be the “new” Lewis. That is not the only reason why I have great respect for Keller, he is also the man who brought me into the understanding of the gospel of grace, which I will be forever indebted to him (with God’s sovereign hand, of course) for. Much like Lewis helped in making my faith a living, breathing thing, Keller made me a Calvinist who constantly attempts to (but sometimes fails) to go against the stereotype of arrogance and abrasiveness.
All that being said, this is not my favorite book of his. The Prodigal God was the book that first introduced me to Keller, but I think Counterfeit Gods and Generous Justice are my favorites. I like the concept behind this book, really digging into a single gospel and looking at and for who Christ really is. This is a good book to remind Christians of the real Christ that they worship and this is a good book for non-Christians who want to see a well organized exploration of Jesus Christ as accounted in the Word of God. If nothing else, it will give them better understanding of who Christians believe Christ to be in order to inform their own arguments and criticisms against Christianity. They, like Christians, should be searching for truth and that means coming to understand and explain what your opponents truly believe without overgeneralizing or being erroneous. If you want a good simple explanation of the book of Mark, then this is the one you ought to go for.
The final four chapters of the first section of the book (The Waiting, The Stain, The Approach, The Turn) are the highlights of the book as they deal with issues like beginning to understand why God has his own time and just because his answers to our prayer and suffering don’t come right away does not mean that he is not hearing our cries. But there is something to be gained in the waiting. He also approaches the way Christ’s sacrifice is a representation of the Day of Atonement where only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies. That chapter alone is worth the purchase of the book. The Approach and The Turn are leading up to the Cross and they deal with parts of Mark that lead up to the major shift in the book at chapter 8. In my opinion, these chapters represent what I have always loved about Tim Keller and his writing.
However, most of the book is not necessarily enthralling like those four chapters are, but that isn’t to say that they are not good reading, just that the rest of the book didn’t hit me like a wrecking ball to the gut like that one section did. This is a solid book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to do a study on Mark, it is a great primer. I also think this would make an excellent Lenten study for the church as a whole as well.