His latest post for the Co-Allies suggests he may:
The earliest Christians were widely ridiculed, especially by cultural elites, were excluded from circles of influence and business, and were often persecuted and put to death. Hurtado says Roman authorities were uniquely hostile to them, compared to other religious groups. . . .
The earliest church was seen as too exclusive and a threat to the social order because it would not honor all deities; today Christians are again being seen exclusive and a threat to the social order because we will not honor all identities.
Yet the early church thrived in that situation. Why?
One reason was that Christians were ridiculed as too exclusive and different. And yet many were drawn to Christianity because it was different. If a religion isn’t different from the surrounding culture—if it doesn’t critique and offer an alternative to it—it dies because it’s seen as unnecessary. . . .
The early church surely looked like it was on the “wrong side of history,” but instead it changed history with a dogged adherence to the biblical gospel. That should be our aspiration as well.
When you read those estimates of the early church, do you think more of the PCA or the OPC?
By the way, Keller leaves out one of the biggest factors in the early church’s “success”: the conversion of the emperor. In 300 roughly 10 percent of the empire’s population was Christian. By 350 that number rose to 55 percent.
Now all Pastor Keller needs to do is convert his fellow New Yorker, Mr. Trump. But I’m not sure how appealing a religion ridiculed by cultural elites and that is excluded from circles of influence and business will be. I am not even sure Pastor Keller’s experience proves that kind of Christianity “works.”