New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:
Reading accurate transcriptions of Keller’s responses to these questions, one has the impression that his reputation as a great communicator was not entirely organic.
I get your point that Tim dropped the ball in a lot of respects; but is there anything to note where his example was, on balance, a positive one?
I think this post was the balance to everything else that was said in the reformed-ish world.
Ross, I was restrained in what I wrote. But in Germany and Taiwan, I never stopped warning present and future church officers to have nothing to do with Bill Hybels, Tim Keller, and their ilk. That they should stop admiring them and buying their schemes because America exports its own sins through them.
For instance, Adam may not have been created, but evolved. Creation is bunk. Women were his church officers and he called them “officers.” Women can teach and exercise authority over men. His doctrine of Hell. Preachers must dull their scalpel, not sharpen it. Selling your sermons is a good way to make money…
If I were to single out one thing for which I’m grateful, it wouldn’t be any of what others fawn over him for. It would be that he was a one-woman man.
Tim was a brother in Christ who hurt many souls, but like Bill Hybels, he helped many, also. May he rest in peace. Love,
OK, thanx for the explanation, which is helpful.
Speaking more personally, I wonder how it is that each man with the gift of discernment given by the Holy Spirit for the protection and building up of the saints today thinks it is his own calling to use that gift in only a positive way? The Apostle Paul warned day and night with tears, but men today don’t warn at all. Or they only warn against evils that are outside the camp whose borders have been defined by previous generations and centuries of faithful men who have fought to define them, often at great cost.
Covid health authorities who are squandering our patrimony of freedom. Mormons who deny the divinity of Jesus. Seventh Day Adventists. Democrats. Pentecostals. Liberals in mainline denominations.
Keep in mind how much we owe Machen for the definition of that last one fully a century ago, now. What a lonely battle he fought and how young he died and how little his sons resemble him. May God be praised for his almost-single handed battle fought particularly through his book Christianity and Liberalism proving liberal Christians are no Christians at all, so that today we feel free to warn against mainline liberals. After all, Machen did the prophetic thing warning against them when they were inside the camp, and we still benefit from his defrocking and subsequent lonely work.
Where have the readers here been making public warnings against Hybels, Keller, Stanley, Chandler, Wright, Allberry, and the host of others inside the camp? We allow these men to destroy souls. We refuse to bark at them, thereby scaring the sheep away from them. What I fear is that we take comfort someone is doing it; some idiot who does it for us and we consume his words as a guilty and very private pleasure.
If Pastor Keller’s failure most destructive of the people of God was refusing to preach repentance against child slaughter and sodomy, and thereby deforming the entire world of Reformed preaching (and often non-Reformed, as well), our own failure most destructive of the people of God has been refusing to warn the people of God publicly concerning these men.
As Pastor Keller’s preaching bore no resemblance to the preaching of the Apostles and Edwards, our church leadership bears no resemblance to the the leadership of the Apostles and Edwards in publicly warning the people of God concerning false shepherds inside the camp, working ourselves to the bone trying to get them expelled. Look at how the Apostle Paul condemned the Judaizers, the super apostles, Alexander the Metalsmith, and the Apostle Peter. Look at how Edwards condemned the Halfway Covenant men and sacramentalists in his second church of Northampton, and the rich men who were hostile to the Indians and the work he was doing among them in his third congregation out in Stockbridge.
The reason America has gone cold these past seventy years is our pastors have failed us. They’ve been thinking they can say nice things about pussycats and make a good salary, gaining a reputation for piety by doing so. They call it all kinds of things: positive, uplifting, contextualized, Gospel-centered, redemptive-historical, two-kingdom, irenic, winsome. They even claim that utterly hackneyed word, robust. What chutzpah.
Which of us will take up the work? This is my constant question as I listen to the public silence of men God has gifted with discernment. We know the “many false prophets” who are inside the camp and freely deceiving, but we say nothing publicly. Even in private, what we say only rarely amounts to anything more than a sotto voce tsk-tsking.
Don Bloesch was a friend, a hero, and entirely neo-orthodox in his doctrine of Scripture. In his jeremiad Crumbling Foundations which I read the first year or two after being ordained, he said, “The sword of the Gospel must first cut into (divide) the church before it can cut into (divide) the world.” He also said, “We must never say God’s ‘yes’ without saying His ‘no.’”
My work has always been defined by his godly counsel. I’m hopeful he and my Dad will have seed among the next generation of Biblical church officers here and there and everywhere God’s people are enticed by Christian celebrities gifted at trimming God’s truth and dispensing bling.
Please don’t be offended at the directness of this comment, dear brother. You are maybe my longest-term online companion, so I listen to you carefully. I’m sensitive to the fact that friends have always wished I would not criticize Tim Keller, I have always been acutely aware there is nothing I could do that would be more counterproductive to having a good reputation than regularly opposing Pastor Keller’s errors. But are we not to guard the good deposit, thereby protecting Christ’s sheep?
Much affection in Christ,
Ross, if you’re going to respond at all, maybe argue with my conviction these men destroy souls? And I don’t mean that in the sense that my ministry destroyed souls through my sin, slothfulness, and prayerlessness. Most of us would cop to this being the truth of our ministries.
Rather, I mean it in the sense that we now live in a world in which the very sins the Apostle Paul warned us not to be deceived concerning (1Cor 6) permeate our churches as they do our world.
Certainly they were common in celebrities’ like Hybels and Keller’s congregations—and not despite, but because of their betrayal of (most centrally) Biblical sexuality. In other words, the harm to their sheep is a function of these men’s abandonment of God’s clear Word and words.
Am I wrong that this is where you disagree with me?
Hi Tim, to explain.
- Yes, I do get your point that these ministries have destroyed souls by not addressing the vices of the current age (and instead addressing sins that are simply not issues nowadays, like Tim Keller’s frequent allusions to the sins of the older brother). Tbh it’s a view I have taken a long time to accept.
- And I do get the point that Warhorn exists to warn people about the things that others are warning us about.
In raising my query about Tim Keller, sorry - I was not ‘reading the room’. My bad. I think the query came out of the comments of one of my friends here - not from a Christian family, at all, who had come to faith as an adult - who had found Tim very helpful in his own growth as a Christian.
Dear Ross, Actually, I liked your question and hoped my response would spark some discussion, here. Thank you for the pushback, although now I get the context. Love,