Welcome to the Torch Leadership Foundation’s Cross in Culture Podcast where we consider different perspectives on what is happening in our culture and apply a biblical worldview. I am your host, Daniel Whyte III. This is episode #24.
This episode is titled, Tim Keller and the Offensiveness of Christianity: This New Age is Just Like the Old One
Recently, Princeton Theological Seminary announced that it would be awarding Tim Keller, who has pastored Manhattan’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church for over 25 years, the Kuyper (Ki-per) Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life. The aftermath should have been predictable because we have seen it time and time again in recent years.
Cue shock and disgust over a Bible preacher actually preaching what the Bible says against homosexuality. Cue liberal horror over Keller’s traditional views regarding female preachers among other things. Cue Princeton therefore backing down from its intentions and compromising to assuage the outrage of those crying foul simply because a good pastor has preached the truth of the bible mainly regarding traditional marriage between a man and a woman and being against the abomination of homosexuality or sodomy. “We won’t give him the award,” they said, “but he can still speak at the annual Kuyper Conference at our school.”
It is worth noting that, according to Christianity Today, fifteen Kuyper Conference participants and presenters, including influential philosophers Nicholas Wolterstorff and Alvin Plantinga, released a statement expressing their disagreement with Princeton’s decision to rescind Keller’s award, saying the reversal ‘gives evidence of a policy unworthy of its history of free academic debate and diversity that characterizes this great institution.'”
That aside, what’s interesting is that some Christians still act like they are surprised by this outcome. They are offended that the world is offended by traditional Christian beliefs. We know that the Bible hasn’t changed in two millennia. Perhaps an even stranger truth is that the world hasn’t changed either. Both Jews and Gentiles found the Christian faith offensive. The Jews didn’t like Christian claims of Jesus’ divinity and how He did not honor and obey their traditions they added to the law. The Gentiles didn’t like the exclusivity of the Christian message and its requirement that believers turn away from worshiping traditional pagan gods and the Roman emperors.
We should not be surprised when the world is offended by the cross of Jesus Christ or our beliefs based upon the bible which dictates our lifestyle or how we live. Our purpose is not to offend, but when a person is told the truth about their standing before God — namely, that they are a sinner — because of the pride and rebellion in the human heart, the natural response is indignation. If we understand this, we do not have to be shocked when the world responds in clamorous negativity to the gospel message or any message that aligns with the Bible and traditional Christian doctrine. We ought to expect it.
Perhaps, in America, the notion of a “Christian nation” has been deeply ingrained and Christians have been coddled too much for our own good. We should not be discouraged when the world expresses disdain toward God, God’s word, or God’s people. We are of a different kingdom. We are not of this world. We are, in the words of C.S. Lewis, a part of “the invasion” into “hostile territory.” There is no way we can expect to be welcomed.
In closing, let me leave you with a Scripture and a quote to think about.
First Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
And Jesus Christ said in Luke 12:51-53, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
John Piper said, “The gospel of Jesus Christ, as the Bible presents it, is offensive and it is extreme until God opens the eyes of the heart and calls people out of darkness, the darkness of rebellion into the light of faith. We need to settle it in our hearts that we are willing to be criticized and even persecuted by bringing the best news in all the world, and having it characterized as foolishness. That has happened everywhere the gospel has been preached for 2,000 years. Some believe and rejoice in the gospel as the greatest news in the world. Others do not see it, and regard it as the height of arrogance.”
In light of what we have discussed today, I want to remind you that in our ever-changing world, there is one Person who never changes. That person is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is not subject to the whims of society or popular opinion. He has an unchanging, eternal love for you. If you do not know Him as your Savior, I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thank you for listening to this Torch Leadership Cross in Culture Podcast.
Visit us online at www.torchleadershipfoundation.com
Until we meet again, remember to keep Christ first in our ever-changing culture.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.