New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller - whose books have sold millions of copies to both religious and secular readers - explores one of the most difficult questions we must answer in our lives: Why is there pain and suffering?
Walking with God through Pain and Suffering is the definitive Christian book on why bad things happen and how we should respond to them. The question of why there is pain and suffering in the world has confounded every generation; yet there has not been a major book from a Christian perspective exploring why they exist for many years.
The two classics in this area are When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, which was published more than thirty years ago, and C. S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain, published more than seventy years ago. The great secular book on the subject, Elisabeth Ku¨bler-Ross’s On Death and Dying, was first published in 1969. It’s time for a new understanding and perspective, and who better to tackle this complex subject than Timothy Keller?
As the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Timothy Keller is known for the unique insights he shares, and his series of books has guided countless readers in their spiritual journeys. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering will bring a much-needed, fresh viewpoint on this important issue.
©2013 Timothy Keller (P)2013 Penguin Audio
Best book on this topic.
I love the real life stories mixed in with the book.
Better understanding of purpose for suffering.
Keller deals with almost every angle when it comes to the truth of suffering. He discusses both the personal and philosophical ideas in an unashamed and in afraid way dealing with the big questions that all suffers face. He doesn't back down from the sticky stuff and answers each in a satisfactory way.
Keller also does a great job at showing the historical views of suffering being nuanced enough to show all the views of suffering from scripture. This isn't a one size fits all type if advice. In fact Keller states clearly that there are many Tyler's of suffering and each must be dealt with differently.
However, my favorite part was the stories of real people at the end of each chapter. Hearing how they dealt with suffering was incredibly inspirational.
As a decades-old Christian who has experienced the sudden, unexpected death of a younger spouse, I think there are wonderful insights and a definite "must read" for those on a path to healing. That being said, I have a few comments to future readers: 1 - when the author experiences true loss (not thyroid cancer), he will revise this book to make it more first-person and with more empathy; In the meantime, he does a great job with other people's stories of loss; 2 - I differ greatly to his Calvinistic view of the sovereignty of God. His view is that God in involved in every micro-detail of what happens. This I find disparages the character of God and makes Him an "unindicted co-conspirator" to the individual evils that befall his people. That heaps spiritual abuse on top of people who are already hurting. Instead, God's sovereignty should be that - whatever God chooses to do, no one can stop, but that God also allows evil and accidents to happen. Then, Romans 8:28 should be interpreted that in whatever happens to us, God is able to make something good out of it if we let Him. 3 - Timothy Keller treats the Book of Proverbs as they though they are always right in every case. I beg to differ. I'd say that Proverbs are - generally speaking - wise words that come to pass, but not in each and every case. For example, a soft answer does not always turn away wrath, but generally speaking it's a good rule to follow. So, as long as the reader knows these items up front and can decide for themselves, I think this is a very good book.
No one should be surprised that this book is written by a Christ follower. But, it is not entirely intended for other Christ followers. Tim Keller opens the book with a comparison of how the major religious faiths (I include secular-humansm/atheism as it qualifies as a faith) view and respond to pain and suffering, closing with the Christian view. He then goes on to discuss questions/problems the Christian faith poses for those suffering. So, the opening sections in many ways are apologetic and thus may not satisfy folks who strongly disagree with the Christian faith. Keller then goes on to describe in detail how the Christian view of God, and hence God Himself, can help those in pain and suffering better understand their situation and how to walk through those circumstances well.
As a Christ follower myself, I greatly enjoyed this book and Keller's treatment of this hard topic. It may not lend itself to others, but I recommend it anyway as a good book and a view into the most effective and satisfying response to handling pain and suffering.
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