TKNY Even in UK

Even while in Ireland, I could not evade Tim Keller. One morning while reading the magazine Standpoint, I read a column which contained this:

As well as being one of the great delaying mechanisms of modern times, YouTube is one of the great gifts of our age. It not only allows us to watch videos of cats and people falling over, but also serious discussions like the recent one between Tim Keller and the sociologist Jonathan Haidt at NYU. What a model discussion it was. Haidt (whose book The Righteous Mind is one of the best explanations of modern politics I know) is respectful towards religion while being an atheist. Keller is a deeply learned reader of philosophy and sociology, and a pastor. Perhaps most striking was the agreement from both speakers over not only what is broken in our culture but what might be done to fix it. Particularly interesting was the observation that our society’s rewarding of outrage (fuelled by social media) means that we are ever less-inclined to give people what we used to call “the benefit of the doubt”. Increasingly, we put the worst possible gloss on people’s words and intentions so that any discussion across boundaries (believers versus non-believers, Left versus Right) becomes almost impossible. Can the urge be resisted? Perhaps, but we would have to have the right role models. Haidt and Keller are certainly two such.

A deeply learned reader of philosophy and sociology? That does not sound like Machen’s “specialist in the Bible.” But how would the op-ed writers and journalists know whether a pastor was properly explaining God’s word?

In the same issue, though, I read a review of Rodney Stark’s book about anti-Catholic myths:

Few now believe in the teaching of Luther or Calvin on Justification, or sola scriptura, but, as we see in the case of Sir Simon Jenkins, the myths of Catholic iniquity are embedded in many a Briton’s sense of who they are. Just as the French do not like to admit that their philosophes paved the way for totalitarianism, or Americans that the founding fathers of their Land of the Free owned slaves, so no amount of historical research will persuade today’s sceptics and secularists that, from the fall of the Roman Empire to the rise of the nation state, the Catholic Church was the source of most that is best in our civilisation; and that death camps and gulags are only to be found when Christianity lost its hold on the conscience of Europeans.

Imagine if Tim Keller had spent as much time defending the imputed righteousness of Christ as making belief in God plausible. Would he be as popular as he is? One reason for asking is that all the hype about New York City has not put a dent in the Roman Catholic apologists’ argument that the future of western civilization hangs on the fortunes not of the Big Apple but The Eternal City.

In the hierarchy of cities, New York may have to get in line behind Rome. Doh!

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44 thoughts on “TKNY Even in UK

  1. “”Imagine if Tim Keller had spent as much time defending the imputed righteousness of Christ as making belief in God plausible. Would he be as popular as he is?””
    Sooooooooo true!

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  2. D.G.,
    KInd of a typical authoritarian response. Machen doesn’t approve and thus the implications are obvious. Don’t we realize that the credibility of our witness for Christ often depends on what we associate with Christianity by our actions, the groups we belong to, and our words. And to be ignorant of the world associates all that comes with that ignorance–something. Paul certainly didn’t do that when he preached to the Greeks.

    Again, there is a desire in you to make your world as small as possible. It is in your criticisms of Keller and it is in your conservative libertarianism. If you want to do that, that is fine as long as you realize what you are associating with Christianity by doing so. The problem becomes when you want to compulsively criticize people for whom Christ died because they don’t follow your small world ideology.

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  3. “the Catholic Church was the source of most that is best in our civilisation;”

    I think that source is JESUS.

    which reminds me – I can see what he is saying here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/roman-catholicism-and-battle-over-words/ Roman Catholicism and the Battle Over Words
    “But then the authors say, but if you look closely, and if you try to understand what these words mean, you find that wherever the Catechism speaks of Christ, it speaks of the church; wherever it speaks of grace, it speaks also of the sacraments; wherever it speaks of faith, it speaks of works; wherever it speaks of the glory of God; it speaks also of the veneration of the saints and Mary.”

    -1 John 4:19 We love, because HE first loved us.
    -Jer 9:24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows ME, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
    -Col 1:28a We proclaim HIM
    -2 Cor 2:14a thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in CHRIST.
    -Col 2:2battaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, CHRIST Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
    -1 Cor 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
    -2 Cor10:17 But HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD.
    -Gal 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

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  4. DGH and E. Burns – I know you’re not implying Tim Keller is emphasizing the existence of God in his apologetics because he seeks popularity, right? Because it’s hard to imagine something less charitable than that.

