Have I not been paying enough attention to Tim Keller or is this kind of judgmental neo-Calvinism a new thing for him?
In what I’ve read from him, I’ve never agreed with him fully (I think he has a tendency to be sloppy and to take leaps not supported by the text or the historical context), but this isn’t sloppy exegesis or logical leaps. It’s a theology of suffering that equates emotional pain with idolatry.
Ignoring the extraordinarily judgmental nature of this post towards those who suffer from anxiety and depression, Keller has created a world where feeling too deeply is idolatry.
Emotions are only okay if they are not felt too strongly. Don’t feel too much, don’t hurt too much, don’t weep too much, if you’re a godly Christian you’ll get your emotions under control.
This is beyond wrong.
Job expressed deep anguish at his losses. Jesus wept with Martha and empathized with her anguish over the death of Lazarus. The Old Testament is filled with examples of godly men and women feeling deep anger, discouragement, and pain because of what they have experienced.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Many of the Psalms are David pouring out his innermost anxieties, anger, and discouragement, his utter devastation over the trials, the pain, the loss he lived through.
We are created to feel, and to feel deeply. It’s part of what makes us human. Tim Keller is not asking us to avoid idolatry, he’s asking us to erase our humanity.