He Seems To Waver On A Literal Six Day Creation
Keller begins by saying that authorial intention is a key to interpreting any ancient text, and by that criterion, Genesis 1 is obviously not about evolution. Keller explains the literary principles scholars use to argue whether Genesis 1 is poetry or historical narrative. If poetry, then its six "days" may be poetically long; if historical narrative, it speaks of a young earth. Keller says he believes Genesis 1 is Hebrew poetry (though Genesis 2 is not), but pleads for mutual forbearance. "Christians used to agree to disagree on this," he urges.
Do you believe Creation happened in the way Genesis describes it? WARREN: If you're asking me do I believe in evolution, the answer is no, I don't. I believe that God, at a moment, created man. I do believe Genesis is literal, but I do also know metaphorical terms are used. Did God come down and blow in man's nose? If you believe in God, you don't have a problem accepting miracles. So if God wants to do it that way, it's fine with me.
His Appeal To Unbelievers, Use of Pagan Authors, and View of ManCiting Jonathan Edwards, Elisabeth Elliot, J. R. R. Tolkien, Richard Dawkins, and John Updike, he fills out the richness of doctrine. Along the way, for each of his four points, he manages to appeal to nonbelievers. For example, regarding the goodness of creation, he says that Christianity may be the most materialistic religion there is, citing the miracle at Cana. "Nobody has a better motivation to be playful" than people who know that God made the earth and made it good. Go here for more on Keller's man-centered and pragmatic belief in inclusive preaching at church.
Or, regarding the unity of creation, Keller points out that all human beings are equally formed by both the Creation and the Fall, so "nonbelievers are far better than their wrong beliefs should make them, and we Christians are far worse than our beliefs should make us."
Like Rick Warren, Keller Wanted A Church To Attract Unbelievers
Keller began talking to anyone who would sit still, asking questions he had learned from the urbanists at Westminster: "What would be a New Yorker's worst disaster?" and "What kind of church would a New Yorker want to attend?" For months he sat in restaurants, learning New Yorkers' ways.
Tim found Manhattan non-Christians amazingly, sometimes naïvely, curious...New York is a city of high achievers to whom, Keller says, it made sense that a minister should be a scholar of ancient texts, exposing them to ideas and information beyond their experience. They needed someone who spoke their language, though, and Keller was a quick learner. "I saw New York mentor Tim," Sherman says. "There's something about the density of the city, the way your lives get intertwined with a secular culture."
In the spring of 1989, the Kellers and a small team of locals launched the church in a Seventh-day Adventist building....Only personal invitations brought new people. That was part of the vision: "We want to start a church for you, but also for your friends that you want to introduce to Christ."
"The most interesting people came," Tim says. "It was astounding how easy it was to have curious nonbelievers come to church. Before too long there were people in the aisles. There was enthusiasm. There was enormous energy after the service." By the end of 1989, they had an average of 250 people attending, which was as many as they had hoped to attract in the long run. The next fall, they had 600.
"We were driving to the condo with him and I said, "Hey, Don, do you go to church anywhere?" He said, "No, no. I hate church." I said, "Great. You're my first member." We started with my family and his family. Our first service was on Easter Sunday in 1980, with 200 people. For Easter in 2008, we had 14 services back-to-back, with 45,000 people. Don is still a member here." Anyone familiar with his story of how Warren built his church knows that he went around asking unbelievers what they wanted in a church, then he built it to order. Also, Warren is big on social works.
"I decided that we would make no effort at all to attract Christians from other churches to Saddelback. We would not even borrow workers from other area churches to start Saddleback. Since I felt called to reach unbelievers, I determined to begin with unbeleivers, rather than with a core of committed Christians...Our focus would be limited to reaching the unchurched for Christ, people who for one reason or another did not attend any existing church...In every membership class we say, "....It is geared toward reaching the unchurched who do not attend anywhere". (P. 39 of The Purpose Driven Church) (italics, original)
"...I spent the first twelve weeks after moving to the Saddleback Valley going door-to-door talking to people. Even thought I knew what these people really needed most was a relationship with Christ, I wanted to listen first to what they thought their most pressing needs were." (p. 39-40, PDC)
"Many of those who came to our home Bible study and helped me survey the unchurched in our community were unbeleivers themselves." (p. 40)
He was clearly enthralled with Saddleback, readling maps, knowing streets, talking with everyone, just like Keller was with Manhattan.
Man-Centered, Non-Offensive gospel, Wrong Ecclessiology
The Kellers stick to a few rules. They never talk about politics. Tim always preaches with a non-Christian audience in mind, not merely avoiding offense, but exploring the text to find its good news for unbelievers as well as believers. The church emphasizes excellence in music and art, to the point of paying their musicians well (though not union scale). And it calls people to love and bless the city. It isn't an appeal based on guilt toward a poor, lost community.Gordon MacDonald came to Manhattan's Trinity Baptist Church at about the same time the Kellers arrived. One major financial supporter almost pulled out when he heard the news, thinking that Trinity would be the big draw. But Keller looked on MacDonald's coming as an advantage: MacDonald's name drew many New York Christians, leaving Redeemer to focus on non-Christians. Longtime believers joined Redeemer only if they caught the vision of creating a church that appealed to their non-Christian friends.
