Hey Kell--Thanks for engaging. You deserve a response. I see your comments on my Twitter account here and there and I’m sorry I don’t have the ability to engage more. I’m not sure you’ll be happy with my response, but I don’t want you to think I ignore what you say. 1/9
1st, as to this idea (that nontheists are incapable of nontransactional love) being offensive—I hope you will agree that most truths usually offend someone. So if a statement is offensive that doesn’t really speak to its truth or falsity. 2/9
2nd, as to this idea being ‘completely false’. Edwards’ “The Nature of True Virtue” is a highly sophisticated philosophical text. It contains no Biblical references—it relies on philosophical reasoning. It is basically an Augustinian argument. 3/9
You have to build your life on some supreme love, some one non-negotiable commitment that precedes and judges all other loves & commitments. What will that be? If it is your family then all other relationships will be transactional-you stay in them as long as it benefits your 4/9
...family. If, as in the secular West, your ultimate commitment is your individual fulfillment, then you stay in relationships as long as it benefits you individually. If it is your racial group, then you relate to all other racial groups only transactionally. 5/9
Edwards then argues that God is the one being who doesn’t love transactionally. There’s nothing we can give him that he needs. He saves us freely, forgives & adopts us. That’s real love. And when this non-transactional love becomes our greatest source of affirmation & identity 6
then we can love equally all he has created non-transactionally. We won’t prefer our race over other races, our individual self-interest over other’s interests, because we don’t need to any more. It’s a very powerful philosophical argument, but in the process, Edwards agrees 7/9
...that God enables nontheists to be capable of great good and love. It’s the doctrine of “common grace” namely, that sin makes believers less good than their supposedly right doctrines should make them, and the image of God in non-believers makes them more virtuous and wise than
their wrong beliefs about God should make them. So in the end, I think Edwards argument is right and hard to refute. But he explains why nontheists are capable of love too. 9/9

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @timkellernyc

13 Nov
With respect, you are misinterpreting me, @Phil_Johnson_. I hope this will clarify. If I am understanding you (and Im not sure I am) you seem to be reading the tweets as claiming that I personally do not tell people that they are sinning. But that can't be maintained in light 1/5
...of the over 1,400 sermons I have out there in one form or another. Anyone listening to them or reading them would see that I speak to listeners about their sin and about God’s wrath consistently. This interesting article talks about this - desiringgod.org/articles/is-ti…. 2/5
So I couldn’t possibly have meant what you assert--that no one should ever tell another person they are sinning. The saying--that no one ever learned they were a sinner by being told--was a paraphrase of something I read in a John Newton letter years ago. As a Calvinist...3/5
Read 5 tweets
10 Nov
Some say: ‘To do the work of the gospel is to work for justice & peace in the world.’ But Jesus’ primary mission on earth was not to change the social order but to save us from sin. That creates a people who, in any place they reside, will can have a transforming influence on 1/6
...the goodness and justness of the political and social order. (See Tom Holland’s Dominion.)

J.I.Packer says, ‘The gospel does bring us solutions to these problems, but it does so by first solving-the deepest of all human problems, the problem of man’s relationship with his 2/6
Maker, & unless we make it plain that the solution for these former problems depends on the settling of this latter one, we are misrepresenting the message and becoming false witnesses of God.’

In The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis has a senior devil writing to a junior devil 3/6
Read 6 tweets
6 Nov
Thank you all so much for continuing to pray for me during my treatment for pancreatic cancer. God has been very gracious in answering those prayers, and my most recent CT scans last Monday showed more improvement. My doctor is both surprised and delighted that 1/3
...I am able to tolerate the continued high level of chemotherapy with relatively few side effects (they are there, but not as debilitating as they could be) as well as having such a strong therapeutic response.

Those, of course, are the two things we asked people to pray for! 2
All praise belongs to God, who has been merciful and generous in caring for us both physically and spiritually. Please, if you are willing, continue to pray. 3/3
Read 4 tweets
31 Oct
As anyone knows who has listened to my preaching over the years, I have always, incessantly,  equally critiqued the positions of the Left and the Right, not one more than the other. To claim that I am mainly a proponent of one side or the other is amply refuted by looking at 1/6
at my books and sermons. 

But I deny that this is middle-of-the-road centrism. The gospel critiques all ideologies, & all the main political platforms since the Enlightenment have been dominated by reductionism and idols. (See David Koyzis, Political Visions and Illusions.) 2/6
Those who deny this are unaware of the genealogy of their own political thought. (See Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue and Whose Justice? Which Rationality?) 

Ideologies force “ethical package deals” on Christians. (See James Mumford, Vexed: Ethics Beyond Political Tribes.) 3/6
Read 6 tweets
18 Oct
I haven't seen a lot of negative criticism with the last article that came out a few weeks ago. Here's a thought: when someone uses biblical justice to critique the ideologies of both the political Right and Left, they are often assumed to be centrist or a moderate who is 1/6
...looking for a “middle way” that is neutral or just “above it all.”

But Christopher Watkin argues that Christianity “diagonalizes” its alternatives. “To diagonalize a choice…is to refuse the two (or more) alternatives it offers and elaborate a position that is neither 2/6
...reducible nor utterly unrelated to them.” (Thinking Through Creation, P&R, 2017, 28) To “diagonalize” is not to find a mid-point on the spectrum. It is a position off the spectrum, yet one that addresses the concerns of those on the spectrum.

In Romans, Paul pointed to... 3/6
Read 7 tweets
25 Sep
Its here! But first a summary of the main argument of the last two articles in my series on justice.

1) If you think talk of oppressive social systems or white advantage automatically makes you a Marxist, then you may be a secular individualist who reduces everything to...1/4
...result of personal choices & you may be more indebted to Hume, Mill & Hayek than to the Bible.

2) If you think a sharp critique of Critical Race Theory automatically makes you a white supremacist, then you may be a secular collectivist who reduces everything to the result 2/4
...of group struggle and power, and you may be more indebted to Rousseau, Marx & Foucault than to the Bible.

The churches in every nation of the world have the same struggles that we do. First, how to maintain their biblical and theological independence from their... 3/4
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!