Tim Keller: "God seems to use all these kinds of churches"

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SEAGOON

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Guys,

Over the years, I've tried to hold my tongue when it came to some of the things that Redeemer PCA in NYC has done. I have not, for instance, publicly complained about Redeemer planting churches outside of Metro NYC presbytery without working with the other Presbyteries they are planting in, or made the assertion that because Redeemer has pro-FV associate Pastors that Tim Keller is pro-FV. But I believe that Keller has gone well beyond the pale in a recent interview. In this interview he treats Roman Catholicism as simply another variety of Christianity God uses to save people, that Presbyterian churches may plant and support churches of other denominations, that we should reject both Evolution and Young Earth Creationism in favor of a "Semi-Theistic Evolution" otherwise the bible looks like the work of a stupid editor, and finally that Presbyterianism and the BCO is simply a tradition they have to put up with even though they've moved beyond it in many regards.

Never is it considered by Keller that maybe we're the one's going off the reservation rather the assumption is that whatever Tim Keller and Redeemer do, it must be good and orthodox, and the way God is working in NYC.

So, I'm wondering if some of the Tim Keller apologists on the list can help me to "re-interpret" Keller's recent interview with America's premier Roman Catholic journal of religion and culture, First Things: FIRST THINGS: On the Square » Blog Archive » An Interview with Timothy Keller

(The Interviewer's questions are in bold, Keller's answers are in italics)

Let's Start With Pluralism:

"Even though you’re helping to plant non-Presbyterian churches?

Yes, because I don’t believe you can reach New York with the gospel if you only plant Presbyterian churches. There are all kinds of people who’ll never be Presbyterians. It just doesn’t appeal to them. Some people are going to be Pentecostals, some people are going to be Catholics. I mean, I know that sounds—I’m not talking about that certain cultures reach certain people. It’s much more complicated than that. Even though there’s something to that. We all know that certain cultures seem to have more of an affinity toward a certain kind of Christian tradition than others, but I wouldn’t want to reduce it to that at all. I would just say that I only know that God seems to use all these kinds of churches to reach the whole breadth of humanity, and so that’s why we give money to start churches of other denominations, and give free training to it. And we’ve done about a hundred in the New York area, where we’ve helped people. It’s very important to us."

Ok, now "Semi-Theistic Evolution":

In The Reason for God, you make a very brief argument for the validity of evolution within a limited sphere. It would seem to me that apologists for the faith must address this issue at some point. But doing so can call into question the historicity of the Fall and the very need for a savior. How do you talk about evolution without confusing people?

Oh, it’s a little confusing, but actually I’m just in the same place where the Catholics are, as far as I can tell. The Catholic Church has always been able to hold on to a belief in a historical Fall*it really happened, it’s not just representative of the fact that the human race has kind of gone bad in various ways. At the same time, if you say, “There is no God and everything happened by evolution,” naturalistic evolution*then you have “theistic evolution”: God just started things years ago and everything has come into being through the process of evolution. You have young-Earth six-day creationism, which is “God created everything in six 24-hour days.” To me, all three of those positions have perhaps insurmountable difficulties.

The fact is, the one that most people consider the most conservative, which is the young-Earth, six-day creation, has all kinds of problems with the text, as we know. If it’s really true, then you have problems of contradictions between Genesis 1 and 2. I don’t like the JEPD theory. I don’t like the theory that these are two somewhat contradictory creation stories that some editor stuck together*some pretty stupid editor stuck together. I think therefore you’ve got a problem with how long are the days before the sun shows up in the fourth day. You have problems really reading the Bible in a straightforward way with a young-Earth, six 24-hour day theory. You’ve got some problems with the theistic evolution, because then you have to ask yourself, “Was there no Adam and Eve? Was there no Fall?” So here’s what I like*the messy approach, which is I think there was an Adam and Eve. I think there was a real Fall. I think that happened. I also think that there also was a very long process probably, you know, that the earth probably is very old, and there was some kind of process of natural selection that God guided and used, and maybe intervened in. And that’s just the messy part. I’m not a scientist. I’m not going to go beyond that.

I do know that I say in the book, “This is an absolute red herring*to get mired in this before you look at the certainties of the faith. Because the fact is that real orthodox believers with a high view of Scripture are all over the map on this. I can line up ten really smart people in all those different buckets, which I’ll call “theistic evolution,” “young-Earth creationism,” and let’s call it “progressive creationism” or “semi-theistic evolution.” There are all these different views. And when you see a lot of smart people disagreeing on this stuff, well . . .

