The gospel of John begins with a prologue about the divinity and eternality of Jesus Christ. Immediately thereafter, the story of John the Baptist begins. John was the herald of the coming Messiah. His ministry attracted throngs of religious Jews. By the 29th verse of John 1, John the Baptist has proclaimed Jesus as the “Lamb of God.” By the 41st verse, Andrew has announced to his brother Peter, that the Messiah has been found. By the 45th verse, Phillip has proclaimed to Nathaniel, “we have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Because these men, who became Apostles, believed the scriptures, they were looking for the Messiah and accepted Him when he came. Jesus himself proclaimed the necessity of believing the scriptures for believing in Him when he told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, in which Abraham tells the rich man:
“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Further examples could be given but the record of the gospels is clear: people who believed the Bible believed in Jesus. That’s why today’s tweet from popular NYC pastor, author, and public intellectual, Tim Keller was so perplexing.
Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing religious people of His day. However-our churches do not have this same effect which can only mean one thing. Our preaching and practices are not declaring the same message that Jesus did.
— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) December 10, 2018
According to Keller, the Bible-believing people of Jesus’ day were offended by him. However, nothing could be further from the Biblical truth. No doubt there were religious leaders who rejected him, but they were hardly “bible-believing.” The Sadducees were anti-supernaturalists who rejected the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels. They also rejected scriptures other than the Torah. The Pharisees had the opposite problem. They added to biblical requirements by asserting their own legalistic regulations. Only by a superficial understanding of the term could these errant sects, who were comfortable in their positions of Roman-sanctioned authority, be described as “Bible-believing.” It’s always tricky to exegete a tweet and Keller is known as a confusing tweeter, but one thing is clear in this case: Keller’s statement is patently, biblically absurd. The Bible-believing religious people of Jesus accepted him. They were the first Christians.
The emperor of the New York evangelical scene has no clothes. Despite parading around stark naked on social media, Christians still look to Keller for leadership and theology. To make matters worse, Keller derides current preaching and practices in church. To be sure, there are many disturbing practices which pass for “praise and worship” in modern churches but some of these start right at Keller’s own church. If there is any doubt in the mind of the reader of this, may I present exhibit A:
Tim Keller, the terrible tweeter, put on a ballet routine at his church. It’s hard to imagine the Saducees and Pharisees doing a worse job. If you have a friend or relative caught up in the young, restless and reformed movement, the chances are that he or she is an acolyte of Keller. It’s far past the time to warn young Christians about the danger of Keller’s strange teachings.
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
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