Thursday 17 November 2022

Tim Keller on Christian Public Engagement

Tim Keller has written a helpful article – ‘How Should Christians Speak in Public’ – using an interview with a pastor on Australian TV as a prompt.

Keller points out what is now largely evident that, in many places in the west, culture has ‘moved from a Positive view of Christianity to a Neutral view and now to a Negative view of it’.

In this context some are arguing that Christians should abandon the ‘nice’ tone that so often accompanied a so-called ‘seeker-sensitive’ approach, that ‘the age of conciliatory cultural engagement is over’.

However, Keller offers a proposal ‘for a way to do public engagement now which differs not only from the seeker-sensitive approach but also from the new (and admittedly under-developed) “just tell the truth” approach’.

Taking his cue from 1 Corinthians 2:1–5, he suggests that  Paul calls Christians to:

1. A spirit of humility and love – ‘Affection’.

2. Culturally compelling arguments – ‘Persuasion’.

3. A quiet, courageous confidence in the truth of God’s Word – ‘Resolution’.

Keller concludes:

‘I know that we are very early in this conversation in the evangelical world, but I propose that, using Paul’s exhortation, we can find ways of combining the three elements of Affection, Resolution, and Persuasion in our public discourse in a way that many secular people will find moving and some secular people will find convincing. That will grow the church, slowly but steadily, in our society.’

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