On May 30th, we had the final Session of our study of "The Reason for God," one of the many works from Pastor Tim Keller. Once again, we were blessed with lively conversation and were able to cover two chapters and took some time to consider our next steps. Read below the questions and some of the elements that were part of our discussion.
Read below some notes about our gathering:
Chapter XIII - THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION
Chapter XIV - THE DANCE OF GOD
Epilogue - Where do we go From Here?
**** Important: at the end of this blog, you will find a document that will contain a selection of quotes and Scriptures that will help you go deeper on the subject.
Chapter 13 of "The Reason for God" by Tim Keller deeply explores the reality and implications of the resurrection of Jesus. He shares a personal story of his encounter with cancer and the realization of the absolute significance of the resurrection. Keller underlines that if the resurrection truly happened, it necessitates a full acceptance of Jesus's teachings. He argues that although historical events cannot be as definitively proven as laboratory results, the resurrection of Jesus is substantially attested and fundamental to the birth and survival of the church.
Moreover, Keller emphasizes the resurrection's relevance in today's world. He presents the idea that even those skeptical about the resurrection should desire its truth, given its implications for justice, love, and healing in the world. The belief in resurrection provides hope and motivation to actively make the world a better place. The resurrection affirms the value of this world, negating critiques that Christianity ignores worldly problems.
Scriptures (John 11:25, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:14, Romans 8:11, John 11:25-26, John 6:40, 1 Corinthians 6:14, Romans 6:4, Isaiah 26:19) underline this theme, proclaiming Jesus as the resurrection and life, believers’ rebirth through Jesus's resurrection, God's power to resurrect, and a joyful awakening for the dead. Thus, the resurrection represents a transformative truth that deeply affects personal belief and collective action in the world.
Chapter 14 of "The Reason for God" by Timothy Keller focuses on the Trinity's dynamic nature in Christianity, which uniquely defines God as one being who eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The essence of God is relational, illustrated by the mutual glorification and love shared among the Trinity, creating a vibrant dance of joy. Keller uses the term "perichoresis" to describe this eternal dance of self-giving love among the triune God.
He contrasts this concept of a relational, loving God with the impersonal God of other religions, asserting that the triune God has love as His essence. Therefore, love is not merely a fleeting human emotion but is at the heart of reality.
Keller further emphasizes that God desires our joy and invites us to join in this dance of mutual love and glorification, with the purpose of knowing, serving, delighting in, and resembling Him. Jesus's life, death, and resurrection is a rescue operation that seeks to restore brokenness in the world and in our hearts.
The chapter concludes with a vision of the end of human history as described in the Bible, where heaven descends to unite with our world, purifying it of all brokenness and imperfection. Christians are called to participate in this operation with the assurance of eventual success and the realization of a world devoid of death, mourning, crying, or pain.
In the epilogue of "The Reason for God," Timothy Keller guides readers on their journey toward embracing Christianity. He stresses the importance of examining motivations, highlighting that all actions, including faith commitment, are propelled by our motivations, even if they're not always pure.
He clarifies what it means to be a Christian, emphasizing that it involves fundamentally switching allegiance to Jesus. He urges readers to discern their reservations about Christianity by taking an inventory of their strengths and challenges.
Keller discusses the concept of repentance, underscoring that true repentance begins with the recognition that the sin under all sins is our self-salvation project. He explains that repentance is about admitting where we've placed our hope, significance, and security besides God.
He reassures that faith doesn't require the complete absence of doubts and fears.
The author stresses the importance of community in Christianity. He believes that faith and repentance must be undertaken both individually and communally, through personal prayer and by publicly aligning with the church. Baptism and becoming part of a church community are seen as confirmations of faith.
Keller concludes by discussing the 'trauma of grace.' He warns against viewing Christianity as a mere technique and asserts that those who find God will realize that it was God's grace that sought them out. He urges readers to challenge the assumptions underpinning their doubts about Christianity. By doubting your doubts, you can realize that they might not be as unshakable as they first appeared. The epilogue encourages readers to approach their faith with greater clarity and humility.
Quotes and Scriptures -- Download the Document Below