Answers in Genesis Takes On Pastor Tim Keller

Answers in Genesis Takes On Pastor Tim Keller

Brannon Howse:         Welcome to the program.  Glad you are with us.  Well, we are in Ames, Iowa, as we’re now headed toward Des Moines, Iowa, where we’ll speak tonight to a group of young people, and then tomorrow morning the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, so we’re looking forward to that.

                                    We’re going to have on here with us a wonderful guest who is with Answers in Genesis.  And Terry, Dr. Terry, is coming on to discuss really what was written by Tim Keller on the website of BioLogos a few – well, not too long ago.  I don’t know the exact date but not too long ago.  And it’s interesting because just yesterday alone, Al Mohler had a great article on BioLogos.  It was called “Throwing the Bible Under the Bus,” and it was dealing with the fact that BioLogos does not take the word of God seriously in regards to what they teach.  And they’re throwing the Bible under the bus.  And my concern, of course, is that someone like Tim Keller, who is so revered in the evangelical camp and evangelical circles being orthodox, I contend he’s really not, not when he’s promoting on his website mysticism, contemplative prayer; not when he’s promoting social justice or redistribution of wealth through his Generous Justice book and promoting theistic evolution.

                                    Now, again, we can agree or disagree on some of these issues and not be claiming the person’s not a believer.  That’s not what I’m saying.  But I think it’s very dangerous when people who are thought to be very much orthodox and they’re not as orthodox as many people think because they haven’t studied these things.  And when I tell some of his fans what Keller believes, a lot of them are shocked.  They’re like, “Really?  I had no clue.  I just know he’s really straight on the fundamentals of the faith.”  Well, great.

                                    And as I said before, that probably is – in some respects makes him a little more dangerous to the church than someone like a Tony Campolo, who it’s clear what he is.  He’s a radical.  But when someone with the credibility of a Tim Keller starts to embrace I believe mysticism and theistic evolution and social justice, redistribution of wealth, bigger government, government programs, that is a serious problem.

Well, let’s discuss this article that he’s written with Dr. Terry of Answers in Genesis.  And his name is Dr. Terry Mortenson.  As I said, he’s on staff with Answers in Genesis.  And we’ll also discuss the article that’s brand new.  It just came out yesterday, April 19, by Dr. Al Mohler.  “Throwing the Bible Under the Bus.”  That gets into BioLogos.

Dr. Terry, welcome to broadcast.  Thank you for joining us, sir.

Brannon Howse:         Well, you've read the article.  I called you and talked to you this morning.  You've read the article by Tim Keller on theistic evolution.  The article is titled “A Creation Evolution and Christian Laypeople,” and within the first paragraph he mentions Ken Ham.  You've read the article.  I’m sure you've highlighted some things.  I’m sure you've got some notes.  Tell us your thoughts on this article, will you?

Brannon Howse:         Well, let’s go through the article.  I suppose you've marked certain things and made some notes about some of the bigger points that you want to bring up.  Let me just let you go through and give an analysis of the article, what he said, and then let you respond to each point you bring up.

Brannon Howse:         I agree.  And he says, “Many believe that a high view of the Bible does not demand belief in just one account of origins.  They argue that we do not have to choose between an anti-science religion or an anti-religious science.  Can you hold the biblical creation – this is a theoretical question.  I know the answer.  Can you hold the biblical creation and be somehow anti-science, as he seems to be implying here?

Brannon Howse:         Well, in science, strictly speaking, the definition is observation and repeatable experiment.  And as you correctly said –

Brannon Howse:         So let’s take the fact that he has a problem with Genesis 1.  He’s not taking Genesis 1 literal, but he says Genesis 2 is historical.  Why would someone say Genesis 1 is not literal?  I mean, it seems pretty literal.  You've got birds flying in the air.  You've got fish swimming in the ocean.  He goes on to say that the way that creation is created, the order doesn’t make sense; and, therefore, it couldn’t be the way that God would have done it, as if he can know the mind of God.

But take on the fact that he’s saying Genesis 1 is not literal.

