Tim Keller is the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York. Although he is known as a Reformed theologian, he has also shown himself to be open to Roman Catholicism, by his affirmation of Roman Catholics as brothers in Christ, his promotion of Social Catholic Teaching/Social Justice, and his promotion of Roman Catholic mysticism. Below are examples of Keller’s confusion.
Totalitarianism is the possession of reality by a political Idea — the Idea of the socialist kingdom of heaven on earth, the redemption of humanity by political force. To radical believers, this Idea is so beautiful it is like God himself. It provides the meaning of a radical life. It is the solution that makes everything possible; it is the end that justifies every regrettable means. Belief in the kingdom of socialist heaven is the faith that transforms vice into virtue, lies into truth, evil into good. For in the revolutionary religion, the Way, the Truth and the Life of salvation lie not with God above but with men below — ruthless, brutal, venal men — on whom the faith confers the power of gods. ~ David Horowitz, in Peter Collier and David Horowitz, Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties (New York, 1989), page 287.
The above quote from the Gospel Coalition is interesting considering the fact that Tim Keller, who is the co-founder, and vice president of The Gospel Coalition, is a strong promoter of Roman Catholic Social Teaching aka “Social Justice”, which also was created by the Jesuit order in the 19th century.
The term and modern concept of “social justice” was coined by Jesuit priest Father. Luigi Taparelli in 1840 based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and given further exposure in 1848 by Father Antonio Rosmini-Serbati”
To learn more about Social Catholic Teaching, click on the following link entitled, “Rerum Novarum“.
In the following link entitled “The Gospel and the Poor“, Tim Keller is clearly teaching righteousness based upon, “social justice centered”, good works.
The Jesuit Order not only promotes Social Justice, but mysticism as well. Tim Keller not only promotes mysticism, but he even promotes the mystical practices of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, and the head of the Rome’s Counter Reformation. For more info, click on the link entitled “TIM KELLER TEACHING ROMAN CATHOLIC AND QUAKER MYSTICISM TO HIS RPC LEADERS“
Tim Keller has also signed the Manhattan Declaration of Christian Conscience, which affirms Roman Catholics as brothers in Christ.
We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities. We act together in obedience to the one true God, the triune God of holiness and love, who has laid total claim on our lives and by that claim calls us with believers in all ages and all nations to seek and defend the good of all who bear his image.
What is the purpose of this ecumenical declaration?
“…union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism” ~ Cardinal William Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, March 6, 2010
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
Related articles are listed below:
- “The New Christianity Pt. 7 – All Roads Lead to Rome“
- “The Catholic Calvinists Pt. 2 – John Piper“
- “The Catholic Calvinists Pt. 1 – RC Sproul“
2 thoughts on “The Catholic Calvinists Pt. 3 – Tim Keller”
New to your site, the first thing I read was “The Darkside of Theology” by Michael Patton which I thoroughly enjoyed and agreed with. Next, I clicked on this Keller piece and was shocked to see you practicing that theological arrogance Patton warned against. I’m having some cognitive dissonance here.
I’m not a Keller fan (based upon the little I know of him), and there are definitely aspects of Catholic theology that I could never assent to and adamantly disagree with. But I’m troubled as to why you make such an issue of Keller calling them our brothers?
I’ve often heard fellow Protestants remark that Catholics aren’t Christians, and I’m not sure if this is your position. If so, I’d like to ask you to explain a few things.
Most Christians maintain that “the church” began on Pentecost, Acts 2. Ignoring for a moment that this is entirely anachronistic since 1) this was a thoroughly Jewish movement and this event (giving of the Holy Spirit) happened on the Feast of Shavuot (the anniversary of the giving of the Torah on Mt Sinai) 2) Christianity did not yet exist, 3) there is no such word as “church” in the scriptures—nonetheless, we must ask ourselves one question:
If “the church” began in Acts 2, and the Catholic Church is not legitimately “Christian”, where was the church” for 1500 years until the time Luther posted his 95 Theses to the church door? To say the Catholic Church is not Christian (or our Protestant brothers) is to say the church was not on earth for most of the last 2000 years since Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
Did you know that Luther had no desire to stop being Catholic? He simply wanted to reform the Church, which was Roman Catholic. Because he was excommunicated, Protestantism was born and it grew and developed under Calvin and other reformers. But that’s the point, they were reformers of something already in existence i.e., Catholocism (Eastern Orthodox schism happened prior to this).
