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The Reformed Resurgence: Tim Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Tim Keller did not follow the time-tested path to evangelical prominence. Sure, he published his first book, Ministries of Mercy, before he had even moved to Manhattan and planted Redeemer Presbyterian Church. But then he waited more than 20 years before publishing again. Boy, was he worth the wait. The Reason for God cracked The New York Times bestseller list in 2008. D. A. Carson, with whom Keller conceived The Gospel Coalition, has called The Reason for God the most significant apologetics work since C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity.
Conversing with skeptics in Manhattan has honed Keller’s skills. With offices on Broadway a mere five blocks from Times Square, Redeemer now welcomes nearly 6,000 to weekly services. Even before his writing career took off, Keller had fascinated church planters who wanted to learn the secret of his success in some of America’s toughest terrain for evangelicals. The Redeemer Church Planting Networknow seeks to launch hundreds of new churches in the largest cities around the world.
New Urban Christians
Such aggressive evangelistic initiatives are not exactly typical of Redeemer’s denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. But under Keller’s progressive influence, that reputation is changing. A denomination based largely in the South, renowned for its Reformed precision, has now developed some of the most dynamic young church leaders who want to reach cities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christianity Today has noted that 50 years from now, “if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.” To be continued.