Tim Keller Responds.

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Josiah

Puritan Board Senior
Solomon Li has posted on The Confessional Outhouse a response to his email to Keller about the article in First things.

This is what was posted


brothers,

i took the time to ask tim keller a couple of questions on this interview in order to clarify his comments… the following are HIS words:

Dear Solomon:

Hi! Yes I’ve seen the conversations at a couple of websites about the interview. I hope the following is helpful.

1. First, keep in mind I did not write these statements. They were taken down by an interviewer over an hour-long conversation. Then they were transcribed and abridged. This must be borne in mind. Anyone who has ever done interviews knows that the interviewer has to edit and splice the words into paragraphs. You always have to ask the person who was interviewed–”did you say it just like that? Did you mean that?” When I read the interview afterwards I did not think he had at any point twisted my words–but I knew at a few points he strung statements together in a way that might raise questions. I thought people would ask the questions (like you) rather than jumping to conclusions. I don’t want to criticize the interviewer here. I think he did a fairly good job of representing a whole lot of conversation. But it wasn’t perfect.

2. I love the PCA and have no intention of leaving. Everyone who knows me knows that. The PCA is a confessional Presbyterian denomination and I love that. I never said I was ‘putting up’ with Presbyterianism. In fact–if you look–when I was asked if I was hampered by being in a denomination, my point was ‘only a little.’ I explained that in some minor ways being in a denomination is always an inconvenience, because no constitution fits all sizes of churches equally well. But ‘we put up’ with those minor inconveniences (I said originally) because of our commitment to being in a connectional, confessional body.

3. We have never, ever financed or planted Roman Catholic churches. And we never will nor would want to. I didn’t say that in the interview, of course. But my sentence–that I’ve seen God bring people to Christian faith in prosperity-gospel churches and in Catholic churches–came close to my sentences about how we give money to plant non-Presbyterian churches. If you already are suspicious of me, I suppose you might want to believe we plant Catholic churches, but of course we don’t. And we never would. (I don’t know of anyone who has preached the Luther-Calvin doctrine of justification of faith alone more often over the years. ) We do, however, support churches that are Reformed but charismatic (e.g. like C.J. Mahaney’s churches or other similar churches) and other non-Presbyterian churches that we train and we feel are on the same page with us about gospel theology. There are plenty of Baptist, charismatic, churches etc etc that are similar to us in soteriology–are moving toward us. But we put far, far more money into Presbyterian church plants. That keeps us from on the one hand, being sectarian and thinking God only blesses Presbyterian government, but it means on the other hand we give pride of place to our own tradition, which we love. We’ve always identified as ‘Presbyterian’ in our name, as one example.

… so there you have it folks. rev. tim keller has NEVER funded roman catholics and never will. the basis for distribution in funds is based on the church’s view on soteriology…. and HE WILL NEVER LEAVE the PCA because he believes in the confession, but confesses there are difficulties in doing ministry at his size (which i take it to be an honest confession).

personally, i don’t think it’s sub-par if he is being faithful to the call as best as he can. if we were basing things on a standard of excellence then no man will ever fulfill that. all they can do is try to hit that mark and be faithful. plus, as i have said before, in terms of getting a quorum, all any man can do is call it… give notice of it… and pray to God his quorum actually shows up. nominating officers for the church is a difficulty regardless of the size of the church.

-solomon

What does everyone think?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
If the article was incorrect in stating that Keller's Church does not help plant Pentecostal Churches then I repent of my assumption that he did based upon erroneous information. If the author was sloppy in calling a Sovereign Grace Ministry congregation as "Pentecostal Church" then I misunderstood what his church plant efforts were.

I fundamentally disagree with the "Reformed Charismatic" Churches but soteriologically it's apples and oranges compared to a typical Pentecostal Church. I hesitate to make any more broad brush statements without knowing any more facts. I'll simply state that the "Reformed Charismatic" movement is fundamentally unstable and I would not support it for that reason and it would be wiser to invest in a more stable Church even if it is a small proportion of overall support.
 

danmpem

Puritan Board Junior
If the article was incorrect in stating that Keller's Church does not help plant Pentecostal Churches then I repent of my assumption that he did based upon erroneous information. If the author was sloppy in calling a Sovereign Grace Ministry congregation as "Pentecostal Church" then I misunderstood what his church plant efforts were.

I fundamentally disagree with the "Reformed Charismatic" Churches but soteriologically it's apples and oranges compared to a typical Pentecostal Church. I hesitate to make any more broad brush statements without knowing any more facts. I'll simply state that the "Reformed Charismatic" movement is fundamentally unstable and I would not support it for that reason and it would be wiser to invest in a more stable Church even if it is a small proportion of overall support.

Interesting. :popcorn:

I know this is :offtopic:, but I just thought I would note that one of my candidate churches for when I move is a Sovereign Grace Ministries church. I'll do some more investigating before any decisions are made.
 

