Keller in London: What are the risks for evangelicals?

Tim Keller’s talk at the EMA in London is worth a read. Its called “What Are The Risks For Evangelicals?”. Thanks Daryl for posting and Bill Kinnon for the link. Tim Keller talks about the emerging church and their dislike of boundaries and the pendulum swinging from personal piety to corporate responsibility. I also see the same swing, and like Keller, I champion understanding and bridge-building. I think the emerging church should keep a tight hold of our 2000 year church tradition and global christian theology during this shift, and I think the fundamentalists should be open to an understanding of the Scriptures that is more historically located and less individually oriented. Hopefully we will help each other.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • thanks for the heads up on this, andrew; I just ordered the CD

  • David says:

    Oh snap! Emergents saying we need to look at church history!?! Maybe theres some hope for the movement!

  • Mike Clawson says:

    I appreciated many of Tim Keller’s comments, however, I think he misrepresents the gospel being preached by those of us in the emerging church. Everything he said about our emphasis on the kingdom of God as a present reality is true. However, this is NOT to the exclusion of a gospel of forgiveness from sin. Almost everyone that I know in the emerging church would embrace a both/and on this point. We are forgiven of our sins AND we are invited to become agents of justice and peace within God’s kingdom. It’s about dealing both with personal evil AND with structural evil.
    In other words, the emerging church is about reclaiming the fullness of the gospel, not about replacing the evangelical version with a newer version. But by casting it as an “either/or” rather than a “both/and” Keller creates division and disagreement where there need not be any.

  • Darryl says:

    Tim Keller comments here:
    “My message is: a) classic evangelicalism was weak on the corporate/kingdom aspect, b) some people are over-reacting and stressing the corporate/kingdom aspect to the loss of the classic formulations (forensic righteousness, penal substitution)– this is a grave mistake, c) we should not treat these people as lepers, but rather be gracious and even repentant, balancing our own gospel preaching, but d) we should also lovingly point out the dangers of their emphases.”
    I think what he says is generally accurate about both classic evangelicalism and the emerging church in points a and b – granted, there are exceptions.

  • Mike Clawson says:

    True, there are many people in the EC who have issues with ideas of “forensic righteousness” and “penal substitution”. However, Keller mischaracterizes even his own doctrine and especially the EC if he thinks that it’s not possible to emphasize individual sin and personal forgiveness without them. There are many ways to talk about individual forgiveness from sin, and even about substitutionary atonement without embracing penal substitution. If Keller thinks that one must be a Calvinist to be an evangelical, then even his definition of evangelical is suspect.
    I would suggest that those in the EC who would question penal substitution still completely agree that personal sin has been dealt with at the cross. We would just describe it as an act of God forgoing punishment rather than inflicting punishment.

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