Tag Archives: Tim Keller

For Your Summer Listening Pleasure (in 2023)…..

As we head into the summer of 2023, I wanted to list out some of best video/audio that I have dabbled in so far this year. Most of these talks and videos I have only started, only wanting come back to them later. It seems like everybody has a podcast or YouTube channel theses days, but I mainly want to highlight some of the best stuff out there…. and there is some really good stuff!

So far in 2023, we have lost a number of Christian leaders who have had a worldwide impact. The most recent being Tim Keller. This reflective article by Collin Hansen about Tim Keller at Christianity Today is one of the best remembrances of Tim Keller. But I would also recommend Russell Moore’s survey of Tim Keller’s contribution to evangelicalism in the YouTube video/podcast below, highlighting Keller’s gentle yet firm approach to evangelism, and especially Keller’s Christ-honoring posture when faced by critics on the theological left and the theological right. As Molly Worthen (see below) writes in her article in The Atlantic, more progressive leaning Christians rejected Keller’s view of marriage as being only between a man and a woman, as well as his view that the Bible does not permit women to serve as elders in a local church, while more conservative leaning Christians rejected Keller’s “third way” approach to cultural disintegration as “compromising” with the world, calling for a more aggressive stance against secularism in the political sphere, as opposed to Keller’s more irenic, conversational approach.

These deaths fall on the heals of a few notable deaths in late 2022, including Gordon Fee and E. P. Sanders. Gordon Fee was one of the most well-regarded evangelical New Testament scholars of that last quarter century, a curious mix of a keen intellect that produced some of the most outstanding commentaries of various New Testament books that thousands of pastors weekly consult for their sermons, and controversially having a strongly charismatic, Pentecostal background, with egalitarian convictions regarding women in ministry. Here is an 8-minute interview with Dr. Fee a few years before he died:

Yet Fee’s great impact was eclipsed by E. P Sanders, who was widely regarded as the most influential New Testament scholar in the last quarter of the 20th century. Most conservative evangelical Christians have never heard of E. P. Sanders, as he tended to move around in more progressive circles, but his impact on how all scholars, theologically conservative and progressive, think about the New Testament is undeniable. Just as the German Rudolph Bultmann towered above everyone else in the mid-20th century, so did the American E.P. Sanders since the 1970s, following his landmark work Paul and Palestinian Judaism. E.P. Sanders, who in the late 1970s or early 1980s was once a visiting professor at the College of William and Mary, where I work on staff, will forever be connected with the so-called “New Perspective on Paul,” which has revolutionized New Testament understandings of the Apostle Paul. While the “New Perspective on Paul” is widely misunderstood, and even outright rejected by some, serious scholarship today can not afford to ignore the ideas articulated by E.P. Sanders. Sanders scholarship has permeated just about every study of Paul, notably through the popular New Testament British evangelical scholar, N.T. Wright.

The death of Jack Hayford, the well-known Pentecostal preacher and leader of the Foursquare Church, started off the year 2023. Hayford built bridges between Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals, a major force in the Promise Keepers men’s ministry in the 1990s, and wrote the popular worship song, “Majesty.” In college, I served as worship leader at a Foursquare Church, using a number of Hayford’s songs.

Then there is the death of George Verwer. After committing his life to Christ at a Billy Graham crusade in 1953 at Madison Square Garden, New York City, Verwer went onto being not only an evangelist himself, but one of the most outspoken promoters of global missions. Known for wearing his jacket with a map of the world printed on it, whenever he spoke at churches, Verwer founded Operation Mobilization, one of the most innovative and radical missionary agencies started in the 1960s, and going strong today. Here is a 5-minute video about George Verwer:

I have noted the death of Old Testament scholar Michael S. Heiser earlier this year, perhaps my favorite Old Testament teacher around. My upcoming blog post series this summer on “head coverings” is really inspired a lot by listening to and reading his teachings.