    Let me ask you something: would you rather have someone become a regenerate Catholic or remain an atheist? I ask, because I’m pretty sure an atheist doesn’t care one bit about forensic justification.

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  5. Vae Vic,

    I think you are missing the point. No I am not questioning Keller’s motive or suggesting that. My grandparents were Roman Catholic and I believe (despite some messed up theology) were trusting in Christ. They disagreed with much of Rome and revealed in many conversations and life that they possessed a saving faith. Not an issue, at least not in how you are attempting to divert. At times there is a serendipitous inconsistency with one’s ecclesiastical attachments versus one’s faith/trust. But my grandparents were not writing books, speaking, leading or otherwise promoting their theology. Keller is a man of the cloth (as my grandpa would say) so he is held to a higher standard and very public and indeed popular. He is is held up as a standard to emulate.

    Let me ask you something….. Do you really believe making God’s existence plausible is more important than getting the gospel right? 99% of humans on planet earth believe there is a God. So what? Everyone from Oprah to Donald Trump and everyone in between has a “belief” in God. So what!? All manner of Civic Relegion is all around us in the air we breath, but is it saving faith? So I think you are missing Dr. Hart’s larger point…….that it ain’t all that courageous (or countercultural ) nor is it going out on a limb to affirm the possibility of God’s existence, or morals, making religion primarily about ethics, our works, being/ doing the gospel, etc…. where as taking a stand for the imputed righteousness of Christ that’s a whole other story my friend.

    Now, to be sure, I am not suggesting that Keller never takes the right stand. However, the fact is he is more known for “making belief in God plausible”, rather than for being the champion of the Gospel that say a Machen, Sproul, Hart, Dr. Clark, Dr. Horton, etc, are. Do you want to deny that fact? My guess is you would, and again here is where this all comes back to proper definitions of what the Gosppel really is and isn’t. That is not resting on authoritarian cushions (as some would mischaracterize), rather that is observing reality. Having good motives is not the get out of jail free card for having bad theology, especially when one is a leader and held up as a model to emulate.

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  6. I like the way CW put it in another post……
    “The Gospel Coalition — (and I think Keller is in that camp) They seem excessively gospelly at first, but they’re really quite scoldy and have a number of new “musts” for us. Such a jumble.”” Again, not that Keller (or the gospel coalition for that matter) gets it all wrong, but the dominant thrust does seem to be scoldy. A nice gentle scoldy mind you. (Did CW coin that term, scoldy, I like it)

    Affirm all the truths of the gospel, then begin to pile additions……….What better kinder gentiler Neonomian additions than the nice sounding terms like……transformationalist, incarnational ministry, do/ be the gospel, hyper second awakening introspection and pietism on whether I’m doing enough, being enough,……heck I can’t even suffer without these Neo-Calvinist/ Neonomian’s questioning whether I might be “wasting my suffering” or not, you know not doing it good enough by their new law….hmmmm, I mean ” incarnational” standards. Etc. etc. etc.

    I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water here, nor am I denying we bare fruit, but there does seem to be a good recipe for making people neurotic culture warriors rather than a cookbook for solid gospel ministry. But hey the OPC has there share of those folks too. (Swanson)

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  7. Curt, “the groups we belong to”? Are we allowed in your world.

    My world is small? When was the last time you spoke to college students in Ireland?

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  8. E. Burns – we all want the proper definition of the Gospel. I can shout the proper definition of the Gospel from the rooftops, but if no one around me even believes in God they will simply shrug their shoulders at the idea of imputed righteousness. I read a biography of Marcus Aurelius a few years back, and the author pointed out that Greek philosophy was appealing to Roman elite because Roman paganism was logically incoherent and intellectually feeble, whereas philosophy was logical and required no faith of its adherents. Hence Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic with nominal pagan beliefs. The author claimed (correctly) that Christianity – which was rapidly ascendant at the time – was intrinsically coherent and logically consistent, but required an initial leap of faith that many Roman elite were unwilling to make. To convert a Roman like Marcus Aurelius you would first have to convince them of the plausibility of an transcendent Deity before he would even consider the Gospel.

    So it is with Manhattan. A few (mostly nominal) Catholics and orthodox Jews aside, most people of Manhattan (and most major cities) are secular atheists or agnostics, or have a deistic view that God is a distant figure with no real impact in the world today. Like the Roman elites of the 1st and 2nd century, they need to believe in the existence of a transcendent and imminent God before they will be even minimally receptive to the Gospel. It’s not the Gospel OR the existence of God, it’s the Gospel as it flows from the existence of God: the God of the Bible is real/plausible, and that being the case I need to read His Word, which clearly states that I am a sinner whose only hope is the grace of God through the perfect life, atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s not a big leap from God to the Gospel, but it’s a huge leap from atheism to God.

