There is no name more synonymous with New Calvinism than Tim Keller. Although several definitions of “New Calvinism” have been given in recent years (most famously by Mark Driscoll), Pulpit & Pen will use the characteristics given by polemicist, JD Hall, at the recent Judge Not Conference. Characteristics of New Calvinism include:
- A Calvinism devoid of Confessionalism, or a Confessionalism that is devoid of conviction.
- A Calvinism that denies the sufficiency of Holy Scripture by a belief in charismaticism or continuationism.
- A Calvinism that denies the sufficiency of Scripture by employing worldly methodologies while yet holding to soteriological Calvinism; in other words, a Calvinism that is soteriological only, and not applied to other aspects of life.
- A Calvinism that eschews personal piety, a robust theology of the body, a robust theology of worship, and eschews high standards of personal conduct and sanctification.
- A Calvinism that is wrought with liberation theology, theological liberalism, and ecumenism.
Keller embodies all the qualifications of New Calvinism, and on top of that, embodies the heresy of Socinianism (a religious philosophy that elevates reason and intelligence above the truths of Scripture) and the worldview of both economic and Cultural Marxism (link). Not only is Keller an advocate for the theistic evolution of BioLogos, he has used The Social Gospel Coalition as a vehicle to normalize the sub-biblical view.
Recently, The Social Gospel Coalition posted this video of Tim Keller, Russell Moore, and Ligon Duncan on the topic of creation.
According to Keller, the “essentials” of understanding creation include (1) a pre-creation God (2) a God who created intentionally (3) a God who created out of a “work of art” and joy. Keller said – quote – “There are four or five or six orthodox Christian views on creation and evolution.”
Keller then agreed with Duncan’s assessment that the “intellectual unbeliever” views the [Biblical creation narrative] as an “intellectual liability.” Duncan then verbalized the importance of harmonizing science and the Biblical narrative.
Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, asserted the importance of saying, “I don’t know” when asked questions about how God created the world. He also posed the question again (already covered initially by Keller above) regarding what “essentials” are needed for orthodoxy.
Duncan listed (1) ex nihilo creation (2) the goodness of creation and (3) the special creation of Adam and Eve. Alarmingly, Duncan claimed that ex nihilo creation is “debated even amongst Christian scholars.”
Really? Whether or not God created ex nihilo is “debated among Christian scholars?” Since when?
Keller was able to affirm the first two essentials as listed by Duncan, but only went on to reluctantly affirm the third assertion (indeed, it’s difficult for theistic evolutionists to affirm the historicity of Adam and Eve). According to Keller in this video there are “lots of different understandings about” how God created things and the role of evolution. Although Keller agrees that Romans 5 and Paul’s understanding of soteriology would seem to make Adam and Eve necessary historical figures, he fell short of full commitment and acknowledges he “could be wrong.”
Thankfully, though, Duncan points out that believing in Adam and Eve is a good defense of racial equality, invoking the name of Thabiti Anyabwile.
So…there’s one reason to believe in the historicity of Adam and Eve. It makes social justice more feasible.
In the mean time, there’s another reason to believe it; the Bible says so.
For more on New Calvinism, please read this book by Dr. ES Williams.
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