Tim Keller: Missionaries Raising Their Own Funds Is ‘A Great Example Of Systemic Racism’

During a June 2021 online discussion with Dr. Anthony Bradley, who is the “Theologian-In-Residence” at Redeemer Presbyterian Church—Lincoln Square- the downtown campus of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Tim Keller prefers the novel motion that missionaries raising their own funds is “systemic racism.”

A great example of systemic racism is the traditional evangelical approach to fundraising, in which you ask Christian staff workers to raise their own support. I see that as systemic injustice, in spite of the fact that there is, frankly, our denomination does it both for missionaries and for our Reformed University Fellowship.

The reality is, after 50 years of watching people do this, I never realized, and, you know, in other words, it’s not just African-Americans but Hispanic and Asian Americans. Even Asian Americans, we’ve got a couple generations of people in this country and everybody’s a professional, they still can’t raise their own support. It took me 50 years to realize that accumulated wealth in your family and friendship networks takes generations to develop. Generations.

So recent immigrants or African-Americans who’ve been here from the beginning but who, because of slavery, then Jim Crow laws, then redlining them, everything is, they’ve just they’ve got no money in their networks. They just don’t. And if you send them out there and say “raise your own support,” they can’t. So then what happens is, in so many of these evangelical organizations, they basically are, because they can’t do that, they never move up and really become part of the power.

And, has our denomination participated in that? Yes, it still is. That’s a pretty uncomfortable thing to say. But the fact is that if we started to say, “Oh, guess, you know what? We’re going to totally change that. We’re going to fund everybody, centrally, we’re going to raise money centrally and then just pay all of our workers.”

Now, the reality is that it’s much harder to raise money that way and it takes more time and effort and all that. And so these mission organizations and denominations don’t want to do it, and they won’t even be open to it.

But it’s a version of systemic racism. Now, I don’t know whether everybody, my guess is a lot of people on the call, if you, unless you’ve been involved in the evangelical world for a long time, don’t even maybe know what I’m talking about, hardly…And it’s just a blind spot. And why can’t we address that? Why can’t we say ‘we’re going to try to do something about that?’ You really could, frankly. I think there are things you could do.

But unless you have the discussions, most of us, especially us white people, just sort of, “This is the way it’s always been done. I’m not a racist, so how could you call that systemic racism?”

I have to say, every time I ever bring it up, I just never get any response from anybody. People just say, “That’s Tim’s hobby horse.” But I said if you’re non-white and you’ve tried to raise your own support in one of these organizations, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

In fact, to me it was one of the things that proved the reality of the hangover. I mean, just how deeply our past is affecting African-Americans now. You know, the whole idea that, “Well, that was in the past, and now, you know, it’s a level playing field. Get out there and work hard.” That’s gone in my mind. I began to realize what, no, it takes generations for the playing field to become leveled far more than we’ve had.


h/t to the always stellar @wokepreachertv, who provided the title, vid, and most of the transcript, which we edited a bit.



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9 thoughts on “Tim Keller: Missionaries Raising Their Own Funds Is ‘A Great Example Of Systemic Racism’

    1. 100% INCORRECT. As someone raising support, and have been for years, it’s not easy for anyone and race has absolutely nothing to do with it, and the fact that non-whites have been successful in going into missions for decades proves that (I’ve seen it). There are a lot of factors involved, but race is definitely not one of them.

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    2. Yet more ‘woke’ idiocy. If you agree with this deluded, self-concocted fantasy, you are also a dumbass.
      *insert tiny flags here denoting I am neither a godless sodomite not mentally ill*

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  2. They also have no money because they keep throwing their money at their “black leaders” and preachers driving around in Bentleys and using their private planes. So many charlatans in the black church masquerading as “preachers.”

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  4. Yeah, pooling the money sounds like a somewhat ok idea, but like all involuntary collectivism, it’s begging for corruption and abuse, and with respect to many there are likely ulterior motives. When all the money is collected into one fund, then whoever controls that fund controls who gets what funding and when. More importantly, they’d control the message, and would be able to advance the godless causes to which Keller and his ilk adhere – abortion, homosexuality, crt, etc. – funneling money to those who reject God’s Word and would spread that apostasy to the ends of the earth.

    The ironic part is that the same people who would do this, are those who would then, out of the other side of their mouth, decry colonialism. Yet that is exactly what they seek to do. And I’d wager the reasons they do so are no different than they’ve been since the beginning of time – there’s money in it. Why try to control people in an African nation practicing their own self-governance, where homosexuality is illegal? You dig deep enough, and the answer is probably that they have something somebody wants – land or resources. And the endless grievances one can manufacture using critical theory, and the perpetual conflict that results, are a convenient excuse – if, and only if, they can fool enough people into getting on board – which cannot happen if people stay grounded in God’s Word. Just like the antifa crowd, they are, and they further, exactly what they claim to be fighting against. Some of them knowingly. Other’s fooled. Others driven by their own greed, deep down.

    “For the love of money is the root of all evil” – Jesus

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