Tim Keller and Contemplative Prayer

by Mike Ratliff

19 καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, 20 τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται· 21 οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ, ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. (2 Peter 1:19-21 NA27)

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic Word to which you do well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing first that every prophecy of scripture is not of ones own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever brought by the will of man at any time, but men spoke from God being carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

In yesterday’s post, Is Contemplative Prayer Christian?, we nailed down the fact that genuine Christian prayer is not the same thing as Contemplative Prayer. In fact, Contemplative Prayer is just Eastern Mysticism labeled with Christian words to make it more acceptable to people who aren’t doctrinally educated. It is similar to what some post-modern so-called evangelicals do with the word “Gospel.” To us it is the account of Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross to be propitiation for those he came to save. Therefore, it is the “good news” because those who believe in the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Saviour have their sins forgiven before our Holy God. However, to the post-modern so-called evangelical, the word “gospel,” more often than not, takes on a liberal connotation such as transforming a society. In this post we will take a look at one of these post-modern church leaders named Tim Keller who not only practices this sort of neo-liberalism, but is a proponent of Contemplative Prayer and has been for quite some time.

To make a charge like this we need to start by stating the case that Contemplative Prayer is not Christian and we did that here. Next, we need to show clear evidence that Tim Keller is an unabashed advocate of Contemplative Prayer or CSM. I have two sets of proof for that. The first will require you to do a bit of reading, but I know you are up to it. It is an 18-page PDF file that you will find below. Don’t worry, the evidence is right there on the first few pages.

Tim Keller Teaching Contemplative Prayer in 2000

The second part of our evidence are some audio files which are part of a sermon/teaching series done by Tim Keller which actually preceded the teaching from the outline above. Below are links to the audio files to the series. Pray for discernment before listening.


Meditation How to Start

Meditation and Affective Prayer

Meditation – What it is

Meditation, Affection, Contemplation (2)


That’s it for now. Compare all of that with the clear teaching from God’s Word as we saw in yesterday’s post and then take this disparity to the Lord in real prayer. Remember, a few days ago I posted an article on that slippery slope of death that professing Christians find themselves on when they abandon Sola Scriptura. CSM is closely related for Tim Keller and others who are saying it is Christian, when it is clearly not Biblical, are doing so outside of the context of Sacred Scripture, therefore, they have taken the liberal approach to handling God’s Word, in other words, they have abandoned Sola Scriptura even when they use all the right words in their sermons, et cetera. As we have seen, they do not mean the same thing we mean with words such as “Gospel” and “Prayer.”

With all discernment and wisdom, take what you have learned before the throne of Grace and obey the Lord in this. His will be done.

Soli Deo Gloria!

9 thoughts on “Tim Keller and Contemplative Prayer

  1. Pingback: Around Town: Week in Review ~ (From Christ Subordinate?, Dr. Stanley & Tim Keller, Evangelical Landscape to SGM Updates « The Reformed Traveler

  2. One Church…One Bride…Wheat among Tares…A few Sheep among many Goats…Good Servants among many wicked servants…A Bride among many whores…Wise Virgins along with foolish virgins and all asleep…a producing Fruit Tree among an orchard of nothing but leaves, ah but there appears to be so much life in those trees, yet no fruit, just leaves that will soon be cut off at the root!
    “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. his calling beckons me from heaven’s open Door, and I cannot feel at home in this world anymore…”


  3. Mickey, I had a long conversation with Ken yesterday about the content of this post and we both expressed pretty much the same exasperation with the utter blindness and stubborn refusal to listen in the majority of what calls itself “christianity.” When men like Perry Noble and Tim Keller and Rob Bell can be taken seriously and be considered “christian leaders” then something is very much amiss. I do think post-moderist thinking has contaminated deeply into the visible church and that means deep spiritual blindness, hard hearts, and deliberate hatred of what God calls good while loving what He calls evil. Yep, I am ready to check out.


  4. Thank you for covering this Brother Ratliff…..Keller’s methodology is a big indicator of what his theology is. The fact that most Christians can’t see the inconsistencies of that theology against the word of God is indicative of who most of the institutionalized church really belongs to….

    Stay on the wall brother….


  5. Thank you, Mike, for your continued faithful exposure of the truth. I want you to know that I do pray for you. And Ken. I get so weary just dealing with my own daily exposure to this utter blindness that you describe. It is just unbelievable. But you and Ken are steeped in this so much more so than I, and committed to exposing the Truth so that we can learn from you. Praise God for the few men who are still willing to stand on the wall and continue. Thank you. And take heart, for He has overcome the world!


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