Actually, Dr. Keller, no.
In this section we will briefly review a major factor of Tim Keller’s teachings and ministry; which is to redefine the clearly defined terms that make up a true, biblical theology, thereby redefining Christianity. Most of his “redefinitions” are already outlined in the other sections of this site so I will focus on Keller’s best-selling book, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith. ChristianBook.com sums up the message of the book as follows:
Using his characteristic intellectual approach to faith issues, Keller uncovers an unexpected message in the familiar—and often misunderstood—New Testament parable of the prodigal son. Seekers and believers alike will see Christianity in a whole new way when they learn how Christ’s followers are supposed to love, so they can join him in heaven. 160 pages, softcover from Penguin.
Keller makes the troubling statement below in the introduction of the book:
‘This volume is not just written for seekers, many lifelong Christian believers feel they understand the basics of the Christian faith quite well and don’t think they need a primer. Nevertheless, one of the signs that you may not grasp the unique radical nature of the gospel is that you are certain that you do.’
Keller’s assertion flies in the face of the Apostle John’s exhortation to believers:
John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
1 John 5:11-13 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
1 John 2:13 “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.”
John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.“
And just who or what does Keller feel he needs to “recover” the Christian faith from? An honest critique of Keller against scripture exposes his “new, unexpected” message that will lead you to “see Christianity in a whole new way.”
A summarized review of some of the chapters and section titles from this book reveal Keller’s dangerous teachings:
*Chapter 1 section 3 has the heading “Why people like Jesus but not the church”……………..
Pastor Keller clearly believes and teaches that lost, unconverted people really like Jesus- they just reject His church and he has set out to correct the church’s “errors” so the world will like us, too! In the words of Christ himself, the below passages of scripture are the polar opposite of the teaching of Tim Keller:
Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
John 15:18-19 18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
Many other chapters in this book expose Keller’s efforts to redefine and remake Christianity:
*Chapter 3 “Redefining Sin”
*Chapter 4 “Redefining Lostness”
*Chapter 6 “Redefining Hope”
Definition of redefine from www.merriamwebster.com
to define something (such as a concept) again : reformulate
to reexamine or reevaluate especially with a view to change : to transform
Charles Spurgeon perfectly sums up the audacity of Tim Keller:
“The desire to alter the Word of God is dangerous. In the wilderness God Himself pointed this out: “Ye shall not add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it” (Deut. 4:2). The nations they were advancing to conquer had long cast aside their allegiance to their Maker, and the least tendency to question or alter God’s Word might result in the same downfall for Israel. Deuteronomy 12:32 distinctly refers to this danger, and reasserts the warning: “What thing soever I command you thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” The act of altering the Word of God is sinful. “Every word of God is pure- Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6). He who essays to improve upon scripture imputes error to the all-wise One. Only unholy minds would attempt it.”
In an excellent critique of The Prodigal God, RenewingTruth.com has clearly laid out the travesty of Keller’s redefinition of both terms and biblical narratives to prop up the “redefined” gospel he promotes.
The BTWN Network has taken the false theology of The Prodigal God to scripture in a thorough critique- link below.
Dr. ES Williams takes Keller to scripture and exposes his false teaching in his review of The Prodigal God– link below.
