Written By Toni S. Brown – Click HERE for all her articles concerning Tim Keller
I presented evidence in the previous post that Tim Keller’s “gospel” does not originate from scripture and therefore concluded that it is not the gospel of Christ. In this post I examine Keller’s gospel, in his own words, to expose the true purpose and mission of the dangerous movement to redefine Christianity, of which Keller has always been a key player and leader.
A quick look at Keller’s best-selling book The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith is very revealing in terms of the man and his message; ChristianBook.com sums up the message of the book as follows:
Using his characteristic intellectual approach to faith issues, Keller uncovers an unexpected message in the familiar—and often misunderstood—New Testament parable of the prodigal son. Seekers and believers alike will see Christianity in a whole new way when they learn how Christ’s followers are supposed to love, so they can join him in heaven. (160 pages, softcover from Penguin)
The message is unexpected and its new! Dr. Keller continues with this statement in the introduction of the book:
‘This volume is not just written for seekers, many lifelong Christian believers feel they understand the basics of the Christian faith quite well and don’t think they need a primer. Nevertheless, one of the signs that you may not grasp the unique radical nature of the gospel is that you are certain that you do.’
Keller asserts that a believer’s confidence and certainty in the true gospel is actually a sign that they really don’t get it at all, but this flies in the face of the Apostle John’s exhortation to believers:
John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
1 John 5:13 “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.“
And just who or what does Keller feel he needs to “recover” the Christian faith from? An honest critique of Keller against scripture exposes his “new, unexpected” message that will lead you to “see Christianity in a whole new way”, which is his intent; a whole new Christianity altogether. The summarized review of some of the chapters and section titles from the book illustrate this:
*Chapter 1 section 3 has the heading “Why people like Jesus but not the church”…. ? Pastor Keller clearly believes and teaches that lost, unconverted people really like Jesus- they just reject His church and he has set out to correct the church’s “errors” so the world will like us as much as they already like Jesus! But nothing could be further from the truth, as is clear from the words of Christ himself:
Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.”
John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If 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.”
Matthew 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Keller’s new, unexpected message really begins to take shape as the reader moves from chapter to chapter:
*Chapter 3 “Redefining Sin”
*Chapter 4 “Redefining Lostness”
*Chapter 6 “Redefining Hope”
Definition of redefine from www.merriamwebster.com
to define something (such as a concept) again : reformulate
to reexamine or reevaluate especially with a view to change : to transform
When Keller, author of The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, speaks about “sin” to his audiences, which are 70% single and younger than 40, “I use it with lots and lots of explanation, because the word is essentially obsolete. They do get the idea of branding,-of taking a word or term and filling it with your own content,, so I have to rebrand the word ‘sin,’ ” Keller says.”Around here [in his Redeemer Network churches] it means self-centeredness, the acorn from which it all grows. Individually, that means ‘I live for myself, for my own glory and happiness, and I’ll work for your happiness if it helps me.’ Communally, self-centeredness is destroying peace and justice in the world, tearing the net of interwovenness and the fabric of humanity.” (excerpt: Keller interview USA TODAY, Cathy Lynn Grossman)
The above revelation from Dr. Tim Keller is outrageous. He has decided that the word “sin” is obsolete therefore it is necessary for him to rebrand the word, which is to ignore the biblical definition and fill it with “HIS OWN CONTENT”.
Wow….what can you say to that? The complete disregard for the authority of Holy Scripture is staggering! The one true God has spoken and the straightforward, clear biblical definition of sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God. Sin has nothing to do with the “net interwovenness of humanity.” Please note that Keller’s “better” definition bears no mention of God’s law or man’s deeply depraved state. His “better” definition is void of any mention of sin as a rebellious offense against a Holy God, the lawgiver himself.
“All heresies that have afflicted the church have their origins in a defective understanding of sin.” J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
What would compel a professing pastor to decide that it is necessary (or even possible) to redefine anything God has already clearly defined?
Charles Spurgeon perfectly sums up the audacity of Dr. Tim Keller:
“The desire to alter the Word of God is dangerous. In the wilderness God Himself pointed this out: “Ye shall not add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it” (Deut. 4:2). The nations they were advancing to conquer had long cast aside their allegiance to their Maker, and the least tendency to question or alter God’s Word might result in the same downfall for Israel. Deuteronomy 12:32 distinctly refers to this danger, and reasserts the warning: “What thing soever I command you thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” The act of altering the Word of God is sinful. “Every word of God is pure- Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6). He who essays to improve upon scripture imputes error to the all-wise One. Only unholy minds would attempt it.”
Below is an excerpt from Keller’s article based on a sermon he preached titled “Life in an Upside-Down Kingdom.” It clearly illustrates Keller’s upside-down theology regarding Jesus, His mission and His gospel.
“If you were a revolutionary or wanted to bring in a new kingdom or new administration, you were a hunted man. So you would hide out in the mountains. Just as the revolutionaries hide in the mountains, so Jesus Christ goes to the mountains: He is bringing about a revolution. He is a subversive. In the first verse of His sermon, He says, “I am coming to bring a new administration. I’m coming to bring a kingdom, a new kingdom to replace the old kingdom” (v. 20). Now, when you understand what He says this kingdom is, you realize that every other revolutionary who ever lived was really just trying to make small, fine tunings to the old kingdom, to rework or reshuffle it. Jesus Christ brings the most radical revolution because the pattern of values, power, and product of His kingdom are utterly different. Riches and poverty are really a matter of power so if this world is all there is, and if working for injustice means losing my job, my reputation, or my life, then I won’t do it. But if I have a blessedness and I can leap for joy because of my standing in heaven now, I see my standing in heaven. That means I can work against injustice. Is the gospel really for the literally poor? The answer is there’s a deliberate duality or ambiguity. The gospel will grab middle-class people. The gospel will take Christians and turn their hearts toward the poor. Whereas, the gospel will also take the poor and turn their hearts toward the rest of Christians. The poor know that salvation has to be by grace. You never find the poor having a very nice ethical religion. The poor tend to say, “I believe in the blood of Jesus. I believe in salvation by grace.” Why? Because they don’t have the illusion of being in control of their lives; that the reason you’re on top of things is because you worked so hard. The poor know that everything is a matter of grace; therefore, the poor are more open to the gospel. But the gospel will take a middle-class person and say, “You are saved by grace alone,” and will turn their heart toward the poor.” http://www.newcityindy.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Upside-Down-Kingdom.Tim-Keller.pdf
Hard working people who have control of their lives are not open to the gospel, says Dr. Tim Keller???? The atrocious excerpt above illustrates the main tenet of Keller’s redefined Christianity ; Jesus the social revolutionary who’s mission was cultural and social change- to make the world a better place. But the Christ of scripture left this world exactly the way he found it; corrupt and sinful! Because that was never His mission:
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36