An excellent Tim Keller sermon

Okay, so the blogging hiatus is not much of a hiatus.

Folks such as Donald Haynes and Roger Olson spend a lot of energy drawing our attention to the resurgent Reformed/Calvinist movement in American Protestantism. One of the better known voices in this movement has to be Tim Keller, whose books have been quite popular of late.

As I read and listen to Keller, I find much of what he says reminding me of John Wesley. As Wesley said, there was merely a hair’s breadth of distance between himself and the Calvinist George Whitefield.

This sermon/talk by Keller at a conference brought to mind many sermons I have read by John Wesley. The fact that he quoted a Charles Wesley hymn and made another overt reference to Wesley was part of the prod to memory.

Keller’s preaching reminds me that we United Methodists, as we cast a wary eye at certain Calvinists, should be careful in being clear where we differ from them. Sometimes, the parts of their theology that some of us wish to purge from our midst are things that have been very dear to Methodism from the beginning.

Which is not to say that there are not differences. Keller and the other resurgent Reformed folks are quite aware of this. Folks such as John Piper have no problem indicating where we Arminians are wrong and even heretical. On our part, we should strive to understand that hair’s breadth, if only so we do not chuck out the things we should hold in common with George Whitefield’s theological heirs and compatriots.

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2 thoughts on “An excellent Tim Keller sermon

  1. Your thought/comment about the rise of Calvinism intrigues me, in part because one of the individuals who helps in “Grannie Annie’s Kitchen” feels that she is a Calvinist.

    I look at three possible questions:

    Is this upsurge/rise due in part to the increase in fundamentalist based churches?

    Are we entering a new phase in the faith versus works debate?

    Finally, has the United Methodist Church failed to explain the motives behind John Wesley’s early work and what it means for today?

  2. Many years ago at Perkins I had a Professor who was fond of saying that Calvinists and Arminianists had a great deal in common. Another said that John Calvin wasn’t quite the predestinarian we make him out to be. Noe was Wesley quite the Arminian we have made him out to be.

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