Viking, 2016. 327pp.
In Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical, Timothy Keller provides a thoughtful and critical response to the assumption that humanity is evolving beyond its need for faith in God and finding fulfillment in the ideals of Secularism. He disarms this assumption by presenting research that faith in God, particularly in the God of Christianity, is instead growing rapidly around the world. He attributes this growth to the reality that the ideals of Secularism fail to provide comprehensive and infallible constructs of belief that can withstand the weight of humanity’s need for meaning, satisfaction, freedom, and identity. Keller exposes these shortcomings by carefully interacting with the thoughts and conclusions of respected philosophers, atheists, scientist and sociologists who also admit the fallacies and deficiencies of Secularism and agree that there are some things that only make sense under the light of the Christianity.
Keller’s significant interaction with the ideals of others allows him to presents a balanced and objective argument that indeed invites skeptics to reconsider the rocky ground of Secularism and gives way for him to explain how Christianity is the only construct that can withstand the weight of humanity’s greatest needs for meaning, satisfaction, freedom, and identity. Keller claims that his objective is to not seek conversions but instead to raise the level of respect and understanding of the Christian faith amongst skeptics. However, in the end, he does invite them to consider the reasonableness of God and of Christianity. This is not an invitation to accept based on arbitrary feelings or blind faith but instead on the reality that only God and Christianity makes sense out of all that we experience and long for as human beings.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
Though Keller’s book is primarily written with skeptics in mind, it can serve as a great resource for laypersons, pastors, and those who serve in full-time ministry. In an age in which the voices of Relativism and Secularism have a firm grip on the megaphone of media, many people—including believers—have come to believe that Christianity and the gospel message are archaic and irrelevant. These views have silenced the voices of many believers, as they fear being accused of intolerance and/or just plain ol’ ignorance for belief in a God who has something to say about how humans live in the world. Keller’s Making Sense of God not only provides believers with thoughtful insights that will allow them become better conversation partners with skeptics, but also provides them with hope and reassurance that the God of the Bible truly does make sense of the world.
This is the hope and reassurance that pastors seek to give to the men, women, and children that sit in their pews (or folding chairs if you’re church planting). If you are looking for ways to stretch the minds of those that God has called you to shepherd and teach them how to engage and endure in this age of Secularism, Keller’s Making Sense of God can be a great resource for you. This book also will serve as a great evangelistic tool to those who live in places where Secularism is at the forefront of life. However, because this book is highly intellectual and philosophical in nature it is best used as a means to start conversations with those whose unbelief in God stem from intellectual streams of thought.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By