Brannon Howse:         Well, what do you make of – he says, “Perhaps the strongest” – Tim Keller says, “Perhaps the strongest argument for the view that the author of Genesis 1 did not want to be taken literally is a comparison of the order of creative acts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.”  How do you answer him on that?

Brannon Howse:         Well, when we come back from the break, I want to get into some of your other concerns about the article, including the fact that in his model, you have – he has suffering and death before the fall.  I suppose you saw that in there, right?

Brannon Howse:         So we should definitely touch on that.  And then we can touch on the article by Al Mohler, yesterday’s article by Al Mohler, talking abut another guy, Professor Gilberson – or Giberson, a writing at CNN’s Belief Blog, and he talks about the whole book of Genesis not being something we can trust.

Again, why would someone like Tim Keller be giving credibility to BioLogos Foundation?  ______ when we’ve read that it’s gotten money from the Templeton Foundation.  Why are our own evangelicals, leaders who are so admired, giving credibility to the religious Trojan horse?  We’ll be right back.


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Welcome back to the program.  Glad you’re with us.  Brannon Howse here.  On the road in Ames, Iowa, just north of Des Moines, Iowa.  We’ll be getting into Des Moines this afternoon and speaking for a youth conference tonight and a reception for the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Governor’s Prayer Breakfast or the Iowa Prayer Breakfast. 

I don’t know if it’s called the Governor’s or not.  I know the governor is supposed to be there, lieutenant and several others.  I think it used to be the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.  I think they just now call it the Iowa Prayer Breakfast.  But nonetheless, it’s the 50th anniversary of that, and that’s tomorrow morning.  But there’s a teen event tonight where – for young people, and I’ll speak to that.  And then the prayer breakfast tomorrow morning.  And then head home ten hours to Memphis.

And I must say I’m sorry to those of you in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  I lived up in Minnesota for many years, but I am very ready to get home to Memphis in the 80-plus degree weather after the snow the last two days.  I don’t know how you do it.  I did it for a lot of years.  I guess you do it when you have to, right.  But once I moved South and enjoyed that once again, which is where I was from originally – but after being up in Minnesota for so many years and going South again and living there, it’s – you guys are a rugged group of people.  And I was as rugged as you were once, but I’ve become very, very soft.  I have to admit that.

All right.  Joining me on the phone now is Dr. Terry Mortenson.  He is with Answers in Genesis.  And we’re talking about this article by Tim Keller, well-known evangelical pastor Tim Keller, writing for the BioLogos Foundation and his belief that Genesis 1 is not literal, God used evolution, and all the other problems that come up.  And interesting, Al Mohler has an article yesterday throwing the Bible under the bus, and he goes after BioLogos.

Dr. Terry, your website is, correct?

Brannon Howse:  Let’s pick up Page 11, second to last paragraph.  This is Keller writing.  “But there is another question that looms over others.  In this model, how could there have been suffering and death before the fall?  Some answer may be in the second verse of the Bible where we are told that ‘the earth was without form’ and was filled with darkness and chaos.”

“Most traditional ______ believe that God initially made the world in this ‘formless state’ and then proceeded to subdue the disorder through the creative process of separation, elaboration and development depicted in Genesis 1.  However, in this traditional interpretation, means that there was no perfect order and peace in creation from this first moment.  Also, Satan seems to have been present in the world before the fall.  What makes us think that Satan and demons were not in the world before the serpent appears?”

“One of the biggest unanswered and unanswerable theological questions is what was Satan doing there?  By definition, if Satan was somewhere in the world, it was not at all a perfect place.”

So it seems that he’s buying in the idea that there – we have millions of years before Adam and Eve, and then we’ve got death, disease and dying before the fall.  Is that what he’s saying here, doctor?

Brannon Howse:         So in other words, if he is adding to the text, saying that the earth was filled with darkness and chaos, which we don’t find in the scriptures –

Brannon Howse:         So when he’s adding the word “chaos” on his own, that becomes a real problem because you’re saying that’s not in the text at all.