Josiah

Puritan Board Senior
I fundamentally disagree with the "Reformed Charismatic" Churches but soteriologically it's apples and oranges compared to a typical Pentecostal Church. I hesitate to make any more broad brush statements without knowing any more facts. I'll simply state that the "Reformed Charismatic" movement is fundamentally unstable and I would not support it for that reason and it would be wiser to invest in a more stable Church even if it is a small proportion of overall support.

I couldnt agree with you more Rich. I think its great that there are charismatics discovering the doctrines of grace; However I think it is problematic to assume that they are will be stable because they are "Reformed". If it were a church that was Charismatic that was reformed AND reforming that was persuing eventual membership within the PCA then I would say that It would be acceptable to give them financial help. I say lets help them by getting them some WCF's!

I think perhaps we focus more on the symptoms, rather than the problems in the church. :2cents:
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
In my experience most "Reformed Charismatics" are either charismatics becoming more Reformed or Reformed people becoming more charismatic. Some may come to what appears to be stability in their own ministry, but what happens to the ministry when they move on, especially when others in the ministry may not share all of those emphases? Although Martyn Lloyd-Jones wasn't exactly a charismatic, I think the lesson of what happened at Westminster Chapel after his retirement and especially his passing is a cautionary tale. According to the article, his successor, R.T. Kendall was in agreement with ML-J on the "sealing" of the Spirit but not on other issues and took the church in a radically different direction within less than a decade after the Doctor's death.

When I was coming around to a Reformed position 3 or 4 years ago, for a year or so I attended a local EPC church off and on. Lloyd-Jones was my biggest influence at this time, until I started reading more confessionally oriented writers. The preaching was generally excellent, and the pastor is very knowledgeable about a great many things. I considered this church to be sort of a halfway house for me to get things figured out since I was a 5 pointer but on the fence with the baptism issue. But things came to a head for me one day when the Sunday School class (which was taught by a husband and wife team, but with the wife often taking the lead although it is officially a complementarian church) featured a protracted argument between a cessationist and a continuationist. This was not long after the teacher of the class, who was one of the elders, had been promoting a ministry in the church newspaper that he was involved in that included Oneness Pentecostals. (In his defense, the pastor, who is strongly trinitarian, said he didn't know about it and put a stop to it.) Then in the worship service it was announced that they would soon be starting the Alpha course, which I disagreed with due to its charismatic origins and because there are other alternatives like Christianity Explored. There was also a septuagenarian woman who typically would get up and dance during the singing.

That evening I went to the OPC church I am a member of now and was there until I moved a few months ago. I think the Reformed-Charismatic pastor always knew I was too much of a nit picker to be there for long (and also perhaps sensed my apprehension about some aspects of charismaticism) and said to me that Pineville (OPC) is a good church during one of our first meetings. Providentially, that evening, I picked up this back issue of New Horizons that they had laying around.

I want to note that I still have those I would consider friends in the Reformed-Charismatic church I noted above (including the pastor) and had some wonderful fellowship there. I recounted the above in an attempt to illustrate the challenges that are inherent in such a ministry, which is not Reformed enough for some, too Reformed for others, not Charismatic enough for some but too Charismatic for others, etc. The pastor and church are now planning for his eventual retirement, apparently in hopes that the balance they have now will be maintained under his successor.
 
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biblicalthought

Puritan Board Freshman
The interviewer, Anthony Sacramone has responded to Keller's response here.

In his response, Keller said:

“I knew at a few points he strung statements together in a way that might raise questions."

Sacramone responded with:

If Pastor Keller thought my imperfect editing job had in any way, even unintentionally, misrepresented what he had said to me, he has had two weeks to get in touch with me to that effect. I have heard neither from him nor his publicist, to whom I sent a link to the interview the morning it went live. I have not received even a single email or phone call from anyone who knows Keller questioning my representation of his views—quite the contrary; the feedback I have received from people who know and have worked with him has been uniformly laudatory. This leads me to believe that the interview accurately reflects the pastor’s views.

I still believe we should proceed with caution...
 

Josiah

Puritan Board Senior
In my experience most "Reformed Charismatics" are either charismatics becoming more Reformed or Reformed people becoming more charismatic. Some may come to what appears to be stability in their own ministry, but what happens to the ministry when they move on, especially when others in the ministry may not share all of those emphases? Although Martyn Lloyd-Jones wasn't exactly a charismatic, I think the lesson of what happened at Westminster Chapel after his retirement and especially his passing is a cautionary tale. According to the article, his successor, R.T. Kendall was in agreement with ML-J on the "sealing" of the Spirit but not on other issues and took the church in a radically different direction within less than a decade after the Doctor's death.

When I was coming around to a Reformed position 3 or 4 years ago, for a year or so I attended a local EPC church off and on. Lloyd-Jones was my biggest influence at this time, until I started reading more confessionally oriented writers. The preaching was generally excellent, and the pastor is very knowledgeable about a great many things. I considered this church to be sort of a halfway house for me to get things figured out since I was a 5 pointer but on the fence with the baptism issue. But things came to a head for me one day when the Sunday School class (which was taught by a husband and wife team, but with the wife often taking the lead although it is officially a complementarian church) featured a protracted argument between a cessationist and a continuationist. This was not long after the teacher of the class, who was one of the elders, had been promoting a ministry in the church newspaper that he was involved in that included Oneness Pentecostals. (In his defense, the pastor, who is strongly trinitarian, said he didn't know about it and put a stop to it.) Then in the worship service it was announced that they would soon be starting the Alpha course, which I disagreed with due to its charismatic origins and because there are other alternatives like Christianity Explored. There was also a septuagenarian woman who typically would get up and dance during the singing.

