“And the beggar gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give thee: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:5-8)
What is the “church” according to scripture?
Who makes up the Lord’s church and what did He commission the church to do?
The Apostle Paul from Ephesians chapter 4:
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
Jesus from Mark chapter 16:
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Apostle Paul from 2 Timothy 4: 1-4
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The scripture passages above illustrate clearly that the church is a body of regenerate believers (saints) led by doctrinally sound teachers appointed by the Lord (He gave some apostles, prophets, evangelists), both of whom believe the truth of scripture as revealed through God’s inerrant Word (unity of the faith). These men authoritatively preach the Word boldly and faithfully (reprove, rebuke, exhort-in season and out of season) and will stand against the error of the world and the church (with all long suffering and doctrine) instructing in Christ-like conduct (for the edifying of the Body), teaching and preparing believers (for the equipping of the saints) to go out into the world as witnesses, calling man to repent and believe (go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation).
In conclusion we see the urgent warning that can be found throughout all of scripture regarding the clever deception (cunning craftiness) of the many false teachers that will infiltrate the church (by the sleight of men) and the serpentile method of operation they will use (lie in wait to deceive) as they cleverly pervert God’s truth. The Apostle Paul assures us that many will be more than ready to receive the error (after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers) and even as they claim the Lord as “savior” they will have wholly abandoned the truth.
Below is a compilation of audio, video and written excerpts by Dr. Keller on the church and its commission.
The below excerpt from Keller’s 2006 Entepreneurs’ Forum at Redeemer NYC illustrates Keller’s view of the Great Commission:
“Conservative churches say ‘this world is not our home and it’s gonna burn up eventually and what really matters is saving souls so evangelism and discipleship and saving souls are what is important’. And we try to say that it’s the other way around almost. That the purpose of salvation is to renew creation. That this world is good and if you see it that way, then the old paradigm- if you’re going to put your money and your time and your effort as a Christian into doing God’s work in the world, you wanna save souls which means the only purpose of your ministry and your effort is to increase the tribe, increase the number of Christians. In the past Christians have tended to do things that only Christians would be interested in and only Christians would give to. I mean who else besides a Christian would give money to get something started that’s going to win many, many people to Christ? Just pretty much only Christians. BUT, when you have something that’s going to improve the schools in a particular city for everybody; when you have a venture that’s going to reweave creation physically, that’s going to deal with health problems, that’s going to deal with poverty. When Christians do that – out of their theology – they do that effectively because they’re dealing with the common good and you’re going to find that all kinds of non-Christians are not only going to invest in that and want to partner with you in that but a lot of them are also going to be attracted to the gospel because of that.”
(excerpt source: Jonathan Cousar, member of Redeemer NYC 19 yrs.)
Christianity Today’s article titled “How Tim Keller Found Manhattan” sheds some light on “the church” according to Keller- excerpt below:
“Keller began talking to anyone who would sit still, asking questions he had learned from the urbanists at Westminster: “What kind of church would a New Yorker want to attend?” For months he sat in restaurants learning New Yorkers’ ways.
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. Longtime believers joined Redeemer only if they caught the vision of creating a church that appealed to their non-Christian friends.
What has Redeemer accomplished after 20 years? Keller pauses. But the work itself isn’t done. “I feel there is a way of doing ministry with this particular balance that other people can do, and right now I feel other people aren’t doing it. How can we leave behind a generation of people who know how to do this—and will do it?” He’s talking about theological vision, what he calls Redeemer’s “gospel DNA.” 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 unifying theme is grace. The gospel DNA of grace is crucial to Redeemer’s embrace of center-city culture. It gives people permission to mix freely with those of other faiths and morals and to tolerate ambiguity. God had designated cities as places of refuge when Israel entered the Promised Land. They remain so today, Keller noted—which explains why poor people, immigrants, and vulnerable minorities such as homosexuals cluster in cities. They attract people who are open to change. Keller likes to describe Redeemer’s stance as “cultural presence,” which enhances flavor but doesn’t take over. “The difference between a solid church and a terrible church is pretty much up to you. 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.”
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/june/15.20.html (link to the full CT article)
The below summary of Keller’s statements from both of the above excerpts clearly reveal his false theology with regard to the church and its commission. The biblical truth from scripture is posted below each summary statement and reveals the devastating difference between Keller and the Bible.
The purpose of salvation is cultural renewal because the world is good.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 1 John 5:19
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If 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. John 15:18-19
Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19
Churches that focus on the gospel as a means of saving souls are backwards, as they are only “increasing their tribe”, and this “tribalism” does nothing to improve the education system or make the world a better place.
