Here is the entire Veritas Forum interview of Tim Keller by Martin Bashir.
0:18 – Why did you write Reason for God now?
2:22 – Are faith and reason contradictory?
5:35 – Is God just a projection of our cultural circumstances?
9:10 – Is belief in God a mental defect?
11:39 – Is it narrow to believe in one God? Is everyone else going to hell?
18:30 – Is the Bible trustworthy?
23:59 – What about the behavior of so-called Christians?
30:33 – Are you resolutely convinced today that Christianity is true?
Q&A with Dr. David Eisenbach
35:25 – How could God allow evil and suffering?
44:04 – Is there any reason to believe in God in a chaotic world?
45:48 – Does giving a reason for faith undermine its value?
48:49 – Does it take faith to be an atheist?
50:48 – What does Christianity have against homosexuals? Are they going to hell?
57:29 – Why is Christianity so exclusive?
1:03:58 – What do you believe about politics?
1:11:25 – How do you get to heaven?
1:13:13 – Why would God make people who sin?
1:16:58 – Why did God put that tree in the Garden of Eden to begin with?
1:199:34 – What happened for you to have so much peace?
When I share things like this with people who go to Tim’s church, Redeemer Presbyterian, NYC, or who otherwise follow his teachings, they usually respond with something like, “So, what are you saying? Are you accusing him of not being a Christian?” Or they start to make excuses for why he answered the way he did.
And just to be clear, no, I’m not saying he’s not a Christian. And I too used to make excuses for these types of things. I did much like his Christian defenders do and explained it away by believing that he didn’t want to offend non-believers and turn them off from coming back to the church where they might eventually hear the Gospel. Often, I hear his defenders say, “why offend people with Biblical teachings on homosexuality or the exclusivity of Christ, when that’s not central to the gospel and who Jesus is?”
They believe that only after a person comes to Christ will that person be able to accept what they view as the “harsh” teachings of the Bible. But how can one come to the real Christ if most of his teachings are hidden from them? How can they commit their lives to Him if they don’t know who He really is or what He stands for?
What these defenders are really saying is, ‘Don’t tell people what Jesus said, because it might turn them off from Jesus.” (Which is true, by the way – it will turn many off). These same people like to focus on “Jesus” and ignore the parts of the Bible that they know will turn modern secular people off. But they forget, every word of the Bible is a direct word from Jesus. The Bible was inspired by God, and God is a trinity consisting of God the Father, the Holy Spirit AND Jesus.
When I watch Tim in this video, it’s clear that he’s struggling. I kept asking myself why is he struggling so hard to answer questions about the Bible, when the answers are so clear cut? And I realized there’s a very simple answer. I believe he is more concerned with having the approval of non-believing men and women than he is with having the approval of God. I believe he thinks that if he hides the clear Biblical answers from his non-believing audience that it will motivate them to keep seeking because he will not have given them anything to be turned off by. If he says clearly that homosexuality is a sin or that Jesus is the only way to God, then it seems he believes that will turn many off and they’ll stop their search right then and there.
I understand those motivations. But the net effect is that you haven’t given people anything true about God to consider. So while they may not yet be turned off, they have learned nothing true about God. They may then be motivated to continue searching for knowledge – but knowledge about a god who doesn’t actually exist. And that’s not where Christian pastors should want to lead people.
This same video was posted on another blog and a commenter defended Tim’s response by saying that “he’s working on developing a well thought-out answer to this question.” But if you think Tim Keller doesn’t have a well thought-out answer – you don’t know anything about Tim Keller.
Believe me – he very much does have a well thought out answer on this, and every other question people like to ask about Christian beliefs. Remember his book, “Reason for God”? He said in the beginning of that book that after hearing these types of questions for 20 years from secular New Yorkers, he decided to put some of his well thought-out answers down in writing. He’s a very successful, New York Times best-selling author, a brilliant rhetorician and this is certainly not the first time he’s ever heard these questions on homosexuality or the exclusivity of Christ.
No, it’s not that he hasn’t thought it through. The reason he stammers and stutters is because as he’s said many times, he wants people to love him. And by extension, he believes if people love him then they’ll see that Christianity isn’t so bad after all and they’ll then happily embrace Jesus too. He’s said many times himself that an area of potential sin in his life is the fact that he desires to have the love and approval of others too much. And that’s exactly what you’re seeing in this video. He wants people to love him. I used to think that was odd when I first heard him say it. I wondered why he would ever think people wouldn’t love him – he’s very lovable.
But after watching him and his work, as a member of his church for twenty years, I finally saw exactly what he meant. We all want people to love us but I don’t think that’s the heart of the problem. The heart of the problem is – who we decide we want to be loved by. Is it God first and the people of God second? Or is it the world first?
With Tim Keller, the answer becomes clear when you look at the entire body of his work. Not only has he put the world first on his list of those by whom he most desires to be loved, but he has put the secular liberal elite world of New York City at the top of that list. THAT’S why he can’t answer the questions in this forum with any degree of Biblical clarity. The Biblical answer isn’t the answer the elite secular world will love you for giving.
In Tim Keller’s view, the way to win people to the ‘gospel’ is to turn it into a gospel they want to hear. In other words, turn it into a gospel that’s acceptable to unbelievers – which of course is no Gospel at all.
When you understand this, it explains everything about his ministry and work. It explains his embrace of evolution, it explains his church’s embrace of cultural renewal and social justice. These are all ‘gospels’ that elite liberals loves to hear.
Through his direction, Redeemer Presbyterian Church NYC has become a model church for those who reject and despise God. (I’m not saying the people in his church despise and reject God – but those who do reject the God of the Bible can easily embrace Redeemer Presbyterian Church).
And Tim Keller is indeed embraced by the secular elite of Manhattan. He’s embraced on MSNBC. He’s invited to Easter lunch at the White House. His church is well attended by political, media and Wall Street elites. As a pastor, you really don’t get more elite than that. He lives in a world that is unknown to most of us. And the reason is – he preaches a ‘gospel’ that the unbelieving world loves and he does so in an intelligent, gentle way that they can embrace.
If you’re more concerned about receiving the approval of unbelievers than the approval of God – you simply can’t state that you accept what the Bible teaches on homosexuality and other controversial matters. You have to hem and haw, and you have to make apologies for the Bible on that score. And that’s exactly what you see in this video. He’s basically apologizing for what the Bible teaches us about this sin.