1Jo 2:21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice TO DISTINGUISH good from evil.
Tim Keller and Rick Warren have far more in common than most people would think. On the surface, Keller is a Reformed Presbyterian who holds to the Doctrines of Grace and the Westminster Confession of Faith. Warren, on the other hand, is Seeker-Friendly and Arminian in theology. I call Tim Keller "The Reformed version of Rick Warren" because of Keller's professing of Reformed theology, while in practice and promotion he is man-centered and pushes social justice and contemplative spirituality, just as Warren does.
Both, however, have a lot in common.
Keller and Warren went out to unbelievers to find out what would attract them to a church, thus making their foundation one of unbelievers (“unchurched”) appealing to their flesh.
Both promote social justice.
Both promote Emergent/Contemplative Spirituality.
This article isn't going to address the reasons why their doctrine and therefore practices are wrong, for there's not enough room to address that here I've addressed Keller here and here; I've dealt with Warren here . My goal is to give information of how similar Rick Warren and Tim Keller really are. I have, however, linked to a few articles that do address some of the errors (like Lectio Divina and the PEAC plan) to give readers a place to start in understanding such errors in light of Scripture.
Newsweek says, “Keller is now pitching himself as a C. S. Lewis for the 21st century, a high-profile Christian apologist who can make orthodox belief not just palatable but necessary...To put it bluntly, Keller wants to be the Rick Warren of global cities.”
Founding of Churches for Unbelievers
Redeemer Presbyterian Church where Keller is head pastor says on their "Renew" page: " By the end of this next decade the vision is to have three strong congregations serving a total of 9,000-10,000 people, worshipping at 7-9 locations and 12 or more services around the city, drawing many more un-churched people into a relationship with God, and with a reputation for serving and loving those in the city who don't share our beliefs as well as loving those who do."
In the cover story in "Christianity Today" on Tim Keller we read:
Keller began talking to anyone who would sit still, asking questions he had learned from the urbanists at Westminster: "What would be a New Yorker's worst disaster?" and "What kind of church would a New Yorker want to attend?" For months he sat in restaurants, learning New Yorkers' ways.
They needed someone who spoke their language, though, and Keller was a quick learner. "I saw New York mentor Tim," Sherman says. "There's something about the density of the city, the way your lives get intertwined with a secular culture."That was part of the vision: "We want to start a church for you, but also for your friends that you want to introduce to Christ."
"The most interesting people came," Tim says. "It was astounding how easy it was to have curious nonbelievers come to church."
The Kellers stick to a few rules. They never talk about politics. Tim always preaches with a non-Christian audience in mind, not merely avoiding offense, but exploring the text to find its good news for unbelievers as well as believers. The church emphasizes excellence in music and art, to the point of paying their musicians well (though not union scale).
…. Gordon MacDonald came to Manhattan's Trinity Baptist Church at about the same time the Kellers arrived… But Keller looked on MacDonald's coming as an advantage: MacDonald's name drew many New York Christians, leaving Redeemer to focus on non-Christians. Longtime believers joined Redeemer only if they caught the vision of creating a church that appealed to their non-Christian friends.
White believes Keller's unique gift is to preach to both Christians and non-Christians in the same terms, without making a choice between evangelism and discipleship: "Tim uses the gospel surgically on the heart. The gospel is what we need to come to faith and also what we need to grow." A theology of grace uses the same language to challenge both the runaway son and the solid older brother.
Warren also inquired unbelievers what they wanted in a church. You will start to notice same terms used by both men in describing unbelievers ("un-churched").
In “The Purpose Driven Church”, Warren said, “As I shared in chapter 1, I began Saddleback by going door-to-door for twelve weeks and surveying the unchurched in my area. Six years earlier I had read Robert Schuller’s book “your Church Has Real Possibilities”, which told how he had gone door-to-door in 1955 and asked hundreds of people, “Why don’t you go to church?” and “What do you want in a church?” I thought this was a great idea…” (p. 190).
An article on Rick Warren in Reader's Digest (now supporting PDL magazine):
Warren changed a great deal as he progressed from a preacher who wanted to "build a church for people who hate church" to worldwide religious leader. He spoke with Reader's Digest—whose parent company recently launched his new magazine, Purpose Driven Connection—twice in recent months.
