Tuesday, February 28, 2023


My introduction to Timothy Keller was through his very good apologetic, The Reason for God (2008). Since then I've read many things by and about him, including the remarkable ministry of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. This review of a new book about Keller summarizes his theological development. A small excerpt from that review:
.... Like many people raised in the 1950s, Keller grew up going to church – mostly in a mainline Lutheran denomination, but with occasional Catholic and Wesleyan influences as well.

By his own account, his knowledge of the “gospel,” as he later came to understand the term, was nearly nonexistent. If he had been asked at the time what it meant to be a Christian, he might have said “be a good person.”

When he was in middle school, one evangelically minded Lutheran minister introduced him to the Lutheran distinction between law and grace, a revelation that Keller found eye-opening and that he thinks could have led him to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

But the next year, a liberal Lutheran pastor presented a completely different form of Christianity – one that had almost nothing to do with individual salvation and everything to do with social justice. Following Jesus, he said, meant enlisting in the civil rights movement – and nothing to do with trusting in an atoning sacrifice to appease a wrathful God.

“It was almost like being instructed in two different religions,” Keller later recalled. “In the first year, we stood before a holy, just God whose wrath could only be turned aside at great effort and cost. In the second year, we heard of a spirit of love in the universe, who mainly required that we work for human rights and the liberation of the oppressed. The main question I wanted to ask our instructors was, ‘Which one of you is lying?’” ....

Then he discovered an Intervarsity Christian fellowship that led him to the writings of C.S. Lewis and a better understanding of the gospel than he had ever received. For a few months, he wrestled with the ideas that he was learning, but then surrendered his life to the Lord.

His friends noticed an immediate change. “He was a heck of a lot kinder, and you could reach him emotionally,” one of his friends later recalled. “All of a sudden he was present. He was there.” .... (much more)
Daniel K. Williams, "A Review of Collin Hansen’s Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation (Zondervan, 2023)," Anxious Bench, Feb. 28, 2023.

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