The Prodigal God

Many of you would be aware that I went to Presbyterian Youth’s winter camp. It was a great camp and we will be thinking about how it can tie in with what we have been doing up here on the north coast. But while I was at the camp I picked up the book ‘The Prodigal God’, which is written by Tim Keller (the guy who also wrote ‘The Reason for God: Belief in the Age of Scepticism’, which Steve has been plugging of late in his sermons). I’ve heard Steve and Pete Yock mention this book so when I saw that I could get it at a reduced rate (25% off), I did the only reasonable thing a man could do – steal it… nar, I bought it.
If ya the type ‘the prodigal God’ into the search engine ‘Google’ you will get some much better reviews than I can do, but I just wanted to say that as a person who would rather watch almost anything on TV than read a book (yes, even including Oprah and Ellen) I managed to finish this book in less than a week and I didn’t even need to read the book for an assignment or anything.
The Book digs into the ‘Parable of the lost son’ found in Luke chapter 15. The book pretty much destroys any teaching you might have heard about the parable before and sets the cultural setting very well. I won’t give it away but the book suggests that there is not one lost son but two. The older brother is just as lost as the younger brother, only it’s the older brother’s good works that are separating him from the father.
The book goes onto talk about how churches are full of older brothers – people who are trying to get right with God by their good works and not through trust in Jesus. I found the book very challenging as I quickly identified the older brother characteristics in my life.
Below is one of the more challenging paragraphs that I read.
‘Elder brothers may be disciplined in observing regular times of prayer, but their prayers are almost wholly taken up with a recitation of needs and petitions, not spontaneous, joyful praise. In fact, many elder brothers, for all their religiosity, do not have much of a private prayer life at all unless things are not going well in their lives. Then they may devote themselves to a great deal of it, until things get better again. This reveals that their main goal in prayer is to control their environment rather than to delve into an intimate relationship with a God who loves them’. Page 65.
I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to grow in their relationship with their heavenly father.

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3 comments on “The Prodigal God
  1. jasmine says:

    Heartly agree with Simon. Great book , easy to read but challenging about our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
    Also it reminded me how easy it is to read the parable of the lost “son” (the heading in NIV bibles that the translators put in) and miss that Jesus actually talks about both sons and how they are lost in different ways…
    Grab it and have a read!

  2. james says:

    Yeah, i think Tim Keller’s teaching on this parable has been great, it has made me always recognise that sin is both when people do the right things to get what they want or they do the wrong things the get what they want.. the problem being in both cases the sons did their stuff to get the Fathers things, not the Father, and a relationship with him..

    anyways i feel like im giving a bit 2 much away.. the point is that its really worth reading

    um, well actually i never read the book.. haha i cheated.. theres a six part audio series at

    and one talk below that six part series that is pretty much a sum up of the lot.

    although i do reckon i’ll read the book too sometime soon.. bit more depth..

    yous (and.. me) should all hear more about the prodigal god/ sons of luke 15

  3. peter y says:

    Thanks for the review Simon – I just wanted to throw my hat into the same ring and say that “Prodigal God” is one of the best Christian books I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the EASIEST Christian books I’ve ever read! And one of the books I’ve thought most about since I’ve finished it.

    In other words, “Prodigal God” has really helped me bother to understand how much God loves me, and helped me to want to love him more.

    Highly recommend it.

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