How could there have been death before Adam and Eve fell? The answer is, I don’t know. But all I know is, didn’t animals eat bugs? Didn’t bugs eat plants? There must have been death. In other words, when you realize, “Oh wait, this is really complicated,” then you realize, “I don’t have to figure this out before I figure out is Jesus Christ raised from the dead.”


And finally, "putting up" with Presbyterianism (this is a high view of the bride of Christ?):

"Do you ever see a point at which Redeemer’s mission, which is transdenominational, if not nondenominational, is inhibited by being a member of a specific denomination? Would it be easier to do what you do if you were not connected to the Presbyterian Church in America?

Maybe a little. Because, when you’re part of a denomination, you’ve got to have some constitution, some structure, that you hold with everybody else. The larger a church gets, the more unique it gets, and it would always be a little easier, I suppose, if we didn’t have any—like, for example, how we do elections. We have to get a quorum of our members. When our constitution was built, no one was thinking about a church that held five services on a Sunday, at three locations. So the problem is to get a quorum of our congregation, we don’t actually have a quorum of our congregation at any one service. So where do we hold an election for our services? And the answer is, we choose the largest one and we just hope people come. So it’s a bit of a struggle to get a quorum, because our constitution is set up for a traditional church in a small town. Its not set up for multi-site churches, it’s not set up for churches that don’t have their own buildings. And if we were an independent church, we’d just do it our own way. But we think it’s very very important to be part of the connection. We think for accountability it’s important, for tradition it’s important. So we just put up with it."
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
*sigh*

I can translate that last paragraph for you.

"The larger a church gets the more you need to make it appeal to different types of people who will not conform themselves to the strict Gospel message set forth by Christ and the requirements he sets forth for those who call themselves believers. We don't want to have to hold our members to an objective, strict standard, but rather let them come and go as they please, and do what they want. For this reason, we need to rid ourselves of offical statements and requirements, so that we can claim diversity. Official statements of faith and rules of government are a hinderance when we want to include someone who violates them or doesn't believe them. They must be sacrificed on the altar of diversity because diversity is more important than unity. We can be unified in our diversity."
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
*sigh*

I can translate that last paragraph for you.

"The larger a church gets the more you need to make it appeal to different types of people who will not conform themselves to the strict Gospel message set forth by Christ and the requirements he sets forth for those who call themselves believers. We don't want to have to hold our members to an objective, strict standard, but rather let them come and go as they please, and do what they want. For this reason, we need to rid ourselves of offical statements and requirements, so that we can claim diversity. Official statements of faith and rules of government are a hinderance when we want to include someone who violates them or doesn't believe them. They must be sacrificed on the altar of diversity because diversity is more important than unity. We can be unified in our diversity."

I think that is a horribly uncharitable characterization of Keller's paragraph above. Even the example that he used to support his point was not a gospel example, but more procedural. I am very suspicious of any mega church and possible compromises but one gets no where by not being at least a little charitable in reading ones statements.

CT
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I am not familiar at all with Keller other than knowing that he isn't Old School and that Redeemer has at least one pro-FV associate pastor. The language Andy quoted definitely raises some red flags.

It might be worth bearing in mind that First Things is essentially a Catholic publication. Or it might not.
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
For me at least, Keller's statements smack of sheer relativism. Sadly, that is not an unknown commodity in the PCA (or in many other places, for that matter) these days.

Herbert Schlossberg, in his excellent book Idols for Destruction, made the comment that in America, civil religion had become dominant simply because "freedom" was deemed to be more important than the absolute truth of God's Word. Now 18 years later, his statement not only remains true, but things have become worse.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Hi Guys,


So, I'm wondering if some of the Tim Keller apologists on the list can help me to "re-interpret" Keller's recent interview with America's premier Roman Catholic journal of religion and culture, First Things:

I've been a Keller apologist since I began listening to his messages a few months ago, but there is nothing to re-interpret in this interview. Disappointing, some of the views he holds too.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
His "problems" with 6 day creation were painful to read. I am sick of this compromise. Far too many Calvinists act like God is sovereign in salvation, but autonomous man is sovereign in everything else.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
It is almost funny that in his critique of theonomic economics, he outright admitted that history was against his socialist proposals and history did seem to support the free market.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Machen had a different view when it came to spreading Presbyterianism:

"We cannot agree with those who say that although they are members of the
Presbyterian church, they "have not the slightest zeal to have the
Presbyterian church extended throughout the length and breadth of the
world." As for us, we hold the faith of the Presbyterian church, the great
Reformed faith that is set forth in the Westminster Confession, to be true;
and holding it to be true, we hold that it is intended for the whole world."
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I dont' believe that Francis Schaeffer ever mentioned being a Presbyterian in any of his books, and his little book on baptism was not included in the Complete Works.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I dont' believe that Francis Schaeffer ever mentioned being a Presbyterian in any of his books, and his little book on baptism was not included in the Complete Works.

Gary North always loved to mention that Schaeffer never talked about Predestination.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Machen had a different view when it came to spreading Presbyterianism:

"We cannot agree with those who say that although they are members of the
Presbyterian church, they "have not the slightest zeal to have the
Presbyterian church extended throughout the length and breadth of the
world." As for us, we hold the faith of the Presbyterian church, the great
Reformed faith that is set forth in the Westminster Confession, to be true;
and holding it to be true, we hold that it is intended for the whole world."

Who's to say that Machen is necessarily right and Keller wrong in this?

:think:

Let's ignore for a moment that the majority of the churches that Keller and Redeemer have planted have indeed been Presbyterian churches. Now, while I do find it a bit troubling if it is indeed true that Redeemer's helped to start Roman Catholic churches, still, there are a good number of Reformed Baptist and Reformed Anglican churches that they've helped to fund as well, and Jesus is calling his people to himself through these avenues.

Sure, we believe that Presbyterianism is the best form of church government, but is a PCA pastor's helping to plant non-Presbyterian, yet Gospel-centered churches really something to spend time upset about?
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
Machen had a different view when it came to spreading Presbyterianism:

"We cannot agree with those who say that although they are members of the
Presbyterian church, they "have not the slightest zeal to have the
Presbyterian church extended throughout the length and breadth of the
world." As for us, we hold the faith of the Presbyterian church, the great
Reformed faith that is set forth in the Westminster Confession, to be true;
and holding it to be true, we hold that it is intended for the whole world."


Amen.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sure, we believe that Presbyterianism is the best form of church government, but is a PCA pastor's helping to plant non-Presbyterian, yet Gospel-centered churches really something to spend time upset about?

Addressing the general issue, and ignoring the personal situation -- would anyone think it is good for a child to be adopted into a family where they are going to receive fundamental care but be detrimentally affected by disordered authority structures and outside influences? Of course not. We are Presbyterian for a reason, and that is because we believe it provides the best "home" within which to nurture Christian faith and life.
 

SEAGOON

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Rae,

Let's ignore for a moment that the majority of the churches that Keller and Redeemer have planted have indeed been Presbyterian churches. Now, while I do find it a bit troubling if it is indeed true that Redeemer's helped to start Roman Catholic churches, still, there are a good number of Reformed Baptist and Reformed Anglican churches that they've helped to fund as well, and Jesus is calling his people to himself through these avenues.

Sure, we believe that Presbyterianism is the best form of church government, but is a PCA pastor's helping to plant non-Presbyterian, yet Gospel-centered churches really something to spend time upset about?

Yes, helping to plant a Roman Catholic church with God's money would be a real big problem. We seem to be rapidly losing sight of the fact that they don't have the three marks of the true church or preach what we would affirm is a biblical gospel. We appear to be getting to a silly point where we have more problems with the FV which is semi-Roman than the RCs who are definitely Roman!

Now, I don't know about planting RC churches, but I do know that Redeemer has:

a) Planted Churches outside their Presbytery on their own authority
b) Planted non-Presbyterian churches

Our constitution and our beliefs about the polity we believe is taught in the Bible, forbid us from doing so. I couldn't do either in my Presbytery and remain a member for long.

I know that the common cry is "who cares how they do it as long as the gospel is preached" and I would of course affirm that Tim Keller preaches the gospel and that better than most, but personally, I have serious doubts whether Redeemer's plants will maintain their orthodoxy after he is gone especially when polity is held in such low regard. The fact that their largest plant on the West coast was able to slip comfortably into a liberal denomination (the RCA is to the left of the CRC) is not a good sign.

