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

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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Hi elnwood,

I hope you're not suggesting that this is what I'm suggesting.

If I may explain, the fact is that there are more people who need to be ministered to by the gospel than the current number of good gospel-preaching churches today. I live in San Diego and attend a PCA church. It is a large, metropolitan area which needs good churches throughout the area.

Our strategy is to plant as many churches in the area as possible. We don't want to set up one big church downtown and have everyone commute to it, as is the mega-church model. Many churches within the surrounding neighborhoods is a better way to reach people for the gospel. It is NOT about, as I think you are suggesting, giving people what they want. It is NOT a seeker-sensitive model.

So far, our church has planted eight locations in the county, but our church recognizes that the PCA does not have enough resources to effectively reach all of San Diego county. Therefore, we support and partner with other like-minded gospel-centered churches that are not in the PCA.

Others may think that having one perfectly WCF-complaint, exclusive-Psalter church in a major city is enough for God's word to reach people, but I don't think so.

No, that's not what I'm suggesting, I was just using the example to make a couple of points. First, although the model I was suggesting might be successful, it presupposes that issues like polity, worship, and doctrine are more the result of tradition and preference than anything else, and that it doesn't really matter what we practice in regards to these things, as long as the gospel is being preached. It presumes that the Bible doesn't teach things about them and that God doesn't really care much about them at all. They may be important to us, but they aren't important to Him. If I believed that, I'd cease to be a Presbyterian immediately, because I'm not Presbyterian because I was born into it, or I happen to like it's traditions. I'm a Presbyterian because of my conviction that it is the best expression of the theology taught in the Bible - and yeah as irritating as we are to the world I'm a Puritan, not a Latitudinarian, when it comes to theology.

As it so happens, I believe many Pentecostal and even Anglican churches preach the gospel, but I also believe that their worship is unbiblical and produces a harvest of bad fruit. Frankly I don't want to use the resources that the Lord provides to us to teach people Dispensationalism, Arminianism, Pentecostalism , and so on, even if a gospel presentation is tacked on. I don't want to have started churches where there are no elders, or where the Minister is appointed by a Bishop, or where there is no Confessional statement by which the Minister is held accountable, or a constitution that protects the rights of members and provides them the ability to receive a fair trial and even an appeal. I don't want to start a church whose governing body has no higher court keeping them accountable via review and control, and so on.

To put it quite simply, if I were able to plant churches of any stripe, I would be forced to say that the 2000 Puritan ministers who chose to be kicked out of the Ministry in 1662 because of their refusal to accept the Act of Uniformity were wrong, and I don't, or that Jenny Gedes should have bit her tongue and stayed on her stool. They said that things like church government, worship, Christian liberty and so on are not things we should compromise on in order to see that the gospel gets preached.

Now before someone misunderstands me, I have had wonderful fellowship with more Pentecostal, Baptists, Independent Fundamentalists etc. brothers and sisters in Christ than I can count, and I'm sure I'll see them in heaven, but while there is much we agree on, I have no desire to spread abroad their theological distinctives, some of which, I consider downright dangerous (Pentecostalism in particular). And lets face it, how could I in all seriousness say that I subscribed to the idea that as WCF 28.5 says "Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance" and then plant churches that do exactly that.

Now I'm not saying I want just one Presbyterian church in every city, I'd like to see many planted. I want to see as many solid OSP churches planted as we can.

I am very late on this thread but I appreciate this post. I feel the same way about Reformed Baptist churches, but I appreciate your willingness to stand for doctrine and praxis.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rich;

Why is it that you took leadership and cooperated with a baptist church during your time in Okinawa. An SBC non-confessional credobaptist church at that!

Do you need a public rebuke for your ignorance for this?

Or do we recognize that God places us in positions to work beside people even as we help guide them.


Why did you recruit a BAPTIST pastor and not try to convert the whole church to Presbyism before you left? You compromiser, you!

Maybe you want to dilute doctrine? Or is it because you see that a slow patience is sometimes needed, and that not every hill is worth dying on today and that battles must be won little by little.

Suppose you went overseas and the local jungle church was pentecostal. What to do? If they gave you a measure of respect due to your education, class, rank, etc, it would seem good to use it, cooperate with this local body - even though it is a "deviant" brand of Christianity and bless them as a Pentecostal church.

