Tim Keller’s latest book, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, is due to be published in a few weeks by Dutton. In the introduction he explains the inspiration for his book:
On the surface of it, the narrative is not all that gripping. I believe, however, that if the teaching of Jesus is likened to a lake, this famous Parable of the Prodigal Son would be one of the clearest spots where we can see all the way to the bottom. Many excellent studies have been written on this Biblical text over the last several years, but the foundation for my understanding of it was a sermon I heard preached over thirty years ago by Dr. Edmund P. Clowney. Listening to that sermon changed the way I understood Christianity. I almost felt I had discovered the secret heart of Christianity. Over the years I have often returned to teach and counsel from the parable. I have seen more people encouraged, enlightened, and helped by this passage, when I explained the true meaning of it, than by any other text (pp. xii-xiii).
Keller, who dedicates the book to Dr. Clowney (and his other mentors), explains more about that sermon and their relationship in a footnote:
The sermon has been published under the title “Sharing the Father’s Welcome” in [Clowney's] volume Preaching Christ from All of Scripture (Crossway, 2003). For three years I jointly taught a graduate course on preaching with Dr. Clowney. During that time I shared with him how I had built upon his foundation and what I believed were the radical implications of this parable of Jesus. He was highly affirming of the material which is now in this book (p. 137 n. 1).
To browse or buy Dr. Clowney’s book, which includes some of his best Christ-centered sermons, see the Crossway page for Preaching Christ from All of Scripture. We are offering a 35% discount through the end of November 2008 for our blog readers.
We are also making available as a special preview the sermon that inspired Dr. Keller’s work, “Sharing the Father’s Welcome.”
A recording of the Clowney-Keller team-taught class is available for free at iTunes: “Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World“.