How in the world can you come to a place of despising Tim Keller? Keller pastored Redeemer Presbyterian in New York for decades. His engagement with an agnostic culture drew me in as I learned how to truly engage people who were skeptical of Christianity. His approach was life-changing to me. If there were “disagreements” they were small things, or even some theological positions, but never in a way that I would completely jettison someone like Keller.
But Christian Nationalism doesn’t work that way. It’s all or nothing.
First Things was a religious journal I read regularly when its founder, Richard John Neuhaus, was alive. His death was really the simultaneous death of that journal. It took a bit of time, but that great scholarly work devolved into a Christian Right political rag.
David French points to a column by associate editor James Wood as another example of shunning an evangelical like Keller simply because “the fight changed.”
In short, Keller is not a good tribalist. He doesn’t fight for “his team,” meaning conservative Christian right and the new Trumpism politics.
As I observed the attitude of our surrounding culture change, I was no longer so confident that the evangelistic framework I had gleaned from Keller would provide sufficient guidance for the cultural and political moment. A lot of former fanboys like me are coming to similar conclusions. The evangelistic desire to minimize offense to gain a hearing for the gospel can obscure what our political moment requires.
It is decided that if you can’t punch your political weight… your POLITICAL weight of all things… you’re not worth the time any longer.
THIS is the ugliness that lied beneath for decades and is full bore exposed now.
More than ever, we need the winsome example of Keller. We need the compassion of Jesus to hang out with people we “should” disagree with more than ever.
Christian nationalism calls “the believer” to get ready in your corner then when the bell sounds, come out swinging.