Tim Keller on a New Kind of Urban Christian

kinnon —  June 22, 2006 — 2 Comments

Spending the better part of a week with the man who created the “New Kind of Christian” meme has been quite interesting. I’ll have more to say about that later.

Tim Keller riffs on that meme with his CT article that is now available online. (Steve McCoy mentioned it a couple of weeks ago – and Jordon Cooper pointed out its availability online.)

From near the end of the article:

…In every culture, some Christian conduct will be offensive and attacked, but some will be moving and attractive to outsiders. “Though they accuse you … they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12, see also Matt. 5:16). In the Middle East, a Christian sexual ethic makes sense, but not “turn the other cheek.” In secular New York City, the Christian teaching on forgiveness and reconciliation is welcome, but our sexual ethics seem horribly regressive. Every non-Christian culture has enough common grace to recognize some of the work of God in the world and to be attracted to it, even while Christianity in other ways will offend the prevailing culture.

So we must neither just denounce the culture nor adopt it. We must sacrificially serve the common good, expecting to be constantly misunderstood and sometimes attacked. We must walk in the steps of the one who laid down his life for his opponents.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to Tim Keller on a New Kind of Urban Christian

  1. Bill,
    Did you have a good time with Brian McLaren?
    I read the Tim Keller article—some good stuff. Keep in touch.

  2. The underlying truth is that we cannot escape context, or, rather, contexts. We live with a social context, a cultural context, a political context and differing institutional ones.
    The problem that many Christians face is trying to be a consistent believer as if context doesn’t exist. Being the same person, stating the same biblical, theological and ethical statements as if there are universally understood.
    While some NeoCalvinists push the “world-view” envelope, what they some how don’t understand is every context has its own internal rationality, and that is what has to be addressed. It is not sufficient to attack another viewpoint or culture because it is different.
    I think this is why trying to get underneath the human culture thing, and understand it at its most fundamental level is really important. It is a mixture of ideas/values, people/relationships, and the two together form a culture that is at the same time expressed artistically and institutionally.
    My perspective is much less Manichean, less drawing a line in the sand to demonstrate who is good and who is evil. Not that there aren’t really evil people in the world. Instead, another NeoCalvinist viewpoint that centers interpretation in an understanding of what God did in his creative act. We are all a mixture of good and evil, of altruism and narcissism, of holy devotion and demonic destructivism. This perspective sees in the world both common grace, evidence of God’s goodness in nature, and saving grace, the revelation of God’s specific love in Jesus Christ. This view, I believe, makes us much more circumspect, less judgmental, more open, less dogmatic in our dealings with people and their cultures. As a result,it also makes us more open to seeing God at work beyond the mechanicanistic, scientific approach of much modern theology.


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