I pulled off the highway, and we walked into this real estate office and met an agent named Don Dale….We were driving to the condo with him and I said, "Hey, Don, do you go to church anywhere?" He said, "No, no. I hate church." I said, "Great. You're my first member." We started with my family and his family. Our first service was on Easter Sunday in 1980, with 200 people. For Easter in 2008, we had 14 services back-to-back, with 45,000 people. Don is still a member here.
Warren, like Keller, preaches with unbelievers in mind:
Like Keller he preaches with unbelievers in mind, not Christians: "The point Paul is making is that we must be willing to adjust our worship practices when unbelievers are present (1 Corinthians 14:23). God tells us to be sensitive to the hang-ups of unbelievers in our services. Although Paul never used the term 'Seeker Sensitive,' he definitely pioneered the idea."
(Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, p. 243)
"As I go through these things, first I sit down and I start praying. I say, "Who is going to be there?" I start to think of one person...People that I have invited, like my back doctor who was an atheist Jew who came for Easter. I start thinking: "Now what is going to help this guy know about Christ?" (preaching the gospel) and I will go through that little formula and think about the points, which were actually quite simple."
(Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Preaching: An Interview with Rick Warren. Sept-Oct 2001)
- Original source here; available here (proceed with caution)
Tim Keller (caps, my emphasis)
Keller's Redeemer Vision:"To spread the gospel, first through ourselves and then through the city by word, deed, and community; To bring about personal changes, social healing, and cultural renewal through a movement of churches and ministries that change New York City and through it, the world."
“THE VISION OF REDEEMER 2005 Vision Campaign Sermons & Study Guides: “The following statement summarizes what we are called to do in NYC: To build a great city for all people—-through a gospel movement that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice and CULTRUAL RENEWAL to New York, and through it, to the world.”
In a Q&A: “The distinctives of gospel-centrality, a balance of evangelism, community, justice and CULTURAL RENEWAL, and a concern for the whole city, not just our own tribe could be likened to an engine. The leadership and preaching gifts of any individual pastor, using this metaphor, would be the “fuel.” Naturally, some pastors have “higher octane” gifts than others, but the “engine” will run on just about anything.”
RPC's Facebook side profile echoes this: “Redeemer's vision is to build a great city for all people through a gospel movement that brings about personal conversion, community formation, social justice, and CULTURAL RENEWAL in New York City and throughout the world.”
Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s “School of Gospel Foundations”:
“Justice, Shalom, & the Third World”: "What does it mean when God calls his people to “do justice” and to “seek the shalom of the city”? We’ll look at how poverty in the U.S. differs from poverty in third world countries. We'll also explore how a Biblical framework for thinking about issues of poverty can help bring RENEWAL to individuals and society.” Oct 18 12:10PM - 1:30PM."
[*Note* Instructor Chris Koepke for this class was a pastor at John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church. Stories of homeless people used in the classes brings in emotions to motivate.]
Redeemer's Church Planting Center has Terry Gyger, as the Center's director:
"Gyger says new churches are the best way to reach out to the unchurched and transform a city spiritually, socially, and culturally. "We'd like to see New York become the city of God, a place of peace, racial reconciliation, and prosperity for the arts, with churches ministering to people in all their needs," says Gyger. "Training is often absent for the church planters who come here. If we can make an indigenous church-planting movement work in this city, I think it can be reproduced in other cities of the world."'
Social justice at Keller's church merges with Emergent Church Movement & Feminism:
Redeemer Presbyterian Church class: Culture Makers (Oct 25 - Nov 22) Instructor Luann Jennings:
"Redeemer’s vision for CULTURAL RENEWAL depends upon the engagement of our congregation with the world. Using Andy Crouch’s acclaimed book, Culture Making, as a guide, we will look more closely at how Christians can serve God through “making” culture and transforming our world. We will consider various aspects of “culture,” including the arts and entertainment, education, community development, civil service, and more. This class will be led by Arts Ministry Program Director Luann Jennings with special guests each week from different arenas of culture making. Schedule: Sundays, October 25 through November 22, from 12:10PM to 1:30PM. There will be no class on November 8."