Also, Rae, the Machen quote should show us that the current call for contextualization in an urban setting is not anything particularly new. A quick review of the OT indicates that contextualizing has been practiced by the church, with similar results ultimately for millennia. For instance, the fact that we still have orthodox Reformed churches in existence is not due to the contextualizers, but rather the result of men faithfully treading the old paths. We are the offspring of the men who refused to contextualize, but once again the next generation is abandoning it's heritage. We somehow always think our situation is "brand new" and the old paths won't work in them and that God's methods need an overhaul. Corinth and NYC are in fact far less different than we think.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I think some of you are fishing for things here and stretching some of his words.

"This smacks of sheer relativsim" is a way overboard statement. He is not a relativist.

Also, concerning some wiggle room in evolution, some of the Reformed theologians of the past tried to make evolution fit as well (was it Warfield, Hodge, refresh my memory...). While I disagree with him about contradiction between Genesis 1 and 3 under a literal reading, he does still believe in a historical fall. His main point is that is is unwise to argue about this until the certainties of the faith are covered.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I dont' believe that Francis Schaeffer ever mentioned being a Presbyterian in any of his books, and his little book on baptism was not included in the Complete Works.

Gary North always loved to mention that Schaeffer never talked about Predestination.

In The Church at the End of the 20th Century Schaeffer does advocate connectional church goverment, but only in a vague way with his main point being against independency. North has an interesting appendix on Schaeffer in Crossed Fingers.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Hi Rae,

Let's ignore for a moment that the majority of the churches that Keller and Redeemer have planted have indeed been Presbyterian churches. Now, while I do find it a bit troubling if it is indeed true that Redeemer's helped to start Roman Catholic churches, still, there are a good number of Reformed Baptist and Reformed Anglican churches that they've helped to fund as well, and Jesus is calling his people to himself through these avenues.

Sure, we believe that Presbyterianism is the best form of church government, but is a PCA pastor's helping to plant non-Presbyterian, yet Gospel-centered churches really something to spend time upset about?

Yes, helping to plant a Roman Catholic church with God's money would be a real big problem. We seem to be rapidly losing sight of the fact that they don't have the three marks of the true church or preach what we would affirm is a biblical gospel. We appear to be getting to a silly point where we have more problems with the FV which is semi-Roman than the RCs who are definitely Roman!

Now, I don't know about planting RC churches, but I do know that Redeemer has:

a) Planted Churches outside their Presbytery on their own authority
b) Planted non-Presbyterian churches

Our constitution and our beliefs about the polity we believe is taught in the Bible, forbid us from doing so. I couldn't do either in my Presbytery and remain a member for long.

I know that the common cry is "who cares how they do it as long as the gospel is preached" and I would of course affirm that Tim Keller preaches the gospel and that better than most, but personally, I have serious doubts whether Redeemer's plants will maintain their orthodoxy after he is gone especially when polity is held in such low regard. The fact that their largest plant on the West coast was able to slip comfortably into a liberal denomination (the RCA is to the left of the CRC) is not a good sign.

Also, Rae, the Machen quote should show us that the current call for contextualization in an urban setting is not anything particularly new. A quick review of the OT indicates that contextualizing has been practiced by the church, with similar results ultimately for millennia. For instance, the fact that we still have orthodox Reformed churches in existence is not due to the contextualizers, but rather the result of men faithfully treading the old paths. We are the offspring of the men who refused to contextualize, but once again the next generation is abandoning it's heritage. We somehow always think our situation is "brand new" and the old paths won't work in them and that God's methods need an overhaul. Corinth and NYC are in fact far less different than we think.



What is contextualization according to you? What are its benefits and dangers according to you?
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Sure, we believe that Presbyterianism is the best form of church government, but is a PCA pastor's helping to plant non-Presbyterian, yet Gospel-centered churches really something to spend time upset about?

Addressing the general issue, and ignoring the personal situation -- would anyone think it is good for a child to be adopted into a family where they are going to receive fundamental care but be detrimentally affected by disordered authority structures and outside influences? Of course not. We are Presbyterian for a reason, and that is because we believe it provides the best "home" within which to nurture Christian faith and life.

