The Stories He Keeps Telling: Keller Edition

Editors Note: Well it looks like we aren’t lucky enough for Old Man Cosper to throw in the towel so we can be done with this series. If you need to catch up click on the tag that says The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill and the previous posts will pop up.

So where was content like this when the main podcast was rolling out. Granted this latest episode of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill was really just an extended interview and not doing much more than coloring in the narrative more. But other than one obnoxious part it was a very good interview.

From the off I want to offer my deep appreciation for Tim Keller. I have written often about being grateful for those who did you much good and then sadly disappointed you in one way or another. And while what I perceive to be failures on Kellers part are admittedly small they still nag at me a bit. But beyond some general disagreements I have nothing but the highest admiration for him, and am frankly very angry with the people who reject him completely or have turned on him. In my estimation most never understood his project or the level of deep thought that went into it. This interview bore out what an absolute genius the man is and what a gift he has been to the evangelical church and reformed movement. 

With that said I am going to pick at one of those small things that popped up in this episode of Rise and Fall. And it is kind of indicative of the larger problem with evangelical elites, which is their snobbery. Keller and Cosper get around to the question of if Keller had such obvious concerns with Mark Driscoll from the get go, why then did Keller “platform” Driscoll on the burgeoning Gospel Coalition website. Keller explained that the early days of TGC were fairly unplanned, it was more like an idea with no clue as to where that idea might go or what it might end up being. And into that vague space stepped Driscoll who basically gave TGC its first big break. Or as Keller put it, they didn’t platform him, he platformed them. Later as things began to spiral downward for Mark he resigned, it would seem, no hard feelings. All of this was fine information, but it was the snide little comment that Driscoll being the one to give TGC their start may have been more evil than if they had given Mark space to write.

First, it really was petty, it just was. Tim Keller is a successful guy, by Gods grace. A large part of the episode was about how God has preserved his ministry and legacy through his own sanctification. So why did he have to go and slip in such a snarky little side note about Driscoll like that. And then all the chortling and such that followed. It was simply indecorous. Keller should have known better, but there it was that little bit of looking down their noses just to remind the rubes that Mark was bad. 

Secondly, It was theologically stupid. At the base, the understanding that God is capable of bringing good out of evil should have informed the two that God had used Mark in spite of his flaws, to launch a ministry that has outlasted him. God will use who he will, it is not up to us to critique and chide God for his methods and means.* The sloppy theology combined with the snobbery has come to be the calling card of the current evangelical elite. It is sad to see a man like Keller falling into that kind of error.

Lest you think I am making too much of this, let me end by commending the entire episode. That small bit was obnoxious, and left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, but it was so short it was greatly outweighed by much excellence from Keller. A real evil is much of the vitriol leveled at Keller currently. It would have just been nice to have heard him extend the grace to Driscoll that I pray people would give to him.

*Although looking at how TGC is going these days maybe it was evil that Mark started it….

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