Tim Keller on being defectively orthodox

Center ChurchI have been working my way through Center Church by Timothy Keller. It is slow going because there is so much to take in and think about. I’m finding that this book challenges most of what I’ve thought about church and has validated some of the misgivings I’ve had over the years regarding the way many churches go about their business. One paragraph in particular hit a chord with me so I thought I would share it with you. Regarding “defective orthodoxy” Mr. Keller writes:

“Some churches hold to orthodox doctrines but with imbalances and a lack of proper emphasis. Many ministries spend more time defending the faith than propagating it. Or they may give an inordinate amount of energy and attention to matters such as prophecy or spiritual gifts or creation and evolution. A church may become enamored with the mechanics of ministry and church organization. There are innumerable reasons that critical doctrines of grace and justification and conversion, though strongly held, are kept “on the shelf.” They are not preached and communicated in such a way that connects to people’s lives. People see the doctrines – yet they do not see them. It is possible to get an “a” grade on a doctrinal test and describe accurately the doctrines of our salvation, yet be blind to their true implications and power. In this sense, there are plenty of orthodox churches in which the gospel must be rediscovered and then brought home and applied to people’s hearts. When this happens, nominal Christians get converted, lethargic and weak Christians become empowered, and nonbelievers are attracted to the newly beautified Christian congregation.

Timothy Keller in Center Church