I'm simply not at the point where I can say that non-Presbyterian churches are necessarily "disordered authority structures", I suppose. I will say that for churches that are not governed by a plurality of qualified male elders, but such government doesn't necessitate "Presbyterianism" proper (for instance, the church that my family and I were members of immediately preceding our current church was an elder-led Baptist congregation).

(I'm equally not at the point where I can't see potential for the abuse of authority within the Presbyterian system of government.)

Of course, if my family and I were to move to another city, our first place to look for a church would naturally be the PCA (especially now, being an ordained PCA elder). Still, I doubt we'd feel necessarily bound to the PCA or even the other NAPARC denominations.


Hi Andy! :)

Also, Rae, the Machen quote should show us that the current call for contextualization in an urban setting is not anything particularly new. A quick review of the OT indicates that contextualizing has been practiced by the church, with similar results ultimately for millennia. For instance, the fact that we still have orthodox Reformed churches in existence is not due to the contextualizers, but rather the result of men faithfully treading the old paths. We are the offspring of the men who refused to contextualize, but once again the next generation is abandoning it's heritage. We somehow always think our situation is "brand new" and the old paths won't work in them and that God's methods need an overhaul. Corinth and NYC are in fact far less different than we think.

It seems to me that we must contextualize, but never compromise. There's a difference, and too often the two end up conflated into a big, ugly mess of "hip", "relevant", "emergent" churches that are teetering on the edge between orthodoxy and paganism. Still, a "refusal" to bring the Gospel to the language (spoken, written, cultural, etc) of the people smacks of stubborn traditionalism (to my ears) rather than of Biblical faithfulness. What are we to make of becoming all things to all people? Certainly this doesn't mean to join the pagans in their paganism, but then, what does it mean?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Machen had a different view when it came to spreading Presbyterianism:

"We cannot agree with those who say that although they are members of the
Presbyterian church, they "have not the slightest zeal to have the
Presbyterian church extended throughout the length and breadth of the
world." As for us, we hold the faith of the Presbyterian church, the great
Reformed faith that is set forth in the Westminster Confession, to be true;
and holding it to be true, we hold that it is intended for the whole world."

Is there a bibliographic reference on hand by any chance?
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Machen had a different view when it came to spreading Presbyterianism:

"We cannot agree with those who say that although they are members of the
Presbyterian church, they "have not the slightest zeal to have the
Presbyterian church extended throughout the length and breadth of the
world." As for us, we hold the faith of the Presbyterian church, the great
Reformed faith that is set forth in the Westminster Confession, to be true;
and holding it to be true, we hold that it is intended for the whole world."

Is there a bibliographic reference on hand by any chance?

Sorry, I don't have one. I had posted this to the board some time ago and I don't remember where I got it from. Had there been a reference given I'm sure I would have noted it.
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
I'm an uncharitable type of guy. *shrug*

I have no patience with that type of non-chalant attitude with regard to Confessional Protestantism when one holds themselves out as a Confessional Protestant. Viewing church government as some sort of suggestion that you only need in certain settings doesn't fit well with me. He holds himself out to be a Presbyterian but... well, you read the statement. If the harshness offends you, I apologize, but I don't retract.

I'm not out to "get" Tim Keller. I've gone to see him speak and felt he was quite solid at the time. My RUF campus minister was/is a big fan of him as well. I've heard he was a little less than TR and this seems to affirm more than that suspicion.
 

SEAGOON

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Pergamum,

What is contextualization according to you? What are its benefits and dangers according to you?

Excellent question. Contextualization is the idea that we attempt to translate the religion of scripture into a format that is relevant and understandable to the culture that we are in. So when it comes to preaching evangelistically we are "answering the questions they (the culture) are asking" and using forms, and examples, and formats they understand. When it comes to worship we say, "what is the main point", "what are the main truths", and then we try to express them using the forms that the culture understands and adding things that we consider indifferent will make doing so more appealing. The idea is that this will captivate and interest the members of the society without losing the heart of the gospel. We may think of it as a form of "translation." I'm merely translating the gospel into 21st century urban American so they can understand it. If I translate the gospel into 1st Century Greek or 17th century English, no one today will respond.

Unfortunately there are a number of problems with this approach (more in fact than I can list).

