Believers and church leaders are honoring Dr. Timothy Keller, who passed away Friday morning at age 72 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Outreach Magazine editor-in-chief, Dr. Ed Stetzer, said Keller’s death felt like losing a “spiritual father.”
Sad to hear @TimKellerNYC has died.
It feels like the loss of a father to so many of us. https://t.co/q4JlXl6hSF
— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) May 19, 2023
Dr. Timothy Keller’s Impact Was Profound
Tim Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the author of numerous books, including “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism,” “The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith,” and “The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.” His latest book, “Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I?” was published on Nov. 1, 2022.
Keller, who cofounded The Gospel Coalition (TGC) with D.A. Carson, was known for valuing winsomeness in expressing his beliefs, a characteristic that came under criticism in the past year. TGC recently announced the launch of The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics, which aims to help “Christians share the truth, goodness, and beauty of the gospel as the only hope that fulfills our deepest longings.”
“Two years ago I had the honor of interviewing Tim Keller on the topic of hope after his stage four cancer diagnosis,” Outreach Magazine editor-at-large Paul J. Pastor tweeted Thursday. “I would like to share our conversation again.”
In the interview, titled “Timothy Keller: Becoming Stewards of Hope—Part 1,” Keller said, “If I am sure of the resurrection, then basically, I am OK. I can handle anything that life—or death—throws at me.”
Keller was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020 and during that time pursued various treatments, including chemotherapy. He was in and out of the hospital this week, and on Thursday his son, Michael, announced that Keller would be receiving hospice care. Michael said that some of his father’s final words Friday morning were, “There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.”
“It feels a bit like a great light has slipped beyond the horizon,” said Trevin Wax, Vice President of Research and Resource Development at the North American Mission Board. “It’s a sunset that has long been coming, and yet it still feels strangely sudden.”
Hip hop artist Lecrae responded to the news of Keller receiving hospice, saying, “True story I’ve only been star struck by Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, and Tim Keller. There are things he’s shared that have changed me forever.”
Collin Hansen, TGC’s vice president of content, called Keller his “hero.” “Tim’s death leaves a void I can never fill,” said Hansen. “I’ll miss his encouragement. I’ll miss his teaching. I’ll miss the books he never got to write. I’ll miss his friendship, the long conversations about anything and everything in ministry.”
CCM artist Steven Curtis Chapman posted a video of himself singing part of his song, “With Hope,” in tribute to Keller. “Today, while so many grieve the loss of this incredibly brilliant teacher and faithful shepherd and pastor,” said Chapman, “please join me in praying for comfort and peace for his wife and family…as Tim is now dancing joyfully with the Jesus he so deeply loved and helped me come to know and love so much better while on this side of the veil.”
Live in the light of the resurrection and renewal of this world, and of yourself, in a glorious, never-ending, joyful dance of grace.
Today, while so many grieve the loss of this incredibly brilliant teacher and faithful shepherd and pastor, please join me in praying… pic.twitter.com/S0N7eWx0n5
— Steven Curtis Chapman (@StevenCurtis) May 19, 2023