by Hadley Robinson
There are many who greatly admire Pastor Keller and his ministry in New York city. He is a superb teacher and gifted writer. The question is: With the hard issues, does he measure up to what God says about them in His Word?
Though I am not familiar with much of Keller's work, various Christians around the country have sent me information, both some very good and then some that caused me to recoil.
Particularly troublesome has been evidence of his stance on homosexual behavior. This is to say nothing of Keller's curious and calculated view of abortion which is discussed in this blog post of Keller's words to a woman who came to Christ while attending his church.
The overwhelmingly homosexual city of Sodom was completely destroyed without warning (Lam 4:6). The Angel of the LORD, found only one man there who was tortured by the thought of what these men did and that was Abraham's nephew, Lot. The sins of the people were so vile and contrary to nature that they were given no opportunity to repent. The Creator knew that if the miracles that were performed in Israel during the Incarnation had been done in Sodom, those men would have repented (Mt 11:23-24). There was no mercy for the Sodomites.
On the other hand, such ancient nations as the Assyrians, who plundered and slaughtered their way to greatness, were the benefactors of God's saving grace (c.f. Jonah). From the time of its destruction onward, Sodom became a warning to all of what happens when God abandons men to the flesh and they sink as low as they can go. Both rejecting the Creator and being unthankful to him, wretches like this exchange the truth for a lie and are delivered over to shameful lusts, both men and women (Rom. 1:18ff).
If one reads Keller's brief essay, The Missional Church, the similarities it has with Dan Kimball's The Emerging Church are striking. One of the trademarks used by the Emerging Church movement is the use of flowery and novel language to describe the plain and simple and a deliberate un-use of language which could be perceived as offensive, like speaking of sin. The itching ears of this decadent period of history do not want to hear the Gospel preached by Jesus or Paul: Repent of your sin and prove it by your deeds. As Keller writes,
The missional church avoids 'tribal' language, stylized prayer language, unnecessary evangelical pious 'jargon', and archaic language that seeks to set a 'spiritual tone.'
Translated, Keller and others really mean:
The real purpose of the Church is to get more people in meetings, whatever they believe or do. Just say "Yes!" to Jesus! He will be happy about that. Do not talk about sex-sin and why entire peoples have been wiped off the earth by God because of it. Don't ever talk about Hell and Judgment. When Jesus (or whoever) mentions these topics, apologize as much as possible for these hateful subjects. Cultivate a prejudice against the Word of God.
According to Keller, Kimball, and most other modern Christian leaders, we must have discourse in the vernacular. Where in Scripture are word games a preferred method of communication? Was not this the style of the Pharisees and other prevaricators who hated God?
A prime example is Keller's address, including a Q&A, to the students at Covenant Theological Seminary November 17, 2009. Here is his response to the question, "How should we respond to homosexuality in truth and in love?".
Uhhhh….well…(sigh)…The church is afraid to touch the topic? I….it may…….it..it's possible…that….in the 20 years that I’ve seen that this issue has actually not.…ummm. it..uh…it hasn’t gone away it's really gotten to be much much more...socially….1
In response to Keller's non-response, a pastor at the Q&A described the reaction of his congregation to a sermon he gave to his church in 1985. He quipped,
I can tell you, the first Sunday I used the word "homosexuality" — And my wife wondered if I would have a job the next week.
People have no idea how deeply the homosexual activists have embedded themselves at all levels in our society.
Keller, minus the incoherence, sounds like Billy Graham's response to abortion during an interview with Joan Lunden in 1991. Graham's calculated answer to Lunden was a capitulation to those, like Lunden, who have no qualms whatsoever in murdering infants in the womb.
Is Keller's the voice of an anointed teacher guided by the Holy Spirit or of a church leader afraid of losing status among the social elite of New York city? Over the decades, Graham demonstrated his friendship with the kings of the earth, however vile they may have been. Does anyone remember that it was Rick Warren who was present at Obama's inauguration? He shamelessly allowed himself to be a tool of an anti-Christian, anti-white bigot while Obama perjured himself taking the Presidential oath of office administered by Warren.
Jesus Christ is not interested in mere numbers in the church but in the lives of those who hear the Word and obey it. Those are the ones who really love Him.
The Savior and God we serve hits hard at our pride and sin as any converted Christian knows, including this writer. The woman at the well was confronted by Jesus with her main issue – serial adultery.
The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. Jn. 4:18.Those in the Emerging Church movement would not have said this. They are more anxious to please the heathen and fill the churches with them, not to mention selling more books and making great names for themselves.