I say unto you, that likewise the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repents. Luke 15:6
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim 1:15
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16
*It is important to note what is actually being said by Keller; he promotes Christ the social revolutionary, thereby diminishing Christ the Redeemer. Christ suffered for the sole purpose of redemption, delivering the lost soul from the just condemnation of a Holy God. Scripture describes this as such a gloriously magnificent thing that the angels in heaven rejoice over ONE sinner’s deliverance! Keller is unimpressed, demeaning the sole mission of the Lord Jesus Christ as “tribalism” because it only “increases the number of Christians” but does nothing materially beneficial for the world. And so I ask anyone who will listen- how can it be that Dr. Tim Keller is so overwhelmingly popular and heavily promoted and quoted in the so-called church?
Many unbelievers will be “attracted” to the gospel as a result of “common good” social action campaigns.
But the natural man receiveth not the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are only spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:15
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4: 1-4
They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
1 John 4:5-6
Keller consulted New Yorkers on the street absorbing their ideas and observing their ways to gain insight on how to attract them to his new church.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly. Psalm 1:1
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Tim 3: 16-17
Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him? Isaiah 40:13
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Ezekiel 22:26
Keller makes sure to avoid offending anyone with his teaching thereby promoting “unity and catholicity of spirit”.
But we preach Christ crucified, a stumblingblock to the Jews and an offense to the Greeks; but to them whom are called it is the power and wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men and His weakness stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:23-25
Now to you who believe this stone is precious but to those who do not believe the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 1 Peter 2: 7-8
Do you think I came to bring peace to the world? No, I tell you , but rather division. Luke 12:51
Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword. Matthew 10:34
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. Romans 1:16
Keller has determined that there is good news in the scriptures not just for believers (which would be the gospel) but for unbelievers as well, though he doesn’t tell us what that “good news” is and admits that he has to “explore the text” to find it.
Whosoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whosoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Rev 20:15
Whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whosoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18
*Note: there is NO good news in the Holy scriptures for unrepentant unbelievers- only condemnation.
Keller’s church is calling people to “love and bless the city.”
I came not to call the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. Acts 17:30
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you. Acts 2:38
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. 2 Cor 7:9-11
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts 3:19
Repent ye! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt 3:2
…“a church that really appeals to non-Christians”
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. But these things must come to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written, They hated me without a cause. John 15:18,19,25
The below verses demonstrate the reaction of “non-Christians” upon hearing of the untimely death of Ananias and Saphira for lying to the church:
“And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the people dared join them, though they held them in high esteem.” (Acts 5:11-13)
“People” in the above passage refers to non-Christians. A church that really appeals to non-Christians? Preposterous…where does he get this?
According to Dr. Keller, God designated cities in the Old Testament as places of refuge and it remains so today, which is why people who are open to change and “vulnerable minorities such as homosexuals” flock to the cities. (”vulnerable minority” ?? not rebellious sinner?)
“Then the Lord said to Joshua; “Say to the people of Israel, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood. He shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain his case to the elders of that city. Then they shall take him into the city and give him a place, and he shall remain with them. And if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not give up the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unintentionally without malice aforethought. And he shall remain in that city until he has stood before the congregation for judgment, until the death of him who is the high priest at the time. Then the manslayer may return to his own town and his own home, to the town from which he fled.’” Joshua 20: 1-6
*Sanctuary cities as defined in scripture were a safe haven for the wrongfully accused to find refuge until which time their defense could be presented before a tribunal and fairly judged. Keller’s concept of sanctuary cities for rebellious sinners (like homosexuals) or people who are “open to change” is pure fiction.
The below link (1.13 minutes) illustrates Keller’s view regarding the nature and embodiment of the Lord’s church, which he tells us should really exist for unbelievers and poor people.
The Apostle Paul’s warning to the church in Corinth:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
The Apostle Paul’s exhortations to the Romans (chapter 8) clarify the true nature and embodiment of the Lord’s church:
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are the called according to His purpose. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
And from Romans chapter 1:
Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
And from 1 Corinthians chapter 1:
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.
