Excerpt from “The Reason for God”

Keller.jpgI have been reading Tim Keller’s excellent book The Reason for God.  (The subtitle is: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.)  Now this is a book I am enjoying.  In the first part of the book, Keller responds to questions and objections regarding Christianity that he has often received in the context of his ministry in New York City.  Some of these objections include:
 

  • There Can’t Be Just One True Religion
  • How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?
  • Christianity Is a Straitjacket
  • The Church Is Responsible for So Much Injustice
  • How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
  • Science Has Disproved Christianity
  • You Can’t Take the Bible Literally

The second part of the book discusses some reasons for faith.  This book has been very enjoyable.  Reading Tim Keller at times reminds me of reading C. S. Lewis.  He is a thinker with a heart for ministry.

 
The following is an excerpt from chapter four in which Keller responds to charges that the church is responsible for so much injustice:


Christian theology also speaks of the seriously flawed character of real Christians.  A central message of the Bible is that we can only have a relationship with God by sheer grace.  Our moral efforts are too feeble and falsely motivated to ever merit salvation.  Jesus, through his death and resurrection, has provided salvation for us, which we receive as a gift.  All churches believe this in one form or another.  Growth in character and changes in behavior occur in a gradual process after a person becomes a Christian.  The mistaken belief that a person must "clean up" his or her own life in order to merit God’s presence is not Christianity.  This means, though, that the church will be filled with immature and broken people who still have a long way to go emotionally, morally, and spiritually.  As the saying has it: "The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints."  (pp. 53-54)

If Keller is right, regarding the church containing those who are "immature and broken," then why do so many of us go to such great lengths to hide our imperfections and our flaws?

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3 thoughts on “Excerpt from “The Reason for God”

  1. One reason, I think, is that we equate “wrong” with “bad.”  We’re perfectionists and we still embrace the world’s value for power.  Any flaw means we’re at a disadvantage, threatening our self-worth.  But the truth is that we’re “wrong” most of the time.  Life is all about learning from our misconceptions and mistakes.  This is the natural learning process.  I love this quote by Adrian Savage, “Trial and error are usually the prime means of solving life’s problems. Yet many people are afraid to undertake the trial because they’re too afraid of experiencing the error. They make the mistake of believing that all error is wrong and harmful, when most of it is both helpful and necessary. Error provides the feedback that points the way to success. Only error pushes people to put together a new and better trial, leading through yet more errors and trials until they can ultimately find a viable and creative solution. To meet with an error is not to fail, but to take one more step on the path to final success. No errors means no successes either.”

  2. I think one reason that we try to hide our flaws, is what you addressed in your previous post. It hurts our ego and is embarrassing. We want to hide our problems so that no one else knows. That way, they can complement us on how good we are and we can do the same for them. But until our flaws are seen they cannot be fixed.The book looks great, thanks for the review.