Timothy Keller: Only Elderly Pastors should Write Books?!

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Havensdad, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Havensdad

    Havensdad
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    About a week ago over at The Gospel Coalition blog Josh Blount published an interview with pastor and BioLogos guru Timothy Keller, where Keller made the assertion (to state it bluntly and succinctly) that only elderly pastors should write books.
    In the article, Keller reveals, I believe, just how humanistic and worldly his reasoning is….but I will get to that in a moment.


    Continue Reading:
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    He didn't say "elderly."

    His point is that pastors should wait a while before endeavors go to write. I don't agree with him, but also see examples of some who should wait...or not write at all. However, let's at least accurately represent him. :)
     
  3. quantumfaith

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    Oh, the all wise Angry Pastor Blog, no agendas there either. The "strikeout" were an interestingly creative touch though.
     
  4. quantumfaith

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    Just so you are clear, here is the Statement of Beliefs on Biologos Website:

    What We Believe

    We believe the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God. By the Holy Spirit it is the “living and active” means through which God speaks to the church today, bearing witness to God’s Son, Jesus, as the divine Logos, or Word of God.

    We believe that God also reveals himself in and through the natural world he created, which displays his glory, eternal power, and divine nature. Properly interpreted, Scripture and nature are complementary and faithful witnesses to their common Author.

    We believe that all people have sinned against God and are in need of salvation.

    We believe in the historical incarnation of Jesus Christ as fully God and fully man. We believe in the historical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which we are saved and reconciled to God.

    We believe that God is directly involved in the lives of people today through acts of redemption, personal transformation, and answers to prayer.
    We believe that God typically sustains the world using faithful, consistent processes that humans describe as "natural laws." Yet we also affirm that God works outside of natural law in supernatural events, including the miracles described in Scripture. In both natural and supernatural ways, God continues to be directly involved in creation and in human history.

    We believe that the methods of science are an important and reliable means to investigate and describe the world God has made. In this, we stand with a long tradition of Christians for whom Christian faith and science are mutually hospitable. Therefore, we reject ideologies such as Materialism and Scientism that claim science is the sole source of knowledge and truth, that science has debunked God and religion, or that the physical world constitutes the whole of reality.

    We believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life over billions of years. God continues to sustain the existence and functioning of the natural world, and the cosmos continues to declare the glory of God. Therefore, we reject ideologies such as Deism that claim the universe is self-sustaining, that God is no longer active in the natural world, or that God is not active in human history.

    We believe that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Thus, evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes. Therefore, we reject ideologies that claim that evolution is a purposeless process or that evolution replaces God.

    We believe that God created humans in biological continuity with all life on earth, but also as spiritual beings. God established a unique relationship with humanity by endowing us with his image and calling us to an elevated position within the created order.

    We believe that conversations among Christians about controversial issues of science and faith can and must be conducted with humility, grace, honesty, and compassion as a visible sign of the Spirit’s presence in Christ’s body, the Church.
     
  5. Havensdad

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    That is simply not true. He said, I am quoting here, that a man should not write for the first "2/3" of his ministry. Absurd (no one can say when "2/3" of their ministry is..they might die the next day)

    That is elderly. Say a man goes into the pastorate at 25 (young for a pastor), and stays in the ministry until he is 70 (I would say till death, but let's be conservative).

    70-25= 45

    45 * 2/3 = 30

    30 + 25 = 55

    So the youngest would be 55 years old. Now, we can quibble over 5 years (whether or not those 5 years are "elderly"...I would say 55 is elderly), but just about everyone would agree that a person talking about "55 and older" is talking about elderly folks, and everyone (even the P.C. U.N.) would agree that 60+ is elderly.

    So, I stand by my statement. Keller says only elderly pastors should write books.
     
  6. quantumfaith

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    http://biologos.org/questions/evolution-and-the-fall

    Genetic evidence shows that humans descended from a group of several thousand individuals who lived about 150,000 years ago. This conflicts with the traditional view that all humans descended from a single pair who lived about 10,000 years ago. While Genesis 2-3 speaks of the pair Adam and Eve, Genesis 4 refers to a larger population of humans interacting with Cain. One option is to view Adam and Eve as a historical pair living among many 10,000 years ago, chosen to represent the rest of humanity before God. Another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an allegory in which Adam and Eve symbolize the large group of ancestors who lived 150,000 years ago. Yet another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an “everyman” story, a parable of each person’s individual rejection of God. BioLogos does not take a particular view and encourages scholarly work on these questions.
     
  7. Havensdad

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    I am aware of there statement of faith. If I say "I built my house in six days," and you tell me you believe me, but then turn around to another guy, and say, "It took him two years...I just know it...look at those boards...they are weathered," then you DON'T believe me. No matter what you say. Words have meaning.

    A person that says they believe in the infallibility and inerrancy of scripture, and then denies that same scripture, is speaking out of both sides of their mouth.
     
  8. Havensdad

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    Sure they do. They have two different options, both of which are allegorical and symbolic....neither of which are what the text, or Jesus, actually says/said.
     
  9. Aaron

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    For completely unrelated reasons, I pretty much agree. Young pastors are novices for the most part, and don't have the humility, experience or maturity needed to write much that is meaningful.

    There are exceptions.
     
  10. Havensdad

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    If they do not have humility, experience, and maturity, they have no business being a pastor.

