Tim Keller about God, Freedom, and Love

Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

I read Tim Keller’s article God, Freedom, and Love. These thoughts are indeed interesting, and probably even useful, as long as we fix a few “vocabulary” bugs:

  • Tim opposes “traditional” versus “liberal” Christians, which triggers my allergic reaction. We all are sometimes traditional or sometimes progressive, sometimes liberal and sometimes obedient, that’s not the point. The big schism is between “biblical” and “personal” Christians, where “biblical” means “based on the Bible as the only authoritative source of our faith”, and “personal” means “based on the person of Jesus as the living source of the canonized biblical texts”.

  • Tim says “Bible” where I would say “Civil law”. Paul speaks into a time where people did not yet separate State and Church. We cannot map every occurrence of the word “Law” in his texts by our word “Bible”.

  • Tim classifies humans into “believers” or “non-believers”. We cannot express any civil or moral rule upon this differentiation because only God will tell believers from non-believers.

Consequently, for example, I would redraw Tim’s “Christian Decision-making” diagram as follows (sorry, I didn’t find any easy-to-use diagram editor for the visual thinkers among you):

  1. Does my conscience forbid it? If yes, don’t do it.

  2. Does the civil law forbid it? If yes, don’t do it.

  3. Will it have bad effect on other humans? If yes, don’t do it.

  4. Will it have bad effect on my spiritual growth? If yes, don’t do it.

  5. Otherwise do it :-)