    If Tim Keller was the pastor of a church in rural Alabama, I bet he would devote far more of his energy to presenting the Gospel in opposition to fundamentalism and cultural Christianity than proving the existence of God. A missionary in Saudi Arabia will discuss the truth of the New Testament rather than basic belief in God, and a church planter in tribal Africa will focus on the folly of animism in relation to the truth of the Gospel. Jesus spoke to the masses differently than the Pharisees. I think you see the point: yes, proclaiming the correct Gospel is vital, but the way we present the Gospel will invariably look different to different people with different cultures and beliefs.

    And I reject the idea that Keller and the Gospel Coalition have Neonomian tendencies. I’m honestly not even sure where you get that idea. Maybe if you could point to some concrete examples it would help me understand your criticism.

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  9. “It’s not a big leap from God to the Gospel” Really? I fundamentally disagree with this assertio. I’m not sure our conversation will be productive. Anymore than it would be trying to convince of the gospel one who needs to believe in God first in order to embrace that gospel. I get that, but if this assertion of yours is true why are the majority of the 99% who claim belief in God, so far from a orthodox Christianity grounded in Jessus Christ?

    As far as your rejecting that “Keller and the Gospel Coalition have Neonomian tendencies” , I would say we are seeing different things for sure. I bet many a old lifer could produce links citing concrete examples. I will try to get back with some myself later, but I did elude to some if you were paying attention. But real quick I got one for you right off the bat…… PCA Pastor Mark Jones book “Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s UnWelcome Guest” is in itself a great example of what I am driving at. Of all the books to write, of all the driving concerns about what is happening in Reformed circles….Really!!?? If ones driving point , spotlight and emphasis is that the Paramont and central problem within the Reformed camp is Antinomianism this to me shows how all wet the coalition folks often (not always) are. Please!! Yes, in broader evangelicalism I would say antinomianism is the bigger problem, but in Reformed circles it is Neonomianism. (To be sure pockets of both are found, but we are talking about what is the bigger problem). Google or look at Old Life past blogs on John Piper or Mark Jones for more examples. Critical these blog pieces may be, but true, fair and accurate as well.

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  10. Personally, I’m finding it hard to believe that Keller has made belief in God plausible for those who otherwise find it implausible. The fact is, the only people who find belief in God implausible are hardcore, philosophically naive atheists such Richard Dawkins. Even secular agnostics will tell you that belief in God is plausible, even if they don’t find it compelling.

    Granted, I’m not in New York, but if Princeton, standing in the broadly Christian theistic tradition, thinks that Keller is a rightwing religious fanatic, how in the world are secularists thinking anything different? This isn’t to knock Keller. I know many Christians who have benefitted from works of his such as The Reason for God. But I’ve also found that apologetics does far more for people who are already converted than it does for non-Christians. Even historically, precious few have been converted because of apologetics, though apologetics can have a role in breaking down objections.

    I guess I just don’t buy the hype. Are there any kind of statistics that anyone knows of that indicate how many people who attend Redeemer NY are currently or formerly hardened secularists, or is Keller drawing mainly just people who have some kind of church background? If it’s just the latter, it isn’t that impressive.

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  11. Re: antinomians

    Is there one PCA church in this country where adultery is winked at or encouraged? No, not one. Is street murder or abortion encouraged? Nowhere. Are lascivious images projected during worship services? No….but, does what the old guys called sensual worship often prevail? Yes. Are church laws flouted or ignored? Oui. Are a couple of the first four commandments massaged to fit modern preferences? Absolutely. There be many kinds of antinomians.

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  12. D.G.,
    You are certainly invited to the groups I belong to. In fact, why not attend the Left Forum at the beginning of June in NYC?

    Also, there are several different kinds of small worlds. Small doesn’t refer to geographic size only.

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  13. vae vic, well isn’t that convenient. Add “regenerate” to Roman Catholic. If you are regenerate, why go to a place that doesn’t preach the gospel? Why would Keller allow someone to go there?

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  14. vae vic, “If Tim Keller was the pastor of a church in rural Alabama” . . . you’d have never heard of Tim Keller (except for the politician in Arizona).