First, it flies in the face of the biblical data. Paul did not contextualize the gospel by using the forms of Greek culture. He did not speak in the manner of the Sophists, he did not use the drama that Greeks had been using for centuries to teach, engage, and transmit values. Neither did he use Greek Choruses. We also know he didn't incorporate elements of Greek religion, he did not adopt feasts or sacrifices or Greek mystery rites. While occasionally he used examples from the authors and everyday lives of the Greeks, the religion he presented was in no way "translated" except into their language. It was actually highly counter-cultural. He condemned plenty of Greek practices and philosophies and called Christians to look distinctively different from the culture around them. There were no calls for "Hippodrome Sunday" meetings. Christians in the first and second century, offended the surrounding culture.

Second, it assumes that the forms of the culture are neutral and inevitably compatible with biblical religion. This is not true, often the dress, music, humour, mores, and customs of the culture are anti-biblical. Quite often, becoming a Christian involves leaving the ways and habits of the culture you grew up in behind. Did Rahab, for instance, remain a Jerichite culturally or was it assumed that she would assimilate into the covenant culture? Obviously the latter. It simply wasn't the case that as the Covenant community moved into a new area they assumed their culture. In the OT that was always held to be a recipe for disaster. In the NT era the same proved to be true.

Third, it short circuits Palingenesis. In Contextualization we adapt Christianity to the worshipper, in Christianity God changes the worshiper to fit him for eternity. We want to make everything as smooth and simple as possible in contextualization, whereas in reality Christianity is so difficult, it is impossible for the natural man. We want to take the "culture shock" out, God however leaves it in and creates a new community profoundly different from the worldly one. Contextualization inevitably also tends to repel piety. In Christianity, becoming holy inevitably means becoming very different from your neighbors. They, after all, are dead in their sins and follow the prince of the power of the air. Their tastes, habits, speech, etc. inevitably reflect this. The Christian, on the other hand, is being conformed to the image of Lord of Glory, his tastes, habits, and speech should reflect that. In contextualization we strive to be as like our neighbors as possible while still transmitting truth, but Christianity is as much about Sanctification as it is about preaching. We can't remain like them and truly grow in holiness. Contextualized churches as a result are rarely places where you see much progress from Milk to Meat, and people who are really advancing in the process of sanctification, precisely because that would involve transcending and alienating the culture.

Fourth, it is a form of self-deception. We say that contextualization is for the benefit of the culture. It is us stooping to reach them. In fact it is more for the believers than the non-believers. It allows them to continue in the comfort zone they've always been in and not stick out like a sore thumb. We can continue to act and live like the unbeliever and pat ourselves on the back because we are doing so for their benefit.

Fifth, it assumes that in order to be effective, the gospel has to be administered according to man's wisdom. God's words but given man's way.

Ultimately, it is a rejection of the heart of Puritanism that spawned the Westminster Assembly and Standards. Puritanism says the church must strive to become that holy body of believers set apart from the world and obedient to His will that God desires. The culture said, "Nah, the church has to be a relevant expression of our traditional cultural religion that allows us to worship for a while on Sunday and live like the world for the rest of the week."
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm an uncharitable type of guy. *shrug*

I have no patience with that type of non-chalant attitude with regard to Confessional Protestantism when one holds themselves out as a Confessional Protestant. Viewing church government as some sort of suggestion that you only need in certain settings doesn't fit well with me. He holds himself out to be a Presbyterian but... well, you read the statement. If the harshness offends you, I apologize, but I don't retract.

From said statement, I get that he wishes the rules were more flexible in dealing with a church his size. I do not see where you somehow read, something along the lines of, "everyone do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it."

I'm not out to "get" Tim Keller. I've gone to see him speak and felt he was quite solid at the time. My RUF campus minister was/is a big fan of him as well. I've heard he was a little less than TR and this seems to affirm more than that suspicion.

The issue is not the calling out of people whenever you believe they are wrong. The problem is the making every problem/issue/sin equal to the worst sin imaginable.

CT
 

SEAGOON

Puritan Board Freshman
Machen had a different view when it came to spreading Presbyterianism:

"We cannot agree with those who say that although they are members of the
Presbyterian church, they "have not the slightest zeal to have the
Presbyterian church extended throughout the length and breadth of the
world." As for us, we hold the faith of the Presbyterian church, the great
Reformed faith that is set forth in the Westminster Confession, to be true;
and holding it to be true, we hold that it is intended for the whole world."

Is there a bibliographic reference on hand by any chance?