Yet I was also struck by the death of Atlanta Baptist pastor Charles Stanley. My first encounter with Charles Stanley’s ministry some 25 years ago was unfortunately not very positive (sorry Charles Stanley fans, but that is the truth). I had never heard of Charles Stanley before, and I was taken aback when one of Charles Stanley’s fans got really annoyed in one of my church history classes that I was teaching at my church. This woman rebuked me in front of the whole class, and sent me a stack of Charles Stanley tapes the next week, hoping that by listening to them they would straighten me out. She had somehow gotten the odd impression that I believed that the study of church history was more important than studying the Bible. The teaching on the tapes was actually pretty good. But I was still so bothered as to why this woman in my class felt that I needed to listen to Stanley, that I became pretty suspicious of him. Fast forward to about ten years later, I gained a more favorable appreciation of Charles Stanley when I went to hear him preach at the First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

After his recent death, I learned more about Charles Stanley’s life story, learning that he had a very difficult childhood, growing up for time with a single mom, and then enduring abuse from a step-father. I had no idea that his early life was so difficult, and how his relationship with Christ got him through very troubling times. His life story is worth listening to:

After the death of Queen Elizabeth, we now have a new King of England. Charles III was recently coronated as King of the United Kingdom. The ever delightful, contrarian, and indeed quirky atheist historian David Starkey remarks that the UK coronation ceremony is deeply rooted in Christian ritual. Starkey has a couple of videos that tell the history about the coronation down through the centuries, if you like that kind of stuff:

Probably some of the best listens I have had so far this year come from the Rest is History podcast. Everyone has probably heard about Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel, The Da Vinci Code, which became a Ron Howard movie starring Tom Hanks in 2006. In 2023, we stand at the 20th anniversary of when The Da Vinci Code was first written and took the world by storm. Brown’s book popularized a conspiracy theory that began in certain academic circles in the late 1970s, suggesting that Jesus Christ never went to the Cross, contrary to what you hear week after week in most church services across the globe. Instead, Jesus and Mary Magdalene got married, scuttled off to the other side of the Roman Empire, and their progeny had been living in Southern France for centuries, much to the consternation of the Roman Catholic Church who wanted to supposedly suppress the “truth.” If you could possibly pinpoint a date where “fake news” really began to take off in the 21st century, this might be the best candidate.

The Rest is History podcast creators, historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook, tell the story behind The Da Vinci Code, in Episode 301. But the tale is actually much bigger and more interesting than the narrative which filled Dan Brown’s pockets with a lot of money.

The story goes back to the Mystery of the Cathars, the mysterious group of heretics in the 12th to 14th century Southern France. In Episode 302, Holland and Sandbrook tell the background story of how the Cathars originated, and the controversy among historians still today who are trying to figure out what really happened, and how this heretical group might or might not be connected back to the Gnostic Christian heresy of the 2nd century. It is a mystery about mysteries, as spellbinding as any Agatha Christie novel.

The tragedy of the Cathars led to the Bloodiest Crusade in the Christian history, told in Episode 303, where Christians were pitted against other supposedly heretical Christians, the beginnings of the infamous Inquisition, which later became such a controversial part of Roman Catholic Church history. The surprise ending, best listened to those three episodes played back to back, will tell you a lot about why the current culture wars we are living through during the 2020s is so crazy….. and think this is all began with The DaVinci Code.

YouTube apologist Gavin Ortlund has some absolutely fantastic content that I need to listen to over again, just because it so rich. Ortlund has an interview with author Christopher Watkin, about his book Biblical Critical Theory, which is probably one of the most talked about books in the past year in evangelical circles.  Watkin offers a biblical critique of the so-called “critical race theory.” I already have too many books on my “to be read” list, but this interview with Watkins sure entices my interest:

The Pints with Aquinas channel has great debate featuring Gavin Ortlund defending the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura with Roman Catholic apologist Trent Horn criticizing sola scriptura. This is an excellent example of how charitable debates should be held with believers who strongly disagree with one another.

