Monday, February 27, 2006

In the City

Check out this New York Times article (Registration may be required) about Tim Keller and the Church of the Redeemer in New York City. He's taken the unconventional route to ministry while maintaining an "orthodox" view. Semantics aside, his church is thriving in urban New York.

"This is Tim's thing," said Dr. Um. "He said, 'You need to enter into a person's worldview, challenge that worldview and retell the story based on the Gospel.' The problem is evangelicals have always started with challenging the worldview. We don't have any credibility."

Keller has attempted to embrace the culture without dilluting the gospel.

The Rev. Stephen Um, whose church in Boston, Citylife, began four years ago and now attracts about 500 people every Sunday, said he and other pastors had embraced Dr. Keller's emphasis on delving into the prevailing culture almost as much as into the biblical text.

At the same time, he has resisted stooping down to the lowest common denominator.

"A big part is he preaches on such an intellectual level," said Suzanne Perron, 37, a fashion designer who is one of many who had stopped going to church before she discovered Redeemer several years ago. "You can go to Redeemer and you can not be a Christian and listen to that sermon and be completely engaged."

Even Keller admits that there is no cookie-cutter style that he can export to other churches yet demonstrates that the gospel is more than relevant in urban New York.

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