Tim Keller’s new book, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City may be the most important book he has written. It’s the size of a textbook because of how expansive its vision is. These 400 pages capture the essence of Keller’s theological vision, worked out over decades of pastoral ministry in New York City. As I read the book, I had to keep sharpening pencils because of my extensive underlining.
Today, I welcome Tim to the blog for a conversation about some of the important topics addressed in Center Church. (Those who comment on this blog post will be eligible to receive one of five giveaway copies of Center Church, provided by Zondervan.)
Trevin Wax: Tim, you speak of “gospel renewal” as something bestowed by the Spirit and also something we work toward. How would you define “gospel renewal” and how do we seek something only God can give?
Tim Keller: We who are Calvinists that believe in the free offer of the gospel regularly ask people to seek something only God can give. Not only would we say only God can give salvation, but we would say that you can’t even want salvation unless God gives it. Yet we call people to repent and believe. I see no reason why we can’t call people to seek gospel renewal and revival even though only God can give it.
If you look back at theologians who have written on revival, they wrestle with this very issue. Is it merely something you can pray for (which, by the way, is something you are doing to seek revival), or are there other things you can do (like recover clear gospel preaching, etc.)?
As in all ministry, a balance must be struck between pessimistic passivity on the one hand and the frantic assumption that you can create revival on the other.
To continue reading the interview, please click here.