Suppose the church wanted to incorporate as pentecostal and while you had a measure of power to teach, you did not have the power to change their incorporation status - especially when your jungle area has been carved up by different denominations due to historic missionary comity agreements. Thus, you cannot change their form of church...what do you do? Refuse to cooperate, or try to bless them anyone?

This situations happens to me OFTEN!

This is why I am often "soft" on cooperation.. And this is what you essentially did in Okinawa.

If anyone needs rebuked for this, it would be both of us...and you especially for actualy taking applications of people on the PB to help another credobaptist pastor fill anothr credobaptist and non-confessional church.


You plowed with the oxen that you had instead of wishing for oxen that did not exist at the moment and you left the church in better shape than it was before.

Tim Keller is trying to do the same thing, I am sure, with any cooperation that he has with Pentecostals.


I myself have preached and taught in Pentecostal and "Full Gospel Rvival" churches. I attended one for a time to help them out. I did not have the power to change them, but I tried to bless them as much as I could.

Another form of equivocation I see Perg. Any cooperation is all cooperation. Southern Baptists are the same as Pentecostals now I see. We have no shades in the least in these matters. My objection has been very narrowly focused.

Don't think I don't concern myself with the very questions you're asking. I simply do not dismiss them as being irrelevant as if all Truth is a matter of preference. The Gospel and Discipleship is simply a matter of style, is that what you're telling me?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Ah Rich, give me a break - is equivocation the word of the day or something. DING DING DING......equivocation kids, you win the prize!



You cooperated with credobaptists in order to bless them...nothing wrong with that.

Yes, there are levels of cooperation.

Some of us feel more comfortable cooperating at different levels. We all do not need open rebukes for our ignorance.

I could not plant Pentecostal churches, but I could help a Pentecostal church plant if they invited me to preach. Is that a clear distinction?


Go back to my situation. Perhaps I am in a different boat then the US where churches abound. Sometimes you take what you can find here and work with it. Not a lot of choices. You took what you had to in Okinawa and blessed them the best you could. I am doing the same here. Perhaps Tim Keller is doing the same.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Yes, equivocation is the word of the day because you guys keep trying to shift the focus of the issue.

Wait a second now, did I just read something?

Pergamum said:
I could not plant Pentecostal churches...

Hold the phone!

Where have we read of someone who helps Pentecostal Churches do just that?! :think:


:think:


(Hold on, I'm still thinking)


:think:



(Almost there)


T...


ummm

Tim

Tim Keller!!!!!



I'm sorry, what were we discussing?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Hmmm......

I think you got me there.

It does seem that Tim Keller speaks of planting Pentecostal churches instead of merely helping Pentecostal churches that are in the process of being planted.

If that is the case, then it appears that he would be intentionally planting P churches rather than making do with a bad situation.

I have preached and helped P churches but have never planted any. If I had to plant a P church or no church, that migth be a different story, but NYC is a big place and I guess Keller would have a choice.



I still defend levels of cooperation and broad cooperation when possible.

However, unless dire situations permit, I am not sure why one would "intentionally" plant a P church. One possible explanation is that the local church decides to go P despite Keller's teaching. So Keller decides to bless them anyway, all the while wishing that they had come a little further.

You got a point Rich on that one.


But tell me, is there a distinction in planting a P church and helping a P church? You helped a Baptist church that you did not plant. If Okinanawa only had a P church would you participate in leadership and help bless them. And if this were the case would you be guilty of helping the enemy or blessing an errant friend?

Planting a church and helping erring Christians are big distinctions. Intentionally planting a P church and helping to mature a P church by swinging them closer to the truth seems permissible. WHich one is Keller doing? Planting intentioanl P churches or making do with bad situations in church plants to do not quite develop as he would like?

Thanks for the catch.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
{sigh} I don't know. I'm tired and cranky right now. I can pull something I noted during the Franklin Graham Crusade but I'm going to hold off for now. Suffice to say that if I thought SBC's were like Pentecostal Church's then I would hardly cooperate at all except to be nice to them. The SBC has its roots in English Particular Baptists. Pentecostalism has had a crazy (and dangerous) pedigree from day one. You don't have to look very hard to see the profound difference.

Granted, it is a broad movement but the line from "normal guy Pentecostal" to Benny Hinn ain't a circuitous one.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Pergy,

All that broad evangelicalism grafted "cooperation" into my genes. (BTW, my wife and I do support a couple working with Wycliffe for the reasons you stated.) In an earlier post I tried to delineate the kinds of cooperation that involve compromise for me and those that do not. Since the original post was about Keller, yes, that would be (in my opinion) compromise to plant a Pentecostal church, especially in New York (not exactly the jungle or Okinawa).