Baptist preacher and YouTuber Matt Whitman has an informative video interviewing Ligonier Ministries’ Dr. Stephen Nichols about “What Was the Great Schism and Why Did It Happen?,” talking about when Western and Eastern Christianity parted ways with one another about 1,000 years ago:

Christianity is growing globally, where about 1/3 of the world’s population profess to be Christian, which is great news. But the story is not so rosy in the United States. According to the latest Pew research, by 2070 the number of professing Christians in America will drop to less than half of the country’s population. Professing Christians make up 64% of the population currently, but by 2070, according to current trends, this percentage will drop to around 46%. Christianity is on a decline in America, with more and more deconstructing and deconverting, just in case you never heard about this. Some of this decline is really about younger people getting disillusioned with large denominational institutions, like the Southern Baptists. But the shift away from Christianity in general is hard to ignore. In the last 30 years alone, 40 million Americans have “de-churched” making this one of the largest sociological shifts in American history. A Gospel Coalition podcast gives us a discussion with Ryan Burge, a political scientist, to talk about who are leaving evangelical churches and why:

Along those same lines about “deconstruction,” Lutheran YouTuber Dr. Jordan B. Cooper, host of the Just and Sinner podcast, has a talk about Jacques Derrida, one of the foundational thinkers of postmodernism. Derrida popularized the terminology of “deconstruction”:

A lot of great documentaries/films are showing up on YouTube now, that once belonged behind a paywall. One of them is Fragments of Truth, where New Testament scholar Dr. Craig Evan’s talks about the discoveries of the New Testament documents we have found over the past few centuries which bolster our confidence in the historical reliability of the Christian faith. This gives Christians good answers to those who have read Bart Ehrman’s New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus:

A book by Collin Hansen is out now discussing the life and thought of the late Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation, interviewed by Gavin Ortlund:

Next before last, there is the remarkable conversion story of historian Molly Worthen. Dr. Worthen wrote an historian analysis of the “crisis of authority” within American evangelicalism, a subject of a Veracity blog post from 2014. Since then, and particularly over the past year, Molly Worthen has moved from a position of skepticism about Christianity that she had held for decades to become a follower of Christ.  A most inspiring story, showing that even really, really smart people can have their lives transformed by the love of Jesus Christ!

…and FINALLY….. something a little fun, in honor of the late Tim Keller. How about “Carpool Karaoke with Tim Keller!”

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R.I.P. – Tim Keller

It grieves me to know that Tim Keller, former pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City, died today, at age 72, after a three year struggle with pancreatic cancer.

I never knew Tim Keller personally, but I have friends who knew him when he pastored a small P.C.A. church in Hopewell, Virginia, less than an hour’s drive from where I grew up and still live. In those days, the 1970s, Hopewell was going through a rough time. As a kid I would love to swim in the James River, but then the ecological disaster of the toxic Kepone leak at the Allied Chemical plant shut down the river, and much of nearby economy with it.

Tim Keller, former pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, in New York City, and co-founder of the Gospel Coalition.

Tim Keller made a lot of mistakes as a young pastor, in an economically depressed town. But in those years he cultivated a love for reading which would set him on a path of being one of most influential evangelical intellectual Christian leaders in the first quarter of the 21st century. Years before, when Keller was in college at Bucknell University, he met the Lord through the ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. After leaving Hopewell, to go teach at Westminster Theological Seminary, Tim Keller and his wife Kathy eventually surprised everyone to go plant a church in the heart of urban New York City, where Redeemer Presbyterian Church eventually became one of the fastest growing churches in New York City in the 1990s and early 2000s.

My small group read his 2009 book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, which convinced me that Tim Keller was the new “C.S. Lewis” for the early 21st century. He had co-founded The Gospel Coalition, an alliance of churches and church leaders committed to a renewed vision for evangelism and church unity, with a broadly Reformed theological orientation. My wife and I both agree that The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities with the Wisdom of God, written together by Tim and Kathy Keller is the best book on having a Christian marriage in print today.