    It takes much more experience, humility, and maturity (biblically defined) to preach and lead a church, than it does to write a book. Plenty of people that are none of those things, can fake it, and write a good book. Its much harder to live your life with other people who are holding you accountable.

    By the way, Kellers humanistic qualifications not only eliminates the vast majority of reformed writings in church history (such as Calvin and the Institutes), it would also eliminate books of the Bible (the book of James, for instance).
     
    #10 Havensdad, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2013
  11. JonC

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    I take it that you believe Keller is trying to argue from scripture without offering any (i.e., that he is saying it is wrong for young pastors to write books). Reading the interview, I get the impression that he is giving an opinion and expressing advice based perhaps on his own experience as a pastor and author. If this is the case, then it explains why there is no scripture offered and it is not out of the ordinary or unusual. This was an interview, not a sermon or debate.

    I actually agree with his suggestions to young pastors: “write essays and chapters, not books yet. Hone your craft through short pieces of occasional writing…Writing a whole book takes an enormous amount of energy ant time, especially the first one(s). But as a younger man you aren’t being fair to your family or your church if you are giving the book the time it warrants. And you aren’t being fair to the reading public if you don’t. This way you can prepare for writing your first book later.”

    I am not an author - but as an avid reader, I think this very good advice. Too often I have stumbled upon, and purchased, books by authors who have not "honed their craft." I think it is also good advice as young pastors probably need to focus solely on their ministries in the early stages. They have to balance ministry and family - I think that it is probably a sign of something being neglected if they have the time, but not the experience, to write a book. But, like Keller, this is only an opinion.
     
  12. go2church

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    Sure there are exceptions, but for the most part, young pastors need seasoning. Also, what are they writing about should be considered. A "this is what happened" book would be one thing compared to a "this is what you should do book".
     
  13. Aaron

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    They're not called "elders" for nothing. Again, there is an exception or two, but you're right, young people have no business pastoring.
     
  14. JohnDeereFan

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    Anything with BioLogos has absolutely zero credibility with me, but I have to admit that there is a disturbing trend of young preachers out there now trying to make a name for themselves.

    We live in a culture that worships youth and that's starting to creep into the church, whereas the NT says we're to look to the elderly saints and emulate them.
     
  15. Havensdad

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    I think that is a concern, but I also think we need to be very careful. A person who is doing a lot of writing and such, is not necessarily trying to make "a name for themselves." Some just see a lot of stuff that needs to be addressed, that isn't being addressed and are trying to fill a void.
     
  16. Havensdad

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    1Ti_4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.


    I think really young guys should not be pastors, simply because they have not had the necessary training in the scriptures, and mentoring by other pastors.

    It is silly to put a number on it, but for the sake of argument, I would say between 25 and 30. Certainly not 55.
     
  17. Havensdad

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    I believe in the doctrine of sufficiency. Scripture is sufficient for instructing a pastor on what he should and should not be doing. And a lot of brilliant authors, with something important to say, may now be going, "You know what, my hero Tim Keller said I should wait."

    Then they get hit by a bus at 45. If the church had followed Keller's advice throughout history, most of the great works that we have today, would NEVER have been produced. Calvin's Institutes, or heck, the Book of James!

    Keller has a responsibility as a pastor to guard his tongue. His statements were humanistic, unbiblical, and silly.

    I disagree with the humanistic way that this is being reasoned. Worldly wisdom is useless in determining what a pastor should, or should not be doing.

    But even if we were going to make such silly, blanket assertions, you could just as easily say it the other way. "Old men should not write books. Write books when you are young and have energy. Write books when you are still burning with passion about new ideas." Even, "Your not being fair to your family and church to write books as an older man. A younger man has the energy to be spread out in many different activities. But as an older man, you need to guard your time, for the sake of your family and ministry."

    It is humanistic reasoning, that makes teaching in a book, different from teaching face to face. Writing IS ministry.

    Keller's "advice" is humanistic. It is also irresponsible. He makes some fairly dogmatic assertions in that article.

    Again, anyone can come up with humanistic reasons to do, or not do anything. Our authority should be scripture, and when it comes to ministry, a public figure like Keller has the responsibility not to influence younger pastors away from ministries they have been called to. Again, teaching through writing IS ministry. The Bible makes no distinction. Paul's most important teachings were writings.

    And a book takes exactly as much time as you want it to...it doesn't take anymore time than posting on forums, like this. Now, if you want to finish it in a week, I guess it would take a lot of your time.

    Again, the point of my article is the humanistic way he answered the question. Scripture is the guide for various ministry work, not some guru's worldly wisdom. He could have given all kinds of scripture. He didn't, because it did not say what he wanted to say.
     
    #17 Havensdad, Dec 21, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2013
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    so why dont you pick up the phone & call Keller....he is in NY. your buddy LUKE advised me to drive 65 miles to go to Keller each week as a credible Minister of the Faith. If he is that credible, Im sure he would be willing to dialog with you.
     
    #18 Earth Wind and Fire, Dec 21, 2013
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  19. quantumfaith

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    That is a great idea EWF.

    II Kings 12:8

    8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
     
  20. Havensdad

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    Well, my "buddy" Luke was wrong. Keller continually drops the ball. I am so tired of people giving others a pass (not saying that this is what Luke is doing; I don't know), just because they are "on our side."

    I'm quite sure Keller is not interested in talking with me.
     

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