Tim Keller Displays on David Powlison (1949–2019)


A friendship grew between David Powlison and me after I was educating at Westminster Seminary from 1984 by way of 1989. Throughout that point we have been on the session of New Life OPC. (As a PCA minister I had no vote and was there by invitation, however I used to be very a lot a part of the elder neighborhood, a formidable one which included many professors from the seminary.) I additionally linked with David by way of the sensible theology division of the seminary. At the moment it included David and Ed Welch and John Bettler, Harvie Conn, Roger and Edna Greenway, Invoice Krispin of the Middle for City Theological Research (CUTS), and George Fuller, who was the president.

David was working towards his PhD at Penn, re-thinking the biblical counseling motion, of which he was (in my view) the “thought chief.” I believe David stayed true to the unique imaginative and prescient of Jay Adams, particularly, to be vital of contemporary psychology’s presuppositions and its medicalizing of non-public issues that had (sure, generally) organic roots however typically moral-spiritual roots as nicely.

The difficulty with biblical counseling on the time was that, when it chalked up many private issues to “sin,” it did so behavioristically. It tended to see all sin as particular person, voluntary, and deliberate—one thing you can change with an train of self-discipline. I believe David’s groundbreaking work on idolatry confirmed that the Bible speaks to each (a) company, systemic evil in household and social methods and likewise (b) how sin distorts the interior life, creating denial, false identities, a “delusional area,” and dangerous motivations. David put the biblical educating in regards to the deceitfulness of the center again into the middle of biblical counseling.

David put the biblical educating in regards to the deceitfulness of the center again into the middle of biblical counseling.

Now, I’m no skilled on the historical past of Christian counseling, however I had many conversations with David throughout these years, and I noticed that he, John Bettler, and Ed Welch have been enlarging the inspiration for the biblical counseling motion in an effective way.

David’s seminal article, “Idols of the Coronary heart and Self-importance Truthful,” was a serious affect on my ministry, each as a preacher and likewise a pastor. After studying it I started studying about idolatry and discovering an incredible deal about it within the Puritans, in Jewish considered course, and in cultural critique. Counterfeit Gods grew immediately out of that essay.

I can’t add a lot to what others are saying—about how David was unparalleled as a smart, mild, but truthful counselor. I might go on about that, however others are doing a very good job. Kathy and I typically stated that we might have gone to David as a counselor earlier than anybody else we knew on this planet.

He shall be deeply missed as pal, counselor, and instructor.


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