Keller’s Redeemer network of churches and para-church organizations heavily promote the wisdom of the world, cloaking it in Christian language and undermining the sufficiency of Christ. These churches are careful to sprinkle their websites and publications with biblical “statements of faith and practice” while their teachings and practices oppose scripture in every way. The excerpt below is from an article written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan, both were heavily involved in the so-called Christian counseling movement that is promoted and taught in most churches and seminaries today. The techniques are nothing more than secular psychiatry and psychology cloaked in Christian language. They are warning of Tim Keller’s unbiblical counseling practices at Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s counseling staff hold psychological and sociological academic degrees, psychological and sociological state mental health licenses, and many individuals are certified administrators of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI-personality testing methods) and the Prepare/Enrich Assessment” – We have enumerated both academic and biblical reasons why Christians should not use personality tests and particularly condemned the use of the MBTI. Redeemer mentions the MBTI and its relationship to Jung (Carl Gustav Jung). These counselors at Redeemer know that Jung was an occultic psychiatrist and during his career he was involved in magic, alchemy, spirit guides, and other forms of occultism. In our book Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing, we concluded the following:
At minimum, Jung’s theory, upon which the MBTI is based, is merely vain philosophies of men against which we are warned in Scripture. At worst, it originated from Satan through a spirit guide. We would think that no Christian would want Jung’s psychological theory or any test that derives from it.10
Why would Redeemer believe that an occultist, which is what Jung was, would, influenced by his occultism and spirit guides, have anything to offer Christians about the human soul?
Every time we refer to Redeemer please remember that Tim Keller is responsible for all the activities of the church, including counseling. One of their counselors uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts from Buddhist meditative practice! Some years back, psychologist Daniel Goleman quoted Chogyam Trungpa as saying, “Buddhism will come to the West as psychology.” At the time Goleman pointed out how Oriental religions “seem to be making gradual headway as psychologies, not as religion.”
In reporting on their counseling “Fees” Redeemer Presbyterian Church says:
We have a set fee of $175 for each 50-minute session of individual, couples or family counseling…. Payment is due at each session…. We are not able to accept any type of health insurance…. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, you must notify your counselor 48 hours before your scheduled appointment time. You will be charged in full for your scheduled session if you fail to contact your counselor in advance.
In spite of the description of their services in “Our approach,” the inclusion of any of the secular psychological counseling theories or therapies combined with Scripture will result in faith in the wisdom of men rather than in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5). The apostle Paul declares that Christ sent him to “preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (1 Cor. 1:17). Consider the truth of Colossians 2:8 as it applies in our era: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy [psychological theories] and vain deceit [psychological promises], after the tradition of men [psychological counseling], after the rudiments of the world [psychological testing], and not after Christ.”
If Tim Keller truly believed most of what is said in the “Our Approach” section of the website quoted earlier, the “tables” of the current slate of “money-changer” counselors would be overturned. The fees, personality testing, and all the psychology-related promotions and practices would be gone. However, Tim Keller clearly demonstrates by his actions that he trusts in, believes in, and has endorsed the practicing and pursuing of the psychological wisdom of man for the issues of life where God has already spoken in His Word.
(Link to complete article) http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/keller-ph.html
The mission statement below is from the counseling section of Keller’s church website:
Our counselors draw upon their professional training, formal education and experiences to address the unique mental, emotional, spiritual and relational needs of each person. In addition to the specialties highlighted in their profiles, our counselors are well-equipped to serve people with an array of presenting issues. While we are committed to a Christian perspective in approaching mental health issues, we are also sensitive to perspectives of other belief systems, regularly counseling people of other faiths and those who do not identify with a faith tradition.
Redeemer’s mission statement seems to convey that they are committed to a Christian perspective, but they are sensitive to other beliefs and regularly counsel false religionists, as well as atheists ~ I think these folks need to familiarize themselves with an accurate understanding of the word “committed”:
Exactly how does this work for a church of the Lord Jesus Christ who is supposed to believe that the only hope for all of mankind is Christ?
Their mission statement also reveals their source for guidance and counseling technique: Counselors “draw upon their professional training, formal education and experiences” – ok, where is the Bible? God? Christ? Scripture? Well, a quick glance at the credentials of the large counseling staff at Redeemer Presbyterian Church confirms the concerns of Martin and Deidre Bobgan and clears things up pretty quickly:
- Susannah holds a Masters in Social Work from New York University. Her approach to counseling is interactive and collaborative and is informed by her years of experience in lay counseling, as well as her experience as an inpatient psychiatric social worker at Kings County Hospital.
- Rebecca holds a master’s in marriage and family therapy from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. She is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
- Rosalin holds her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and her master’s from Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. She is a licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of New York. She is trained in EMDR for trauma, is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and certified in Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy.
