Tim Keller on the Faithful and the Faithless
Timothy Keller is an American author, speaker, and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City, New York. Timothy is the author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God.
He was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. However, he learned the most from his nine years as a pastor of West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in the small blue-collar town of Hopewell, Virginia. The congregation there loved him, suffered through his earliest days as a pastor, and taught an intellectual northerner to be clear. His second church was Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons.
Question: Is America becoming a more religious country?Keller: I would say that various forms of Orthodox Christianity are growing roughly, roughly similar phase to no faith. So, I would actually say America is polarizing. What you’re losing is the mushy middle where, for example, my in-laws were raised Presbyterian. They would never be very evangelistic. They would never tell other people they ought to believe. They were conservative in their political views, probably in their social views, and yet they are very, very vague about what their Christian beliefs were, because they were expected to go to church. That’s going away. You either are a person who is somewhat alienated from religion, institution religion, or you’re moving toward more crunchy Orthodox faith, it’s like Pentecostalism or Conservative Catholicism or Evangelical [Protestantism]. I think, they’re both growing, and so what you’re losing is the middle ground and that’s part of the polarization or getting in the culture. I think we are a pretty non-combative kind of Orthodox Christianity. In fact, I’d put it this way, I say to my congregation, I want the neighbors around our church to say this, to say I don’t believe what they believe but I would hate to see what the neighborhood would like without them. So, and I say to my folks, I’d say, I want you to ask this question, what kind of church do we have to be so that all the people of this city, whether they believe like we do or not, feel like we’ve made this a better city for them to live in. Now, that’s I would say a bridge, because I would say be distinctive in your Christianity, be absolutely strong in your distinctive Christian beliefs but out of it have a servant heart. So, in a way, I think we are bridging that gap. That’s one of the reasons why if I use the word “evangelical” in New York City, people will expect me to be more militant than I am.
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