Brannon Howse:         What other issues, as you were reading through this, grabbed you?  I mean, you said there’s a lot, so let’s continue rattling them off because I’m really enjoying your critique of this.

Brannon Howse:         Why would a pastor, who is so conservative on defending essential Christian doctrines, why would a pastor want to believe this?  Why would he not say, “I want to read more books and study and debate guys and let iron sharpen iron”?  Why would he seem to be committed to this view?  What do you think causes pastors today to want to accept this view?  Is it because they want to be accepted by the culture?

Brannon Howse:         Do you think a guy like Keller, in some ways because he is so revered among conservative evangelicals, in some ways is more – can do more harm and is more dangerous than, say, someone like a Tony Campolo or a Jim Wallace or name another liberal that’s out there?  Do you think some ways those guys are clearly identified as what they are, and so people steer away from them, but when a guy is sound on the fundamentals and yet embraces social justice and theistic evolution and some mysticism, that that in regards makes him probably makes him more dangerous than the radicals?

Brannon Howse:         Hold right there, Dr. Terry Mortenson.  I’m Brannon Howse.  We’ll be back with more of this incredible interview.  Don’t go away.



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Welcome back to the program.  Glad you’re with us.  Brannon Howse here.  Our website is

Dr. Terry Mortenson is joining us with Answers in Genesis, and we’ve been having a great conversation.  We can only keep him a few more minutes.  He has a presentation to do at the Creation Museum.  And we’re going to run through a few more materials – items here in our materials, and then we’ll open the phone lines up after he leaves.

Finish your thought before we go into the break.  You were talking about a very important topic and wanted you to finish.  Go right ahead.

Brannon Howse:         Absolutely.  How about this one here, he says on Page 12, Keller does, “On any view, the idea of having dominion and subduing the earth meant that creation was at least highly undeveloped even before the fall.  The world was not yet in the shape God wanted it to be.  Human beings were to work with God to cultivate and develop it.”  What’s wrong with that?

Brannon Howse:         How about this?  “The physical world now groans under disintegration because human beings have failed to be God’s stewards of creation.  Greater natural evil is combined with human moral evil to create a dark, chaotic world indeed.  The world will finally be renewed and become all it was designed to be only when we finally become all we should be through the work of the second Adam.” 

Wow.  That seems to be loaded for bear to me with maybe potentially some dominion theology on his part, some –

Brannon Howse:         So would you agree with me – please and feel free to disagree if it’s not – isn’t what you’re getting from what he just – what I just read by Keller because I think what I’m reading here is he believes then in dominion theology, that we’ve got to do our part to restore creation.

Brannon Howse:         I agree.  I agree with that interpretation.  Now, before I let you go – we’ve got about a minute and a half and I’m going to let you go – you read the Al Mohler commentary that he wrote yesterday, right?

Brannon Howse:         What do you make of that?

Brannon Howse:         You know what’s interesting here, Dr. Terry, is that Al Mohler being more – you know, obviously reformed theology, Keller being from the reformed theology camp, these two guys are followed by many of the same people, but they’re coming at totally different conclusions on BioLogos.

Brannon Howse:         Well, indeed it is.  Well, Dr. Terry Mortenson, thank you for your ministry at Answers in Genesis.  I need to have you back on.  Before – I’ve never had you on before.  May I say in as complimentary fashion as I can, you are very intelligent.  You have a great gift.  You’re very good at communicating.  I really appreciate that.

You’re from a – from the standpoint of a talk show host, you’re an excellent guest, and I will definitely getting you back on.  Thank you so much because you’re the kind of guest I know our audience loves because you’re very thorough.  You describe things in layman terms, but you’re very thorough.  And God has blessed Answers in Genesis to be able to have you on their staff.  Thank you, sir.

Brannon Howse:         Well, we are all.  Well, all of us that place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ through faith and repentance.  But nonetheless, we appreciate the spiritual gifts and the intellectual gifts God’s giving you and that you’re using them for his honor and his glory to defend the authority of scripture and that you're so gracious in doing so, even when it comes to being – with the topic of one of our most well-known evangelical leaders like Tim Keller.

