Four Theological Problems With Tim Keller and Why He Should Be Avoided

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Tim Keller is the former senior pastor and founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and is a best-selling author of several books relating to theology and apologetics. He is also one of the founders of The Gospel Coalition — an Evangelical blog consisting primarily of Southern Baptists and Presbyterians who share a common interest in practical theology.

Keller is held in high regards as one of the most profound theologians of the modern New Calvinist movement and his influence is on par with that of other theologians such as John MacArthur and the late R.C. Sproul. His teachings are part and parcel in practically every Evangelical church in America from Calvinist-leaning to Arminian.

Yet, Tim Keller, as popular and influential as he may be, holds to, practices, and teaches some very dangerous theology.

Theistic Evolution

Tim Keller is a staunch advocate of theistic evolution — that is, the belief that evolution, as taught by Darwinians, is mostly true with the exception that God has played a hand in it. Keller teaches that God used evolution as his method of creation and that the biblical account of creation is not literal.

In a paper he published at Biologos, he argued that in dealing with people who are unable to reconcile science with their Christian views, Christians must figure out how to present the Scriptures to them in a way that seems compatible with science. Theistic evolution was also heavily pushed in his 2008 book, The Reason For God, where he sought the solution to doubt — which he insists is normal and healthy — is to reconcile the secular view of evolution with the biblical creation account.

The compromise is extremely dangerous because it undermines the truthfulness and reliability of Scripture. Not only does it call into question the reality of the fallen nature of man and the curse the world is under because of sin — it also calls into question the reliability of the doctrines of the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus Himself.

Eastern Mysticism

Tim Keller practices and teaches such things as contemplative/centering prayer — also known as “wordless prayer” — which is a method of emptying one’s mind into solitude.

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In 2009, Keller’s church taught a class called The Way of the Monk which involved several dangerous practices including contemplative prayer.

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Under the guise of “biblical mysticism,” Keller has continued to promote this dangerous practice.

Roman Catholicism

Tim Keller has sought common ground with the most subversive false church in all of history — the Roman Catholic Church. Keller has spent much time platforming the works of Roman Catholic mystics and theologians such as Flannery O’Connor and Peter Kreeft.

In his book, The Reason For God, Keller cited Flannery O’Connor as his favorite example of a depiction of God’s grace, over and above the Apostle Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley. The fact that a so-called “Reformed” theologian would cite a lost, Roman Catholic mystic with a false gospel as someone whose works were worthy of exemplifying God’s grace is more than baffling, it’s disturbing. Perhaps this is why one of his most famous church members left his church to convert to Roman Catholicism while he stood silently by.

Social Justice

But perhaps the most dangerous of Keller’s views and teachings are his teachings on social justice. It is important to understand that Keller has redefined the gospel to include works. It is in the same category as the Galatian heresy of adding to the gospel. Tim Keller, in one sermon, said posed the question “How do you know you’re saved by faith?” He responded to this with a gospel of social justice, stating,

You care about the poor. When you see people without resources, your heart goes out to them. If it doesn’t, maybe you’re saved, but you’re lacking the evidence of salvation. Justification leads to justice. Justice is the sign of justification. It’s all through the Bible.

You can see the entire sermon here.

Keller has continued to advocate the false conflation of justice and “social justice” which translates into a gospel of works righteousness. It is no more than the heresy propagated by the early 20th-century theologian, Walter Rauschenbusch who wrote A Theology For the Social Gospel.

This article is not exhaustive by any means but is meant to be a primer on the many ways that Tim Keller has compromised the gospel and the body of Christ with his false teachings. It is also meant to serve as a launching pad for you to research these serious errors and heresies on your own. Faithful pastors should not, under any circumstances, turn their flock toward such a dangerous and subversive man — to do so would be to feed them spiritual poison. Jesus said to feed them, not poison them.



4 Comments

  1. Hello Jeff Maples,
    Thank you for writing this article. I wish someone would write a book.
    My husband and I have been combating the issue of Tim Keller for at least seven years. Warning many (including our own children) … only to fall on deaf ears.
    This past year the church we currently attend (an ev free church) has increasingly shown signs of going the way of what we call Tim Kellerism/Social Justice/Missional mindset. It saddens us. Three younger (40’s) pastors that are increasingly quoting people like Keller, Keller himself, catholic priest authors, psychologist etc. etc.
    We head up one of the small groups and my husband finds himself increasingly having to disagree with the pastors. Very frustrating. We have done EXTENSIVE study into this entire realm… reading Keller’s books, researching the “missional” mindset, etc. It’s so insidious. Every week my husband continues to give scripture after scripture to feed our small group. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find ourselves at odds with the leadership. Praying for wisdom.
    It would be great to have a book to pass on to those we love and want to warn of this dangerous trend. I will be posting a link to your article on my Facebook page HOPING others will do their own research.
    THANK YOU!!!

    • Norma, I can so relate to what you are saying. I am also concerned with the Social Justice movement and how there is a Social gospel replacing the true gospel..our son lives in NYC and attends elsewhere yet I cannot help but think that many of the NYC pastors have laid hold of these unbiblical solutions to man’s basic problem of sin. I long for Pastors to teach through the Bible precept upon precept, line upon line rather than topically–I think that is how these additions to God’s Word come about…thank you for your comment….judi

  2. I have been in a PCA church that embraced Kellers teaching; Prodigal God is required reading for membership; a book I was most uneasy with.

    I do not like to blog personal stories – but mine is real and involved, and there was a bruising- but I can agree that I was not wrong in my discernment about Tim Keller. Its been a lonely time since my membership was dropped, as I drifted away the church -due to personal issues in my life that needed payer and support – The Lord is my Sheperd and I trust Him to Love me and protect me.
    APPRECIATE YOUR COURAGE TO EXPOSE HIM. he has become the darling of the tech generxers and millenials.

  3. Due to the utter impossibility of the gradual formation of a living, irreducibly-complex cell, darwinism cannot possibly be a scientifically-proven fact. Thus, the claim that it did is based solely on faith.

    Darwinism is a heretical denial of the first 11 chapters of the bible and of what Jesus said about our first parents that has major soteriological implications (Romans 5:12)!

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