Recently, Tim gave an interview and was asked about his position on gay rights and gay marriage. Among other things, Keller said, “a thoughtful Christian Biblical response doesn’t fit into any of the existing categories out there,” and then went on to describe that while Christians have to grapple with the culture’s vision of sexuality, we also have to love our neighbor and seek justice and fairness.
It was a beautiful, and beautifully nuanced, answer. Of course, not so for other Reformed folks, even those within Keller’s own PCA tribe.
This demonstrates a claim I’ve been making for a while, namely, that Tim Keller is not like the neoReformed rest. In my opinion, he’s better than all the rest, but I wonder how long it’ll take for the greater portion of Piperian Reformed Baptists, Driscollian Reformed Relevants, and even Sprouline PCA’ers to draw lines in the sand against Keller’s writing, speaking, and preaching.
Keller is a great example of someone who is institutionally connected to the new Reformed movement but bears very little resemblance to it. Functionally, his views are distinctly broad and missional; they don’t have the narrow dogmatic tone of the others in his camp. An old pastor of mine who blogs at The Gospel Coalition asked DA Carson what he thought of Keller’s hell chapter in The Reason for God; that old pastor agreed heartily when Carson confided, “It was terrible.” Note well: that’s the President of the Coalition talking about the VP in those terms.
And if Rob Bell is now the litmus test for heresy on such things in the Reformed world, it’s a wonder that a man who quotes Miroslav Volf extensively in his book and hosts NT Wright at his institute is able to somehow stay on the team.
My prediction is that TGC at least will keep Keller around; but not because they like him. They’ll keep him around because he’s respectable.
He’s good PR. And the neoReformed need some of that.
But really, he’s just not one of them.