J. Gresham Machen, "The Attack on Princeton Seminary: A Plea for Fair Play", in Selected Shorter Writings.

HT: Jim Cassidy
 

SEAGOON

Puritan Board Freshman
BTW, one of the things people seem to be overlooking is the fact that planting non-Presbyterian churches and PCA churches independent of your Presbytery or outside of the bounds of it, or without working with the NAPARC churches in the area is a violation of the following BCO rules. Ordinary PCA churches and Presbyters would get nailed for doing this:

13-2. A minister shall be required to hold his membership in the
Presbytery within whose geographical bounds he resides, unless there are
reasons which are satisfactory to his Presbytery why he should not do so.
When a minister labors outside the geographical bounds of, or in a work not
under the jurisdiction of his Presbytery, at home or abroad, it shall be only
with the full concurrence of and under circumstances agreeable to his
Presbytery, and to the Presbytery within whose geographical bounds he
labors, if one exists.

8-7. A Presbytery may, at its discretion, approve the call of a teaching
elder to work with an organization outside the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian
Church in America, provided that he be engaged in preaching and teaching
the Word, that the Presbytery be assured he will have full freedom to
maintain and teach the doctrine of our Church, and that he report at least
annually on his work. As far as possible, such a teaching elder shall be a
member of the Presbytery within whose bounds he labors. (See BCO 20-1.)

21-3. No Presbytery shall ordain any intern to the office of minister of the
Word with reference to his laboring within the bounds of another Presbytery,
but shall furnish him with the necessary testimonials, and require him to
repair to the Presbytery within whose bounds he expects to labor, that he may
submit himself to its authority, according to the Constitution of the Church.

NAPARC Golden Rule Comity Agreement
(For the Information of Sessions and Presbytery MNA Committees)
...
2. We will communicate with the equivalent or appropriate agency
(denominational missions committee or board, Presbytery missions or
church extension committee, or session) before initiating church planting
activities in a community where NAPARC churches or missions exist.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
SEAGOON:

On contextualization:

Let's start another thread. I think you are mistaken here. All forms of contextualization are not over-contextualization, but follow a NT example.


For instance, Paul did not address the Greeks in the samer manner as he did the Jews. This is contextualization. He did not quote a hymn to Zeus in a greek synagogue, but amongst Greeks. He spoke of the water of life at a well.

The NT writers made the universal message fit the particular context.


Some today over contextualize, but there is room for healthy contextualization.



Start a thread and let's flesh this out.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
BTW, one of the things people seem to be overlooking is the fact that planting non-Presbyterian churches and PCA churches independent of your Presbytery or outside of the bounds of it, or without working with the NAPARC churches in the area is a violation of the following BCO rules. Ordinary PCA churches and Presbyters would get nailed for doing this:

13-2. A minister shall be required to hold his membership in the
Presbytery within whose geographical bounds he resides, unless there are
reasons which are satisfactory to his Presbytery why he should not do so.
When a minister labors outside the geographical bounds of, or in a work not
under the jurisdiction of his Presbytery, at home or abroad, it shall be only
with the full concurrence of and under circumstances agreeable to his
Presbytery, and to the Presbytery within whose geographical bounds he
labors, if one exists.

8-7. A Presbytery may, at its discretion, approve the call of a teaching
elder to work with an organization outside the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian
Church in America, provided that he be engaged in preaching and teaching
the Word, that the Presbytery be assured he will have full freedom to
maintain and teach the doctrine of our Church, and that he report at least
annually on his work. As far as possible, such a teaching elder shall be a
member of the Presbytery within whose bounds he labors. (See BCO 20-1.)

21-3. No Presbytery shall ordain any intern to the office of minister of the
Word with reference to his laboring within the bounds of another Presbytery,
but shall furnish him with the necessary testimonials, and require him to
repair to the Presbytery within whose bounds he expects to labor, that he may
submit himself to its authority, according to the Constitution of the Church.

NAPARC Golden Rule Comity Agreement
(For the Information of Sessions and Presbytery MNA Committees)
...
2. We will communicate with the equivalent or appropriate agency
(denominational missions committee or board, Presbytery missions or
church extension committee, or session) before initiating church planting
activities in a community where NAPARC churches or missions exist.

Maybe the rules need to be changed, then.

Does not "initiating church planting activities" necessarily preclude giving money to non-NAPARC plants, btw?
 
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