Susan Wunderink of Christianity Today interviews pastor and author Tim Keller about his (outstanding) book The Reason for God and his apologetics ministry in general. Excerpt:
You reject marketing apologetics like, “Christianity is better than the alternatives, so choose Christianity.” Why?
Marketing is about felt needs. You find the need and then you say Christianity will meet that need. You have to adapt to people’s questions. And if people are asking a question, you want to show how Jesus is the answer. But at a certain point, you have to go past their question to the other things that Christianity says. Otherwise you’re just scratching where they itch. So marketing is showing how Christianity meets the need, and I think the gospel is showing how Christianity is the truth.
C. S. Lewis says somewhere not to believe in Christianity because it’s relevant or exciting or personally satisfying. Believe it because it’s true. And if it’s true, it eventually will be relevant, exciting, and personally satisfying. But there will be many times when it’s not relevant, exciting, and personally satisfying. To be a Christian is going to be very, very hard. So unless you come to it simply because it’s really the truth, you really won’t live the Christian life, and you won’t get to the excitement and to the relevance and all that other stuff.
Other questions include the nature of doubts experienced by Christians, intelligent design, and science. I also found Keller’s concern for the (perceived) politicization of the faith interesting, especially in light of the recent Evangelical Manifesto and even Mark Dever’s engaging, remarkable, and somewhat controversial address at Together For The Gospel this past April. Commenting on a recent Pew study that indicated today’s Christians being more polarized (those formerly in the middle having shifted to either robust orthodoxy or to theological liberalism), Keller notes:
One reason for this is because I think there’s been a backlash. Evangelicalism has been so identified with conservative Republican values that a lot of people who might be more moderate have decided they are not religious. I’ve seen that happen in New York. They’re moderate or liberal politically, and they feel like orthodox Christianity is so identified with conservative Republican politics that they have actually distanced themselves from the faith.
That’s unfortunate, but I think its true (and I’m a life-long conservative Republican) – even if the identification is not always fair or is exacerbated by secular media. Anyway, read the whole interview. Though brief, it is quite good.