cover image Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation

Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation

Collin Hansen. Zondervan, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-310-12868-7

This edifying intellectual biography by Hansen (The New City Catechism), editor-in-chief for the Gospel Coalition, explores the theology of the cofounder of the Coalition, Reformed pastor Timothy Keller. The author details the threads of piety and dogma that typify Keller’s intellectual formation, including French theologian John Calvin’s sermons on suffering, American revivalist Jonathan Edwards’s “desire for mystical experiences of God,” and C.S. Lewis’s wide-ranging curiosity. Two institutions, Hansen posits, played a crucial role in shaping Keller’s theology: the Reformed-leaning Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which Keller graduated from in 1975, and the Westminster Theological Seminary, where he studied and taught in the early 1980s. The author’s careful analysis of Keller’s work unpacks the nuances and vicissitudes of larger debates within evangelicalism, as when Hansen dissects a polemical article Keller wrote in seminary rebuking the “ancient heresy” that contends Jesus was manifested in two persons, one human and one divine. Those looking for a traditional narrative account of Keller’s life will want to look elsewhere, but readers hoping to find a deep dive into the ideas of this influential figure in recent Protestant history will be well rewarded. This meticulous account of Keller’s ideas and faith enlightens. (Feb.)