Tim Keller On The New Matthew 25 Christian American

Kenny Jahng —  2009/07/24 — Leave a comment

Newsweek’s Jon Mecham writes about The End of Christian America.

More than a 10% drop was recently reported in a poll for people that self-identify themselves as religious. The Northeast, the traditional basecamp for religion’s start in this country is no longer a reliable place to go to seek comfort for the religious. It is now home for the religiously unidentified, a title once reserved for the Pacific Northwest. And this is not just a case of overachieving Northeasterners doing their thing. It is something that is being experienced coast to coast.

The assumptions for how our American society, politics and people deal with Judeo-Christian values that started this country is changing. In this MSNBC TV interview with Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and Jon Mecham of Newsweek Magazine, you’ll first see how the President of our country now represents America’s religious identity in these post-Christian times. You almost expect a reporter to follow-up with questions about timetables for removing “In God We Trust” and the like from our currency, government buildings, etc.

But take notice from all this ballyhoo about the Christian religion’s exit from center stage:  God is NOT dead. 

What’s actually happening is that spirituality, faith and religion are taking on new faces and modus operandi in this country. Do you see the New Christian American?

The TV interview was great in that it picked up on the difference between the “old Christian religion” that is primarily focused on converting people and one’s own piety and the “new Matthew 25 Christian” which is shifting the perspective and priority of Christian living to an outward facing one: helping the homeless and helpless, feeding the poor, descending upon Katrina hurricane zones. . .helping the Church to go places where it is needed most in today’s world.

IMHO, Dr. Keller gets it right when he says, the new American Christian “wants to go to Hollywood, they want to go Manhattan, they want to go to Wall Street, they want to go into the academy…they aren’t focused simply…on converting people. They want to have an impact on the entire culture.”  This version of Christianity is a bit more involved than social justice or liberation theology in action.

I’ve always found Tim Keller’s approach to Christ and Culture interesting and inspiring. This vision is a bit larger than Matthew 25. God’s kingdom is coming not to embrace, help or even trump a lost secular society, but to redeem and radically change it.  It acknowledges an urgency to think about what’s next beyond the current leadership Christ’ church is now beginning to provide with social justice and cause-related responses.

Redeemer’s Center for Faith and Work is where Dr. Keller’s vision is playing out.  The ministry is continually struggling with how Christians may conduct, engage and transform culture today.  While he readily admits that no one has figured it all out yet, Redeemer Center for Faith and Work has already taken a leap and started working with the new generation of Christians desiring to transform New York City and beyond.

How will the Church at large change based on both this newly rising Christian demographic combined with secular society’s organic changes regarding its religious identity?

How does YOUR church need to change?  Share your thoughts below.  I’m anxious to hear if you too see this coming shift in Christianity and religion.

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