- Josue earned his Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Ministries from Nyack College and received his Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling.
- Deahna holds a master’s in counseling from Geneva College. Her graduate training specialized in marriage and family counseling. Deahna is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania and a nationally certified counselor.
- Judy holds a Master of Arts and Religion in counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University. She has also received additional training in marriage and family therapy at the Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy Training Center. She is a bilingual counselor (Korean), licensed in marriage and family therapy by the state of New York.
- Peter holds a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has received additional training in marriage and family therapy at the Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy Training Center. He is licensed in marriage and family therapy in the state of New York. Peter is also an adjunct professor at Alliance Graduate School of Counseling in Nyack, N.Y. He is also a certified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the seminar director and trainer for the Prepare/Enrich inventory.
- Jenny holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University. She has worked as a social worker in child welfare. From both her professional and personal life experience, she recognizes faith and spirituality to be a source of healing, and has a special interest in thought patterns, attachment patterns and interpersonal dynamics.
- Hilary earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University in Human Resource Management, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling.
- Tina holds a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. She also studied English literature at the University of Virginia. She has many years of experience supporting individuals affected by abuse and trauma.
- Susan holds a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, and is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of New York.
- Christine holds a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Illinois State University, and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. She has completed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Intensive Team training in 2012, and has worked with individuals and groups using DBT.
- Debra is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She earned a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nyack College’s Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, Nyack, NY, and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, as well as Business Administration, from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Debra is also a guest lecturer at Alliance Graduate School of Counseling in Nyack, NY, and also a Trainer and Facilitator for the Prepare/Enrich inventory.
- Raymond holds a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliance Graduate School of Counseling in Nyack, NY, where he was the recipient of the Clinical Skills Award. He completed a B.A. in Pastoral Counseling from Valley Forge Christian College. He is licensed in marriage and family therapy in the state of New York.
- Daniel holds a Master of Arts in Mental Health Therapy from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Nyack College. Daniel worked for the Counseling Services at Nyack College and was a Family Service Specialist for the State of New Jersey.
- Nick completed a bachelor’s in English and Spanish at University of Massachusetts Amherst before obtaining a master’s in religion from Westminster Theological Seminary, where he studied counseling and Biblical studies.
- Eric holds a master’s degree in clinical social work from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. He completed his undergraduate degrees in History and English at Hope College in Michigan. Eric has published research in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. He believes in supportive, collaborative therapy, and practices from an insight-oriented framework.
- Chanel earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Biola University in English and Biblical Studies, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. As a certified Prepare-Enrich facilitator, Chanel provides premarital counseling and marriage enrichment.
- Joanne holds a Masters of Counseling in Marriage and Family Therapy from San Francisco State University. She is licensed in New Jersey, and has been practicing there, along with California and New York, for the past 30 years. Being EFT trained, she specializes in working with couples, and she is also EMDR trained.
- Linda holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, and she is licensed in marriage and family therapy by the state of New York.
- Lauren has a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Columbia University. Lauren received her clinical experience at Harlem Hospital working with women and couples in their day treatment program.
- Kate holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from Denver Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University.
- Jeanne completed her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary, and her undergraduate degree in International Studies and French from the University of Washington. In Los Angeles, she received her training with a community based health organization working with youth and families.
- Jyothi received her Master’s in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. She is a mental health therapist and is a national certified counselor. Jyothi has a certificate in trauma and grief counseling and extensive experience working with victims of sexual abuse as certified Prepare and Enrich Counselor.
- Lois holds a Master of Science degree in family counseling from Iona College and has had additional training in biblical counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary.
- Elena received a Bachelors and Masters of Arts in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. She is also pursuing her Philosophy of Doctorate at Fordham University’s Counseling Psychology department and has given numerous research presentations on this topic at national psychological conventions.
