Tim Keller: The Sad Demise of A Church Leader

If there is no God, nothing matters. If there is a God, nothing else matters.

H. G. Wells

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

Psalm 14.1

…he who comes to God must believe that He is…

Hebrews 11.6

One of the most important tasks of church leaders is explicitly stated by the Apostle Paul in his parting instructions to the elders of the church in Ephesus in Acts 20.28-31:

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert…”

In recent years, the ‘deconstruction’ (departure from the faith) of some who have been viewed and respected as Christian leaders has made this task both more important, and more challenging. I won’t mention names here. Suffice to say that pastors, authors, and leaders of evangelical ministries are included. No theological position is exempt from this abandonment of the faith: Evangelical, liberal, mainline denominations, Calvinist, Arminian, Charismatic, and more are represented. The post-post-modern worldview has infected the church, and as the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 1.21-22,

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…

The task of a Bible-believing church leader today is to warn the “sheep” – unsuspecting Christians who Satan will view as ‘easy prey’ for his “savage wolves” – false teachers who will not spare the flock. Jesus also warned His disciples about this:

 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7.15-20)

In just the last few years, we have watched as “evangelical” denominations, ministries, and schools have drifted away from their historical moorings, and abandoned biblical teaching. It has been breathtaking how quickly the Southern Baptist Convention and Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) have lost their way. This is not to say that no one in the SBC or Cru is still proclaiming the gospel and biblical truth, only that the trajectory of the leadership of these groups has been away from that in recent years.

It is sad for me to have to add Tim Keller to the list of Christian leaders we can no longer trust to defend either the gospel or biblical truth. In recent years, Keller has embraced the “social justice” movement, condemning the ‘corporate guilt’ of white America as being ‘systemically racist.’ This nebulous guilting of all people with certain skin pigmentation makes a mockery of personal sin, the call for repentance, and forgiveness and justification through personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Harvard University recently appointed Greg Epstein as head chaplain. Greg is both a humanist, an atheist, pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ. Keller congratulated Epstein on his new position. This could be seen as a kind note of respect – but where is the care and concern for the eternal destiny of the unsaved? If the Bible is true, and eternal hell awaits those who do not believe in Jesus as Savior, such casual endorsement makes no sense. You have to hate someone to ‘benignly condemn them to eternal judgment’!

Beyond this, the utter incongruity of a Christian leader not exposing the void of atheism and declaring the love of God and His gracious provision of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, is tragic. This is all done in the name of “inclusion” – Christians learning to ‘get along’ with others. But such ‘inclusion’ never goes in the other direction. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Atheist or Humanist Society to appoint an evangelical as their leader! Of course, that would make no sense – like asking a meat-eater to be head of a vegetarian group. But in these last days, “Christian” churches and ministries and leaders are giving up their convictions and merging with the world, instead of ‘coming out from among them and being separate’ (see 2 Corinthians 6.14-18). Sadly, Tim Keller is one who is leading this movement.

The light of truth coming from followers of Christ (see Jesus’ words in Matthew 5.14-16), which should be like ‘a city on a hill…(that) gives light to all,” is dimming in these last days; may Jesus, when He comes, find us faithful light-bearers of truth in a dark world (Luke 18.8).