Tim Keller reveals "the heart of good Christian ministry"...

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Frankly, the heart of good Christian ministry is to accommodate without capitulating. - Tim Keller to a room full of the chattering class

Yes, this is a perfect summary of Tim's philosophy of shepherding God's flock. And yes, it is entirely wrong.

I've often said that, beyond his specific doctrinal errors, our main objection to Tim Keller should be his take on contextualization. If you read or listen to him...

it's immediately clear that he contextualizes the Gospel by making it less offensive at the points of conflict with the surrounding culture whereas John the Baptist, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and myriads of faithful preachers down through the centuries have contextualized the Gospel by finding the culture's points of conflict with God and doubling down precisely there.

The central question concerning contextualization is whether it should be employed to dull or sharpen the knife. The preaching blessed by God with the anointing of His Holy Spirit is preaching that studies the target audience carefully and then sharpens God's Truth so the Gospel scalpel cuts into the center of the tumor. You men of Athens, I see that you are a very religious people. Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees. No, but I tell you, unless you repent you shall all also perish. You killed Him but God raised Him from the dead. Who told you to flee the wrath to come? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.

The preaching God blesses with the fruit of repentance and faith will maximize dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit, not the winsomeness of the preacher or his stellar gifts of accommodation just short of capitulation.

Actually, I have been trying to say we do have to — frankly, the heart of good Christian ministry is to accommodate without capitulating. That’s the heart of all ministry is to connect to the moment and to the culture right now, so that what you’re saying isn’t unnecessarily culturally alien, but at the same time to be true to your roots, to be true to the tradition. Otherwise, you are not a Christian any more, obviously. - Tim Keller

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!