Christianity 201

September 22, 2011

Timothy Keller: Information from God is on a Need-To-Know Basis

In this video clip, Timothy Keller affirms that he knows of no other way to find God than through Jesus Christ.  He’s really clear that if some other way exists, nothing we have in scripture affirms or suggests this.  It’s a 6-minute clip worth watching, because the interviewer drives his questions really hard and if anyone is equipped to be in that situation, it’s Tim Keller.

However, you may notice that in the video title Keller is referred to as “hedging” as to whether or not Jesus is the only way.  I checked out other videos uploaded to YouTube by the same person, and it’s important to note that we’re dealing with a self-styled discernment ministry person who is, basically looking for problems.  You can read a good short quotation on this by C. Michael Patton;  or my own article about people and ministries that seem to want to believe the worst about everyone.  Steven Furtick — a frequent target of this type of person — had some fun with a rap video response to the people he calls ‘haters’ which I posted at the end of this article.

I found this originally because it’s a fairly recent clip and hasn’t had a lot of online visits. I agree that the uploader collected some strange preaching clips — not sure what the motivation is here when there are so many other possible uses of YouTube — but I don’t think Keller belonged in this particular collection. Besides, sometimes you can’t help notice the glass is half-full, not half-empty.  And in this case the always eloquent Tim Keller is worth watching, no matter what the guy titled the video; the glass is full and by more than half. 

Many people are obsessed with the question, “What does God know and when does he know it?”  I think an equally good question is, “What does God choose to reveal to us and when does He choose to reveal it?”  Timothy Keller is sufficiently convicted of the truth of God’s word to fully trust it, but humble enough to realize that we “see through a glass darkly;” and that we “understand in part.” Nonetheless, whatever might be revealed at some future date, our responsibility is to live 100% in the light and revelation that we now possess.

Furthermore, this is the approach that needs to be taken with the furor over Rob Bell’s latest book that erupted this year. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions — if we don’t obsess on them — but our ultimate responsibility is to live in response to what God has told us in scripture. So when we look at God’s character, and see things that seem to create conflicts, we need to proceed on the basis of what he has revealed, and in so doing, we are basically learning to trust his character, even when we find things unsettling. To do differently is to undermine the idea that he has chosen what and when to reveal to us concerning the totality of his master plan.