All through scripture the church is clearly defined as regenerate believers only. We come together to worship the one true God, but “go out” into the world to evangelize and bear witness to unbelievers, inviting only those who receive the message into the fold. I must say that I have searched the scriptures for any sign of the church growth and evangelistic antics of today but I found only the opposite. The early church did not roll out the red carpet to manipulate as many unbelievers as possible into the church by way of a cozy, un-churchy decor, unoffensive messages or designated elite parking spaces; on the contrary, the churches of the apostles did all they could to keep the corruption of the world out! As far as service, they served Christ by serving the brethren (other believers) to equip them spiritually and financially as needed and for the spread of the gospel. And there are no passages of scripture where we see the Lords people caught up in any of the social action or poverty driven schemes that plague the church today. Christian charity outside the church is done on an individual basis (as a believer is moved or compelled to help a stranger), not corporately. There is no support in all of scripture of the idea that the assembly of believers worshipping the God we believe in is to be an evangelistic arena – the worship of Christ to the glory of God for the edification of saints was the focus of the sabbath day. I found as I studied that the apostles often addressed issues that deal with unbelief in the assembly because they were well aware of the problem of false conversion inside the church, or the random stranger that might be led through the doors by the Holy Spirit- but this was spontaneous and occasional, not intentional or by practice. And it is a far cry from what is happening in churches today, as they cater to the unbelieving world. In an outward sign of clear disobedience the modern church routinely uses manipulative tactics to attract the world, as well as tolerance of blatantly unrepentant sinners who come and go as they please without any sign of repentance, and in many cases no profession of faith. The unconverted are spiritually dead and therefore incapable of worship (John 4:24, 2 Cor 4:4), so why would they ever be invited to participate in something to which they are incapable? Why would any church or pastor by way of invitation seek to deceive an unbeliever into thinking he can worship God ? Moreover, how can their presence in a worship service honor or please God?
“Faith, as humility, hope, and love all come up for a memorial before God, through the worship and meditation of Christ. But it is otherwise with the unsaved, whose carnal heart is like some fen or bog, and every prayer thence proceeding is an evil vapor reeking and rising from the dunghill. Never did those five cities of the plain send up such poisonous smells to heaven, which God being not able to abide, sent down upon them a counter poison of fire and brimstone.”
John Trapp (1601-1669)
Christian worship is about belief, not unbelief; it’s focus is God, not man. And the constant inclusion of unbelievers in all forms of church activity is not biblical. The apostolic example of true individual evangelism outside the walls of the church has been reduced to just inviting the world in so the pastor can “evangelize” them. Attracted by food, fun and the worldliness that dominates the 21st century church, they come- and excited by all the new friends they have met, they stay! In time, and with very little thought to the “spiritual component”, many will take the “oath” and join this great new social club- unconverted. The visible church of today is largely packed with, and run by, unbelievers. These goats have a worldly view of theology that produces a very deceptive false Christ that can lead the sheep astray. In every regenerate believer remains a depraved inner man that wars against the indwelling Spirit of God. Our adversary is aware, so he uses the most clever of deceptions inside the church. One of the more troubling aspects of allowing anyone into the church is what it says about the church itself: They do not understand their own depravity, as they fail to weigh how vulnerable they are to their own corrupt emotions. There is a haughtiness in this failure to protect the Lord’s flock.
The church is defined by belief. There is no room for unbelief.
The below video link (17.53 minutes) presents Keller at the ecumenical 2010 Lausanne Conference telling us that urban church planting must be contextualized and extremely “culturally sensitive” so as not to offend because “urban people” are just too “cutting edge” for a simple gospel presentation- they just won’t go for it!
There are dozens of speeches and excerpts like this one featuring Keller’s attractive, unoffensive gospel that he cleverly labels as “culturally sensitive”. His characterization of urban people as different than other people is the basis of the “necessary contextualization” in this particular video, but as I would discover through extensive research it is a man-centered, false gospel and is the cornerstone of his theology. He is very effective at convincing professing believers that a simple gospel presentation “ain’t gonna get it done” when the truth is that a simple gospel presentation releases the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16) and is the only hope of any sinner. Summarizing below what Keller tells us in the video:
–Cultural sensitivity: churches must be extremely culturally sensitive and they must expect constant racial tension and diversity issues that will most likely never end.
–Church / career integration: he tells us that the church has not done enough to integrate church and work; after all, work is more important to urban people in cities (?) so the church must be proactive in assisting people on a career path.
–Urban sensibility: because of the “unique nature” of people in cities the church must be comfortable with diverse opinions, change and disorder due to the “cutting-edginess” of the people. You must adapt the message to respect their unique characteristics.
–Diverse evangelism techniques: it is impossible to come up with a “singular gospel presentation” that will work for such a diverse crowd so the messages must be “culturally sensitive”- a message that “works” with one group may not “work” with another group.
–The church must be famous for social justice: If a church is focused on saving souls it just looks like you’re “increasing your tribe” to gain power and money. The church must be about social action if we want to make the “right impression” on people.
–Empower the artists: Artists must be more than hired hands like they are in most churches; the arts must be taken very, very seriously because they are a sub-culture with “their own way of thinking about everything” and they must have influence in the church.
(…you can’t make this stuff up!)
–Interfaith networking: Create a movement through interfaith networking and prayer rallies whereby you are willing to lay aside doctrine for the needs of the city through justice and mercy campaigns – again, he warns us about “tribalism”.
