Tim Keller, Cupcakes, Yoga, and Preaching
November 12, 2014
Tim Keller is a well-known contemporary voice on the topic of the church and cultural engagement. He writes pretty extensively on it in his book Center Church. And not only does Keller write on this topic, he’s just a pretty darn engaging guy in general. You will notice from our podcast interview that it is easy and enjoyable to have a casual conversation about things that count with him. Maybe it’s a middle-aged, balding guy thing.
Since I posted David VanDrunen’s explanation of what Two Kingdoms theology represents, I would like to do the same for Keller. In Center Church, he states that the Transformationist model “engages culture largely through an emphasis on Christians pursuing their vocations from a Christian worldview and thereby changing culture. Since the lordship of Christ should be brought to bear on every area of life---economics and business, government and politics, literature and art, journalism and the media, science and law and education---Christians should be laboring to transform culture, to (literally) change the world” (195-196).
The chapter I have quoted from, “The Cultural Responses of the Church,” defines the four prominent models of Christ and culture, showcasing both their strengths and weaknesses. I appreciated how Keller recognized and dealt with the problems in his own view alongside the others. He takes care to extensively quote from some of the main voices in the 2K position. He made some good points that we should heed. Of course, since I identify more with the 2K model, I disagreed with some of the “problems” addressed, wanting him to say that they may rather be inherent dangers that could come from wrong-thinking within that position. For example, I agree that we should be “celebrative of Christians in secular vocations” and I actually hold that as a key tenant from the 2k position, whereas Keller claimed it as something 2K is less celebrative of than the Transformationists.
But that is the cool thing about Keller. He concludes the chapter stating his hope to contribute to what he feels is a convergence in the conversation of both Transformationists and Two Kingdoms advocates to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of each position. I have found that he is genuine in that hope. When we aired a critique, “Gospel-Centered Cupcakes,” of a TGC series on this topic, I received a kind, engaging email from Tim, and have certainly benefitted from our exchanges. That’s what we aim to do on MoS as well.
But let me tell you, running around New York with these guys was a hassle. Here we are trying to get to the recording studio, wishing we could have some of those cupcakes. But between the four of us, we just couldn’t agree on our theology of dessert…
Take a listen here.