Tim Keller on Practical Theology

Tim Keller on Practical Theology

This study is based on sermons by Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Session One

Is the Bible Historically Unreliable & Regressive?
We can trust the Bible historically, culturally, and personally.

There are many good things in the Bible, but should we take it literally? Should we insist that everyone believe and follow everything in it? Aren't there some things in the Bible that are just wrong—things that are historically unreliable? Isn't the Bible mostly legends? Many have these questions and feel that much of the Bible is culturally regressive and promotes certain views that are best left behind. They admit there are good things in the Bible, but don't think it's entirely trustworthy and completely authoritative in everything it says. This study insists we can and should trust the Bible historically, culturally, and most of all, personally.

Session Two

How Does Sin Make Us Addicts?
We need to learn to recognize and overcome sin by letting God be all he wants to be for us.

Throughout the Bible, when God talks about worshiping him (or anything else), he often uses sexual imagery. He's telling us that there is an attraction going on at the spiritual level, in your heart, that's every bit as powerful as the sexual attraction that can happen at the physical level. In the deepest recesses of your soul when it comes to idol worship, you are laying down with something spiritually. You're putting yourself in the arms of something spiritually. And your spiritual relationship with that thing is every bit as powerful as a physical relationship, and a sexual one at that. This study discusses the power of spiritual attraction.

Session Three

Is the God of Christianity an Angry Judge?
An understanding of the doctrine of hell is crucial to knowing God.

One of the things that troubles people most about Christianity is the teaching that God is a judge who consigns people to hell. How can we possibly reconcile the concept of judgment and hell with the idea of a loving God? They just don't seem to go together. What do we say to their concern? The Christian understanding of hell is crucial for understanding our own hearts, for living at peace in the world, and for knowing the love of God. This study discusses these seemingly counterintuitive ideas.

Session Four

Can Lust Be Idolatry?
Until God is the lover of your soul, you are not going to be a fit lover of anybody else.

If you read Matthew 5:27-30, and that's all you know about what the Bible says about sex, you might say, "This confirms everything I always thought. The church is uptight about sex. Look at this: You're going to hell if you lust. What a negative view of sex." That is a reasonable response to this passage—on the surface. On the surface, one of the most unattractive things about Christianity is its view of sex. But if you look underneath the surface and get a better grasp on what is really taught, its view of sex is actually one of the most attractive things about Christianity. When you look deeper, you're actually going to see that the Christian view of sex is one of the evidences for Christianity's truth. There are four things Jesus is saying. First of all, we're taught that there is such a thing as lust. Then we're taught what it's not, what it is, and how it can be healed.

Session Five

What Does Marriage Teach Us About Christ?
Leah and Jacob's story teaches us about Christianity.

Genesis 29 shows us that the Bible can be the most unsentimental of books when it comes to the subject of marriage and family. It is utterly realistic about this—that it can be hard and sometimes devastating to not be married, and it can be hard and sometimes devastating to be married. Keeping this biblical understanding is difficult, because there's almost no support for it institutionally and structurally.

Session Six

How Should a Christian Think About Money?
With Jesus as our treasure, we break the power of money.

The Sermon on the Mount talks about what it will look like if we take the essential message of Jesus Christ and live it out. Jesus tells us three things about money and possessions. He tells us how money exercises power over us, why money exercises power over us, and how we can break that power.

Session Seven

Does God Want Us to Be Happy?
No matter the circumstances, our joy can be constant.

If you're a Christian, you know that Christianity is supposed to be about joy. The Bible clearly teaches that joy is available, and that should make us happy no matter the circumstances. There's a joy that the deepest trouble can't put out, and if properly nourished and nurtured, it can even overwhelm the greatest grief. But we often wrestle with that concept. We have to ask ourselves: Why do things affect me so much? Why is my joy not relentless? Do I have that kind of impervious joy? Maybe we don't understand the nature of this joy.

Total number of pages62

This study is based on sermons by Timothy Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He is the author of numerous books, including The Reason for God, The Prodigal God, and Counterfeit Gods.

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