- Dale holds her undergraduate degree in nursing from Columbia University. She holds a Master of Arts in biblical counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary. She has also taught the course, “How People Change,” at her church. Dale attends Emergence in Totowa, N.J., a culturally relevant, missional church.
- Audrey holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Rochester. Audrey has provided outpatient treatment at Strong Family Therapy Services, Women’s Behavioral Health Services and Strong Fertility Center in Rochester New York.
- Ellen holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies from Cornell University. Ellen is licensed in New York State as a Mental Health Counselor. She has many years of experience teaching “How People Change” and “Helping Others Change.”
- Tony holds two master’s degrees from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The first is in forensic psychology and the second is in forensic mental health counseling. In New York State, Tony holds a mental health counselor permit.
- Sharon McLean holds an Ed.S degree in marriage and family therapy from Seton Hall University. She is licensed as a New York marriage and family therapist. She has served as president of the Association for the Advancement of Family Therapy in New Jersey. She is also a certified Imago relationship counselor and holds teaching and school counseling certifications in New Jersey and New York.
- Evelyn Ngeow holds an undergraduate degree in English from Cornell University and a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University School of Social Work. She received additional training in couples and family therapy from the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York.
- Michelle holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. She is a seminar director for the Prepare-Enrich Assessment and is a Gottman 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work Educator. She is also an adjunct professor for the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling in Nyack, NY for their Marriage and Family Therapy Program.
- Shay-Lee holds a graduate degree from Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University and her undergraduate degree from Barnard College. She is a licensed bilingual (Spanish) Clinical Psychologist in New York State. Shay-Lee is also an adjunct professor in the Youth and Family Studies Department at Nyack College.
- Victoria holds a Master of Arts in counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary. Victoria worked as a Certified Public Accountant and served as a college pastor.
- Julie holds a Doctor of Psychology in clinical/school psychology from Pace University and is a New York state licensed psychologist. In addition to individual counseling, she leads a weekly emotion regulation skills training group.
- Sharon holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University and is a licensed clinical social worker in New York. She has received training from the Ackerman Institute.
- Lorraine holds an undergraduate degree from Lesley College and a master’s in marriage and family therapy from Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. She is licensed by the state of New York as a marriage and family therapist. She also has her certificate in massage therapy from the College of Massage and Hydrotherapy.
- April holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and Bachelor of Science in Business from Wake Forest University.
- Laura holds a Master’s in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Master’s in Urban Ministry from Westminster Theological Seminary, and has received certification in Spiritual Direction from North Park Theological Seminary. She has completed training in EFT and Prepare/Enrich
- Natasha graduated with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary Graduate School of Counseling. She facilitates grief support groups and grief workshops aimed at providing psycho-education and previously served as an adjunct faculty in the psychology and counseling program at Pillar College in New Jersey.
- Missy completed her undergraduate work in business administration at the University of Texas in Austin, and her masters in counseling at Seton Hall University.She is a certified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory.
- Olimpio’s clinical training includes a dual background in pastoral/biblical counseling (M.Div., Th.M.), and marriage and family therapy (D.Min, AMFT). He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. Olimpio is also an experienced career counselor and trainer with coaching certification with the UC Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute (Haas/Center for Executive Education). He is a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Strong Interest Inventory, and the EQi/EQ360 emotional intelligence assessments.
- Ralph Yoon graduated with a Masters of Arts from Alliance Graduate School of Counseling (Nyack College) in Mental Health Counseling. He completed his undergrad at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.
- Dr. Leonie Johnson-Sena, M.D. is a consulting psychiatrist with Redeemer Counseling Services. She provides on-site psychiatry and medical management. Dr. Johnson-Sena received her medical degree at Cornell University Medical College in New York City. She has extensive experience as a staff psychiatrist and as the medical director of the Union Settlement Association in East Harlem, NY.
