The Gospel Coalition, set up in 2007 by two eminent evangelical theologians, Dr Tim Keller and David Carson, laid out its aims and vision for ministry in two foundational documents; a Confessional Statement, written by David Carson and a Theological Vision for Ministry written by Tim Keller.
In his Vision for Ministry, Dr Tim Keller outlines a version of truth that guides the theological understanding and ministry of The Gospel Coalition. Keller propagates what he calls a ‘chastened correspondence–theory’ of truth that is less triumphalistic than that of some in the older evangelicalism. The so-called correspondence theory of truth is a philosophical construct that says ‘truth’ is whatever corresponds to reality—that is, ‘truth’ corresponds to the facts. This model goes back to some of the classical Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. It was also followed by many philosophers in the 18th and 19th centuries. But it is the biblical understanding of absolute truth.
Notice also that Dr Keller has attached the word ‘chastened’ to his theory of truth. The clear inference is that the Church should not proclaim absolute truth, as revealed in Scripture, but only a ‘chastened’ apologetic version of what may be truth. For the Church to declare absolute truth is labelled pejoratively as ‘triumphalistic’, something that should be avoided at all costs. So Christians should learn to be humble in their proclamation of truth for they may be wrong. But this is not the biblical understanding of truth. Dr Keller and The Gospel Coalition, it seems, are apologising for the absolute truth revealed in God’s Word. Our Lord prayed: ‘Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth’ (John 17.17). The Christian church is the custodian of God’s truth. According to Scripture, the Church of the living God is ‘the pillar and ground of the truth’ (1 Timothy 3.15), not of a ‘chastened theory’ of truth. It must be obvious to every believer that Keller’s version of truth is far removed from orthodox Christian thinking.
Theologian Stephen M. Cope of the Trinity Foundation explains how far Keller’s thinking has deviated from sound Reformed doctrine. His article, entitled, ‘The Gospel Coalition: The “New Calvinism’s” Attack on the Bible and Its Epistemology’, shows that The Gospel Coalition has rejected God’s Word as absolute Truth and is following a subjective version of truth that comes from flawed human thinking.
Stephen Cope’s article is essential reading for it reveals how far Dr Keller has strayed from biblical orthodoxy, and how New Calvinism is a movement based on the flawed ideas of men, not on God’s Word.
We must recognise that the flawed view of the truth, promoted by Keller and his friends in the New Calvinism movement, leads to a flawed understanding of Scripture and a flawed presentation of the Gospel. This is a vitally important issue, for The Gospel Coalition is a network that vigorously promotes the New Calvinism that is taking over evangelical Christianity in the USA and elsewhere.
You can learn more about Dr Tim Keller, Pastor Mark Driscoll and Pastor John Piper in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing. The book is available from The Metropolitan Tabernacle bookshop or from Amazon