When the sin of abortion can't be mentioned, there's always...

(Tim) Over under an old post, a man named Albert has been explaining why Tim Keller doesn't preach on abortion. Although he's written thousands of words, I think this gets at the nub of the issue:

Because, as I've said already, to (address the issue of abortion publicly) would be to detract people from the real issue. Would you be comfortable with the fact that if you brought up the issue of abortion to a liberal, all they heard was nothing but a Republican/Conservative ploy? ...Liberals will not buy your argument no matter how many times you qualify that what you're talking about isn't political.

So, good readers, if one preaches in Manhattan and wants to avoid issues that could be misunderstood, precisely what would one preach against?

Brothers and sisters, this is not a joke--but it's howlingly funny...

On the way to church this morning, I caught our local makes-NPR-look-Republican community radio station broadcasting a New Dimensions interview with Princeton grad and former president of Oberlin College, Robert Fuller, on a sin that...

But really, why give it away? You should have the pleasure of hearing it for yourself. Have a listen.

And when we're all done splitting our sides, someone go ask Albert if this sin will do for the Redeemer pulpit?


And that's pretty much the problem with every liberalizing movement (e.g. the church growth movement) that comes along: in the end they're ashamed of the Gospel and ashamed of the whole counsel of God, all because they don't want to offend the perishing world.

And by the way, for those concerned that we're speaking in riddles that people don't understand (then and there), well so did Christ. The Word of God isn't something you can always spoon up in soundbites or relate easily to the world. Theology gets deep because the word of God is deep. People need to learn and have their views reoriented 180 degrees. And that doesn't happen if you keep it under a bushel or try to blunt what it is clearly saying. The word of God doesn't need to change, the hearers of it do.

>The word of God doesn't need to change, the hearers of it do.

And when God opens the eyes that is exactly what they do. Results then are removed from our sphere of responsibility and we are required only speak the truth. We don't need to soften the Word of God and make it palatable. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

As for the Dr. Fuller I found his recording so rank (pun intended) that I uninstalled Real Player as I considered it polluted. I'll reinstall a fresh copy as needed. Anything else would be undignified.

So, good readers, if one preaches in Manhattan and wants to avoid issues that could be misunderstood, precisely what would one preach against?

Lust? Greed? Envy? The rest of the seven deadly sins?

Seriously - years ago, C.S. Lewis suggested that a way you could preach about sin in such a way that you could get conviction of sin in the listeners, was to preach against/about a sin with which you yourself had been battling. Any thoughts?

Lewis is right, as any pastor knows from the moment he begins preaching.

I don't know which of Lewis's writings you are referring to, but preaching needs to be done based on the whole counsel of God. It doesn't matter if it's a sin you personally battle or not.

Pastors shouldn't dumb down the message, they should bring up the hearers. The word of God, not our clever words, is what changes lives. The ecclesia needs straight liquor, not wine coolers.

There has been a concerted effort for years to get rid of the "cringe factor" about the Gospel.

You know ... wrath, blood atonement, appeasement, propitiation, punishment, sin, suffering, etc.

It is the cringe factor that Keller is seeking to rid. What was it that Niebuhr said?

"A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."

Keller isn't quite that bad. More likely it is the case for him that,

"A God mildly put out brought liberals without conviction into a kingdom without definition through the ministration of a Christ who is a pal."

Or something like that.

My Windows Media Player wouldn't open the .ram file. Anybody know how to make this work?


You have to use Real Player from www.real.com.

See Tim, this is why I like robes. The rankism-police can't stand them.

[Just harassing you :) ]

Dear Leslie,

Actually, I'd be happy to wear a Geneva gown. Black and frumpy is fine by me. Wore one leading worship at First Pres. in South Hamilton during seminary and I liked it.



Nice reworking of Niebuhr.


"Dissing people goes right to the heart of the human condition."

Too bad Dr. Fuller doesn't understand that man is fallen or else he could really begin to understand all this.

Like you said, Brett, the essence of what Fuller describes here is what Christianity is supposed to bring but they hope to create it apart from God and they wonder why it doesn't work.

He happily includes every form of entitlement, himself describing his beliefs as "utopian" yet he thinks we can do it - despite the fact that one man's utopia is everyone else's dystopia (including that same man's a minute later). How could these people be so out of touch - I guess the ivory tower is pretty secluded.

I just don't understand how many times this stuff can get hashed out - there's always some new way that More's Good Noplace (utopia) will be created on Earth - a lot of this sounded like Dr. Lete's annoyingly unrealistic letters in "Looking Backward" and "Equality."

The "Dignity Gap" term is fun, until we're all identical there will be a dignity gap and when we're all the same we'll all be nothing. In Fuller's next book we'll be dealing with his ingenious "Perceived Dignity Gap" - similar to Tim Keller's "Felt Needs." We'll all be required to fill the infinite void left in the heart of unregenerate man (and we think we have a national deficit now?) Good luck filling that Dr. Fuller.

Toward the middle of the broadcast we find out that he is a guy was picked on as a kid and apparently never got over it.

Of course he talks about rankism as including men stopping women from their reproductive rights with no thought to the "rankism" of killing the unborn. Then he proceeds to discuss how we should give equal dignity to he old, disabled and animals - but the unborn obviously don't deserve dignity in his "Dignitarian" society.

It's all the same garbage different packaging.

The spellchecker on TypePad doesn't recognize rankism or dignitarian as real words - I agree.

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