- Dr. Doonam Kim, M.D. is a board certified psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine. He enjoys partnering with the Redeemer Counseling Services with his nearby practice to provide the best possible care for our clients. He works to help patients understand how their psychology and psychiatry can blend to achieve better psychological and emotional balance. Dr. Kim attends the Downtown congregation of Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
There are currently 46 clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and behavioral therapists serving as counselors at Redeemer Presbyterian Church who admittedly received their “training and education” from secular institutions steeped in the dangerous philosophies of such godless men as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Though a few have training from a stated “seminary” or faith based institution, a quick study of the so-called Christian counseling movement exposes the fact that the “counseling” techniques of most “faith-based” institutions have embraced the same psychological ideology as the world, repackaging it in Christian language. The link below exposes this problem in the church.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxLAaP9kNXY Martin Bobgan
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
Dr. E. S. Williams has published two books warning God’s people of the dangers of the modern counseling practices that have invaded the church with dangerously unbiblical ideas and practices. The links below provide a summary of both books, as well as how to order.
Below is an excerpt from an article posted by ChurchWatchercentral.com on the most dangerous heretics in the church today, with an interesting note at the bottom of their list:
Happy Reformation Day ~ Still Protesting: Top 20 dangerous heretics to be marked & avoided.
SPECIAL MENTION: TIM KELLER
Keller was close to getting on this list. It is likely it would be controversial for him to be considered one of the top 20 considering he comes across to many as Reformed. However, his liberal tendencies reveal he acts more like a termite, eating away the foundations of the Reformation. We have seen much of his liberal leanings, actions and his teachings encourage people to question Sola Scriptura.
He appears to have a strong idea of the gospel of grace, however considering how popular he is among young Christians and New Calvinists, his skeptical evaluations of scripture are dangerous and are leading many young, reformed and restless youth away from the faith. (We have personally seen this.)
“The great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology. A terrible crisis unquestionably has arisen in the Church. In the ministry of evangelical churches are to be found hosts of those who reject the gospel of Christ. But by the equivocal use of traditional phrases, by the representation of differences of opinion as though they were only differences about the interpretation of the Bible, entrance into the Church was secured for those who are hostile to the very foundations of the faith.”
John Gresham Machen (1881-1937)
There is so much of the world in the professing church today that it is often difficult to see any difference at all between the two. The modern gospel is powerless and incapable of delivering anyone from the grip of sin. A recent experience in the ARP church where we held membership really illustrates how deep the problem is and just how the error manifests itself as “Christian”.
The congregation was sent an email from the wife of a member and former missionary informing us that he would be gone for approximately one year in an alcohol rehabilitation center, it was, of course, a Christian organization. The church was informed that we could not attempt to visit or contact him- she further informed us that he had been instructed by the organization not to have any contact with her or their 3 young children for an extensive period of time, I suppose until which time they determined he was “ready” for familial interaction?? The email was clear, this was a mandatory requirement of this Christian facility. The email continued by giving us a list of reasons why the husband and father had “turned to alcohol”; from feeling like a failure to problems in his career, but nothing that resembled Paul’s exhortation of the corrupt inner man that wars against the Spirit (Romans 7), or Jeremiah’s warning of a human heart that is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17). The Bible is clear that we are in a constant battle against the flesh, or corrupt inner man- and this inner corruption can lead a believer into sin…it has nothing to do with what is happening on the outside and everything to do with what dwelleth on the inside (Romans 7:23-24).
Today’s church, largely through the error of the so-called Christian Counseling movement, has wholly embraced the idea that alcoholism is a disease and those diagnosed must seek professional treatment. Scripture tells us the opposite; over-indulgence in alcohol is a sin clearly identified in scripture as drunkenness and all who engage in it are drunkards, acting of their own free will. There is no such disease as that which is labeled alcoholism, or the alcoholic that has been diagnosed. Both terms come from the world because they wholly reject God, His law and the clear biblical teaching of man’s hopelessly depraved condition. Also troubling was the idea of a Christian organization that required a man to abandon his family before they would “minister” to him? It makes absolutely no difference how many “Bible” studies these organizations promote, or the number of framed Bible verses adorning their walls, this is not Christian. These facilities are about behavioral modification techniques; the gospel is about deliverance in the power of God.
