Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Keller, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, pastor, and scholar died May 19, 2023 at home.
The day he died, the church he planted and pastored, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, released a statement, “He loved what he did. Tim loved interacting with Redeemer congregants and global ministry leaders alike. He delighted in communicating the profound wonder and transforming power of the gospel of grace. He would quickly disarm you and brush away your addressing him as Dr. Keller. “Just Tim, please.’”
I never had a face-to-face with Tim Keller, but the world of books, webinars, and podcasts brought us together. Two of his books shaped my thinking around the grace of God and the value of a life calling. I heard the news of his passing on the day Jocelyn and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary. His death nudged me to live better and finish well.
Tim loved his wife and three sons. He loved the Bible. He loved others. Tim sought unity in a world of division. He cared deeply for the hurting and the homeless. He shared the gospel unashamedly and loved the local church. Above all, he loved Jesus, the Saviour who welcomed him to his eternal home.
Tim announced he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on June 7, 2020. On Sept. 5, 2021, he informed his followers that a “mystery lump” proved to be cancerous and that his chemotherapy had to be increased. He was in and out of hospital. On May 18, 2023 Tim was discharged from the hospital to receive hospice care at home. The next day he passed. Tim’s son, Michael said, “Dad waited until he was alone with Mom. She kissed him on the forehead and he breathed his last breath.” He was 72 years old.
As a family, the Kellers planted Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City in 1989, which grew to a weekly attendance of over 5,000 people, and through which God brought many other fruitful ministries, such as Redeemer City to City, Hope for New York, and Redeemer Counseling Services, among others. After stepping down as Senior Pastor of Redeemer in July of 2017, he continued to serve City to City full-time, a ministry that has helped start more than 1,000 churches in over 150 cities, and trained or reached more than 79,000 leaders.
He wrote multiple best-selling books including “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” and “The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith.”
Everywhere he went, he preached sin and grace.
“Christian distinctives push against culture. But then we go into the culture with our hope. We simply try to be Christians in the culture, living with integrity and compassion. The gospel creates virtues in Christians. If Christians multiply in the culture, we can work for a more just society. And even if we do not immediately bring about a perfectly just society, we have the hope that eventually that’s going to be established on earth by God.”
Tim Keller Quotes
“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”
“To be loved but not known is superficial. To be known and not loved is our great fear—but to be known and loved, that transforms you.”
“Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.”
“Would you please be open to the possibility that the gospel, real Christianity, is something very different from religion? That gives many people hope that there is a way to know God that doesn’t lead to the pathologies of moralism and religiosity.”
Tim Keller wrote a lot of books. Did one them influence you? Please join the conversation and post a comment below. Thank you.
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