Supreme Court and Redeemer sexuality...

Back in the early nineties, I began to recommend that grad students, musicians, lawyers, and artists leaving our congregation in Bloomington for New York City make the church served by Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church) their NYC church home. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the PCA at the time and tickled pink there was a Biblical Reformed witness in NYC (Dad was from Flushing).

Sadly, I began to hear back from these men and women that Redeemer's pastors were soft on sexuality. They reported the pastors had no heart to preach or teach God's Creation Order of Adam first, then Eve, and that Redeemer women were promoted to positions teaching and exercising authority over men. It was from these discouraged Redeemer members I first heard that foolish betrayal of Biblical sexuality that now has become the PCA's shibboleth: "A woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do."

This was disheartening. I had just left the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) for the Presbyterian Church in America a few years earlier with the congregation I was serving in Wisconsin, and we had chosen to affiliate with the PCA because of the PCA's seeming commitment to be faithful to God's Word on sexuality. Our Wisconsin session had talked it over and one man said, "If we go into the EPC or CRC, we'll immediately be dealing with the same battles over sexuality we've had in the PC(USA), but if we enter the PCA it'll be about twenty years before the corruption arrives." That session meeting was held in 1991.

This past weekend Mary Lee and I were back in that congregation for the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of my former clerk of session and his wife, Don and Evelyn Jerred, and I reminded one of the couples there of that conversation twenty years ago... (They are in another PCA church and are considering whether to lend their support to an urban church plant effort being led by the PCA's campus ministry, Reformed University Fellowship. At least in the north, RUF now bankrolls and leads the PCA's church planting.)

But as I said, that session meeting was in 1991. It's now 2013—twenty-two years later—and Tim Keller owns the PCA. For years now, David and I have done our best to warn our presbyteries' pastors and elders against the corruption of Tim Keller's doctrine and practice, but as with other doctrinal matters, when cases are adjudicated by church courts, money, fame and personal relationships overwhelm men normally committed to doctrinal faithfulness, and they cave. (And yes, David and I have both told several of those men personally that it is our judgment they caved. We don't say things publicly we're unwilling to say privately.)

So what is our hope?

God's Word stands against all those who attack it because our Lord promised Heaven and earth will pass away before a single jot or tittle of the Law passes away. This is true—I've watched it throughout my life—and it gives us all great joy.

Though the kings of this world gnash their teeth, every particular of  God's Order of Creation will continue to stand. Neither the decrees of the Supreme Court of these United States nor the practice of Metropolitan New York Presbytery of the PCA will be able to alter to the slightest degree God's Order of Creation that woman is not to teach or exercise authority over man and that sexual intimacy is not for man and man or woman and woman.

Tim Keller and his fans think they can fudge all around the edges of the first half of Creation sexuality and be silent concerning the second half while holding on to their Reformed street cred. So far it seems to be true.

But my Redeemer friends tell me Redeemer has few wee ones.

Meanwhile churches unashamed of God's Order of Creation have scads of children. Why just between Toledo and Bloomington I'm betting we have two-hundred covenant children under the age of six, and counting...

Covenant children have always been the future of the Church.

As someone once said, "Make love, not money."

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Didn't someone note that all too often, we become what we oppose?  I certainly have seen it among many Baptist fundamentalists, where there is a bitter irony that the actual Fundamentals are submerged in a sea of legalism--more or less, they have adopted the doctrines of the perfectibility of man while arguing bitterly against it. 

'oy!  And so I pray for you and for the PCA.  So much potential, so much down the porcelain "god".  And I've also borrowed a copy of Calvin, and we'll see how Reformed I am, and how Reformed I might become.  Is Beveredge's translation good?

I seem to recall a certain pastor suggesting that part of the missions budget for the church ought to go toward reversing vasectomies.

Dear Bert,

I'd get Battles rather than Beveridge. And trust me, you're Reformed.

Dear Andy,

Did you know a third of the couples who've been sterilized regret it?

Love,

This means that 2/3 are glad they had vasectomies. Interesting.

1/3 of the people who buy Chrysler automobiles regret their purchase...the other 2/3 just never knew how an automobile should actually function.

Interesting?

This issue of the relationship between Tim Keller and the PCA is a significant one.

I also have noticed the increasing trend for pastors to have a pretty much borderline idolatrous view of the man.

Although I feel that Keller loves the church, he is so directionless that he has done more to harm it with his lack of boldness in all areas of doctrine.

Case in point... One of my relatives came from Redeemer since she went to school in that area. And it wasnt until she came out to where she is currently living did she understand the proper roles of biblical manhood and womanhood.. She is a stay at home mom now...

