What is the Gospel?
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4
And this is the gospel, nothing else. But not according to many prominent leaders and teachers in the visible church, namely the influential Dr. Tim Keller, whose “gospel” needs to be examined in light of the scriptures.
The below video was posted in my last article and I post it again here to illustrate the desperate need of the Lord’s church to heed the warnings of scripture and examine what is being said by prominent, professing pastors in the church:
According to Dr. Keller, the gospel is not “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow” Hebrews 4:12. Keller refers to the Hebrews 4:12 gospel as “a magic bullet that doesn’t work anymore.” So we must ask:
What is the gospel according to Dr. Tim Keller?
The below excerpt from a speech given by Keller at an “Entepreneurs’ Forum” held at his main downtown campus of the Redeemer Network illustrates his understanding of why Christ died:
“Conservative churches say ‘this world is not our home and it’s gonna burn up eventually and what really matters is saving souls so evangelism and discipleship and saving souls are what is important’. And we try to say that it’s the other way around almost. That the purpose of salvation is to renew creation. That this world is good and if you see it that way, then the old paradigm- if you’re going to put your money and your time and your effort as a Christian into doing God’s work in the world, you wanna save souls which means the only purpose of your ministry and your effort is to increase the tribe, increase the number of Christians. In the past Christians have tended to do things that only Christians would be interested in and only Christians would give to. I mean who else besides a Christian would give money to get something started that’s going to win many, many people to Christ? Just pretty much only Christians. BUT, when you have something that’s going to improve the schools in a particular city for everybody; when you have a venture that’s going to reweave creation physically, that’s going to deal with health problems, that’s going to deal with poverty. When Christians do that – out of their theology – they do that effectively because they’re dealing with the common good and you’re going to find that all kinds of non-Christians are not only going to invest in that and want to partner with you in that but a lot of them are also going to be attracted to the gospel because of that.”
(excerpt source: Jonathan Cousar, member of Redeemer NYC 19 yrs.)
According to Tim Keller, Christ died to make the world a better place. But this is false, as Paul makes clear the true and sole purpose of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ:
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 1:15
Keller exalts and clearly serves the world, admonishing all Christians to do the same; but Jesus said:
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me first. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19
Keller goes even further to pervert the true gospel when he tells his audience churches that focus on “soul winning” just want to “increase their tribe.” This is blasphemy, plain and simple, as scripture proclaims:
“I say unto you, that likewise the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repents.” Luke 15:6
Keller teaches that the church’s mission is to reweave creation physically by way of social action that promotes the common good, but Christ said:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16
It is extremely important to take note of Dr. Keller’s proclamation that the world is good; of course, as anyone who has ever opened a Bible will tell you, that is patently false: Again, thus saith the Lord:
“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” 1 John 5:19
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
“Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4
Keller teaches that social action for the common good will attract unbelievers to the gospel, but scripture says otherwise:
“But the natural man receiveth not the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are only spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:15
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4: 1-4
“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:5-6
In his essay titled “Leading the Secular to Christ”, Keller makes this statement:
“I couldn’t agree more that post-modern people come to Christ through processes, through relationships, through mini-decisions, through ‘trying Christianity on.’ Christianity must be attractive to people before they will sit still for a presentation of intellectual credibility.”
No. There are no “mini-decisions” and certainly no dressing rooms for “trying Christianity on:”
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you, your children and all who are far off-for all whom the LORD our God will call.” Acts 2:37-39
Keller teaches that the gospel preached must be “attractive” and must be appealing to the unbelieving world……
“Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me is not worthy to be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-27
“When many of his followers heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that they were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? And he said, This is why I told you that “no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his followers turned back and no longer walked with him.” John 6:60,65,66
And what are we to make of Keller’s insistence on an intellectually credible message?
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should lose its power. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, and it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:17-21
“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is no help at all: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63
One thing is abundantly clear, Tim Keller does not preach the gospel of Christ, and has little interest is “saving souls”, as demonstrated above in his own words!
The below excerpt from an email I received after the first two articles were published with the BTWN network perfectly illustrates this, as well as the dire need to confront and expose men who have “crept in unawares:”
“I am very interested in this topic because I have a Christian friend whose family member attends Redeemer in NYC. This family member found out that they have a terminal illness and their Christian family was very concerned and started talking to them about the Lord and the gospel just to make sure they were saved. This person had no clue what they were talking about! They did not understand biblical truth having been steeped in Keller’s teachings.”
So… what is the point and purpose of his “ministry”? We will examine this in the next article (part 2).
Written by Toni Brown – Check her website out – HERE