I could happily join a Calvinist church regardless of polity or baptism and give money to help plant one, but would only be able to serve as a leader in a congregation that did not involve a compromise of conscience, even in matters of polity or practice.

As for preaching . . . hmmmmm. I have preached for Chinese Presbyterians and Presbyterian Koreans. However, no Pentecostal ever asked me. Glorrrrry! :lol:
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
All Pentecostals are not Benny Hinns and some SBC churches are worse than the Pentecostals. There are some very lite varieties.

Listen, my emphasis is always on looking for where I CAN cooperate. I have and can help Pentecostal churches. It is hard for me to fathom intentionally planting a pentecostal church, so you were right above when you caught me in those words.

In fact, your situation in Okinanawa is much like many situations I find myself in. I would rather the church be something else, but I am committed to helping her where she is at - partly because there is not a lot out there besides say...your SBC church or some of the churches I deal with.

If she is part of the bride....even if she makes an ugly bride, I try to beautify her a bit if I can.

I am sure that is something we can agree on.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
All Pentecostals are not Benny Hinns and some SBC churches are worse than the Pentecostals. There are some very lite varieties.

Listen, my emphasis is always on looking for where I CAN cooperate. I have and can help Pentecostal churches. It is hard for me to fathom intentionally planting a pentecostal church, so you were right above when you caught me in those words.

In fact, your situation in Okinanawa is much like many situations I find myself in. I would rather the church be something else, but I am committed to helping her where she is at - partly because there is not a lot out there besides say...your SBC church or some of the churches I deal with.

If she is part of the bride....even if she makes an ugly bride, I try to beautify her a bit if I can.

I am sure that is something we can agree on.
Below is the situation in Okinawa. The response of another SBC Pastor when I noted that this was completely un-Biblical?

"Now, be nice, Rich."

230773329-O.jpg
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
If she is part of the bride....even if she makes an ugly bride, I try to beautify her a bit if I can.

I am sure that is something we can agree on.

Your gonna need a lot of base, rouge, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick brother. She is an ugly thing. Good thing the Bridegroom is in the Re-Creation business.

We are an ugly lot.
ConfederateDadb.jpg
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Pergy,

All that broad evangelicalism grafted "cooperation" into my genes. (BTW, my wife and I do support a couple working with Wycliffe for the reasons you stated.) In an earlier post I tried to delineate the kinds of cooperation that involve compromise for me and those that do not. Since the original post was about Keller, yes, that would be (in my opinion) compromise to plant a Pentecostal church, especially in New York (not exactly the jungle or Okinawa).

I could happily join a Calvinist church regardless of polity or baptism and give money to help plant one, but would only be able to serve as a leader in a congregation that did not involve a compromise of conscience, even in matters of polity or practice.

As for preaching . . . hmmmmm. I have preached for Chinese Presbyterians and Presbyterian Koreans. However, no Pentecostal ever asked me. Glorrrrry! :lol:



Yes, I firmly defend cooperation at many levels. I could even help out a struggling church if they differed with me or were Pentecostal. However, to intentional plant a Pentecostal church needs a lot of explanation. However, perhaps the local group would not budge and then what? Bless the group and help them change a little, or totally disown them? Not sure? NYC seems a big place to "have to" plant a P church.

I agree with your positions above.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
YIKES RICH! The SBC is the paragon of truth compared to Prophet Dollar or whatever his name is. Now...you know (don't you) that my penchant for cooperation only extends so far...!



And Puritancovenanter: God can make ya beautiful! He has forever to do it , too!
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
I think Paul's charge in Galatians 1 should be considered here.

(Gal 1:1) Paul, an apostle--not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead--

(Gal 1:2) and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

(Gal 1:3) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

(Gal 1:4) who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

(Gal 1:5) to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

(Gal 1:6) I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--

(Gal 1:7) not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

(Gal 1:8) But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

(Gal 1:9) As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

(Gal 1:10) For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

(Gal 1:11) For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel.

