The Gospel Coalition was founded by Tim Keller and D.A. Carson in 2005. The ministry seeks to extend their influence through its website, conferences, publications, and other projects and initiatives with an emphasis on cultural transformation, thereby transforming the church into a community organization focused on social justice for the “collective” good, or Marxism. But that is not a church! As has been clearly presented all over this site, Cultural transformation is not the calling of the church, as scripture clearly reveals to us: “We know we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). There is much on The Gospel Coalition website site that should alarm believers but there is only room here to bring to your attention a few examples of the radically, unbiblical messages coming out of TGC on a daily basis.
Did you know the beloved “Little Red Hen” is actually a Pharisee? Oh, yes! The tried and true, always industrious little hen is no example to be followed according to Jared Wilson, a regular contributor to TGC. We should avoid this folktale during story-time with the kids, as he states in the article:
“Can I tell you that I hate the folktale of “The Little Red Hen.” What a graceless twit that hen is!”
Wilson informs us that this perfect picture of what hard work and personal responsibility can accomplish is actually a mask for greed that refuses to give to “those in need,” thereby painting the hen as the problem while elevating the lazy, slothful dog, cat and duck as victims. TGC distorts and demonizes this timeless tale, which I would remind you is grounded in biblical truth, to promote their perverted, Marxist theology. It is just this brand of perverted “charity” disguised as “truth” that has resulted in at least the last two generations of youth who practically refuse to work or even grow up! Disgusting. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/jared-c-wilson/little-red-hen-pharisee/
The below article landed in my email box from the “youth pastor” of the church I attended for many years and it is so bad that I decided to outline the false teaching in comparison to scripture. I have summarized the more troubling elements of the article below with a link to the entire article at the bottom.
Posted: The Gospel Coalition website May 6, 2016
“Three Ways You Can Serve Teenagers in Your Church”
(For the record and firstly, take note that prior to the 20th century the term “teenager” did not exist, as noted by journalist Derek Thompson in a recent article tracing the origin of this concept:
“The teenager is one of the more unusual inventions of the 20th century. Humans have been turning 13 for thousands of years, but only recently did it occur to anybody that the bridge between childhood and adulthood deserved its own name.” A Brief History of Teenagers | The Saturday Evening Post
And secondly, the church does not serve any people group, we serve Christ.”)
“We’re looking for a certain kind of teacher, though. We’re looking for those who’ll come alongside us and humbly demonstrate what it means to live for Jesus, not instructors who want to lord knowledge over us or stuff rules down our throats. “
The repeated phrase “we’re looking for…” displays the level of spiritual immaturity of the author, as well as a serious lack of understanding regarding biblical truth. It makes no difference what your desperately wicked heart (Jer.17:9) desires or is “looking for”, scripture makes clear that man’s corrupt, unreliable feelings are no source for guidance.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Scripture also makes clear how youth are to be mentored and taught in the church:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been taught the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 3: 14-15
The writer is adamant that they are not interested in “instructors” and in the article the term instructor is clearly defined by the writer as those who “lord knowledge over us and stuff rules down our throats”.
Once again, scripture is completely at odds with this writer’s idea of instructor and instruction:
*Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. Proverbs 4:13
*It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man Than for one to listen to the song of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:5
*Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof [is] brutish. Proverbs 12:1
*Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20
*All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
*He is in the way of life who heeds instruction, but he who forsakes it leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17
*He that refuses instruction despises his own soul: but he that receives it gains understanding. Proverbs 15:32
*Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards instruction will be honored. Proverbs 13:18
Why would a professing Christian write an article espousing such a disdain for instruction?
Also troubling is the author’s portrayal of the elder church member’s constant reliance upon and reference to scripture as “lording knowledge over us”– an elder of this capacity is a blessing to any church, as scripture confirms, a faithful elder will constantly proclaim scripture to the youth:
18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 11: 18-20
A deep reverence and exaltation of God’s perfect law is demeaned and marginalized by the young writer as “stuffing rules down our throats”….King David had quite a different take on the law of God:
“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Psalm 119:97-99
- stat·ute (in biblical use) a law or decree made by a sovereign, or by God.
And can it get any more self-absorbed than this statement from the article:
“Teenagers need adults to be our friend, not just our teacher. Too often Christian teens can feel like second class citizens and this shows us that we are welcomed, and loved.”
The young writer informs us that too often Christian teenagers are made to feel like second class citizens; not just teenagers, mind you, but Christian teenagers…I couldn’t help wondering on what basis the young writer would make such a dubious statement? Exactly what is the implication? Is it the elder Christians who are guilty of belittling the younger in the church? Not making them feel welcomed and loved enough? Too much teaching and not enough coddling? This is outrageously unbiblical nonsense. What this writer and the vast majority of teenagers in the church really need is a hearty dose of dying to self. It would serve her well to devote herself to the study of scripture, as well as exposure to sound teaching before penning and posting an article that is so blatantly at odds with scripture and void of any wise counsel to the multitudes that will be exposed to it on The Gospel Coalition website.
And she goes on with even more “me-centered” advice to the church:
“Teenagers can be messy, we are in a different stage of life than any other church member so it can be difficult to relate to our persistent challenges, struggles and questions- we’re at a critical stage in life, coming into our own…..”
This writer clearly views herself and her peers as quite unique and special indeed…more so than “any other church member”…and what exactly is meant by “coming into our own”?
Do you not know that you are not your own? for you have been bought with a price. 1 Cor 6:19
The church is not tasked with pandering to the teenager’s corrupt feelings and opinions. The elder church member’s charge from God is to feed them a steady diet of the whole counsel of God, whereby the supernatural power of the one, true God and Lord of the universe pierces their dreadfully self-absorbed hearts and transforms them. Their “unique stage in life” is irrelevant. Believers (of any age) are already struggling enough with Christ’s command to “die to self” (Luke 14:27) and these self-absorbed, anti-biblical teachings do nothing to advance them in this struggle. Though the young writer seems at times to acknowledge the importance of teaching, the overarching message of the article is clear; they prefer friendship over instruction and experience over knowledge. It is exactly this type of error (sprinkled with just enough truth) that is so cleverly deceptive. The LAST thing young (often unconverted) people need is another “friend”– most will have plenty of those! They need what the Bible prescribes; guidance and instruction in the fear (law) and admonition (knowledge) of the Holy scriptures by faithful believers in the Lord’s church. The overall message of this article is clearly at odds with scripture, but it is just this type of man-centered teaching that you will find regularly posted and presented on Keller’s Gospel Coalition website, co-founded by D. A. Carson and supported by some of the most influential names in the visible church.
There are so many serious problems with The Gospel Coalition that it would be impossible to outline them all here. Instead, I recommend the below links to faithful and discerning ministries who have been sounding the warning to mark and avoid The Gospel Coalition, but most of all you need to warn others.
Pulpit and Pen have produced well over 200 articles warning about TGC: https://pulpitandpen.org/?s=the+gospel+coalition
Reformation Charlotte warn constantly of the dangers of TGC: https://reformationcharlotte.org/?s=The+Gospel+Coalition
The Trinity Foundation has written extensively on the dangers of TGC: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=295
“Beware of supposing that a teacher is to be trusted, because although he holds some unsound views, he yet ‘teaches a great deal of truth.’ Such a teacher is precisely the man to do you harm: poison is always most dangerous when it is mixed with wholesome food. ”
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)