Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tim Keller: Pragmatic Presbyterian Reformer

Apprising Ministries and Daniel's Place have both reported on Tim Keller's man-centered nonsense.

Daniel's Place states in part:

When one reads through the transcript of Keller's talk, one gets a rather disoriented feeling. Been there, done that, and the worse for it. The whole talk reeks with the methodology of men and businesses, instead of the counsel of the Word of God; more like Rick Warren and C. Peter Wagner than John Calvin.

Consider the entire talk. Where in the entire talk is mention even made of the Word of God? For a supposed conservative Presbyterian, not one verse of Scripture is even quoted in defense of the methodologies being brought to bear. Worse still, the concepts in it are not found in Scripture. Church is all about Word and Sacrament. Where in Scripture is the Church (as opposed to individual Christians) supposed to do "justice and mercy ministries"?

Assuming as one commenter states that the talk was about mechanics - being a "practical, technical" and "methodological" talk, this talk shows that Keller practically denies the sufficiency of Scripture for ALL of life and practice. Methodology is NOT neutral. Methodology has to be derived from Scripture especially since the topic is most certainly a biblical one (i.e. Gospel movements). When measures are proposed in which results are virtually guaranteed, one ends up more with business models that implicitly assume some form of Pelagianism as the error of Revivalism rears its ugly head. Where in Scripture are we told that if we just implement the right measures, more and more people will come to Christ and the Church will gain influence in society?

End quote.

I talk about how Keller is the Reformed version of Warren here.

Saddly, the Reformed circles see truth in just about everything, which is why they are at peace with reading heretics' books and articles, or allowing them a platform to spew their heresies. As long as the mantra is "TULIP!" or "Five Solas!" then they are still accepted on some level. Just as they accept Rome on some level. If one finds validity in Rome, one will find validity elsewhere. But we are commanded to avoid all forms of evil, be separate from it, because God is the God of truth, not truth mixed with error. So, for Reformers there isn't such a thing as a heretic, just a brother who is wrong in some area.

Method DOES reveal doctrine. At the heart of Reformer Tim Keller or Rick Warren, they both start with the wrong view of God, Man, and the Gospel, therefore their foundation for "church" building and outreach is wrong in its doctrine as well as its practice. In other words, because they start with a low view of Scripture and of God, they elevate Man and put him in the center of everything instead of Christ and Him alone. The right view of Scripture would see man outside of Christ is a God-hater and is not to be in the called out assembly of believers, nor is he seeking God, but rather running from Him! This is Romans 101, folks. A right view of the Gospel would dictate the biblical practice of going OUT to proclaim the Gospel to the unsaved, without manipulation or catering to the God-hater's whims, knowing that "the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believer; first to the Jew and then to the Gentile".

Methodology reveals if a person truly and biblically believes in the power of the Gospel and God's way of reaching the unsaved through the preaching of the Gospel, its that simple.

Rom 10:13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Rom 10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Rom 10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?"
Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Act 4:1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead....33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS in ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURE, 4 that he was buried, that HE WAS RAISED on the THIRD DAY in ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURE, [Caps for emphasis only]

Act 26:22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."

MacArthur also says something similar: John MacArthur says in “Ashamed of the Gospel” about approaches or methods:

p. 81 "Some will maintain that if biblical principles are presented, the medium doesn't matter. That is nonsense."

p. 89 “ …any end-justifies-the-means philosophy of ministry inevitably will compromise doctrine, despite any proviso to the contrary. If we make effectiveness the gauge of right and wrong, how can that fail to color our doctrine? Ultimately the pragmatist’s notion of truth is shaped by what seems effective, not by the objective revelation of Scripture."

p. 92-93 on pragmatism:"Do you see how the new philosophy necessarily undermines sound doctrine? It discards Jesus' own methods---preaching and teaching--as the primary means of ministry. It replaces them with methodologies utterly devoid of substance....In fact it avoids dogma or strong convictions as divisive, unbecoming,or inappropriate. It dismisses doctrine as academic, abstract, sterile, threatening, or simply impractical. Rather than teaching error or denying truth, it does something far more subtle, but just as effective from the enemy’s point of view. It jettisons content altogether. Instead of attacking orthodoxy head-on, it gives lip service to the truth while quietly undermining the foundations of doctrine. Instead of exalting God, it denigrates the things that are precious to Him. In that regard, pragmatism poses dangers more subtle than the liberalism that threatened the church in the first half of the century."


Lynda O said...

Thanks for posting this. I only heard of Tim Keller recently, when a Reformed friend mentioned the name (he's going to speak at a church in the area this week), and soon afterward I learned of Keller's errors, including his involvement with BioLogos -- and now this.

I too appreciate John MacArthur for his strong Bible teaching and his speaking out against error.

Committed Christian said...

Keller may have turned reaching the lost, as good as that is, into an idol, and could be revealing itself in his pragmatism and leaning to man-made strategies to reach the lost.

Committed Christian

P.S. That would be sad since the college group I attend is doing a study based on a Tim Keller book, and so far it is based on Christ and the gospel. It could have been done in his "better days"