In the passage of time the family would lose nearly everything and the church provided a home and took care of this family, as the husband and father was secluded in a facility being “treated” for his “alcoholism.” I contributed to this fund and certainly have no regrets about that, but for me, something was terribly wrong with this picture:
What “Christian” organization would ever demand that a man abandon his family in order to repent of a sin?
In scripture, a believer caught up in sin is a matter that church leaders and elders address and minister to …not strangers on the outside who “claim” to be Christian.
Every time the subject came up in a prayer meeting or conversation the mood was somber and morbid- and rightfully so, as the abandonment must have been grievous for this wife and mother. In scripture however, when a believer confesses and repents of sin there is tremendous rejoicing in the church over the restoration of a believer!
Why didn’t the church leaders or elders attempt to correct the error and warn him that abandoning his family is every bit as sinful as drunkeness?
Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame: Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:7-8
The truth about what I had witnessed was clear to me- this man never should have left his family in order to repent of sin. Apparently, and from all outward appearances to the congregants, the church leadership and elders were all in accord. Sadly, the vast majority of professing churches today would have responded exactly the same way- that is the dismal reality. And being convinced of this, it is certainly not my intent to single out this particular family or church but instead to bare witness by personal experience to the cunning craftiness of the adversary (Eph. 4:14), who disguises evil as good (2 Cor. 11:14) and error as truth (John 8:44). It was around this same time that I heard a Christian counselor on a very popular Christian talk show make the following statement regarding so-called “alcoholism”:
“Being diagnosed as an alcoholic is no different than being diagnosed with diabetes or even cancer- you must seek professional treatment.”
I nearly fell out of my chair. I’m painfully aware that this is the overwhelming view of the professing church, but I’ve never heard a so-called Christian be quite that blatantly unbiblical in their error. And the usually outspoken host never corrected her, and never took her to the scripture for a right understanding of the sin of drunkenness.
The young man eventually returned home but never addressed the congregation- instead the church allowed another man who had been through the program to speak to the congregation and promote this Christian rehabilitation facility- he was adamant as he spoke to the congregation that this organization saved his life; he continued by saying, “though it was my choice to take the first drink, once you get started, then it’s got ya….well, what does that mean? In psyche circles it means once you are out of control it really isn’t your choice anymore or your fault; you’re sick and you need treatment. Christians know better than this and we are well aware of the destructive power of sin:
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Romans 7:11
Slew Me! That is the power of sin. And we should be reminded of it by faithful leaders and teachers:
There is a farther aggravation of drunkeness, that it is an inlet to, and forerunner of many other sins; for it seldom comes alone. We may say of drunkenness, as Solomon does in strife, that it is like the letting out of water; for we know not what will be the end thereof. Its name is Legion; behold a troop of sins cometh after it. And, for my own part, when I see a drunkard, like the holy Prophet, when he looked in Hazael’s face, I can hardly forbear weeping, to consider how many vices he may fall into before he comes to himself again. For drunkenness drives the Holy Spirit from them; he can no more hold communion with them than light can have communion with darkness, so they become mere machines for the devil to work up to what he pleases.
George Whitefield (1714-1770)
The over indulgence of alcohol is sin and the only response you will ever find in the whole of scripture is the supernatural power of the gospel, as ministered to the sinner by faithful leaders and elders in their church, with the support and prayers of a congregation rejoicing over a sinner’s repentance! Reject the psycho-heresies of the “Christian” counseling movement and their techniques, which undermine the gospel – rendering it powerless.
As I survey what is happening in today’s church I am deeply burdened and more convinced than ever that the powerless gospel of men like Tim Keller must be exposed and rejected; praying that the all-powerful, supernatural gospel of Christ- the gospel that delivers man OUT OF sin, will prevail in the churches that claim Him as Lord.