Alas, being a prominent Christian leader is bound to bring out the critics, from within the church. When Keller published his 2010 book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, his critics accused him of being “woke”, a closet-Marxist in Christian clothing. Perhaps the criticism is due to the fact that Keller proposed a winsome approach to winning the culture over to Christ, whereas other Christians were becoming convinced that a more combative approach was needed in the face of more opposition to Gospel values. While I do reject the “woke” movement, I will take the more winsome approach over the combative approach any day of the week.

In my mind, Tim Keller’s voice represented perhaps the best intellectual and spiritual mind that evangelical Christianity has had to offer to our 21st century world, a heart for spiritual renewal within the church and a passion to reach a lost world with the Gospel. He will be sorely missed.

The Whole Christ, by Sinclair Ferguson, A Review

How do you know if you are truly a Christian? Can you be sure about that?

In our 21st century age, we tend to look down upon Christians of earlier eras, particularly the Puritans. Their world seems so far removed from ours. But such an opinion only reveals our chronological snobbery. A wealth of wisdom lays hidden with the Puritans, that we need to need to hear from today. The assurance of one’s salvation is one area of wisdom we need to recover from those Puritans,

If you ever read the writings of the English Puritans, they often speak of the tension between “legalism” and “antinomianism,” in the Christian life. On one side, is the tendency to reduce Christianity to a set of rules and regulations to follow, a bunch of “do’s and don’ts” (legalism). On the other, is the tendency towards lawlessness, a faith that has no real regard for the commands of God (antinomianism). What Christian does not wrestle with that tension today?

Between these two extremes, it can sometimes be like walking a tightrope, maintaining a sense of balance to keep from falling down one way or the other. We have plenty of controversies in church history that testify as to how difficult it is to maintain that sense of balance.

Martin Luther was accused of being a libertine by his Roman Catholic opponents, while his Papal accusers were accused of their own “works-righteousness.” Anne Hutchinson was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, for her claim that the Puritan fathers were teaching a “covenant of works” as opposed to a “covenant of grace.” Late 20th century evangelicals argued over the “Lordship Salvation” versus “Free Grace” controversy. In recent years, megachurch pastor Andy Stanley told his congregation that they must “unhitch” themselves from the Old Testament, largely because of the Old Testament emphasis on law, causing quite an uproar.

In all of these controversies, the assurance of one’s salvation has hung in the balance. At the core of this, the relationship between Law and Gospel is something with which every new generation must wrestle.

Sinclair Ferguson, in his The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters, looks at one of these controversies in church history, as a lens on which to try to tease out how this balance might be properly maintained. The “Marrow Controversy” was an otherwise forgotten controversy over an otherwise forgotten book, by Edward Fisher, a Puritan author from the 1640s, entitled The Marrow of Modern Divinity.

The Whole Christ centers around the story of an early 18th century Scottish preacher, Thomas Boston. Early in his preaching career, Boston was frustrated by the lack of positive response to his preaching message, among the callous in his Scottish congregation. Yet Boston took great comfort in reading Edward Fisher’s book, when he stumbled across it one day, while visiting someone else’s home. Fisher’s book sought to find a way between legalism and antinomianism (a term which means, “against the law”). The abbreviated title, “The Marrow,” meant that Fisher was trying to get at the innermost substance of the Gospel. Boston credited The Marrow for correcting his own posture towards the Gospel, and it revolutionized his ministry.

So, when the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland banned the book in 1720, as promoting antinomianism, some 80 years after it was first published, a theological fire erupted. Thomas Boston and his like-minded preacher friends protested the ban. These pastors, known as the “Marrow Men,” did not view the book as dangerous at all, but rather saw its message as liberating with the truth of the Gospel. The censure of the church, which subsequently was never revoked (even to this day!), would not stop the “Marrow Men,” for they sought to republish The Marrow of Modern Divinity, with some notes added by Thomas Boston, in 1726.

