Tim Keller Contradicts the Westminster Confession

Who’s the Us?

Dear Editor,
In his letter about evil, Scott Conley claims that the Bible says that God “allows” evil but does not say why. Then he quotes the celebrity Tim Keller: “we now know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us.”

Keller is a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) clergyman who has signed the Westminster Confession which explains in its chapter 3, first paragraph: “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, ordain whatever comes to pass.” This is not “allowing”.

The second paragraph identifies the error: “ Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.”

Keller ignores and contradicts this confession when he assures the people of New York City that we don’t know why. Paragraph three of the confession chapter 3: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death.”

For the manifestation of His glory—that is how the Bible itself explains it. Romans 9:13 declares “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Romans 9:22 tells the truth: “God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory.”

The New Testament was written to those who believe the Christian gospel, so when its readers see a “loves us”, they need to ask the question Tonto asked the Lone Ranger “who’s the us?”

According to the Bible, God does not love all sinners, and that love is never conditioned on the sinner. God has ordained evil things to happen to both the non-elect and the elect, but the promise of Romans 8:28 is that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

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4 Comments on “Tim Keller Contradicts the Westminster Confession”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Keller: In the gospel view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, everyone is called to recognize this and change. By contrast, elder brothers divide the world in two:

    mark: The gospel says that everyone is loved? Does the gospel also say that everyone is already justified and now needs to “recognize this”? Is that what the Westminster Confession says? Does the Bible itself operate as an “elder brother” when it “divides the world in two”?

    Romans 9: 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written,“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    Matthew 1: 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

    Matthew 11: 25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[g] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    Luke 4:25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.

    John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but as many as do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

    John 5: 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all would honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. As many as who do not honor the Son do not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, as many as hears my word and believes him who sent me has the lasting life of the age to come. they do not come into judgment, but HAVE passed from death to life.

    25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

    • markmcculley Says:

      we sin in response to other people’s sin

      but does our sin result in God’s wrath

      or does God’s wrath result in our sinning

      or, if sin is both cause and result, which is first?

      chicken or egg?

      is a hand out the same thing as a hand over?

      Romans 1: 18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them,because God has shown it to them. 20 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and HANDED OVER the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

      24 Therefore God HANDED THEM OVER in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.25 They HANDED OVER the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator….26 This is why God HANDED THEM OVER to degrading passions. For even their females HANDED OVER natural sexual relations[p for unnatural ones…

      28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God HANDED THEM OVER to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.

      Romans 8: 32 God did not even spare His own Son
      but HANDED HIM OVER for us

      where there is no sin, there is no wrath

      where there is no sin, there is no grace

      where there is sin, there must be wrath

      where there is sin but also grace, there must be wrath on the Son

      where there is wrath on the Son, and the Son’s death is imputed to the sinner, there must be no wrath on the sinner

      where there is sin but no grace, there must be wrath on the sinner

      where there is sin, there is nothing about God which says there must be grace

      where there is sin, there might not be grace

      where there is sin and no grace, there will be wrath on the sinner


  2. Tim Keller— “We are an interfaith gathering today, and I freely acknowledge that every faith has great resources for dealing with suffering and injustice in the world. …Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s Son, divinity became vulnerable to andinvolved in suffering and death. He didn’t come as a general or emperor; he came as a carpenter…..True, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the cross is an incredibly empowering hint. It’s only a hint, but F U grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength. ”

    http://discover.redeemer.com/docs/service_of_remembrance.pdf


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