If I knew of Tim Keller before the last couple of weeks, my knowledge of him and his excellent ministry was brief and had escaped me. Since the death of my father-in-law, who was also our pastor, Michelle and I and our four children are looking for a new church to call home. The first church we've visited, Westminster Presbyterian, houses the home-school academy that our children attend.
We've never been a part of a Presbyterian congregation before. (I don't think either of us has ever even attended a Presbyterian church before two weeks ago.) The first Sunday we attended Westminster, the Sunday school class we visited was doing a study (on dvd) by Keller. I was impressed. Today, the study continued and the topic was suffering--very apropos given our recent tragic life experience. It seems that God wanted us to hear what Mr. Keller had to say.
After arriving home from church, as I was updating my headlines, on the Christian Post, I saw a headline referencing Keller's review of Matthew Vines' book, God and the Gay Christian, and Ken Wilson's book, A Letter to My Congregation. Again, for some reason it seems that God was wanting me to experience Mr. Keller's wisdom. (I figured that I had better link to this piece in my "Latest News/Commentary" section of my site!)
Both of these books make yet another attempt at explaining away biblical revelations, and centuries of church teaching, on homosexual behavior. Mr. Keller does another nice job of debunking Vines' and Wilson's heretical arguments. (Hear last year's debate between Vines and Dr. Michael Brown here. See a bit of my take on Ken Wilson here.) Here is Mr. Keller's full article (which the Christian Post does not provide).
Mr. Keller notes that there are six basic arguments that books like those by Vines and Wilson make. The first argument addressed by Mr. Keller is that many people have changed their mind on homosexuality due to getting to know people who are in homosexual relationships. This is also an issue that I've dealt with before myself.
Mr. Keller lovingly notes, "It is certainly important for Christians who are not gay to hear the hearts and stories of people who are attracted to the same sex." He also wisely notes, that, though some people whose minds were changed on homosexuality may have had bigoted views (i.e. giving more weight to homosexual sin than other sin) towards homosexuals, this does not change the Bible's clear message on homosexuality.
As I noted last year, Christians, and others who know better, should no more accept homosexuality based on getting to know a homosexual who seems a rather likable chap, than we are to accept abortion because we know a friendly Planned Parenthood worker. “Hate the sin and love the sinner” is much more than a well-worn platitude of Christianity. It is exactly how Christ taught us to win those who have turned from the truth.
Mr. Keller's complete review (self-described as "too brief") is well worth the read.
**As an additional note, my father-in-law David was a Vineyard pastor for the past 18 years. He made me aware of Ken Wilson's anti-biblical thinking around 2010. I engaged Ken online several times (including what was his personal blog at the time) on various topics and in various forums. Interestingly, Mr. Wilson's heresy seems to have begun, as has been the case for so many in the last 150 years, by compromising with Darwinian evolution. (See here.)
Despite his years-long slide into compromising biblical truths with secular lies, Ken remained a Vineyard pastor. This troubled me for years. It seems Ken's compromise with marriage and homosexuality was too much for the national Vineyard leadership. (There was an official response to his book last year.) As of January of this year, Ken is longer a part of the Vineyard church he founded in Ann Arbor Michigan. He is now co-pastor of Blue Ocean Faith in Ann Arbor. As the Blue Ocean website notes, "The church was founded by Emily Swan and Ken Wilson, who served as pastors at the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor (Ken was the founding pastor of that congregation) until the Vineyard denomination adopted policies that forbade full welcome and inclusion of same-sex couples."**
Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
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