In spite of coming up with new constructs such as the 5 Solas and TULIP, Protestants continue to keep the Catholic holidays of Christmas and Easter, and Sunday “Sabbath” that was “changed” from Saturday by the Catholics —who freely admit they did so, and have the authority to do so since Peter was the first pope— and so on. Obviously, non of these are found in scripture and James, Peter and John would have no idea what any of these were.
Obviously, there are many problems with Cathlic doctrine, but to assume that we don’t come from them, and to delegitimize them as Christians, creates many problems in our own understanding of who we are.
Thank you for the comment, and sorry for the delayed response. It just now appear in my inbox.
The issue that I have with believers calling Roman Catholic brothers in the faith is that Roman Catholics do not believe in the gospel that was given to us by Jesus Christ and his Apostles in Scripture, and they are under the authority of an antichrist, the pope, who formally has the title of “vicar of Christ”, which is the equivalent to the Greek word “antichrist“. But if Roman Catholic doctrine both affirmed the gospel and did not consist of vicars/antichrists, then I would affirm them as brothers. But then, if it did, it would not require the title “Roman Catholicism”. My view may not be popular, but it is Scriptural.
17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.
7 …there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
Therefore, believers in Jesus Christ do not have the freedom to affirm people who follow a false gospel as brothers, and those who teach false doctrine must be avoided.
As for myself, the most appropriate label for me would be “Christian”, and nothing else.
Also, I would not call the church of Jesus Christ a Jewish movement, because the church predates Israel in that Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations, and that in his seed (Jesus Christ), all the nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3, Genesis 26:4, Galatians 3:16). Therefore, God’s plan to build his church on Jesus Christ – not the Jews – was from the beginning, before the existence of Israel.
The word “church” can easily be founded in Scripture, starting in Matthew 16:8. The Greek word, from which we get church is “ekklesias”, which means “out-called” – as in “…called…out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Peter 2:9). So, from Genesis, we can plainly see that God has always intended to call the nations out of Satan’s kingdom into the kingdom of his Son.
As for the holidays, and other doctrines, that came after the church was founded, they are not important in regards to understanding Christian doctrine, because they are purely man-made.True Christian doctrine is found in Scripture.
15 …the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Sabbath was not observed by the Apostles in the same manner as the Jews. Instead, we see Apostles, such as Paul and Barnabas using the Sabbath day for evangelizing to the Jews and their converts in the synagogues (Acts 13:14-42, Acts 14:1, Acts 17:1-2, Acts 17:10-12). And for the observance of the Sabbath days, Paul wrote “…let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). Therefore, Paul was not teaching believers to keep the law of Moses, but to simply follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (Acts 15:1-2, Romans 7:1-6, Galatians 3:22-27).
Yes, I knew about Luther’s desire to reform the Roman Catholic church. Also, after he learned more from Scripture, he denounced the Roman Church as the “seat of the antichrist”. The following quotes are from Luther: “We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist…personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist.” & “I despise and attack it, as impious, false… It is Christ Himself who is condemned therein… I rejoice in having to bear such ills for the best of causes. Already I feel greater liberty in my heart; for at last I know that the pope is antichrist, and that his throne is that of Satan himself.”
During the years of the Holy Roman empire, when Catholicism ruled Europe with an iron fist, there were many believers who did not follow Catholicism and were labeled as heretics, and were tortured and put to death for their faith in the gospel. You can learn more about this from Chris Pinto’s “Lamp in the Dark” film.
As you see, I do not understand who I am by looking outside of Scripture. I only fine my identity in Scripture, and encourage other believers to do so.
Thanks again for the reply.
If you would like to talk more about these subjects, then you can find me on Skype. My skype name is “brianfeaster1”.
Grace & Peace