(Gal 1:12) For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
 

mark

Puritan Board Freshman
Zenas wrote, I'm an uncharitable type of guy. *shrug*

~But you should be loving and charitable, and those who are uncharitable are mere clanging symbols, utter meaningless rhetoric, and are not servants of Christ. Unloving people don't belong to Jesus. So, you and I and everyone else who claims to be united to Christ should pray without ceasing the that Holy Spirit causes his love to grow in us more and more day by day.



Also, Zenas said,


"When it's someone like Keller, a small drift away is something to make a big deal about. Apostacy and liberalism don't usually start with someone making the switch overnight, it's a slow process....


When Sproul writes an apologetic's book, it's from a Reformed Protestant view and he's unapologetic about it (no pun intended). I expect that, becase Sproul's goal is to defend Reformed Protestantism because contained therein is the Biblical view of justification by faith alone."

~But Sproul is classical in his approach to Christian apologetics. And the classical approach assumes human autonomy because it doesn't presuppose the Christian worldview or the revelation of Scripture as preeminent. On your argument, Sproul is just as much in danger as Keller is then. They are both on a dangerous, slippery slope toward liberalism. I mean, human autonomy! What could be worse than that!

"a small drift away is something to make a big deal about. Apostacy and liberalism don't usually start with someone making the switch overnight, it's a slow process.... "
 
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hollandmin

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."

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?


I n my opinion if he is making a conserted effort in starting RC churches then it should be the task of the PCA to properly discipline him. I would even go so far as to say that he should be "defrocked." It doesn't take a doctorate in Divinity or Christian history to see the reasons why Luther, Calvin etc. called for reform. Transsubstanciation, maryology, papal infalability just name a few. There is no room in Christianity for this theology. If this is what he calls chairty he may as well give Rob Bell, John Shelby Spong or Rick Warren a call, I'm certain that their Post-modern theology would fit well with his "listen to what I say, not what I do" attitude. I don't believe and neither did the reformers that the RC is a gospel-centered church, hence 1517. If you want to jump on the "but he is doing so much good" band wagon then perhaps he should start universalist churches, heck, I bet the Episcopol Church would like a friend right about now.

We can stand together, but not for the sake of truth! There is no amount of charity or money or church planting that should cause us to look at the light and fluffy side. We can have no unity without truth, NONE. This is what the reformers stood for, this is what the early church fathers stood for and this is what our Lord proclaimed in and of himself. I could care less about where the churches are planted, I care a great deal about who their being planted for and what theology is being expressed within their walls. Just because it looks good on paper doesn't mean that it is and just because he preaches pretty sermons doesn't make him a pure. If that was the case Clinton would still be in office.

Truth must be proclaimed reagardless of the deeds, and there should be no fellowship whith those who don't hold to Ephesians 2:8-9.

Thats just my :2cents:

Blessings,
 

Craig

Puritan Board Senior
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?

I think you make a good point...there is stubborn traditionalism that is ridiculous...and then there's compromising the truth. I've been following the Bayly Blog for over a year now, and over the last couple of months they've discussed Tim Keller...I was VERY apprehensive about what Tim Bayly especially had to say...but the more I read from Keller, the more I see he has compromised with the culture.

My church, for example, is far different than many PCA churches...I can't explain it completely. It's a hybrid of Reformed Confessionalism...on steroids...with contemporary music to Psalms, and the like.

Many of our churches are trying desperately to be relevant, but end up being irrelevant...as I'm sure you'd agree. We are more quick to agree with our culture rather than prophesy to/against it. We try to tell the world "we are like you" when we should be saying/doing the opposite.

It's easy to be pragmatic and violate BCO and other Presbyterian standards for the sake of the "gospel"...but Keller even redefines sin in terms that are man-centered rather than God offending.

This is a good start if you want to know more about why Keller is the wrong prescription for the PCA.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
I think you make a good point...there is stubborn traditionalism that is ridiculous...and then there's compromising the truth. I've been following the Bayly Blog for over a year now, and over the last couple of months they've discussed Tim Keller...I was VERY apprehensive about what Tim Bayly especially had to say...but the more I read from Keller, the more I see he has compromised with the culture.

My church, for example, is far different than many PCA churches...I can't explain it completely. It's a hybrid of Reformed Confessionalism...on steroids...with contemporary music to Psalms, and the like.

Many of our churches are trying desperately to be relevant, but end up being irrelevant...as I'm sure you'd agree. We are more quick to agree with our culture rather than prophesy to/against it. We try to tell the world "we are like you" when we should be saying/doing the opposite.

