Because my church in Newport Beach, St. Andrews Presbyterian, is committed to the growth of the believer’s mind as well as their heart, we have frequently brought in guest speakers over the years to accomplish just that: Spiritual stimulation that involves the whole of the believer.
Yesterday I was honored to introduce Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer New York at the 11:00 am service at St. Andrews. I wanted to share my introduction and make a couple quick comments. For whatever reason, there are few people I receive more criticism about than Tim Keller (within the tiny land of Reformedville, that is). The criticisms cover things he said and things he didn’t say.
Any Google searches or time spent in the cyber-world would reveal this same leel of often hostile controversy to be there (though I would sooner take on cutting as a habit than spend time in said cyber-world). I don’t have the time or interest to devote an extended piece to the subject of defending this remarkable teacher, but I thought five very quick points would be helpful.
Tim Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.
(1) If enemy #1 on your list is Tim Keller, your priorities are really skewed. Like, REALLY skewed.
(2) The absolute vast majority of criticism of Tim Keller within Reformedville are not remotely rooted in theology or ideology, but rank, sick, juvenille jealousy. Some are more self-aware of this than others, but it is the prevalent cause.
– I have not heard Tim say anything about the role of women in worship that made me uncomfortable.
– He has stood his ground on Biblical marriage.
– He doesn’t seem to me to be offensively wrong on economics, as much as I suspect he simply doesn’t have the full economic worldview picture down the way I wish he would. I could be wrong about this. I would spend any amount of money to facilitate a private rendezvous with Father Sirico at Acton and Tim Keller, where I suspect they would find a lot of common ground.
– I haven’t heard Tim express openness to the non-historical Adam but it does appear he is more open on various forms of theistic evolution than his confession may allow. Not my cup of tea personally but nothing that keeps me up at night
– His vision for church planting across lines that are not denominational not only doesn’t bother me, it endears me to him more
(4) The idea that when one discusses someone who is having tremendous Kingdom impact and with whom there is common ground on the vast majority of issues that there needs to be all sorts of qualifiers and “yeah buts” is a reflection of immaturity and frankly a totally bizarre view of human interaction. I hold no such hope and have no inner need for some “leader” out there who bats a thousand on my ideology test. Who cares?
(5) If one does not see the net positive in the life and ministry of Tim Keller, particularly as it pertains to his irrefutable case for Christians reclaiming the cities, they have something wrong in their life spiritually. Disagreement here and there on certain issues is not a big deal, but Tim and his ministry are doing world-changing things, and I don’t know why anything else matters in the context of what we are saying here. Issues like the ones in point #3 come up because of people struggling with point #2.
That’s really all I have to say about it. See below for my introduction, and please pray for Redeemer City to City, as they march on in their efforts to plant churches in the world’s great cities. Using Acts 8 as a model, there is an effort for organic, integrated, scattering that is going to change the world. No “yeah buts” about it.
David L. Bahnsen, CFP®, CIMA® is founder, team leader and principal for his private client group at the premier Wall Street firm of Morgan Stanley. Visit his blog at http://www.davidbahnsen.com/