Sinclair Ferguson’s The Whole Christ endeavors to explain the “Marrow” debate that engulfed the early 18th century Church of Scotland, as a means to help us today to properly understand the relationship between the Law and the Gospel. There are a couple of added, standout benefits gained from Sinclair Ferguson, from this book:

The last issue, regarding the assurance of salvation, is something that still needs sharpening in our day. For on one side, it is very easy to have a false assurance of one’s salvation, by presuming upon the grace of God, and thereby leading a life of recklessness, marked by a distinct lack of holy living. If you dwell among Christians who act one way on Sunday, but who act completely different on the other days of the week, you will know exactly what this means.

We may think we have a right standing before God, when in fact, we have merely fooled ourselves, placing our own demands and wishful thinking upon God. On the other side, we can become so restless concerning our final state before God, that we lack confidence in the power of God to save sinners. In our insecurity about “going to hell” we forget about the love of God, which brings us into the joy of God’s presence. People who fret and fret over whether their faith is fully acceptable, in the sight of God, reveals this sense of spiritual insecurity.

Sinclair Ferguson takes us on a trip through church history, that might not be familiar to readers. Ferguson draws connections between the teachings of the medieval church, similar teachings found in contemporary Roman Catholicism, and other crucial theological figures, such as the 16th century French/Swiss Reformer, John Calvin, and the 19th century Scottish “heretic” John McLeod Campbell. But this is not theological history to satisfy certain intellectual curiosities. Instead, Ferguson weaves a theological tale that will assist the reader in avoiding common pitfalls, that can easily derail the life of any Christian.

The forward of The Whole Christ, written by Tim Keller, helps to orient the reader to understand the book’s purpose, regarding how the Law and the Gospel relate to one another. Keller writes that Ferguson “wants to help us understand the character of this perpetual problem—one that bedevils the church today. He does so in the most illuminating and compelling way I’ve seen in recent evangelical literature.” But the book’s audience should not be restricted to pastors, for The Whole Christ seeks to set out a reasoned, biblical approach to how a balance between legalism and license can be lived out.

How can this be done?  By preaching the whole Christ. A proper understanding of the Gospel, in its fullness, is the antidote that helps believers to avoid a sense of making the Christian faith into following a list of do’s and don’ts. It also helps us to avoid a faith, where we can fool ourselves to think that we can do whatever we want, with no restraints upon our conscience. The subtle danger, as Ferguson tells us, is that often we can have a very “orthodox” sounding theology, but that on the inside, our hearts’ disposition is completely out of whack. The way the message is presented is just as important as the message itself.

By emphasizing the whole Christ, Ferguson insists that it is all too easy to separate Christ Himself from the benefits He gives to the believer. A proper grounding for the assurance of our salvation is found in loving God for who He is, and not simply for what He gives us.

The last few chapters of The Whole Christ explore the details of what it means to have the assurance of one’s salvation. These chapters make for the densest reading in the book, but it forced me to read slowly and think more carefully. Does one have an unhealthy preoccupation with anxiety about their eternal state? Or does one settle for a kind of presumptive expectation of salvation, when actually, their hearts are far, far from God? Sinclair Ferguson endeavors to find the right balance and nuance, to get at the truth.

Again I ask: What genuine Christian does not struggle with these matters? But notice how easy it is to trick ourselves. If I find myself easily condemning other Christians for their “loose-living,” that might be an indication of legalism in my own heart. On the other hand, if I am quick to dismiss the rigidity of how another Christian seeks to be obedient to God, it might be a good sign of a latent antinomian spirit residing in me.

What is the solution to avoiding these spiritual traps? Knowing the whole Gospel: The Whole Christ. How do we equip ourselves to fully understand and implement this truth?