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  15. DGH – the Catholic Church has major errors in its theology, but do you think the average lay Catholic understands their own theology? You posted a survey recently that showed that 43% of Catholics rejected transubstantiation. I would bet the house that if given an identical theology exam, lay Protestants and Catholics would answer the same questions roughly the same way. That is to say, both are catechized so poorly I doubt there is a real difference, at least in America.

    Robert – I don’t have any numbers for un-churched people being converted by Keller/Redeemer (and have no idea if such records are kept), but the number would have to be in the thousands. I’ll give you two examples. First, my best friend was raised by immigrant parents from Hong Kong, and had literally no spiritual upbringing whatsoever. I suppose he was an atheist, but I don’t think he really cared – he lived quite the hedonistic lifestyle while attending NYU. In the 1990s a friend invited him to Redeemer, which was the first time he had ever set foot in church. He converted after attending Redeemer for some time, and now is a dedicated believer; I attended Bible study with him just last night. Second, a more famous example is Kirsten Powers. Her story is here:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november/fox-news-highly-reluctant-jesus-follower-kirsten-powers.html.

    Stories like these are so common at Redeemer they are borderline cliche. Certainly many people who attend Redeemer were raised in the church, but there are huge numbers of atheists and non-Christians who are converted as well.

    E. Burns – please re-read my comment. I was very clear that the leap from atheism to God is the biggest one for an atheist. I very clearly stated that the Gospel must be presented differently to people with different backgrounds. A Muslim’s intellectual and emotional obstacles to Christianity will probably not entail trouble believing in the existence of God the way an atheist’s would.

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  16. Vae vic, if things are so bad, then isn’t Joel Osteen as good as Keller? You want to reserve superiority for Keller but then go all relativist to defend Keller’s missteps.

    That’s the Keller effect. If he took a dump on the desk you’d defend it.

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  17. DGH – as bad as their theology is in many ways, if Joel Osteen and Pope Francis enhance the Kingdom in any way I say praise be to God. It would be great if all Christians affirmed Reformed Presbyterian doctrine, but that has never happened and will never happen. That’s no excuse for pastors to promulgate bad theology, of course, but when reaching the secular atheistic lost I think it wise to focus first on the importance of repentance and faith in Christ alone – I would rather them have saving faith than ace a Theology 101 exam. And that’s the thing: Keller does reach the lost from a strong Reformed Presbyterian foundation. If we’re worried about Gospel integrity don’t we need pastors like Keller and his ilk to counter the influence of Osteen and the pope? I fail to see the problem with “celebrity” if it’s a byproduct of expanding the Kingdom and Reformed influence.

    I have no problem criticizing Keller and Redeemer when appropriate, but if I’m quick to defend then you are quick to criticize. I sometimes wonder if Tim Keller parted the Hudson and converted 99% of NYC you would kvetch because it cluttered your Twitter feed. Of all the things to kvetch about, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor’s notoriety across the pond seems pretty low on the list.

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  18. vae vic, I’m quick to criticize if only because of apologies like yours. On the one hand, if Keller is like Osteen and Francis, great. On the other hand, he’s so much better than Osteen and Francis because of his strong Reformed foundation.

    Thing is, you’ve already conceded that Keller has done a lot for the doctrine of justification by faith alone. So it makes sense why he thinks (as you do) that he can work with non-Reformed in promoting the kingdom.

    Oh, but this is based on a solid Reformed foundation.

    Rinse. Repeat.

    This is like arguing with Bryan Cross on papal infallibility. It’s circular and circles win.

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  19. VV, so it comes back to naivete over celebrity. You think it’s basically good instead of inherently problematic. From over here, it looks like what you think Protestantism has going for it isn’t so much its substance but its celebrities (one test: have you ever ordered anything from MissionalWear or ReformedGear?). But would the Reformation have even happened with your brand of Erasmian middling?

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  20. DGH – when did I ever say Keller is “like” Osteen and Francis?

    And yes, I’m all for cooperating with non-Reformed churches (to a degree) to spread the truth of the Gospel. I’ll take massive spread of the Gospel with peripheral bad theology over minimal spread of the Gospel with pristine theology. Jesus says as much in Mark 9:40 and Paul echoes those ideas in Phil 1:17-18. Redeemer is, er, was (now it’s actually 3 separate churches) committed to Reformed Presbyterian theology. Great. But they realize not all Christians will agree with Reformed Presbyterian theology, so they are willing to cooperate selectively with non-Reformed churches with the aim of ultimately enhancing the Kingdom. There’s no circle here.

