Archive for the ‘Tim Keller’ Category

I can never resisit excellent stuff from Tim Keller (ht: Denis Haack’s excellent blog,  A Glass Darkly)

There are two basic narrative identities at work among professing Christians. The first is what I will call the moral-performance narrative identity. These are people who in their heart of hearts say, I obey; therefore I am accepted by God. The second is what I will call the grace narrative identity. This basic operating principle is, I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore I obey.

People living their lives on the basis of these two different principles may superficially look alike. They may sit right beside one another in the church pew, both striving to obey the law of God, to pray, to give money generously, to be good family members. But they are doing so out of radically different motives, in radically different spirits, resulting in radically different personal characters.

When persons living in the moral-performance narrative are criticized, they are furious or devastated because they cannot tolerate threats to their self-image of being a “good person.”

But in the gospel our identity is not built on such an image, and we have the emotional ballast to handle criticism without attacking back. When people living in the moral-performance narrative base their self-worth on being hard working or theologically sound, then they must look down on those whom they perceive to be lazy or theologically weak.

But those who understand the gospel cannot possibly look down on anyone, since they were saved by sheer grace, not by their perfect doctrine or strong moral character.

To read the rest of this article (original source, “The Advent of Humility: Jesus is the reason to stop concentrating on ourselves,” by Tim Keller in Christianity Today, December 2008, pp. 50-53) click here.


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Spiritual Friendship

I heard an excellent message by Tim Keller this morning.  Rick sent it to me a couple days ago, and I just got around to listening to it today.

It was so good that I took the time to pause it and take notes in a few places.  Here are a couple of the passages that struck me:

 “What the Bible teaches us is that the gospel of Jesus Christ creates and calls us into spiritual friendships. … In other words, the gospel of Jesus Christ does not simply send you deeper into the heart of God than you ever thought you would go, or deeper into the heart of the hurting world than you ever thought you would go, but it sends you deeper into the heart of other brothers and sisters in Christ, giving you profundity and intamacy of relationships beyond anything you ever thought was possible with any other human being…”

“…if you don’t need people, if you’re afraid of accountability, if you’re afraid of people looking inside, if you’re afraid of people nosing into your business… …if you’re afraid of love: the less you want friends, the less like God you are. Don’t you realize?  What is the purpose of creation and what was the purpose of redemption? What is the purpose of everything God has done since creation?  To make us friends!”

“To need and to want deep friendships is not a sign of spiritual immaturity: it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of health.”

Listen to the whole sermon here: Spiritual Friendship

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(Ha!  When I first posted this I spelled “Courageous” wrong in the title, and left it that way overnight…  I REALLY need more sleep… Thank you – I think – to the first twenty or so of you who read this and graciously didn’t say anything. )

Today, I took a break from nine hours of studying to take a phone call from a friend.  Something we talked about jogged my memory about this transforming, brief article by Tim Keller, but I disciplined myself to wait until this evening to reread it and then post the link. (I met nearly all of my study goals for the day. One or two more intense days should see me at least reasonably ready for my final: thanks for your prayers and encouragement!)

It’s well worth checking out. There’s courage in real repentance that I think is at the heart of a healthy commmunity.  This sort of repentance puts feet to the gospel like nothing I know: if we are truely clothed in Christ’s righteousness, it should transform the way we respond to one another.

As Keller puts it, in that transformation:

  • Deep pride can become deep humility;
  • Indifference can become burning love;
  • Anxiety can become wise courage; and
  • Inordinate desires can give way to godly motivations

Read the Keller article.  If you’ve already read it, read it again.

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