(Tim) Here's an interview with the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller, the senior minister of Manhattan's Redeemer Presbyterian Church which is likely the most influential congregation of our own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. The occasion of the interview was the arrival of Dr. Keller's book at No. 18 on the New York Times bestseller list. The interview was done by Anthony Sacramone, editor of Richard John Neuhaus' First Things to which I'm a charter subscriber. I note this because I'm hopeful it will discourage readers from coming to the wrong conclusion as to why I say the following...
Although many of the pastors I love and respect look to Dr. Keller as the model preacher for our age, I do not. And of course, my purpose in saying this is to warn shepherds of the consequences of accepting Dr. Keller's preaching paradigm so clearly presented in this interview...
Like most evangelical evangelists of the twentieth century, Dr. Keller seems to be convinced that the best method of leading souls to Christ is to avoid calling men and women to repentance at some of the places our cultural idolatries are most evident.
Across the country are ministries that employ very sophisticated rhetoric and the most careful choice of words to communicate well with people in their twenties and thirties and these men point to a track record they claim is stellar in leading these souls to Christ. But, again and again, it's evident such men don't preach on sensitive subjects.
As you read the interview with Dr. Keller, note that Redeemer leads the pack in tightly parsing the PCA's Book of Church Order in such a way as to slip under the wire of non-compliance in her practice of women and men together serving as deacons, and also that Redeemer uses women to serve the Lord's Supper.
Is this wrong because we need to maintain male perquisites and resent churches not doing their part in stemming the tide of feminism sweeping through the church today?
No, not at all.
It's wrong because neither evangelism nor discipleship can be done today without calling men and women to repent of their rebellion against God in all areas of sexuality. Anthropology is our Waterloo and those pastors who keep a safe distance from it are not evangelizing or discipling anyone.
Recently I've been reading an excellent book on missions titled Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? Buy and read it now. You won't be disappointed.
Today, we need to stop fawning over megachurch pastors with rich churches, slick publicity machines, and large book deals. Instead, let's return to the book of Acts and model our ministries after the Apostle Paul. As I've said too many times, now: I find that most men calling attention to themselves and claiming to be effective evangelists are not noteworthy for their conformity to St. Paul's missionary methods, preaching, writing, or pastoral care. Rather, they seem to be more in line with Bishop N. T. Wrong who posits, cavils, suggests, and wonders in a Trinitarian, theistic, and biblical direction.
I'm not against the thoughtful, intelligent, sensitive, and articulate presentation of the Gospel as long as sheep are not left thinking self-congratulatory thoughts about what a privilege it is to sit under such thoughtful, intelligent, sensitive, and articulate preaching. Rather, they should be left with a soul that is covered in dust and ashes and crying out before God, "I'm wicked and hopeless! What must I do to be saved?"
(The Apostle Paul said to the Ephesian elders) "And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:22-35)