Generous Justice

Is there a connection between the Bible's teaching on justification by faith alone and living a life that promotes justice?  Tim Keller says, "Yes!"

Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone”.   This quote, often attributed to the Protestant Reformer John Calvin, reveals an important truth that pastor/author Tim Keller wants everyone to know.

A lot of people experience injustice.   A lot of people find themselves on the receiving end of life’s bitter struggles. Then along comes some Bible-toting Christian saying that “all you need is Jesus“.  Well, how does Jesus help you when you can not pay your medical bills, you lost your job, or when your spouse ran off with someone else and left you in thousands of dollars of credit card debt?

Is the Christian faith just some pie-in-the-sky hope for an eternal future or does it mean something for the here and now? Ouch.

Meet Timothy Keller.  Keller is a pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.  This fall our church is doing a six-week study on his book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just.   Many critics of historic, orthodox Christian faith complain that the Bible stands in the way of really making progress towards eliminating injustice in our world today.   Others find that efforts to promote “social justice” in the church are undercutting the message of the Bible.

In his book, Tim Keller is attempting to make a crucial connection between the experience of God’s grace on the one hand with a life empowered to live justly with our neighbor on the other.   The following is a 30-minute talk where Keller summarizes the message of his book based on the teachings he finds in the Bible.  Does he succeed in making that crucial connection?

About Clarke Morledge

Clarke Morledge -- Computer Network Engineer, College of William and Mary... I hiked the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of the famous Colorado Fourteeners, with some friends in July, 2012. My buddy, Mike Scott, snapped this photo of me on the summit. View all posts by Clarke Morledge

2 responses to “Generous Justice

  • lotharson

    Hello Clarke,

    I admire Tim Keller as a man of God full of passion and love but strongly disagree with his Calvinist theology, as I made it clear on other blog comments.

    But the main problem is not the temporary pain we are experiencing in this present world but the ETERNAL pain God predetermined most humans to suffer under.

    Actually I believe that divine determinists believing in universalism, that everyone will eventually end up in heaven, can still believe in a good God who preordained temporary evils for diverse purposes such as soul-forming.

    Roger Olson made a good case this was the view of the famous Swiss theologian Karl Barth.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son


  • Clarke Morledge

    Lothars Sohn,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    You pose some extremely important questions regarding the problem of evil, and so I can see how some of the themes that Tim Keller touches on in his writings raises your concerns over theodicy.

    As to your understanding of Roger Olson’s assessment of Karl Barth, I do not see Olson making the argument that you are making. Olson, along with many others, sees Barth as both affirming universalism AND denying universalism at the same time. This may not be a terribly happy or agreeable solution, and this is impossible to nail down in a brief blog comment, but your assertion seems to lack the nuance of Barth’s doctrine of election.

    The bottom line for what I do see for Keller is that God’s grace and God’s justice are NOT opposed to one another. This has temporal as well as eternal ramifications.

    Again, your feedback is appreciated!

    Clarke Morledge


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