Ken Keathley: What’s It All About? 3 Books to Help You Answer that Question

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Professors at Southeastern Seminary are always reading new books. Center for Faith and Culture Director Ken Keathley is no different — and we want to give you a peek into what’s on his reading list in the monthly series, “What I’m Reading.”

By Ken Keathley

What are people for? Why do we exist? Here are three books that give a robust, biblical answer to the big question—What’s it all about? Knowing why we are here then, in turn, informs us as to how we ought to live. As Bruce Ashford and Heath Thomas explain, “Only after we understand the purpose of people can we begin to explore responsible human action in the world.”

Southeastern’s own Bruce Ashford, along with Heath Thomas take us on a journey through the biblical story in The Gospel of Our King: Bible, Worldview, and the Mission of Every Christian. They dedicate their book to Craig Bartholomew, who with Michael Goheen coauthored my second recommendation, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. Greg Beale and Mitchell Kim coauthored my third recommendation, God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth.  

Each of the three books tells the biblical story in different but complementary ways. The Bible presents our salvation as a grand story that has four acts—creation, fall, redemption and consummation. Each emphasizes a different, major theme but their overall message fits together well because each is faithful to the narrative of Scripture.

By presenting the mission of God along with his plan and purposes for creation, these authors also explain who we are and how we fit into that grand story. Knowing the drama of redemption provides us with a worldview, a framework, sufficient to order and guide our lives. We can then choose that which is good and true, we can decide on what endeavors are worthwhile and worthy of our time, and we can act in ways that in obedience to the will of God and serve to advance his Kingdom. As Beale and Kim explain,

Like soldiers on the field, Christians must know their commander’s intent. In order to fulfill our commander’s intent in the changing challenging situations of our lives, we must take time to form a compelling biblical picture of it.

We were created by the Christ, redeemed by him and he is our coming King. These three excellent books that tell how you and I can take part in his mission.

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Ken Keathley

Director of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture

Ken Keathley is Senior Professor of Theology, occupying the Jesse Hendley Chair of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina where he has been teaching since 2006. He also directs the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, a center that seeks to engage culture, defend the Christian faith, and explore its implications for all areas of life. Of his writing projects most notably he is the author of Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach (2010), co-author of 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution (2014), co-editor of Old Earth or Evolutionary Creation? Discussing Origins with Reasons to Believe and BioLogos (2017), and editor of The Historical Adam and Eve: An Evangelical Conversation (forthcoming). Ken and his wife Penny have been married since 1980, live in Wake Forest, NC and are members of North Wake Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. They have a son and daughter, both married, and four grandchildren.

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