Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Challenging Quote from Tim Keller

“Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while
offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in
the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of
outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches,
even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative,
buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the
broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the
preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not
have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be
declaring the same message that Jesus did.” (Tim Keller, The Prodigal God)

Thanks to William T. Chaney Jr. for posting this quote in his blog.

1 comment:

salacious crumb said...

My impression is that while it's probably true that white Evangelical churches in the US are drawing from a certain conservative cultural set; the white Pentecostals and a variety of Charismatic and strongly sectarian Christian groups have and are attracting the marginalized and outcastes of society. When we go to blacks and hispanics even the evangelicals (as well as the other categories) seem to be drawing in marginalized. Of course racial and ethnic minorities have larger proportions of the marginalized from which to draw.

If evangelical churches can do a better job of helping their conservative whites look more like Jesus through spiritual formation and holistic discipleship, then this to me is a totally worthy pursuit. This may help soften the white liberals toward the faith (the "make disciples and converts will happen" notion). However, Keller is right. Something drastic must be done to give the faith a better reputation among intellectuals and cultural liberals. They love Buddhism and other earthy spiritualities, but Christianity is oppressive and politicized for them. A more socially moral Christianity is needed (but that doesn't jettison personal morality).