NEW YORK — A staff member at New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, led by popular megachurch pastor and author Tim Keller, and who handles sermon orders for Keller, identifies as a progressive who doesn’t believe homosexuality is sinful and is part of a so-called church plant whose leader recently made recommendations to do away with male/female-separated restrooms nationwide.
In addition to his leadership of Redeemer Presbyterian, which sees up to 5,000 in attendance each week, Keller is known for his best-selling books “The Reason for God” and “The Prodigal God,” as well as “The Meaning of Marriage” and “Counterfeit Gods.”
He is also the vice president and co-founder of the Gospel Coalition, a network of reformed congregations that “educates current and next-generation Christian leaders by advocating gospel-centered principles and practices that glorify the Savior.”
Additionally, Keller is known for his “City to City” effort, which seeks to plant new churches in cities worldwide. He is credited with helping to establish over 250 congregations over the past decade.
Casey Fulgenzi, formerly of Tennessee, serves as the manager of social media for Redeemer Presbyterian Church, as well as the assistant manager for Keller’s resource site Gospel in Life, where he handles the orders for Keller’s sermons. His name is included on the staff page of the Redeemer website. Fulgenzi has worked for Keller since 2014.
Fulgenzi was first involved with Forefront Church, which has dual locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and remains an active supporter.
The congregation is affiliated with the Convergence Initiative, “a collective of Post-Evangelical, Progressive Evangelical, Non-Denominational and Free-Church tradition churches, organizations, leaders and networks,” as well as the Open Network, both of which are homosexual-affirming and have hosted conferences featuring Rob Bell. Fulgenzi himself had his photo taken with the controversial Bell in 2013 (pictured above).
As previously reported, the Open Network recently posted an article by Forefront Manhattan leader Ryan Phipps, who posted a “solution” to the transgender restroom use debate that would eliminate male and female restrooms altogether and replace them with one “human” multi-stall restroom.
“We have dressing rooms in just about every major clothing store that are not gender segregated. Why can’t we have bathrooms be the very same?” Phipps wrote in regard to the issue. “We mustn’t cling to antiquated ways of reasoning and separation that have long reached their time. We should think, dream, and pray about how we can be more ‘whole’ in our treatment of people.”
Fulgenzi shared Phipp’s article, stating that he was “laying down the truth.”
Fulgenzi’s wife, Lindsey Luff, a secular musician who he describes as a “bada**,” sings with Forefront Brooklyn’s worship leader Ben Grace at various venues throughout the city and beyond.
Fulgenzi is himself supportive of those who identify as homosexual and transgender, posting on his social media pages, for example, Macklemore’s “One Love” video and notating his visit to Big Gay Ice Cream in New York City, as well as other mentions regarding his views on homosexuality—that he understands the Christian objection to the lifestyle, but “I think it’s not accurate.”
“How does homosexuality effect (sic) you and other Christians? I guarantee it doesn’t directly or even indirectly effect Christians as much as greed, gluttony, theft, rape, racism, or even foul language,” he wrote during one discussion. “Yet, for what topic (aside from abortion) do Christians break out the biggest soapbox? Why? Why not focus on all of those other things that actually impact your everyday life and millions of others in a negative way?”
“Who said you had to ‘express your views’ to someone who is gay in the first place? Jesus? Nope. The gay person? Nope. Do you think they’ll listen? Nope. Why should they?” he later contended.
In February, Fulgenzi, who identifies as progressive, wrote that he will “happily vote for either [Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders] when the time comes.” He had shared an article last September on “The Christian Case for Bernie Sanders.”
“He’s Jewish, but his character, words and actions are more Christ like than any of the Christian candidates,” Fulgenzi wrote on April 16 in sharing that he went to hear Sanders speak at a local church. “We deserve that in our next president, whether he or she be Muslim, Atheist, Christian or Jewish.”
Keller himself has raised concerns for some of his comments about homosexuality, such as when he stated during the Veritas Forum at Columbus University, “[H]eterosexuality does not get you to Heaven, I happen to know this, so how in the world can homosexuality send you to Hell?”
“[W]hat sends to Hell is self-righteousness, thinking you can be your own savior and lord. What sends you to Heaven is getting a connection with Christ because you realize that you are a sinner and you need intervention from outside,” he said.
“That’s why it is very misleading even to say homosexuality is a sin because …. yes, of course, homosexuality is a sin, because greed is a sin, because all kinds of things are sins, but what most Christians mean when they say that and certainly what non-Christians think they hear when they hear that, is that if you are gay you are going to Hell for being gay. It is just not true, absolutely not true.”
Keller has also suggested that he supports at least some form of theistic evolution, writing in his essay “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople” for Biologos, “[I]f ‘evolution’ remains at the level of scientific biological hypothesis, it would seem that there is little reason for conflict between the implications of Christian belief in the Creator and the scientific explorations of the way which—at the level of biology—God has gone about His creating processes.”
Andi Brindley, Keller’s assistant at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, did not return calls for comment, nor could any of the elders be reached.
Fulgenzi/Bell photo credit: Instagram