That is not to say that the rest of her theology is solid, but at least in this particular area of the wife's responsibilities, she at least has some vague ideas about what manhood and womanhood should be.

It is concerning and very troubling how much damage Keller is doing to the church, all in the name of trying to help it.

Can you recommend a church in NYC? I have s many of my congregants going there, and in the past I had recommended Redeemer too.

Steve

This is going to be hard... I dont know the NY area at all... You can always to do the standard search from the PCA and OPC directory... Somewhat close by is Shishko's church (OPC).. He came out of Marxist thinking, and I would venture to say that because of his background, he would tend to be more of what folks on this blog would adhere to....

But, I dont know him and I would encourage you or your members to ask some pointed questions for other church pastors in the area.

I think that the extra effort and pain involved in doing this is worth it..

Also, if the Bayly's dont know of any in the area, you can certainly contact Ken Gentry or Theonomy Resources, or some other like-minded ministry... I am currently now in VA and found a "theonomic-friendly" church because of Dr Gentry's help.

I wish I could see numbers on how many people have been brought to Christ by the influence of Tim Keller compared to that of Clearnote leaders. You may be right about doctrinal errors or blind spots on his part, but I think he is picking his battles.  

Dan, 

I have no doubt that God is using Keller to bring people to Christ. God uses all of his broken and sinful people to bring about the kingdom. 

But, that doesnt mean that Keller isnt also hurting the church at the same time. Also, the fact that God is being gracious and allowing many people to come to Christ through Keller's ministry is irrelevant as to whether he should be bold in preaching law and gospel in all areas of life, and upholding his vows as a PCA minister... both of which, he is not doing. 

Even Dr Hart, whom I pretty much disagree about 99% of the time, I agree with him on this particular issue about Keller's not being faithful to his vows as a presbyterian minster. 

For instance, why on earth does he have to generate a New City Catechism? I seem to remember that there is another catechism that is some sort of a constitutional document for the PCA... 

The fact that he has to do this, and the fact that this new catechism which is stripped of presbyterian identity indicates that he is not pushing a distinctive reformed distinctive, which is in violation of his implied obligations as a PCA minister. 

For instance, when my relative, who came from Redeemer and was attending there for several years, still cannot understand the reason for infant baptism, there is something wrong. 

He has so much influence... It is a sad thing that he wastes it by being a coward and not calling out homosexuals and Muslims... When he says that there is possibly a trap door for muslims in terms of salvation at a recent Veritas Forum, he has been too influenced by the world. 

I think his approach to this issue is more like Dan Doriani's. Read this article by Doriani. His tone is much more winsome than Clearnote's: http://thegospelcoalition.org/mobile/article/tgc/the-surest-way-to-promo...

Keller clarifies position on same-sex marriage: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/03/29/keller-clarifies-posi...

Dan,

I appreciate the links. I do agree that the approach that the first link takes is very kind and gentle. I dont think that the specific things that are being advocated go far enough though..

But I know that you were citing this more so for an example of tone. I have come to learn that the church requires all kinds of people.. some that are soft and some that are gritty and in your face.

I think that it is somewhat dangerous to automatically assume that since one is being gritty, that this automatically means that he is being sinful and arrogant or unloving. Different people respond differently. The church needs all types of personalities. Being bold for Christ sometimes means that you have to be BOLD... but other times, it can mean to be firm yet gentle...

For the second article, Keller is reacting to a statement that he made... and he was supposedly being unclear and this is why a lot of people misunderstood him. This is a supreme error in judgement if this really was the case.Esp. with an issue like homosexuality, did he not have the understanding that he needed to be absolutely clear?

For the third article, I severely disagree with his hermeneutic and he also commits several logical fallacies. For instance, he says: If the New Testament has reaffirmed a commandment, then it is still in force for us today.

This is clearly wrong. If what Keller says is true, then bestiality and rape would be acceptable because neither are mentioned in the NT. The proper hermeneutic should be that the OT commandments are still in force unless specifically (or by deduction) repealed in the NT.

You will also notice that he never actually specifically discusses homosexuality in this article. He at least implies that he feels that it is wrong since he quotes 1 Cor 6:9, but he never interacts with the text, and his main point about the article is simply to discuss the role of the OT and the NT and in terms of what is still binding and what isnt.

Now, i know that Tim Keller is a very smart man... Do you honestly think that this was an honest mistake? I suspect hardly.... He was very unclear in the second link, and he is still unclear and wants to discuss his views in a very very soft way in the third link... This is greatly concerning to me because this shows that he has no boldness (at least in this area).