The author they are using at this Reformed church is Andy Crouch (A senior editor at Christianity Today International) who is Emergent and endorses Brian McLaren: “From 1998 to 2003, Andy was the editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly, a magazine for an emerging generation of culturally creative Christians.”- source
In order to achieve this "cultural renewal" they bond with unbelievers
Keller was a speaker at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit. The mission of this leadership conference states:
"The Leadership Summit has become more than a solitary event on the calendar: it is a perpetual movement of men and women whose relentless global mission is to develop authentic leaders for the sake of the local church and their communities. This rich expanse reflects incredible cultural diversity and racial heritage, and does not dilute in the face of tough economic times. No individual or church need walk through this alone. Join with other leaders worldwide as we stand together to confront the challenges facing us "
Speakers he shared the platform with at Willow Creek's Leadership conference: Bill Hybels, Henry Cloud, Tony Blair, Bono, along with a few women.
Warren and Social Justice
His infamous PEACE plan: The dangers with this is dealt here and here.
At Urbana 06, Warren taught about his five stages of renewal: "Personal Renewal, Relational Renewal, Purpose Renewal, Structural Renewal, and CULTURAL RENEWL - “A changed church will change their culture,” said Warren, and will ultimately impact their surrounding communities and culture."
Holds hands with unbelievers to promote social justice, just like Keller:
Speaker at TED conferences: “In recent years, Warren has become a prominent steward of social justice, speaking out on poverty relief and encouraging spiritual leaders to play a role in guiding the planet toward sustainability. (He even attended the premiere of An Inconvenient Truth, after meeting Al Gore and producer Lawrence Bender at TED2006.)” TED is full of unbeliers like J.J. Abrams, Peter Gabriel, Tony Robbins, Amy Tan, and Al Gore.
He is on Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation Advisory Council.
Eastern Mysticism/Contemplative Spirituality and Feminism at Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church: quote:Susan Castillo will be teaching "The Way of the Monk" at Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church. This is NOT just for women, but open for men and women (she's currently getting her M.A. at Westminister Theological Seminary).
Here's what the Reformed Redeemer Prebyterian Church PCA says for the class on their webpage (bold, my emphasis) ***Note*** The removed the page now, but this is straight from the page they had up.
The Way of the Monk (April 28, May 5 & 12)
Do you long for the great theology in your head to be more real to your heart? Come discover age-old methods of contemplative prayer and worship that can help you encounter Christ in a more intimate, experiential way. In this hands-on workshop, you will experience the ancient art of chanting the Psalms (they were meant to be sung!), embark on a practice of authentic Christian meditation, discover how a simple, time-honored tool can help unleash the prayer warrior in you, learn what a typical monastic day is like and how you can make your own, private retreat at a monastery, and much more!
Note: This workshop will be of added benefit to fellowship group leaders who wish to cultivate greater variety and depth in their group’s time of worship.Schedule: Tuesdays, April 28, May 5 & 12 from 7:00PM to 9:00PM.Location: Redeemer Offices, 11th Floor Conference Room (1359 Broadway, 11th Floor, btw. 36 & 37).The Way of the Monk (April 28, May 5 & 12)
Apr 28 7:00PM - 9:00PM Centering Prayer
In this session, we will focus on Centering Prayer, an age-old practice of authentic Christian meditation. We will cover history, technique, obstacles, and how to overcome them. We will also devote ample time to actual practice and Q &A. We will learn how to properly prepare by grounding ourselves in God’s Word. As a prelude, we will consider the purpose, power, and biblical precedent for silence, solitude, and contemplative practice.
May 5 7:00PM - 9:00PM Prayer Rope
Finally…help for fidgety hands and distracted minds! In this session, we will focus on the use of a prayer rope, a practice of prayer that engages the whole person. We’ll begin by viewing a brief video that demonstrates the “Chaplet of the Divine Mercy,” a particular method of using a prayer rope. We will then do our own investigation of Scripture to determine the meaning and power of God’s “mercy” and the resulting implications for rich, yet highly accessible intercessory prayer. We’ll also cover history, purpose, technique, and devote ample time to actual practice and Q &A.
