Too many preachers and Christians “enjoy” condemning people, Tim Keller said, and that is the exact opposite God’s attitude.
In an interview Saturday on Mike Huckabee’s TBN show about his new book, The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy, the esteemed theologian and former pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan explained that important lessons about relating to pagan, non-believing people can be drawn from the life of this particular Old Testament prophet.
Jonah wanted to condemn the people of Nineveh, and he did not like the people to whom God sent him, he explained.
“Jonah went to the city, and preached to the city, but didn’t love the city,” Keller said, when asked what parallel Christians can draw today, given that he ultimately did what God wanted him to do even though he did not want to and was disobedient at first.
“That wasn’t good enough for God because at the very end, He says to Jonah, How can you not love a city with 120,000 people who don’t know their right hand from their left,” he added.
A main lesson from the life of Jonah is that God says that it is not enough to preach the truth without love in ones heart, he continued, a point reinforced in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 13.
While God’s judgement is real, “if you preach judgement without tears you don’t have Jesus’ spirit,” Keller said, referencing the words of Christian thinker and author Francis Schaeffer.
“Because when Jesus looked at Jerusalem, and he knew at the time that this was a city that was going to rise up and crush him, but he looks at Jerusalem and says ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem if only you knew the things that pertain to your peace. But now they are hid from your eyes. I would like to take you under my wings the way a mother hen takes her chicks under her wings.’ It’s amazing the compassion, even though he is preaching judgment.”
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Source: Christian Post