Tim Keller Started Redeemer Church Because of Watergate

Andy Naselli —  December 29, 2011 — 5 Comments

Sort of.

  1. Tim Keller planted Redeemer Church because he entered a Presbyterian denomination that encouraged church planting.
  2. Keller entered that denomination because in his last semester at seminary he took two courses with a professor who convinced him to adopt Presbyterian theology.
  3. Keller sat under that professor because at the very last minute the professor arrived at the seminary after having bureaucratic visa problems. (The professor was British.)
  4. While that professor was having visa problems, the seminary dean prayed one day about how he didn’t know how they were going to get the professor to arrive, and his prayer partner happened to be a seminary student named Mike Ford.
  5. Mike Ford happened to have some clout to get them through the bureaucratic snag because he was the son of Gerald Ford, the sitting President of the United States.
  6. Gerald Ford was President of the United States because Richard Nixon resigned.
  7. Nixon resigned because a bunch of burglars broke into Watergate and were caught.
  8. The burglars were caught because one of them happened to leave a door unlatched to an office they had just bugged, and then a night watchman just happened to walk by and notice the unlatched door.
  9. So “if that [burglar] had latched the door,” Keller half jokes, “if that door had been closed just two more inches, we wouldn’t be here tonight. Even Watergate happened for you.”

Keller’s point is that you can’t muck up your life. There is no plan B. We may perceive one of about a billion reasons for an event. Very seldom do we get a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a glimpse of how God is working all things together for good for those who love him, but he is.

Above I paraphrase parts of two Keller sermons:

  1. Reconciliation” (about 28:45 to 32:00)
  2. Does God Control Everything” (about 24:00 to 28:20)

This reminds me of a tweet by John Piper:

God never does only one thing. In everything he does he is doing thousands of things. Of these we know perhaps half a dozen.

5 responses to Tim Keller Started Redeemer Church Because of Watergate

  1. Keller’s point is that you can’t muck up your life. There is no plan B. We may perceive one of about a billion reasons for an event. Very seldom do we get a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a glimpse of how God is working all things together for good for those who love him, but he is.

    “But he is.” Three words that make sense out of everything. What appears chaotic is really God’s beauty and order and purpose and goal unfolding. “Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and where we do not or cannot, give us faith to embrace!”

  2. No coincidences. No accidents. No “luck,” be it “good” or “bad.” Purely God’s grace from a God who knows the end from the beginning. Thanks so much for sharing that story, Andy.

  3. Good post! We can see the “split second” dynamics at play in that last battle of King Ahab where he is shot fatally by a “random” arrow, even as he tries to hide in plain sight from God. God pulls and organizes all together for his will/purpose. Thanks to God’s perfect love and hands-on planning…

  4. “If one Egyptian tailor hadn’t cheated on the threads of Joseph’s mantle, Potiphar’s wife would never have been able to tear it, present it as evidence to Potiphar that Joseph attached her, gotten him thrown in prison, and let him be in a position to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, win his confidence, advise him to store seven years of grain, and save his family, the seventy original Jews from whom Jesus came. We owe our salvation to a cheap Egyptian tailor.” Peter Kreeft.

  5. Excellent quote from Kreeft, Chris!
    Not a sparrow falls, not a hair un-numbered.

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