I never said that he doesnt believe that homosexuality is wrong... I was referring to the fact that he was not being bold in this area. I admit, my colloquialism may have brought about some confusion, so I apologize if you felt that I thought that he didnt believe that it was a sin.

Please see: http://ironink.org/2013/03/spurgeon-and-mcatee-contra-keller-on-sodomy/

You will see Keller hemming and hawing.. it is really embarrassing to watch and not amusing at all, even though the audience laughs at his humor... In fact, it is very discouraging and angering at how much he is backpedaling.

Keller has said in the past that "you dont go to hell because you are a homosexual, but because you dont love Jesus" or something like that...

While I understand the intent behind why he says this (socially, and theologically) this actually sends a terrible message to homosexuals and to weak Christians.

Socially, he is not being clear where Scripture is clear.. Scripture is very very clear on what exactly homosexuality is. It is his duty as a minister to be clear. He is doing it this way to be soft and not "offensive"... This is troubling because his fear of other people is affecting how he preaches truth. Shouldnt the fear of God and not man be what affects our preaching?

Theologically, this is actually an oversimplification of what exactly is at stake. Yes, we can all agree that you go to hell if you dont believe or love Jesus. But one's unwillingness to believe in Jesus isnt in a vacuum... It is the total depravity in his heart and his heart is fixated on worshiping anything else other than God... In Rom 1, we see that homosexuality is actually a tragic symptom of idolatry (Rom 1:23). And it is this idolatry and therefore homosexuality that natural man is using to rebel against God. So yes, for an atheist homosexual, it is because he is homosexual that he is going to hell, because he is using this to rebel against God and not believe in Jesus.

Finally, I hope that with what I have mentioned previously and above shows you why I feel that Keller has hurt the church deeply in many ways.

With his not being crystal clear on homosexuality, he is not being bold as God calls him to be, and he is fearing man more than God, and through this, he hurts the gospel message more than he helps it.

The Bible is exceedingly clear on a number of key ethical issues. Perhaps a knuckle dragger like me is too obtuse to understand why Keller cannot be clear when it seems pretty obvious to me that one needs to be when discussing eternal truth. Lives are at stake. There is no room to be intentionally unclear.

Also, being bold and clear doesnt mean that you are necessarily a jerk or hateful. So when someone is telling another person something straight up, there doesnt automatically need to be an assumption of being a jerk simply because the first person was being clear.
In fact, in many ways, being clear is actually the most loving thing that one can be.

Have you ever befriended a homosexual or sodomite (as you call them), loved and spoke the truth to them as Christ did with prostitutes and tax collectors? That would be bold. And by being bold I mean more than debating and warning. I mean being part of their lives and sharing truth and love by the example of Christ's work in your own heart and life. 

sodomite (as you call them)

God calls them that.  Perhaps you should too...

>>Have you ever befriended a homosexual or sodomite

Dear Dan,

Yes, over a lifetime. Our congregation has always had a number of men and women repenting sodomy and lesbianism, and fighting same-sex attraction. This is why we use the words 'sodomy' and 'sodomite,' reminding them (and all of us) of the horror of sexual bondage and the certainty of God's judgment of all idolaters.

Mean, loveless, and faithless men don't have the heart for this work. They don't think about, let alone speak about or testify concerning, Sodom and Gomorrah. But the work is quite joyful, actually, and I encourage you to find a church and some pastors and elders and Titus 2 women who give themselves to it. It will be eye-opening.

I should add that your questions are very old here on Baylyblog and have been addressed over and over again. (No fault of yours that you don't know it.)

So would you please read this post done in 2006 and reposted earlier this year before again engaging the question of our use of the word 'sodomite' and our love for those tempted by sodomy?

Thanks,

I do belong to a church like the one you described, and I still think Doriani's approach to an unbelieving world is better. I don't think one must choose to either be bold or gentle. One can be both.  Jesus is the perfect example of that. 

No need to get into a discussion about the use of the word sodomite. I'm already aware of your reasoning on that. 

Tim, could you point me to the sources you are reading about Tim Keller and what he is doing at Redeemer? I'd like to share and discuss them with my father. 

You may simply type "Tim Keller" into the search box at the top right, then filter for year, author, and subject. All the documentation is there. Too, this and this provide a good start on Tim's bad hermeneutics so foundational to all his errors. Sheep, though, will be misled by him. Shepherds are the ones who are to guard against such errors because they have the gifting and ordination and responsibility.

Love,

>>> I'd get Battles rather than Beveridge.

Tim,

Is the Battles translation more accurate, or easier to read? What makes it better?

Love,

Dear Dan,

Google the issue and read others' thoughts. I've been happy with Battles.

Love,

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