I was recently honored to appear on an episode of the Theology Gals podcast, which is on the awesomely named Bible Thumping Wingnut network. We discussed my recent articles about Tim Keller. You can listen to the podcast here. I really enjoyed speaking with Coleen and Ashley about these important issues, and I would encourage my readers to take a listen to some of the other episodes of this podcast as well. They have a Facebook page specifically for women, but the things they have to say are useful for all Christians to hear. Keep it up, ladies!
A week ago, I wrote an article that examined five common criticisms I have heard about noted pastor and Christian author Tim Keller. My original intention was to look at five more criticisms this week, but my thinking has changed since that time. I have decided that my stated purpose of providing an in-depth analysis would be better served by giving a longer treatment to one item rather than brief discussions of multiple points, which inevitably leave some things out.
I had intended to look at complaints made by some people that 1) Redeemer City to City and/or The New York Project plant churches that are not Reformed in their theology, 2) Tim Keller is either patriarchal or egalitarian in his view of gender roles, 3) Tim Keller holds to a view of creation and human origins that is not compatible with the Reformed confessions, and 4) Tim Keller promotes the New City Catechism at the expense of more traditional catechisms. By no means am I suggesting that those are not important issues, but I feel that my time would be better spent focusing on something that is of particular significance for the Church today: Trinitarian theology. Continue reading
PLEASE NOTE: This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that Redeemer Presbyterian Church does ordain its male deacons. The deaconesses are not ordained.
Tim Keller, bestselling author, church planter extraordinaire, in-demand speaker, apologist for and to Manhattan, and one of the most famous Christians in America. Tim Keller, sinner saved by grace, husband, father, minister of the Word, and servant of Jesus Christ. Within this one person are contained so many things that provoke both positive and negative reactions within Christianity and beyond.
My first exposure to Tim Keller was within the evangelical community, where he is generally beloved. A former pastor of mine loved to reference Keller’s description of the heart as an idol factory (in Counterfeit Gods), an idea that actually originated with John Calvin but is nevertheless powerful. I read The Prodigal God and felt that it contained more good scriptural sense than most Christian volumes being released today. What I liked most about Keller was that despite his growing fame, he seemed to maintain an admirable humility. He did not raise his voice. He appealed to both the head and the heart. He had something to say to this 21st century world.
About six months ago, I was sucked into the Reformed vortex. That is to say, I was introduced to a number of Reformed Christians via the wonders of social media. Tim Keller was not a hero to them. They mocked him endlessly on Twitter for his meme-worthy quotes. In podcasts, they would sometimes speak about him without naming him, as if he were Voldemort and they feared his wrath. They were suspicious of his association with “The Gospel Industrial Complex”. They believed that he had a choke hold over his denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, and was leading it down a path to liberalism. Everywhere they looked, they found a flaw.
Could these two Tim Kellers be one and the same? Were his fans ignoring dangerous deviations from Scripture and church tradition? Were his critics unwilling to give him credit for doing anything right? I was troubled, and so I decided to investigate these things. In this series of two articles, I will examine the ten most common criticisms I have heard regarding Tim Keller. I will assess the facts as best I can to determine 1) if each accusation is true and 2) if it is really a problem. Therefore, the title of this article can be taken one of two ways. It can mean, “Is there really anything wrong with Tim Keller? Why would you think that?” It can also mean, “What on earth is Tim Keller doing? This is not good.” That is the duality of the situation, and I hope to analyze it properly. Continue reading