That evening I went to the OPC church I am a member of now and was there until I moved a few months ago. I think the Reformed-Charismatic pastor always knew I was too much of a nit picker to be there for long (and also perhaps sensed my apprehension about some aspects of charismaticism) and said to me that Pineville (OPC) is a good church during one of our first meetings. Providentially, that evening, I picked up this back issue of New Horizons that they had laying around.

I want to note that I still have those I would consider friends in the Reformed-Charismatic church I noted above (including the pastor) and had some wonderful fellowship there. I recounted the above in an attempt to illustrate the challenges that are inherent in such a ministry, which is not Reformed enough for some, too Reformed for others, not Charismatic enough for some but too Charismatic for others, etc. The pastor and church are now planning for his eventual retirement, apparently in hopes that the balance they have now will be maintained under his successor.

:offtopic: but.....

Thank you for sharing that piece of your history. I remember coming to Reformed convictions by reading non confessionally reformed authors first also, which eventually led me onward in my journey to Presbyterianism.

I had a wonderful friend (before coming to presbyterian convictions) named Bruce who was a member of the EPC. I met him when I was 18 and working at a local grociery store. He was a wine vendor who made weekly deliveries to our store. The Lord providentially used him to lead me to refomed authors and ultimately to question my fundy/Dispensational tendencies. He was always an encouragement to me and would often pray with/for me. We had our disagreements (women in office) but ultimately I praise God for such a brother as he.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
In my experience most "Reformed Charismatics" are either charismatics becoming more Reformed or Reformed people becoming more charismatic. Some may come to what appears to be stability in their own ministry, but what happens to the ministry when they move on, especially when others in the ministry may not share all of those emphases? Although Martyn Lloyd-Jones wasn't exactly a charismatic, I think the lesson of what happened at Westminster Chapel after his retirement and especially his passing is a cautionary tale. According to the article, his successor, R.T. Kendall was in agreement with ML-J on the "sealing" of the Spirit but not on other issues and took the church in a radically different direction within less than a decade after the Doctor's death.

When I was coming around to a Reformed position 3 or 4 years ago, for a year or so I attended a local EPC church off and on. Lloyd-Jones was my biggest influence at this time, until I started reading more confessionally oriented writers. The preaching was generally excellent, and the pastor is very knowledgeable about a great many things. I considered this church to be sort of a halfway house for me to get things figured out since I was a 5 pointer but on the fence with the baptism issue. But things came to a head for me one day when the Sunday School class (which was taught by a husband and wife team, but with the wife often taking the lead although it is officially a complementarian church) featured a protracted argument between a cessationist and a continuationist. This was not long after the teacher of the class, who was one of the elders, had been promoting a ministry in the church newspaper that he was involved in that included Oneness Pentecostals. (In his defense, the pastor, who is strongly trinitarian, said he didn't know about it and put a stop to it.) Then in the worship service it was announced that they would soon be starting the Alpha course, which I disagreed with due to its charismatic origins and because there are other alternatives like Christianity Explored. There was also a septuagenarian woman who typically would get up and dance during the singing.

That evening I went to the OPC church I am a member of now and was there until I moved a few months ago. I think the Reformed-Charismatic pastor always knew I was too much of a nit picker to be there for long (and also perhaps sensed my apprehension about some aspects of charismaticism) and said to me that Pineville (OPC) is a good church during one of our first meetings. Providentially, that evening, I picked up this back issue of New Horizons that they had laying around.

I want to note that I still have those I would consider friends in the Reformed-Charismatic church I noted above (including the pastor) and had some wonderful fellowship there. I recounted the above in an attempt to illustrate the challenges that are inherent in such a ministry, which is not Reformed enough for some, too Reformed for others, not Charismatic enough for some but too Charismatic for others, etc. The pastor and church are now planning for his eventual retirement, apparently in hopes that the balance they have now will be maintained under his successor.

:offtopic: but.....

Thank you for sharing that piece of your history. I remember coming to Reformed convictions by reading non confessionally reformed authors first also, which eventually led me onward in my journey to Presbyterianism.

I had a wonderful friend (before coming to presbyterian convictions) named Bruce who was a member of the EPC. I met him when I was 18 and working at a local grociery store. He was a wine vendor who made weekly deliveries to our store. The Lord providentially used him to lead me to refomed authors and ultimately to question my fundy/Dispensational tendencies. He was always an encouragement to me and would often pray with/for me. We had our disagreements (women in office) but ultimately I praise God for such a brother as he.

:amen: The pastor I mentioned was instrumental in my eventual acceptance of the Reformed view of the sacraments as well as Presbyterian church government.
 
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