Book Review: King’s Cross

Posted: July 6, 2011 in apologetics, bible, books, christianity, faith, gospel, Jesus, review

Tim Keller has a gift for communicating deep and important truths.  His engaging, disarming, and persuasive style of writing and speaking is put to good use in his recent book, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus.

From the beginning, Keller is clear about his purpose in writing:

[The book] is an extended meditation on the historical Christian premise that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection form the central event of cosmic and human history as well as the central organizing principle of our own lives. (x)

With the Gospel of Mark as his primary text (most of the book’s content came from a sermon series), Keller takes his readers on a journey through the life and ministry of Jesus, pointing out important people, events, and ideas along the way.  He dives into deep, life-changing discussions related to Jesus, faith, the Trinity, the cross, discipleship, and heaven (among many others).  Ultimately, Keller makes good on his promise to show “how beautifully [Jesus’s] life makes sense of ours,” (x).

Cleverly borrowing the name of the famous London railway station (made even more famous by the Harry Potter books), Keller notes and follows the Gospel of Mark’s structure of “two symmetrical acts,” (xiv).  Part one (chapters 1-8) relates to Jesus’s identity as the reigning King of the universe, while part two (chapters 9-16) relates to Jesus’s purpose in dying on the cross for sinners.

Keller writes in such a way as to be accessible and engaging to the pastor, layman, and unbeliever – the book has something for everyone.  His tone is scholarly yet conversational, assured yet non-confrontational.  In many ways, the book serves as an introductory survey of the book of Mark, with helpful illustrations, applications, and reflections sprinkled throughout.  While Keller doesn’t shy away from engaging in some biblical theology and real exegesis (complete with references to the original languages), he does not make detached commentary the main thrust of the book.  Rather, his purpose is clearly more pastoral and apologetic in nature.  He often spends considerable time thoughtfully (and I would say, convincingly) answering the “objections” of skeptics.  And I was especially impressed with the way he continually brought the fundamentals of the Gospel to the forefront, with an energy and beauty that, at times, startled me and caused me to wonder at it with fresh eyes.

While not groundbreaking, King’s Cross is a great introduction to the life of Jesus, with some meditations on how His story comes to bear on our stories.  The book is ultimately a powerful reflection on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news about our King and His cross.

Excerpts of the book are available for free download (Introduction and Chapter 1).

From the publisher:

King’s Cross is Timothy Keller’s revelatory look at the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Mark. In it, Keller shows how the story of Jesus is at once cosmic, historical, and personal, calling each of us to look anew at our relationship with God. Like Keller’s other books,King’s Cross is written for both skeptics and the faithful, for those struggling to understand who Jesus is and for Christians seeking to know him more intimately.

King’s Cross is the first book of a new imprint called Redeemer, in partnership with Dutton, for books about faith and ministry in global urban culture.

The book’s trailer:


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