May 12 7:00PM - 9:00PM The Divine Office/ Liturgy of the Hours
In this session, we will peek at an actual monastic schedule and focus on the mainstay of their daily life, known as the "Divine Office" or "Liturgy of the Hours." At the cornerstone of the Divine Office is the prayerful, sung recitation or "chanting" of the Psalms; we will consider how we can rightly appropriate the Psalms as our own prayer. We will then learn and practice Compline, the final service or "office" of the monastic day.Location: Redeemer Church Offices (directions) 11th Floor Conference Room
Instructor: Susan Castillo. Susan Castillo is currently on Redeemer staff in the Fellowship Group department and is pursuing an MA in Biblical Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary. She wholly espouses Reformed Presbyterian theology while continuing to embrace her “inner monk.” Sometimes referred to as “The Retreat Lady,” she has been fleeing to monasteries to “honeymoon with Jesus” for over ten years.
In addition Redeemer Presbyterian Church has a Spiritual Formation department. This is a heavily used term by Emergents/Contemplative Spirituality followers.
Tim Keller has endorsed Eastern Mystic feminist Adele Calhoun's "Spiritual Disciplines Handbook" book, also endorsed by mystic Ruth Halye Barton, back in 2005:
Reviews & Endorsements
"I have long profited from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun's gifts in the field of spiritual development, and I am delighted that she has compiled her experience with spiritual disciplines into book form. I highly recommend it and I look forward to using it as a resource at our church." —Dr. Timothy Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC
"I love this book! Adele has provided a treasure trove of spiritualdisciplines that will nourish your soul, striking a delicate balance between accessibility and depth that comes from her own faithful practice. Read it, engage the disciplines, and allow God to transform you in the deepest levels of your being." —Ruth Haley Barton, cofounder, The Transforming Center, and author of Sacred Rhythms and Invitation to Solitude and Silence
***See http://www.apprising.org/ and http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/ for details on Adele Calhoun's New Ageism****
In addition, Redeemer Presbyterian church lists Villiage Church as a church affliation (their pastor sat under the ministry of Tim Keller during th 1990's):
About Villiage Church: "The Village Church lives to revolutionize Greenwich Village, through word and deed, into the pre-eminent expression of urban eternal life, by bridging those who don’t believe to the church, dancing believer with believer, and uniting all to Christ."
The Villiage's Values:"We spend a lot of our energy to accomplish nothing! Individually and in our 11:00 a.m. gathering each Sunday, we celebrate Jesus Christ as our connection to the Divine. Through celebrating His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, we inhale His grace and exhale our appreciation. This respiration of worship, with joy and reverence, is vital to who we are, an exhibition of excitement about knowing and walking with God.
The Village Church brings the Ancient forward to today. We find the historic Christian faith to be the means of navigating the turbulent choices of city life. We are creedal, sacramental and confessional in the Presbyterian tradition (PCA). The ministry of Word and Sacrament, Praise and Prayer, are means of grace we use weekly to proclaim both God’s transcendence and Christ’s invitation to immanence, in an eclectic style indigenous to Greenwich Village. We hail the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, working constantly to reform the faith in our contemporary setting."
Herescope discusses “immanence” in Rick Warren’s book and church Foundations book:
In reporting on "The Shack" Warren Smith reveals more error with Rick Warren, and The Shack
Describing God in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, he wrote:“He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.” (p. 88) Compounding the matter further, “immanence” has been taught as part of the Foundations class at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. An ill-defined reference to immanence on page 46 of the Saddleback Foundations Participants Guide plays right into the hands of the New Spirituality/New World Religion by stating:“The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).”
Keller’s Presbyterian church promotes Eastern Mystical breath prayers (aka Lectio Divina):
Redeemer Presbyterian's endorsement of the Lectio Divina.
Redeemer Presbyeterian's instructions on HOW to do the prayers.
Lectio Divina is dangerous, unbiblical, self-centered and fleshly.
A class offered at Redeemer Presbyterian church which again incorporates Emergent/Contemplative Spirituality and Feminism:
“Talking with God” (Sept. 27, 12:10-1:30)“God walks” and “wandering prayer” and “Listening to God” - Lectio Divina (offered Oct. 4, 12:10-1:30 pm) . Instructor for these clases is Pamela Brown-Peterside.
I'll refer you to Peter Masters' great article on the Merger of Calvinism and Worldliness.
