Sunday, June 22, 2008

Smart Christianity

When my wife and I were on vacation in New York City, we made sure to visit Redeemer Presbyterian, the church she attended during the three years she lived in Manhattan. Amid much skepticism, Dr. Tim Keller launched the church in 1989, hoping to reach out to Manhattan's intellectual and cultural elite. Cynical New Yorkers scoffed at his plans to plant a church committed to classic, orthodox Christianity. Those on the sidelines encouraged him to water down his committment to the reliabilty of scripture and to classic doctrines such as the deity of Christ and the resurrection, believing that educated New Yorkers would only respond to a milder version of Christianity. 

Nineteen years later, 6000 people attend five different services in Mahattan. Most are single and in their 20s.

Part of Keller's attractiveness is his smart, thoughtful, brimstone-free sermons that appeal to the mind and heart (and not the wallet). His book, "The Reason for God" is a great introduction to Christianity and a much needed challenge to the recent stream of athiest books currently in vogue. A few months ago, Keller visited Google's corporate offices for a brief lecture and Q&A session on his book (which has currently moved to number 7 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller's list). You can watch the lecture below.

1 comment:

J at said...

As an atheist, I was curious to see what book you had linked to...I have heard Richard Dawkins on radio shows, etc., and an atheist friend of mine recommended one of his books, but he doesn't appeal to me, and I'm honestly tired of him.

Is it wrong of me to want someone more tolerant? I don't think so. It sounds like the church you visited in NY is a very tolerant one as well (brimstone free, as you said), which can be very welcoming to so many.