Monday, February 21, 2011

Keller in "The Atlantic"

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Tim Keller's books?  Here's an excerpt from an interview in The Atlantic on How Timothy Keller Spreads the Gospel in New York City and Beyond. This quote is specifically about his new book, Kings Cross, published this week.
What made you decide to write a book about the life of Jesus?

In a way, the reason why I wrote the book is I'm a Christian minister. And a basic job, I think, is to get people to be attracted to Jesus. That's the purpose of the book: to take the continual, almost inexorable, interest that people have in Jesus—it seems like no matter whether people have a positive or negative view of the church, regardless of whether the culture is secular or religious, there is an interest in Jesus. I'm trying to connect with that because I find Jesus very attractive, and I want people to be attracted to him.

And why did you choose to focus on the Gospel of Mark rather than any of the other three gospels?

You're an author, so you'll probably laugh at this: I chose Mark because it's the shortest gospel. But because it's short, it's compressed, and it moves from incident to incident in Jesus' life very quickly. In Matthew, Luke, and John, you have these long discourses, long pieces of teaching, and they're wonderful in many cases, like the Sermon on the Mount. And they raise a lot of questions.

But if you're really just trying to get exposed to all the aspects of Jesus, in Mark you get three or four incidents: Jesus with the dying girl, Jesus with the Pharisees, Jesus with a scholar. You get so many pictures of him per chapter that very quickly you get a very full-bodied picture of who he is. Also there's a sense of immediacy: it's all in the present tense. Sometimes it says, "Immediately he did this, immediately he did that." It's pretty compelling. I always go there, to Mark, if I'm trying to introduce somebody to Jesus. It's the fastest way to give the person a picture.

There's much more, of course, at the link above.

Other helpful Tim Keller links...