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  21. Via Vic,

    I know you made it clear that the leap from atheism to God is the biggest one for an atheist. And I appreciate that. Even respect and agree in some degree. (I.E… A person has to accept there is a God first) However the bigger more important leap is towards Christ. Honestly I think your last comments reveal how equivocating Neo-Calvinist, Kellerites and The Coalition can be.

    You should re-read the last comment by Dr. Hart.

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  22. Zrim – I have no problem with celebrity if it’s a byproduct of being particularly effective at reaching the lost with the truth of the Gospel. I would never argue that celebrity is more important than substance. Prominent Reformed pastors are simply instruments to spread the Gospel and build the Kingdom.

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  23. “Massive spread of the Gospel”. ??? This is where we’re not even talking and communicating on the same playing field. Joel Olsteen is not participating in the spread of THE GOSPEL. And to whatever degree Keller or others water down or other wise truncate it……. It is a big problem.

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  24. vae vic, “if Joel Osteen and Pope Francis enhance the Kingdom in any way I say praise be to God.”

    If?

    How do you possibly know what those churches are committed to?

    Does this sound “Reformed Presbyterian” (you mean Covenanter)?

    Second, I hope you see here a church that works toward the good of our neighbors and the flourishing of the entire city—from our worship to our Community Groups to our Neighborhood Gatherings and social justice ministries and even in our emphasis on integrating our faith into our daily work.

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  25. VV, right, and that’s the naievete I’m talking about. You seem to assume that prominence is inherently blessed favor. More, that it also means the prominent one is less vulnerable to error because, obviously, God is using prominence to spread the gospel. Rings Roman-esque since celebrity is what animates popery. But older Calvinist sensibilities actually grow more skeptical as prominence and celebrity increase.

    BTW, if TKNY’s thing is simply making the case for God in general, that’s not the same as “spreading the gospel.” If you think they are, I wonder what service he’s actually been to you.

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  26. DGH – here’s the first point you didn’t quote:
    “First, I hope you sense our joyful belief that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for every person in the world and that this belief singularly shapes everything we do.”

    That sounds pretty solidly Reformed (Presbyterian and otherwise) to me. But the point you did quote is solidly Reformed as well. WCF 16.2:
    “These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.”

    I’m pretty sure working “toward the good of our neighbor” is a good work commanded by Jesus. Parable of the good Samaritan and all.

    E. Burns and DGH – we’re overlapping our discussion of two different issues re: Osteen/Francis and partnering with non-Reformed churches. I would oppose Redeemer partnering with an Osteen-type “faith and word” church or a Catholic parish for church planting or evangelism. These churches at least partially obscure the Gospel, and partnering with them would be unwise. On the other hand, let’s say a non-believer in Houston reads one of Keller’s books and God uses that to lead him to repentance and faith. Is the Kingdom diminished if, in his Christian infancy, he joins Lakewood and affirms the poor theology of Osteen? Would it be better for Keller not to write books (to avoid celebrity, after all) and have a man like this never turn to Christ? This goes back the original question: would you rather have regenerate Catholics or Protestants with poor theology, or altogether unregenerate people?

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  27. Vae Vic,

    Are people in general at Osteen’s church embracing the Biblical Christ? Is that the message they are faithfully/ consistently hearing? Faith and repentance? You state……..””I’ll take massive spread of the Gospel with peripheral bad theology over minimal spread of the Gospel with pristine theology.”” AND……””let’s say a non-believer in Houston reads one of Keller’s books and God uses that to lead him to repentance and faith. Is the Kingdom diminished if, in his Christian infancy, he joins Lakewood and affirms the poor theology of Osteen?”” Again, is Osteen preaching the Christ of Scripture??? When does the growth beyond infancy happen in this setting? When does it happen at Reedemer?? Seems a worthwhile question since the emphasis is all on social justice, making God plausible, etc. etc.

    See what you are doing there? You are reducing to the lowest common denominator and essential calling it OK. So does Keller. That is the point and that is why he is so popular. That is the Kellerite problem.

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  28. Zrim – I have never said that “God is using prominence to spread the Gospel” and certainly don’t believe that “prominence is inherently blessed favor.” Keller’s prominence is BECAUSE he has been effective spreading the Gospel. If Redeemer consisted of 50 people meeting in a broom closet 28 years after it was founded, no one would care. Starting a major Reformed movement in the greatest city in the world understandably leads to prominence, don’t you think? And of course “making the case for God” is not the same as preaching the Gospel – I was clear on that in my go-round with E. Burns on Friday (see above).