Rick Warren also promotes Emergent/Contemplative Spirituality like Tim Keller (although LESS than Rick Warren):
As already said above, Warren talks of God's "immanence": "“The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).”
PDL magazine plugs The Shack, a very New Age book.
Like Keller, Warren endorses Lectio Divina prayers:
How to think like a world class Christian by Rick Warren:
“Begin asking the Holy Spirit to help you to think of the spiritual need of unbelievers whenever you talk to them. With practice, you can develop the habit of praying silent "breath prayers" for those you encounter. Say "Father, help me to understand what is keeping this person from knowing you."”
More on Warren promoting Breath Prayers here.
Saddleback Community Church offers : Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina by Michael Casey, and Eat This Book: Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson
This Week: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
Warren’s Pastors.com site, author James Emery White promotes Eastern mystic Desert Fathers and Thomas Merton, along with Roman monk Benedict who promoted Lectio Divina:
“In his catalog of wisdom from the desert fathers of the fourth century, Thomas Merton tells of a certain brother who went to Abbot Moses in Scete and asked him for a good word. The elder said to him, “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.”
The power of silence and solitude has been recognized throughout the history of spiritual formation.
“Silence is the absence of sound and quiet the stilling of sound,” writes Frederick Buechner.
“Quiet chooses to be silent. It holds its breath to listen.” The rule of St. Benedict speaks of cultivating silence in our lives.
Warren promotes Emergent Dan Kimball and Lectio Divina at his Pastors.com website:
Emergent guru Dan Kimball teaches about “sacred space”, and “bringing back ancient religious symbols and some rituals used throughout church history.” He says, “When choosing to implement something like *Lectio Divina* (a contemplative praying of the Scriptures) into a worship gathering, though, take a moment to teach worshipers the history of the practice so that it isn’t perceived as just a gimmick.”
As Keller is feministist, so is Warren: here, he spoke at the Emergent National Pastors Convention in 2004where female pastors were present, and his wife teaches men.
Endorsement of Willow Creek
Keller’s speaking engagement at Willow Creek for their Leadership Conference this past summer revealed a few things:
He admires Willow Creek Church
“This summer I spoke at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. It was an honor to be invited. No one pulls off a conference like Willow Creek…. Nobody provides more practical help for organizing and leading ministry than Willow Creek."
He goes on to praise the great aspects of also the Emergent Churches and more traditional (a la John Frame of Reformed Theological Seminary) which is very ecumenical.
In two powerful messages from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels and Rick Warren address key characteristics of a leader: an open heart and open hands. Named “Holy Discontent, Wholly Surrendered”
Willow Creek ffers cds and dvds from Warren on leadership .
Tim Keller and Rick Warren together
Keller with Warren at the Purpose Driven Network Summit Conference 2008: where he shared the platform with Emergent leader Erwin McManus, potty mouth Mark Driscoll, in May 2008.
According to Deception In the Church , Warren was featured at the "Made For A Purpose" 2004 Conference which includes: "Tony Evans, Cheryl & Jennifer McGuinness, Rick Warren, Larry Crabb, Erwin Raphael McManus, Nancy Leig, Louie Giglio, Jim Cymbala, Tim Keller, Ken Blanchard, Gloria Gaither." -Source I found the archived page here.
In a collaboratioin with Reader's Digest, Warren has put together "Purpose Driven Connection". The writers Warren has enlisted for the premier issue of “Purpose Driven Connection” are a “who’s who” of Christian authors, including Tim Keller, Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, Ann Graham Lotz, Chip Ingram, Lee Strobel, Kay Warren and others.
Rick Warren endorsed Keller's "The Reason for God" book.
Both Keller and Warren started churches for unbelievers, they promote social justice, hold hands with unbelievers to make the world a better place, and promote Eastern mysticism through Contemplative Spirituality practices and authors.
Lighthousetrails Research has info on Tim Keller as does Apprising Ministries. Both also have information on Rick Warren and also on Contemplative Spirituality as does Crossroad.
Tim Keller was a featured speaker at the very emergent Leadership Network's Innovation 3 Conference this year.
Tim Keller, "Turning Your Biggest Idol Into Your Biggest Benefit": Apparently from the official notes here, Keller calls Peter a racist based on Gal. 2:14.
Keller's church continues to teach Contemplative Spirituality.