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Thanks for the helpful post. I did not read it all, but looked some relevant sections from Rev. Keller’s article. I first noted that the prominence of the complementarian / egalitarian as a dividing line is borrowed from the author(s) of the model whose diagram he appropriates and builds on. Undoubtedly this issue was important for Rev. Keller; as you note TGC is in Zone 2. However I would submit that the primary set of dividing lines between 2 and 3 in his mind comes where he describes the leadership of the new movement as multi ethnic and multi traditional (multi nodal seems less a description and more a way the new leadership should function). He seems to be saying that movements led by ‘few older white men’ initially with others then invited would not work. Dispensing with complementarianism as a movement boundary would fall within that broader context rather than being the primary concern. 

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I like Russell Moore and Tim Keller, yet can't help but think any strategy that involves creeping leftward (right on Keller's diagram) enough to throw the fundamentalists overboard, so the rest of conservative (?) protestantism looks appealing again to today's culture is pathetically misguided.

As Jordan Peterson says, we need to "grow some teeth". I'm all for diplomacy, and God knows there are plenty of Christians who are obnoxious just for their own ego's sake, but we have to play some offense, too, even if - God forbid - someone gets offended sometimes. Considering how far our once Christian culture has slid, isn't that obvious??

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Anti-fundamentalism is arguably the greatest temptation that Satan uses to persuade educated Christians to apostasize. Through Anti-Fundamentalism we will come to worry more about what The Atlantic thinks of us than about what the Scriptures say about us.

Hebrews 13:13: Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured.

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I trotted away from evangelicalism twenty years ago and have given it little thought until recently. It has apparently become the hot mess that was brewing when I had to take my leave.

Nothing new under the sun. The liberalizing evangelical theologians quoted here sound like the kind of people who would have been smoking pipes, wearing amulets, growing out their sideburns, and hanging felt banners in UCC sanctuaries circa 1973. Dalrock poked a lot gentler fun at them than they deserved.

There’s good news, though. This proposed divorce of the Mainline 2.0 Evangelicals from those “Zone 1” people? It won’t be contested.

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Forgive me, but this is far too esoteric for me. Whatever terms are being devised; complementarianism, egalitarianism, new Calvinism, Big Eva, the Scriptures are very clear on the roles of men and women in the church. Everything else is from the Evil One.

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This is all so monotonously predictable. Keller seemed to be doing in the last book what he always seemed to do--triangulate. That was Bill Clinton's strategy--and it helped him win elections. There's a story that is worth looking into on Moore. He had been on the editorial masthead of Touchstone Magazine, then mysteriously disappeared from it. (Touchstone is more than complementarian--it's patriarchal.) I happen to know that some of the editors there were never comfortable with him from the start. The impression I have of him at a distance is he's a climber. I've wondered the same about Alastair Roberts.

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founding

Rev. Wiley, the Coda quote from Keller makes me think that we can't be cynical about Keller, et al. Aaron's writings here have persuaded me that the pursuit of power and "climbing" is essential to action in the world. Personally, I think a strategy for evangelical engagement that focuses less on otherwise important divisions, like comp v. egal, can make sense in the negative world. Given that Christian egals are committed to traditional marriage, the natural family, and, well, heteronormativity, that is more significant than the details of how the relationship between a husband and wife is structured. Again - for certain purposes, namely public engagement as Christians.

I think there's a Rennian case for sympathy with the Keller-Moore strategy, that is, for inhabiting zone 2b or 3a (whichever one was for complementarians :) ). The other piece is distinguishing anti-fundamentalism from anti-political conservatism. Keller and Moore don't do that much, but that is not hard for us intellectual conservatives to do! Fundamentalism, as evidenced in separatism, close-mindedness, etc. is something Aaron avoids by being involved in so much outside of Christendom and that your books, like The Household and the War for the Cosmos demonstrates in its reading of pagan literature. In short, I think we should be on board with continuing to distinguish our evangelicalism from fundamentalism, and I do think there's a Rennian, negative world case for the first as well.

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"Given that Christian egals are committed to traditional marriage, the natural family, and, well, heteronormativity..."

I think one very valid concern is whether we should be appending the phrase "... for now" to the above statement. There really does seem to be a one-way ratchet in operation here.

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founding
Jul 17, 2023·edited Jul 17, 2023

Agreed. Tim Keller and Russell Moore seem more interested in gaining influence than preaching the unvarnished truth of scripture.

The web version of First Things (07-06-23) had a good article recently, "Why Conservatives Keep Bending the Knee to Gay Rights“ by Clement J. Harrold. Here's a quote from it:

"Beaten down by our pagan culture’s evangelism, many of us have been bullied or cajoled into accepting the new status quo. As the historian Christopher Dawson observed, man’s communitarian instinct is stronger than his humanitarian impulse. Human beings love to be liked, and conservatives are no exception."

Pretty good description of Keller's and Moore's acceptance of the new status quo.

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The situation with both the SBC and the PCA has been encouraging recently.

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Re the Coda: Not quite sure what Keller was saying when he talked about openly entering a field of competition that has rules of the game that are opposed to the words of Jesus. Is his final paragraph a claim that if we do it the right way, we will not be opposed to the words of Jesus? Or is he just Machiavellian in his goal of influencing evangelicalism?

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author

I think he's saying that we can't deny the nature of the competition, while, at the same time, there are ethical standards that Christians must abide by in competing.

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