Tim Keller bids farewell (sort of) to the congregation he founded
Logos Post News Desk- Prominent Christian author and founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Timothy Keller, wrote his final church update as Senior Pastor, urging the church to continue to remember God's heart for the city. Keller is transitioning his role with the church from Senior Pastor to Senior Pastor Emeritus, while he begins working in an even more focused way developing leaders through Redeemer City to City and the seminary campus they started in the New York City.
Keller and his wife, Kathy will continue attending the congregations the church has started, which now includes 4 campuses in New York, as the church transitions leadership. The couple wrote corresponding articles in the church’s monthly “Redeemer Report.” Kathy wrote of the importance of keeping the gospel the main thing, Tim wrote on the importance of gospel centered ministry in New York City and cities around the world.
“The Bible teaches that the city should draw out our love," writes Tim Keller. God chastises Jonah for not being moved to compassion for the massive spiritual need in the great cities of the world (Jonah 4:11).”
Keller notes there are a number of different attitudes that Christians have toward the city:
"Some romanticize the city, and often they use the language of 'loving the city,'" writes Keller. "But it might be more accurate to say they love the experience of the city — the excitement, energy, and options. They don’t put time and effort into supporting the life and health of the city, and they tend to remain in the cool and sophisticated parts of it.”
Others Keller says, “disdain the city.” These people, according to Keller don’t have anything to do with the city unless they absolutely have to. “They don’t come to the city, or, if they have to be here, they hold their breath until they can leave.”
A third group remains indifferent to the needs of the city. “There is another group who is simply indifferent to the city. They don’t particularly love or hate the city, but they are not keen on making any special investment of time, money, and life in city ministry. They don’t see why it should be treated any differently.”
Keller critiques these three ways of seeing the city and calls his church to remember the Biblical view of the city and the way God loves people and is concerned for their welfare. Citing population trends and growth in the urban centers of the world, Keller exhorts the church to remember the need for ministry wherever there are people, but as the population of cities continues to grow, that their is great need in cities. "Social scientists tell us that across the whole planet, there are at least 5 million people moving into cities from the countryside every month." He affirmed the call of Redeemer to gospel centered ministry to continue strong in the city.
“We need churches everywhere there are people — but the people of the world are moving into cities much faster than the church is. Jesus told us to go into the world to make disciples (Matt 28:18-20). If we fail to go where the world is going then we are not heeding our Lord’s command. So certainly we must never rigidly insist that everyone should do city ministry, nor that gospel ministry in one place is intrinsically better than in another place. But we should not shrink from emphasizing city ministry as never before."