In today's New York Times there is a story about Tim Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian called "Preaching the Word and Quoting the Voice". Great stuff. Some excerpts...
Dr. Keller "has grasped the strategic significance of the city, of theurban culture and the need to engage that very diverse culture at every level," he said. "Our culture is urban-driven."
Observing Dr. Keller's professorial pose on stage, it is easy to understand his appeal. While he hardly shrinks from difficult Christian truths, he sounds different from many of the shrill evangelical voices in the public sphere. "A big part is he preaches on such an intellectual level," said Suzanne Perron, 37, a fashion designer who is one of many who had stopped going to church before she discovered Redeemer several years ago. "You can go to Redeemer and you can not be a Christian and listen to that sermon and be completely engaged."
An important lesson that Dr. Keller said he had tried to convey to other pastors is that the hard sell rarely works in the city. Becoming a Christian in a place like New York, he said, is more often the product not of one decision but of many little decisions.
"One decision might be Christianity is more relevant than I think," he said. "Or, here's two Christians that I don't think are idiots."
His church's main goal, Dr. Keller said, is to teach pastors how to truly love the city, rather than fear its worldly influences. Unlike many evangelicals, Dr. Keller advocates an indirect approach to change.
"If you seek power before service, you'll neither get power, nor serve," he said. "If you seek to serve people more than to gain power, you will not only serve people, you will gain influence. That's very much the way Jesus did it."
Redeemer does not aspire to fame. In fact, Redeemer did not want the article done but the journalist was going to do it whether or not Redeemer helped him to write it. And what better way to make sure there are less errors in reporting than to participate? So there it is in the Times. Hopefully it does not have an harmful repercussions. Redeemer is happy to fly under the radar of the majority.
For more from Keller, visit my list of Tim Keller resources.
(HT on the NYT article: Chris Giammona)