Tim Keller Article Notes — “The Honors of the King”

In a March 2011 newsletter article for Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Tim Keller continues the discussion he began last month (“Backlash and Civility”). His writing addresses the question, “How does the Gospel interact with politics and the public sphere?” It’s a quick read, so do check it out here. Some notes:

  • Winston Churchill once offered to nominate C. S. Lewis for quite an honor–no less than the honorary title, “Commander of the British Empire.” However, Lewis turned the offer down. Why?
  • Though Lewis admitted in a letter to Churchill that the honor suited his personal feelings, he “knew that if Churchill, a Conservative politician, recommended him for the [honor] it would only lend credence to what people believed about the Christian faith, namely, that it was not really about truth, but was rather a tool for non-progressive political interests. Lewis refused to let a political entity reward him for Christian service, fearing it would identify Christianity too closely with one political system” (Keller).
    • That last line deserves repeating, because in any workplace where there are politics involved, Lewis’ example merits consideration: “Lewis refused to let a political entity reward him for Christian service, fearing it would identify Christianity too closely with one political system.”
    • Essentially, Lewis eschewed a coveted national honor for the sake of clearly communicating about God.
  • Because Christianity is filled with many truth claims, there is plenty for any political party to pick and choose from, which means that just about any political party can claim to be the “Christian” party.
  • Therefore, any alliance between churches and political parties should be avoided.
  • Yet “the gospel shapes all areas of life. Christians can and should be involved in government, and their Christian faith will be the driving force behind how they engage in politics as well as how they evaluate many policy issues. Also, [we believe] God’s word and often what the Bible says will have public policy implications that are direct and/or indirect. But Christians must not implicitly or explicitly identify their Christianity with political figures and parties” (Keller).



About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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