Pastor Tim Keller has warned against mistaking "blue state or red state individualism" for true Christianity in a post-Christian culture that it has "co-opted" biblical ideas and taken them to an extreme.
In a recent video posted on the Gospel Coalition website, Keller, senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, said that in today's post-Christian Western society, it's very difficult for Christians to engage culture without becoming colonized by it.
"The reason for that is, a post-Christian culture is quite different than a non-Christian or pre-Christian culture," he explained, adding that the "post-Christian culture has co-opted a lot of Christian ideas" and "taken them to the extreme."
Keller argued that biblical principles — like the importance of doing right and justice, for example — have been turned into "extreme individualism" by Western culture. Unfortunately, he said, it's easy for Christians to get co-opted by that individualism.
"Liberal individualism," Keller asserted, says, "I need to do justice for the poor and I need to do racial justice, but nobody should tell me what to do sexually." On the other hand, "conservative individualism" says, "I believe in traditional values, but I can do anything I want with my money and please don't talk to me about race because I didn't own any slaves and I don't think that's a problem."
"It's extraordinarily easy for Christians to think that they are being Christian, but they are actually getting co-opted by either what I would call 'blue state or red state individualism,'" Keller continued. "That's just not as likely to happen if you're a Christian who grew up in India. You're not likely to just sort of fall into Hinduism. You're not as likely, if you're a Christian growing up in Japan, to just fall into Buddhism, but you are very likely to fall into one of these forms of liberal or conservative individualism thinking it's Christianity."
Because of this, it's important to understand how the Biblical worldview differs from all different worldviews, Keller contended, adding: "Worldview education or apologetics is actually necessary even to disciple people nowadays."
The pastor acknowledged that it's not easy to engage culture and seek to convert people, but Christians "have to do it" because the Bible commands Christians to do so.
"Even in Western culture, where there are those dangers, we have to do that," he concluded.