    E. Burns – first of all, Redeemer is an excellent catalyst for spiritual growth for people who are members or attend regularly. I won’t go into detail now, but Redeemer does well with the “ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God.” Second, adhering to Osteen’s theology or Catholic theology is not “ok,” but I would rather a regenerate person attend Osteen’s church or become Catholic than remain unregenerate. Wouldn’t you?

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  29. VV, is your question whether the Spirit can work freely? Of course. Does that mean popular (even ordained) men shouldn’t be questioned? No.

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  30. “Starting a major Reformed movement in the greatest city in the world understandably leads to prominence, don’t you think?”

    Yes, and that’s the problem. The church and a “major Reformed movement” aren’t the same thing.

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  31. 1. New York is the greatest city in the world? Really?
    2. Why would a congregation of 50 people be an indication that one wasn’t effective at spreading the Gospel? Who brings the increase?

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  32. Zrim – it is a movement of Reformed churches. Yes, not all churches Redeemer has helped plant are Reformed, but there is still a solid core of newly planted Reformed churches.

    sdb – 1. NYC is the economic, cultural, and political capital of the world. That’s not really debatable. Compare the global influence of any other city and it comes up short next to NYC.
    2. We all know that God ultimately builds His Kingdom. And size doesn’t necessarily correlate with effectiveness or faithfulness. My point is that the massive growth of Reformed churches in the heart of Manhattan is newsworthy and naturally brings prominence.

    cw – I’ll try to consolidate an answer to all 5 of your comments here. Once again, we all wish every church was Reformed and Presbyterian. But they aren’t, so we can either “compete” against them or work with them by selectively supporting Gospel-centered churches and pastors of other denominations. See Mark 9:38-40, 1 Corinthians 3:1-15.

    Redeemer is unprecedented for several reasons. 1. It is very new – by far the youngest on that list of Manhattan churches (Times Square Church was planted around the same time, but I think a few years earlier); 2. It is a thriving Reformed church in Manhattan; 3. Its outreach is directed primarily at secular Manhattan residents; 4. It has had an expansive city-wide impact (in terms of church planting) far beyond any other church on that list; 5. It has established a robust worldwide church planting network.

    Also, your comment about the Asian population may not be racist, but is certainly ignorant. Sure, there is a sizable contingent of Christian (and even Presbyterian) Koreans at Redeemer, but your comment discounts the large number of non-Korean Asians and paints all Asian and Korean Christians with an excessively broad brush. But really, who cares what the racial make-up of any church is?

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  33. VV, sliding words around isn’t the point. The point is that there is a difference between movements (human) and churches (Spirit). Movements impress and charm, churches don’t.

    “My point is that the massive growth of Reformed churches in the heart of Manhattan is newsworthy and naturally brings prominence.”

    You sound almost giddy. You should sound skeptical.

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  34. VV,

    If you read the posts here, the problem that most of the commenters have with TK is not in itself that he is as broad as he is. The problem is that he is an ordained Presbyterian minister who does decidedly non-Presbyterian things without disavowing Presbyterianism. If he were to leave the PCA for general evangelicalism, it would be a different story.

    Redeemer might be a thriving church, but is it a thriving Reformed church? That’s the question. Either Reformed and Presbyterian polity is the most biblical way or not. If it is, why is a Reformed Presbyterian church not planting exclusively Reformed/Presby churches? If it isn’t, why stay Presby?

    Can a Presby work with non-Presbys on a wide variety of things that get the basic biblical gospel out? Sure. Can a Presby plant non-Presby churches? Doesn’t seem very wise.

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  35. Zrim – so, should we be skeptical of the 3000 people who were converted after Peter’s sermon on Pentecost? Or the converts being added “day by day?” Or should we be skeptical of Peter’s prominence? He was the first pope, after all…

    Robert – I’ve answered this multiple times in this thread already. Presbyterian polity is the best way, but sadly not everyone sees it that way. So the choice is competition or careful cooperation. I can’t see any Scriptural basis for competition, but I certainly can for cooperation.

    cw – the stats themselves are not racist, but your assumption that all Asian Presbyterians are Koreans, or that the only reason an Asian would attend Redeemer is because they are a Korean Presbyterian is just silly.

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