So thank you, sir.  I know you need to run and get ready for a presentation at the museum.  So you have a wonderful day and thank you again for joining us.

Brannon Howse:         Bye-bye.  Dr. Terry Mortenson with Answers in Genesis, and we’ll open up the phone lines for you to get onboard with your comment and/or question.  The phone number here is 1-800-347-9829, 1-800, 347-9829.  Again, 1-800-347-9829.

And while you’re getting onboard, let me just read for you a couple of paragraphs of the article by Al Mohler that we have linked on the homepage at  It was written just yesterday, so how interesting that we started talking about this on Monday with this article about BioLogos being written by Pastor Tim Keller.  And then here is Al Mohler writing on Tuesday, throwing the Bible under the bus.

And the subtitle of the article is “Giberson and Collins reveal their true understanding of biblical inspiration when they locate it, not in the authority of the text at all – or, not in the authorship of the text at all, but in the modern act of reading the text.”

And he starts out his article by saying, “In his 1996 novel, In the Beauty of the Lilies, John Updike told of the Reverend Clarence Arthur Wilmot, the fictional pastor of New York’s Fourth Presbyterian Church, who stopped believing in God one day in 1910. On that day, the Rev. Wilmot ‘felt the last particles of his faith leave him,’ Updike wrote.”

“Rev. Wilmot’s crisis of faith was rooted in his loss of confidence in the Bible as the revealed word of god. The influence of liberal critics of the Bible had reached him even at seminary years before, and now he saw the scriptures as just another human book. In Updike’s words, the Scriptures were ‘one more human volume, more curious than most, but the work of men – of Jews in dirty sheepskins, rotten-toothed desert tribesmen with eyes rolled heavenward, men like flies on flypaper caught fast in a historic time, among the myths and conceptions belonging to the childhood of mankind.”

Mohler continues, “Updike’s brilliant accurate depiction of the liberal approach to the Bible remains shocking.  The Higher Critics, as the liberal scholars were then known” – that would of course be some of the Higher Criticism that also came out of Germany, “did indeed see the authors of the Old Testament as ‘rotten-toothed desert tribesmen’ who could not see beyond ‘myths and concepts belonging to the childhood of mankind.’”

“Well, the Reverend Clarence Arthur Wilmot was fictional, but Dr. Karl W. Giberson is not. Giberson is not a pastor, but a professor at Eastern Nazarene College near Boston. He is also a scientist involved with the BioLogos Foundation, a group committed to the defense and promotion of theistic evolution.”

And then he goes on to layout what these guys are doing.  I’ll tell you about that and take your calls when we come back.  1-800-347-9829.  1-800-347-9829.


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Welcome back to the program.  Al Mohler continuing in his article on throwing the Bible under the bus and the dangers of BioLogos.  He says, “Just recently Professor Giberson wrote an article published at CNN’s Belief Blog. In the article, Giberson claims that Jesus would believe in evolution, and that the rest of us should accept evolution as well. In the process of making his argument, Giberson castigates those who hold to a literal interpretation of Genesis for forcing the biblical text to be read as ‘a modern account of origins.’ Instead, Giberson asserts, Genesis is ‘a story that began as an oral tradition for a wandering tribe of Jews thousands of years ago.’”

Mohler says, “Sound familiar? Giberson went on to argue, ‘While Genesis contains wonderful insights into the relationship between God and the creation, it simply does not contain scientific ideas about the origin of the universe, the age of the earth or the development of life.’”

“So, according to Professor Giberson,” writes Al Mohler, “Genesis accounts – Genesis contains ‘wonderful insights’ but no authoritative revelation of how God made the universe.  Evidently, he believes that the Bible is not making a claim to historical truth when it tells of the creation and function of Adam and Eve.  ‘We now know that the human race began millions of years ago in Africa, not thousands of years ago in the Middle East, as the story in Genesis suggests,’ Giberson insists.”

