Tim Keller’s tweets make about as much sense as Jaden Smith’s tweets read backwards. The “brilliant” theologian often (if not daily) says things in 280 characters or less that leave people scratching their heads. This is an “Emperor’s new clothes” type situation. If you say you don’t understand him, then you must be the stupid one. Few are willing to say that it is he that makes no sense.
Today’s tweet, however, makes at least a little sense. It’s totally wrong and horrible, but it still makes sense…especially if your Gospel is soaked in Liberation Theology.
Of course, Jesus gave up no power in the cross.
John 10:18 records Jesus as saying that he had the power to lay down his life and then had the power to pick it back up again. Clearly, his power wasn’t relinquished in the cross.
John 17:2 records Jesus claiming to have been given all power in his High Priestly Prayer, the diminishment of which is not evident, as this power is what Christ uses (according to the verse) to give eternal life…which happens through faith in the cross, by the way.
Romans 1:4 and Romans 1:16 references the power of Christ as made evident in the cross, made effectual to save sinners.
1 Corinthians 1:18 records Paul’s assertion that the preaching of the cross is power.
In 2 Corinthians 13:4, Paul says that in spite of the weakness of Christ in his physical death, he still lived through it in power.
However, there is something that – in a sense (and only in one sense) – was given up by Christ in the cross. And that is his equality.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Of course, ontologically, Jesus was indeed equal with God the Father. However, he did not strive for that equality, voluntarily submitting himself to the Father’s will. However, to say that the cross is about ceasing to struggle for equality would be counterproductive to Keller’s Social Justice motif.
What Keller is getting at is just plain-old Liberation Theology. Keller is actually espousing the imagery provided by Critical Race Theorist, James Cone, in his book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree.
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