If you check Tim C's review by clicking the relevant link, you'll see I've left a comment in which I wonder aloud whether Tim K has allowed his undoubted deep desire for reaching the lost to overwhelm, at times, the shape of the gospel he presents.
Tim Keller has graciously responded in the comments section of this blog. He says:
Your question about the gospel outline in that article is understandable. You are assuming that outline is meant to stand alone as the full evangelistic presentation, but I said in the paper it isn't. Notice that in the article I say that this outline is only the introduction. Its a sandwich--first, you do a very brief presentation of the gospel that gets interest (it doesn't have to be that one, necessarily.) Then secondly, you really go at the 'defeater beliefs'--all the parts of the gospel people today hate, including (it's in the paper) God's anger and wrath. Thirdly, after you go through that and they are at least partially with you, then you go through a fuller gospel presentation.
As I said, I see why you would put the first part of the evangelistic presentation up against something like 2 Ways to Live and find it wanting, but that's a mistake. In the book The Reason for God I actually put that particular narrative in the last chapter, after defending the idea of God's wrath at length earlier.
I thought all this was clear in the paper. It was originally a handout for a training seminar. So it wasn't originally written to posted on a website. I'll look again. It may be easy to misread it. Sorry.
Responding to Tim:
Tim, thankyou for a gracious and prompt response (and for readers who are curious, the article Tim refers to is here and is well worth reading for the many useful ideas in it).
I certainly don't want to go off half-cocked on this, and thanks also for your help in placing what you said in context. I read the paper through a number of times, and especially appreciated the suggestions you make for defeating 'defeater beliefs'. But one of the first questions that came to my mind as I was reading concerns your statement, early on in the paper, that:
The more positive aspect of sharing the gospel is to connect the story of Jesus to the base-line cultural narratives. In short, you have to show in line with the culture's own (best) aspirations, hopes, and convictions that its own cultural story won't be resolved or have 'a happy ending' outside of Christ.
I realize this is a very carefully and thoughtfully worded statement you've made here. My question is, however, whether the depiction of cultural aspirations is ever as positive as the picture you imply. My reading of Romans 1:18-32 suggests that even the very best of creation has become, under our hand, debased—and in particular, that all our aspirations concerning these very good things are, in fact, very evil.
Following on from this, what if my highest and best aspiration, upon analysis, turns out to be a veiled desire to dethrone Christ and place myself in his place? Is there any way that this aspiration—and really, it is fundamental to our sinful flesh—could find a 'happy ending', either inside or outside of Christ?
I will grant that you make a number of statements that are relevant to this question within the article, including on page one your statement that "at some point you must also challenge the sovereignty of individual consciousness. Jesus is Lord, not my personal consciousness."
So perhaps I'm being obtuse, but it seemed to me that there was, at the very least, a tension between this statement and what you subsequently went on to explain.
Enough from me. They are questions only, and possibly quite misguided. As an almost complete neophyte in my knowledge of your thoughts and work, I am only too happy for your correction. And thank you too for your faithful work in preaching the gospel in a difficult city.