One way would be reading The Whole Christ, by Sinclair Ferguson. I listened to the audiobook format, but if you like a video teaching format, you should consider the video teaching series, available at Ligonier Ministries. The clarity of doctrinal teaching that Ferguson offers is exceptional. I have read through the entire book once, and several other parts multiple times, and I continue to learn vital Scriptural truths to be applied to my walk with Christ, in every chapter. This is a book to savor, and re-read, so that the Scriptural truths it conveys might become imprinted upon our hearts.

  • ….

UPDATE: September 26, 2019, 10am

This just came in…. a debate between William Lane Craig and Gregory Boyd on penal substitutionary atonement (PSA). Haven’t viewed it yet, but it looks to be very good, and quite relevant to the topics covered in The Whole Christ.  I side with William Lane Craig here, but Gregory Boyd is probably one of the most able critics, whose perspective should be taken seriously by other Christians. I see the PSA view as complementing the Christus Victor view of the atonement, and not a contradiction.

The Tim Keller Controversy at Princeton: And What It Means for the Church

OOOOPS!!  It was a shocker when the Oscars mistakenly first awarded Best Picture to “La La Land,” instead of “Moonlight.” But who would think that a leading Protestant seminary would do the same type of thing? (photo credit: Kevin Winter/ Getty Images)

Normally, when a theological seminary gives an award to someone in the greater community, the announcement brings about as much excitement as saying how many millimeters your grass has grown up so far this spring. But when the prestigious Princeton Theological Seminary announced that Tim Keller, a New York City pastor, was to be awarded the esteemed Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness… and then later rescinded the offer, it created quite a stir.

Tim Keller is probably one of the most well-known, conciliatory voices in the conservative evangelicalism movement. His books on the Bible, marriage, and particularly, apologetics, like Reason for God and Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical, have helped millions to better understand how the Gospel of Jesus Christ effectively relates to the challenges of living in a postmodern culture. The Gospel Coalition, an organization that Keller helped to found, is a “go to” resource for many evangelicals, for encouragement, Bible teaching, and cultural analysis.

Interestingly, Keller in the past has had his critics on the extreme conservative side. Keller’s openness to some aspects of evolutionary creationism has come under a suspicious eye, for some, while others have branded his book, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Justas uncritically paving the way towards an embracement of socialism. But most evangelical Christians, who know anything about Tim Keller, regard him as a gracious and thoughtful spokesperson for evangelical faith, even if there is disagreement on relatively minor matters, according to Richard Mouw, former president at Fuller Theological Seminary, and a past recipient of the very same Kuyper prize, awarded at Princeton Seminary.

Tim Keller

Tim Keller: A type of evangelical thinker who models the kind of irenic approach to Christian apologetics, that Veracity tries to follow.

However, when some members of the Princeton Seminary community realized that Keller was a member of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), a Christian denomination that does not confer ordination on women, or practicing gay or lesbian people, they became angry over the Seminary’s plans to honor Keller with the Kuyper award, leading to the rescinding of the award offer. Apparently, you just can not make everybody happy. As a type of compromise, Keller has still been invited to speak on the topic of mission at the seminary, an invitation which he graciously accepted. Yet the controversy regarding Keller forebodes several signs, that do not look good for the health of the Christian community in America in our day. I will list four, but see if you agree with these assessments:

  • Oversimplifying Complex Points of View. Keller’s position on both women’s ordination and gay/lesbian ordination was the stated reason for rescinding the award. Issues concerning how men and women relate to one another, and how the church can best address the concerns of the LGBTQ community, are quite complex, so it seems rather flatfooted for dissenters at Princeton to base their protest over Keller’s theology of ordination. While it is true that the large majority of evangelicals do oppose both women’s and gay/lesbian ordination, there is also a significant voice among evangelicals that opposes gay/lesbian ordination, but believes that the question regarding women’s ordination is still a matter of vigorous debate. Yet there is even another debate among Christians as to what constitutes ordination in the first place. Presumably, Tim Keller’s wife, Kathy Keller, who at one time advocated for women’s ordination, but now opposes it, would never be eligible for the Kuyper award, per the dissenters at Princeton. Keller’s dissenters at Princeton do not seem to be aware of these divergent, complicated factors, apparently out of step with the discussion in the evangelical church body at large. Jim Daly, of Focus on the Family, insightfully remarks that Princeton Seminary needs Tim Keller more than Keller needs Princeton. Is Princeton in danger of unnecessarily conflating complex issues together?
  • The Intolerance of Tolerance. For years, progressives in various churches have complained that conservatives have shut down conversations on sensitive, controversial issues. So, it seems strange that progressives at Princeton would attempt to try to “marginalize” a moderate figure like Tim Keller. Even a few progressive types, like Jonathan Merritt, of the Religion News Service, believes that Princeton’s actions are over the top, observing that Keller is no misogynist and no bigot. So, when did an attempt to maintain fidelity to the long standing traditional interpretations of Scripture make someone a misogynist or bigot?
  • The Flipping of “Orthodoxy” Upside Down. For much of the 19th and early 20th century, Princeton Theological Seminary was self-consciously the guardian of conservative evangelical orthodoxy. Abraham Kuyper, for whom the Princeton award is named for, was one of the distinguished leaders of confessional evangelicalism, in the latter 19th century and early 20th century, at one time the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Kuyper’s doctrinal commitments mirror much of what Keller’s denomination, the PCA, believes. Some even argue that Kuyper negatively would be greatly more conservative than Tim Keller. Is it not strange that if Abraham Kuyper were alive today, that he would not be eligible to receive an award that bears his name?
  • The Polarization of American Christianity. It is as though the extremes on both sides, conservative and progressive, are getting more extreme, and those who propose a more measured, moderate approach to sensitive issues, are caught in the crossfire. Will divisive rhetoric continue to polarize Christians, or will voices be allowed to emerge that promote dialogue and unity, while preserving orthodox faith?

While there are some at Princeton who begrudgingly will allow Tim Keller to come and speak, anyway, we here at Veracity have no hesitation in offering the kind of thoughtful engagement with contemporary issues that Tim Keller offers to the church, as well as the largely secular folks at Google. Here is Keller’s talk at Google last year, articulating the main ideas found in Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical (be sure to hear the question that is relevant to the fundamental concern of the dissenters at Princeton, and Keller’s response, starting at the 52:45 mark).

UPDATE: March 29, 2017

The Civil War as a Theological Crisis

A steep, dugout embankment defending Redoubt #1, off of Quarterpath Road, where Confederate troops waited for advancing Federal soldiers to attack from Tutter's Mill Pond below, during the Battle of Williamsburg. Sadly, relatively very few of my fellow Williamsburg neighbors even know that this place even exists.

A steep, dugout embankment defending Redoubt #1, off of Quarterpath Road, where Confederate troops waited for advancing Federal soldiers to attack from Tutter’s Mill Pond below, during the Battle of Williamsburg. Sadly, relatively very few of my fellow Williamsburg neighbors even know that this place even exists.

Does the American national tragedy over the Civil War have something to teach us about how we are to read the Bible?

As a kid, I grew up near the remains of an oft-forgotten, Civil War battlefield. Whenever I ran among the dugout, redoubt embankments, I always kept in mind the warnings of neighbors to be careful, as there was likely to be found unexploded ordinance somewhere underneath my feet.

On the same day, hundreds of miles away, when Mexico was resisting the French on May 5, 1862, remembered now as Cinco de Mayo, Federal forces met Confederate forces just east of my town, for the Battle of Williamsburg, with nearly 4,000 casualties among both sides. Within a couple of years, the significance of that battle faded, displaced in memory by placenames like Antietam and Gettysburg.

Efforts to preserve the battlefield from being run over by suburban housing developments have been somewhat, moderately successful, though the land, as well as the intellectual debates that the led up to the war, have sometimes been forgotten. I often wonder myself, if such a national crisis could have been averted, without such terrible bloodshed.
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