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Four Theological Problems With Tim Keller and Why He Should Be Avoided

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Tim Keller is the former senior pastor and founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and is a best-selling author of several books relating to theology and apologetics. He is also one of the founders of The Gospel Coalition — an Evangelical blog consisting primarily of Southern Baptists and Presbyterians who share a common interest in practical theology.

Keller is held in high regards as one of the most profound theologians of the modern New Calvinist movement and his influence is on par with that of other theologians such as John MacArthur and the late R.C. Sproul. His teachings are part and parcel in practically every Evangelical church in America from Calvinist-leaning to Arminian.

Yet, Tim Keller, as popular and influential as he may be, holds to, practices, and teaches some very dangerous theology.

Theistic Evolution

Tim Keller is a staunch advocate of theistic evolution — that is, the belief that evolution, as taught by Darwinians, is mostly true with the exception that God has played a hand in it. Keller teaches that God used evolution as his method of creation and that the biblical account of creation is not literal.

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In a paper he published at Biologos, he argued that in dealing with people who are unable to reconcile science with their Christian views, Christians must figure out how to present the Scriptures to them in a way that seems compatible with science. Theistic evolution was also heavily pushed in his 2008 book, The Reason For God, where he sought the solution to doubt — which he insists is normal and healthy — is to reconcile the secular view of evolution with the biblical creation account.

The compromise is extremely dangerous because it undermines the truthfulness and reliability of Scripture. Not only does it call into question the reality of the fallen nature of man and the curse the world is under because of sin — it also calls into question the reliability of the doctrines of the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus Himself.

Eastern Mysticism

Tim Keller practices and teaches such things as contemplative/centering prayer — also known as “wordless prayer” — which is a method of emptying one’s mind into solitude.

In 2009, Keller’s church taught a class called The Way of the Monk which involved several dangerous practices including contemplative prayer.

Do you long for the great theology in your head to be more real to your heart? Come discover age-old methods of contemplative prayer and worship that can help you encounter Christ in a more intimate, experiential way. In this hands-on workshop, you will experience the ancient art of chanting the Psalms (they were meant to be sung!), embark on a practice of authentic Christian meditation, discover how a simple, time-honored tool can help unleash the prayer warrior in you, learn what a typical monastic day is like and how you can make your own, private retreat at a monastery, and much more!

Under the guise of “biblical mysticism,” Keller has continued to promote this dangerous practice.

Roman Catholicism

Tim Keller has sought common ground with the most subversive false church in all of history — the Roman Catholic Church. Keller has spent much time platforming the works of Roman Catholic mystics and theologians such as Flannery O’Connor and Peter Kreeft.

In his book, The Reason For God, Keller cited Flannery O’Connor as his favorite example of a depiction of God’s grace, over and above the Apostle Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley. The fact that a so-called “Reformed” theologian would cite a lost, Roman Catholic mystic with a false gospel as someone whose works were worthy of exemplifying God’s grace is more than baffling, it’s disturbing. Perhaps this is why one of his most famous church members left his church to convert to Roman Catholicism while he stood silently by.

Social Justice

But perhaps the most dangerous of Keller’s views and teachings are his teachings on social justice. It is important to understand that Keller has redefined the gospel to include works. It is in the same category as the Galatian heresy of adding to the gospel. Tim Keller, in one sermon, said posed the question “How do you know you’re saved by faith?” He responded to this with a gospel of social justice, stating,

You care about the poor. When you see people without resources, your heart goes out to them. If it doesn’t, maybe you’re saved, but you’re lacking the evidence of salvation. Justification leads to justice. Justice is the sign of justification. It’s all through the Bible.

You can see the entire sermon here.

Keller has continued to advocate the false conflation of justice and “social justice” which translates into a gospel of works righteousness. It is no more than the heresy propagated by the early 20th-century theologian, Walter Rauschenbusch who wrote A Theology For the Social Gospel.

This article is not exhaustive by any means but is meant to be a primer on the many ways that Tim Keller has compromised the gospel and the body of Christ with his false teachings. It is also meant to serve as a launching pad for you to research these serious errors and heresies on your own. Faithful pastors should not, under any circumstances, turn their flock toward such a dangerous and subversive man — to do so would be to feed them spiritual poison. Jesus said to feed them, not poison them.


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