It's easy to be pragmatic and violate BCO and other Presbyterian standards for the sake of the "gospel"...but Keller even redefines sin in terms that are man-centered rather than God offending.

This is a good start if you want to know more about why Keller is the wrong prescription for the PCA.

I suppose I'm the resident Tim Keller defender on this board, but since he's my pastor and because I believe he's one of the best pastor-teachers in America (if not the world) today, I feel compelled to do so. A few points in response to several posts in this thread:

1. Redeemer has never helped plant or fund a Roman Catholic church. Tim Keller made this abundantly clear in a follow-up interview to the First Things interview, and said he would never even consider it. They have helped fund non-PCA churches (all are broadly Reformed), but the vast majority of their money goes to PCA plants.

2. Craig, Keller hasn't redefined sin by any means. In a recent USA Today article he said that the prevailing attitude to sin in New York City is that it is defined as selfishness, and that he seeks to "rebrand" or change that perception. So, he is not endorsing a definition of sin as selfishness, but stating that it is the prevailing view in NYC. He is trying to change that definition to the correct one.

3. For all the worry about a few recent comments that Keller has made (taken out of context, I might add), he is as theologically sound as any Reformed pastor and theologian. He's not perfect of course, but you will be hard-pressed to find anything Biblically incorrect in his many sermons or in his books. Frankly, I've never understood the criticism of Keller. He has shepherded one of the nation's (if not the world's) most influential Reformed churches in the world's most important city. And he has done it by remaining firm in the truth of the Word and never wavering on or shying away from the essential truths of our faith. Truths which we all acknowledge as members of this board. I've never heard him compromise Biblical truth in any way.

4. Redeemer is large (5000+ attendees per week), but is by no means a "mega-church," and is certainly not "seeker sensitive." There are no audio-visual displays, no rock bands, no glib greeters at the door, no refreshments at the church service, no decoration of any kind. The AM services are traditional - as traditional as any you'd see across the country. The PM services have a mellow jazz band that plays mostly hymns that have been re-arranged. And the sermons are expository, and always address issue of man's sin and Christ's redemptive work. So, Craig, Redeemer does not take a "we are like you" approach. In fact, it sounds very similar to your church's style of worship.

5. Redeemer is by no means perfect (no churches are), but other than those of you who subscribe to EP, I am certain anyone on here would be very happy at Redeemer. There is excellent teaching every week, great worship experience led by some of the most talented musicians in the world (right down the road from Broadway and the Met Opera), an amazingly diverse congregation, and plenty of opportunities to serve both within the church and in the NYC community. And a plethora of fellowship groups that meet in members' homes throughout the week.

It's not wrong to criticize any individual or church, but I find the criticism of Keller and Redeemer largely weak and unfounded. There has been no compromise, no hiding from "difficult" truths, no emphasis on self. Redeemer has had success embracing the Gospel, not by running from it.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
I believe he's one of the best pastor-teachers in America (if not the world) today.

I am grateful to hear a member speak so well of his pastor. We live in a day and age when pastors are always being criticized for what we think is wrong with them (and to be sure, we pastors have many such areas, for as James notes, we all stumble in many things, and I'm not trying to excuse our deficiencies and/or our many stumbles).

I have listened to only a few of Keller's sermons, and I have to agree that in what I've heard, he ranks among the best preachers in terms of faithfulness in preaching the gospel. Let us commend the commitment to open the scriptures and apply them to people who need to be confronted with their sin. Pastor Keller doesn't just simply tell people they are sinners, but he has this insight that seeks to reason with them in their sin, and show them how it drives their lives, and why they are so discontent, and why they need the Lord Jesus to end their rebellion against God. Let us remember that the Lord Jesus sought to reason with sinners, and bring them to the place where they could see the ugliness of their sin for what it really is, and thus their need for Him.

I don't think it speaks well of us when we seek only to condemn that which we perceive to be bad, while withholding our commendation of that which we should applaud.