“In making his case, Giberson uses the old argument that God has given humanity two books of revelation; the Bible and the created order.  This is one of Giberson’s most frequently offered arguments.  It is a theologically disastrous argument in his hands, for he allows modern naturalistic science to silence the Bible, God’s written revelation.

In another article published last year, Giberson said, ‘I am’” – this is a direct quote.  “’I am happy to concede that science does indeed trump religious truth about the natural world.’  Later he stated even more directly that ‘science does indeed trump revealed truth about the world.’”

Let me read that again, “Later he stated even more directly that ‘science does indeed trump revealed truth about the world.’”

Mohler says, “In other words, he throws the Bible under the bus. In language hauntingly reminiscent of Reverend Clarence Arthur Wilmot, Professor Giberson describes the human authors of the Old Testament as ‘ancient and uncomprehending scribes.’”

Wow.  Why, pray tell, would any pastor give credibility like Keller is doing to Logos Foundation?

Let’s go to Joseph.  Joseph in Meridian, Mississippi.  Joseph, welcome to the program.  Thank you for calling in.  Go right ahead, Joseph.

Brannon Howse:         Thank you, sir. 

Brannon Howse:         I think that’s great.  Thank you so much for calling.  Glad you’re listening down there in the state in which I was born, Mississippi.  Thank you, Joseph. 

Let’s go to Marion in Northern Minnesota.  Marion, welcome to the program.  Thank you for calling in.

Brannon Howse:         Oh, you’ll be with us in a week and a half?

Brannon Howse:         Awesome.  Boy, that’s going to be a long drive from Northern Minnesota.  You be safe.

Brannon Howse:         Well, thank you, Marion and thank you for your kind of words and letting us know the program is an encouragement to you, and that’s what we want it to be.  And I look forward to seeing you in person.  And please come up and introduce yourself as Marion from Northern Minnesota, you called on the program, and I will remember you.  And I look forward to seeing you in Branson.

Brannon Howse:         You bet.  Bye-bye.  Have a great day.  Well, folks, Al Mohler’s article is one you should read.  He concludes the article by saying this, “As they make their arguments,” meaning the guys at BioLogos that he’s talking about, “for theistic evolution, Giberson and Collins embrace a form of open theism and argue quite consistently with arguments common to BioLogos against the historicity of Adam and Eve.”

Well, Keller says he believes in Adam and Eve, but a lot of folks at BioLogos don’t believe in Adam and Eve.  He says they’re embracing a “form of open theism”.  Again, that goes back to Greg Boyd and what he’s been teaching for years.  God doesn’t know the future or chooses not to know the future.  Really God is not sovereign, God is not in control. He really doesn’t know what you’re going to do tomorrow.  He’s shocked when you do something.  “I didn’t know Brannon was going to do that.  Oh, my.”

This form of open theism is a direct attack on the word of God.  It’s a direct attack on the character and nature of God. 

I have no understanding as to why well-known evangelical pastors and well-known evangelical laypeople don’t have a problem with what Keller’s up to.  Not only in the area of theistic evolution.  Which, by the way, e-mails I get, “Well, Brannon, why should you be shocked?  The theistic evolution has actually been held to for thousands of years, and they quote people like Augustine.”  Really?  Oh, that’s great.  So that makes it legitimate now, huh?

But aside from the theistic evolution issue, there are two other major issues: his position on social justice, bigger government, redistribution of wealth.  And his teaching mysticism, which I think is the biggest issue of all on his church website at his church with Jan Johnson.  And promoting Richard Foster, a man that talked about looking back and seeing your body lying in the grass through astral travel.

It’s amazing to me what you can embrace today, and it’s not the end of your credibility.  And in fact, some of the biggest evangelical leaders will say, “I have no problems speaking with you or at a conference with you.  I think you’re wonderful.  We’ll just look past your social justice, your theistic evolution and you’re embracing of mysticism.  No big deal.” 

Well, give it another ten years and let’s see what’s no big deal to the average evangelical leader in America.  I think you’ll be shocked if the lord has not returned.

Well, that’s why I’m thankful for groups like Answers in Genesis.  Take care.

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