Praise: This weekend, Redeemer celebrates its 25th anniversary. Over the years, God has seen fit not only to grow Redeemer, but also to begin at least 100 churches in center city, including Trinity Grace, Apostles, Metropolitan Faith, Dwell, and more. For these blessings, we sing, “Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name.”  With praise, though, there is caution.
History: In “Our Place in the Story,” Tim Keller briefly recounts the evangelical history of NYC. After highlighting how the evangelical awakening, which emphasized conversion through hearing the gospel proclaimed, affected the churches in the 1700s, Keller moves to the 1880s, when evangelical churches were unsure how to reach the new Catholic immigrants and were being superseded as social gathering places by the city itself.
Split: To stay relevant, the Protestant churches moved uptown and built stately buildings, like First Baptist at 79th and Brick Pres on Park Avenue. But the decline didn’t stop and, eventually, there was a split. The Presbyterians pursued Liberalism, relegating the preaching of the gospel and seeking conversion through “loving action, social reform, and education.” The Baptists pursued Fundamentalism, developing “a very combative stance toward the city” and focusing on “materialism and moral evils.”
Call: “In a short newsletter article,” Keller continues, “it is impossible to avoid over-generalization. Yet it is not hard to see that, by the second half of the 20th century, the old kind of Protestant evangelicalism—true to historic orthodox doctrine, yet also intellectually robust and socially engaged—was weak or vanished in New York City. And now it is growing back … However, we too face the issue of a culture that is not interested in what we have to say. How do we reach them? We must not make the same mistake again. We must not respond with either withdrawal nor with assimilation to the spirit of the age.”
Prayer: Lord, Although we see praises for your mighty works in Psalm 66, we also know that the people who saw those miracles—the turning the sea into dry land and the walking through the waters on foot—worshipped idols just three months later. Therefore, in light of our praise to you for your work in our city, we admit that we’re apt to forget you. May we love our city to life, as we cling to both engagement and holiness. Amen.
 Psalm 66:1 ESV