A much better man than any of us once said: Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

DTK
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
This is good to remember. And without disparaging it let me add a BUT: Just because we commend a Spurgeon for instance, for preaching the gospel faithfully, doesn't mean we should think he's a faithful or should be considered a faithful Presbyterian. We should be thankful when Anglicans or Baptists preach the gospel.... in THEIR churches. We have Presbyterian churches, ostensibly, because we have thought we have the right view on some things in addition to the gospel (namely, polity and worship matters). As far as worship is concerned, criticism doesn't have to do with exclusive psalmody, as important as that is, but with the Regulative Principle of Worship generally, as taught in the Westminster Standards. Where the Rev. Keller is on that topic, see the below criticism which is the conclusion to a review of a work on worship to which he contributed [D. A. Carson, ed., Worship by the Book (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002)], in the RPW survey which appears in the 2006 and 2007 issues of The Confessional Presbyterian journal:
As we noted above, this Manhattan minister gives short shrift to the regulative principle—a fact which gives away what he regards as essential (and what he regards as not being essential) to corporate worship. Dr. Keller writes in an engaging fashion, and he certainly knows how to appeal to a broad audience—whether a group of yuppies in New York, or his fellow ministers in the PCA. However, what he has penned in this book turns a genuinely Calvinistic and Reformed understanding of worship on its head, and does so with enough of a façade of academic-speak to fool the undiscerning.55

55. In conjunction with the classic sci-fi series Star Trek, the term “technobabble” is used to describe impressive terminology, employed by characters on the show, which is actually scientific gibberish; perhaps we should coin a new term, “theobabble,” to describe the type of nonsense which churchmen utilize in their desperate attempts to justify innovations as having historical pedigree.

Frank J. Smith, Ph.D., D.D. with Chris Coldwell, "The Regulative Principle of Worship:Sixty Years in Reformed Literature Part Two (2000–2007)." The Confessional Presbyterian 3 (2007) 174.

I am grateful to hear a member speak so well of his pastor. We live in a day and age when pastors are always being criticized for what we think is wrong with them (and to be sure, we pastors have many such areas, for as James notes, we all stumble in many things, and I'm not trying to excuse our deficiencies and/or our many stumbles).

I have listened to only a few of Keller's sermons, and I have to agree that in what I've heard, he ranks among the best preachers in terms of faithfulness in preaching the gospel. Let us commend the commitment to open the scriptures and apply them to people who need to be confronted with their sin. Pastor Keller doesn't just simply tell people they are sinners, but he has this insight that seeks to reason with them in their sin, and show them how it drives their lives, and why they are so discontent, and why they need the Lord Jesus to end their rebellion against God. Let us remember that the Lord Jesus sought to reason with sinners, and bring them to the place where they could see the ugliness of their sin for what it really is, and thus their need for Him.

I don't think it speaks well of us when we seek only to condemn that which we perceive to be bad, while withholding our commendation of that which we should applaud.

A much better man than any of us once said: Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

DTK
Thank you for this rebuke, Pastor. :pray2:
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Chris,

I did not intend my post as a rebuke. And for the record, I did include the "BUT" when I said We all stumble in many things. There are other aspects of the whole truth regarding our faithfulness to orthodox practice that never seem to be underscored, because those areas are often not as public as the stumblings of others. Let me ask you, my brother, as I ask myself, are we as quick to underscore the deficiencies of our own practices as we are to underscore those we see in others. And if not, then I simply ask why not? Or have we arrived to the place where no correction of ourselves is needed? All I'm calling for is honesty and balance in our perspectives, which admittedly is one of the most difficult things to strike.

I ask these questions without diminishing a single degree of my respect for you, your work, and your desire for purity in worship.

Now, before anyone thinks I'm going soft on orthodox practice (recognizing that all of us here differ in degrees of understanding as to what that entails), I was very recently forced out of a "seeker friendly church" as its pastor because I refused to compromise in making the worship services appealing to the mindset of worldlings. I suffered the loss of stipend and many other things I'll not bother to mention. So, I know by experience, with no desire for sympathy, something of what the refusal to compromise means. Please, not looking here for any personal commendations. We just need to balance our negative criticisms by seeing and commending that which is good as well.

DTK
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Dear Chris,

Let me ask you, my brother, as I ask myself, are we as quick to underscore the deficiencies of our own practices as we are to underscore those we see in others. And if not, then I simply ask why not? Or have we arrived to the place where no correction of ourselves is needed? All I'm calling for is honesty and balance in our perspectives, which admittedly is one of the most difficult things to strike.

DTK
I appreciate what a godly stand has cost you; and will say no more about it. Yes; we do need to be honest with ourselves certainly and maybe we are (I am) more likely to fail here when those we criticize are tearing down from within what we should be building up, namely biblical Presbyterianism. But that doesn't excuse seeing 'no good' in those so tearing it down.
 
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