The world loves Keller:
Here's a VERY telling quote about Keller:
"Observing Dr. Keller's professorial pose on stage, it is easy to understand his appeal. While he hardly shrinks from difficult Christian truths, he sounds different from many of the shrill evangelical voices in the public sphere. "A big part is he preaches on such an intellectual level," said Suzanne Perron, 37, a fashion designer who is one of many who had stopped going to church before she discovered Redeemer several years ago. "You can go to Redeemer and you can not be a Christian and listen to that sermon and be completely engaged."
If the world applauds a "pastor" or a "church", then they are not standing for Biblical truth, because Truth offends and makes the sinner VERY uncomfortable.
Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
"An important lesson that Dr. Keller said he had tried to convey to other pastors is that the hard sell rarely works in the city. Becoming a Christian in a place like New York, he said, is more often the product not of one decision but of many little decisions." ~Source
So a different proclamation, a less offensive one, in order to not offend the God-haters in the city? Is that what Jesus did? Paul? Jeremiah? Peter? Are pagans different in the city? If anything, they are harder of hearing and need bold Truth clearly given, not shaded or half-hiddened. This is manipulation and man-centered nonsense and shame on Keller for claiming TULIP yet clearly demonstrating his hypocrisy that he must change the gospel proclamation to suit the itching ears of unbelievers. Where is resting in the power of the Gospel (Paul asked for prayer that he would be BOLD, remember), and the Sovereignty of God?
On a recent trip to England, Keller carried a one-page summary of gospel DNA notes to himself under nine headings, such as "contextual and missional" and "unity and catholicity of spirit."
The gospel DNA of grace is crucial to Redeemer's embrace of center-city culture. It gives people permission to try and fail, to mix freely with those of other faiths and morals, and to tolerate ambiguity. Someone who works in advertising or theater may have to serve for many years at projects he or she finds morally ambivalent. Even those who rise to positions of responsibility will find no clearly marked path. Without a grasp of grace, there will be no Christians working in such areas. Keller likes to describe Redeemer's stance as "cultural presence," which enhances flavor but doesn't take over.
Grace gives the link for Redeemer's "Way of the Monk" class in the comments below, I'd like to add them here as well. This is clearly a class full of Eastern Mysticism taught by a woman, no less.
Eccumenical And Pragmatic
Keller's PCA denomination proclaims classic Puritan doctrine. Keller not only adheres firmly to that doctrine, he also is a student of it, with a first-class knowledge of such luminaries as Jonathan Edwards. Yet he balances this doctrinal narrowness with catholicity, appreciating not only the Reformed theology of his heritage, but also actively supporting the efforts of charismatics, Lutherans, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Of the 65 churches that Redeemer has helped to plant in the New York area, only 10 are PCA. The largest is Southern Baptist.
Pastor Gyger puts it this way: "He has a practical understanding that if we are going to reach the whole city, we need a wide spectrum of the church."
Warren does the same: "Warren is part of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and all his senior staff sign on to the SBC's doctrines, such as the literal and infallible Bible and exclusion of women as senior pastors. Yet Warren's pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women.
"I'm not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won't try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?" he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, "a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers." '
Why is Keller Dangerous?Is Keller's Redeemer's church merely a church 3,000 miles away that has no bearing on anyone else as Challies likes to claim?
But now Keller is writing and speaking extensively, and has also put formal mentoring programs in place. For example, four young pastors who are on the verge of planting churches in the New York area spend an hour with Keller every month, going through a syllabus. "Redeemer Labs" was launched a year ago to spread the church's vision through books, online downloads, curricula, and other media approaches, and to attract a new generation of leaders to carry it out.
Keller reckons they should be planting churches not just in nyc but in "center cities" worldwide as well....Redeemer has helped Amsterdam pastors plant 18 churches, and is helping new churches in cities around the world.
Interesting analogy of a church to a Greek god riding a wave
"The difference between a solid church and a terrible church is pretty much up to you," he tells one group. "The difference between a solid church and incredible success has almost nothing to do with you at all. It's like you are out there paddling on your surfboard, and suddenly the wave comes and you ride in, standing up like you're a Greek god. That has everything to do with the wave."
How inappropriate to compare a biblical church to a pagan Greek god surfing a wave. This speaks volumes.
At Keller's church they do encourage Eastern Mystical breath prayers. After reading grace's comments, I went to his church website and found two articles about Lectio Divina (breath prayers):
http://www.redeemer.com/connect/prayer/prayer_johnson_article.html Redeemer Presbyterian's endorsement of the Lectio Divina.
http://www.redeemer.com/connect/prayer/lectio_divina.html - Redeemer Presbyeterian's instructions on HOW to do the prayers.
Lectio Divina is dangerous, unbiblical, self-centered and fleshly. I'll also refer you back to Peter Masters' great article on the Merger of Calvinism and Worldliness.