In the Apostle Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth we see the truth regarding Christian evangelism, wherever-whenever-to whomever:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, but declared unto you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and him crucified: And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4: 1-4
I simply do not have words for the devastating contrast between Keller and the Apostle Paul. Paul was a minister of the gospel who served God; Keller is a politically charged, community organizer who serves the world.
“I looked for the church and I found it in the world; I looked for the world and I found it in the church.” Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
Below are additional excerpts from Keller’s essays and articles on the Great Commission and evangelism:
“I couldn’t agree more that post-modern people come to Christ through processes, through relationships, through mini-decisions, through ‘trying Christianity on.’ Christianity must be attractive to people before they will sit still for a presentation of intellectual credibility. Christianity is disbelieved in one culture for totally opposite reasons it is disbelieved in another. First, the gospel must be presented briefly but so vividly and attractively (and so hooked into the culture’s base-line cultural narratives) that the listener is virtually compelled to say “It would be wonderful if that were true.” . In short, you have to stay in line with the culture’s own (best) aspirations, hopes, and convictions.” ( Keller’s essay titled “Leading the Secular to Christ”)
“We will show [in this book] that to reach people we must appreciate and adapt to their culture, but we must also challenge and confront it. If we overadapt to a culture, we have accepted the culture’s idols. If, however, we underadapt to a culture, we may have turned our own culture into an idol, an absolute. If we underadapt to a culture, no one will be changed because no one will listen to us; we will be confusing, offensive, or simply unpersuasive. To the degree a ministry is overadapted or underadapted to a culture, it loses life-changing power.” (Keller’s book Center Church, pg 24 of the Forward)
There is nothing biblical in the excerpts above, instead his instructions are the exact opposite of scripture in every way, as we have already determined in the passages of scripture examined thus far. A brief summary below of what he is teaching in comparison to scripture:
- “People come to Christ through processes, relationships, mini decisions….”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37
- “People in one culture reject Christ for totally different reasons than another culture”…..
And this is the verdict: the light has come into the world, and people love the darkness rather than the light because their works are evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his sin should be exposed. John 3:19-20
- “Trying Christianity on”….?
Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3: 7-8
- “The gospel must be attractive and most assuredly must line up with the people’s aspirations”….
Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me is not worthy to be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-27
- “The message must be adapted to suit the culture or no one will be changed because they won’t listen and will only be confused and offended”….
When many of his followers heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that they were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all! The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his followers turned back and no longer walked with him. John 6:60-66
- “Only an attractive gospel will keep people in their seats long enough to hear a presentation of “intellectual credibility”…..
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should lose its power. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, and it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Corinthians 1:17-21
- “A ministry must strike the right balance of cultural adaptation or it can lose life changing power” …..
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and I will not engage in the speech of them which are puffed up, but in the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
1 Corinthians 4:19-20
- “Keller warns Christians not to turn their “own culture” into an absolute”……
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou would keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:14-17
THY WORD IS TRUTH! Sounds pretty “absolute” to me! Everything Keller states above is the exact opposite of scripture.
Mark Gormick, coordinator of Redeemer’s City Seminary project, wrote a very revealing article with regard to Redeemer’s source of truth. Below is an excerpt from that article titled “Where the city is the Seminary”:
At City Seminary of New York, the city is our classroom. New York’s diverse churches, neighborhoods, streets, restaurants, subway lines, and history are our resources for learning and embracing the vitality of urban life and Biblical faith. Launched full-time in 2003, City Seminary of New York is a grassroots community of learning focused on the practice of ministry in our urban world.
One of City Seminary’s initiatives is The Ministry Fellows Program. A structured community learning experience, we bring together individuals from all walks of life and diverse church and ministry backgrounds who have had limited or no access to prior urban ministry training but who are already involved in serving the city. By listening, dialoguing, affirming and walking with each other, we draw from our own life experiences and resources from the city and beyond to encourage the work of hopeful and faithful ministry in the city, to provide leadership training in the practice of urban mission, and to establish small learning communities for accountability and formation. Launched this past fall with generous support from the Lilly Endowment, the program is off to an exciting start. We expect to hold open houses in the spring for additional cohorts beginning next fall.
Where is the Bible at City Seminary? Gormick is clear- the city and its “diverse” people are their “resources for learning”. He clearly states “the city is our classroom”….God forbid.
In the sermon link below Pastor John MacArthur takes the key points of modern day church growth schemes to scripture. l would note that all of the points he dismantles are major tenets of Keller’s ministry. This is a must listen for anyone who loves the church.
A Biblical Response to the Church Growth Movement http://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=529101415290
“Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years. In a post-Christian world, and even a post-Christian church, we must call apostasy by its proper name…APOSTASY.”
Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984)