Timothy Keller: A Legacy of Faith and Hope
The Christian community worldwide is overwhelmed with deep gratitude as they reflect on the remarkable legacy of Pastor and Preacher Timothy Keller, who recently passed away at 72 after battling pancreatic cancer. Even though his earthly journey ended on Friday, not long after being released from the hospital to receive hospice care at home, his impact resonates powerfully.
Redeemer Church, the cherished congregation he founded in the heart of New York City in 1989, expressed profound appreciation, stating they are forever grateful for his unwavering leadership, compassionate heart, and relentless dedication to sharing the boundless love of Christ with others. Their heartfelt words echoed a resounding assurance, “While we will miss his presence here, we know he is rejoicing with his Saviour in heaven.”
In contemplating Tim Keller’s life, it is abundantly clear that there was an extraordinary unity between the man he portrayed publicly and the one he was in private. When asked how he wished to be remembered, he humbly confessed that he did not dwell on thoughts of his legacy. Instead, he would often reference the words of Martin Lloyd Jones regarding the Lamb’s Book of Life, affirming his hope that his name was eternally inscribed within its sacred pages. And with a tender smile, he might occasionally add, “I do hope my grandchildren remember me.”
Tim Keller’s departure leaves an irreplaceable void in our hearts. His unique blend of wisdom, compassion, and unwavering faith will be sorely missed by all who encountered his remarkable ministry. Yet, as we grapple with the profound loss, we find comfort in knowing that his impact will endure, touching countless lives for generations.
In May 2020, Keller openly shared his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, embarking on an arduous journey of intensive treatment. Through the years, he provided candid updates, sharing the challenging nature of his fight while consistently expressing his unyielding trust in God. He revealed how his encounter with cancer transformed him, particularly deepening his prayer life and intensifying his reliance on the Almighty.
Michael shared a prayer his father had uttered a few days before his passing, unveiling the depth of Keller’s heart and longing for his eternal home: “I’m thankful for all the people who’ve prayed for me over the years. I’m thankful for my family, that loves me. I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus. I can’t wait to see Jesus. Send me home.”
Keller was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1950. His father was an art teacher, and his mother was a nurse. His family attended a Lutheran church. Keller was converted during his time at Bucknell University. He then served as West Hopewell Presbyterian Church pastor in Hopewell, Virginia, from 1975 to 1984. In 1989, Keller founded Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. The church grew rapidly under his leadership and became one of the country’s largest and most influential Presbyterian churches. Keller served as senior pastor of Redeemer until 2017.
In addition to his pastoral ministry, Keller was also a prolific author. He wrote over 30 books, including the bestsellers The Reason for God, The Prodigal God, and The Meaning of Marriage. His books have been translated into over 29 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide.
Keller was a gifted communicator who could explain complex theological concepts clearly and engagingly. He was also a gifted pastor, deeply committed to helping people grow in their faith. Keller’s death is a major loss for the Christian community. He was a towering figure in American evangelicalism, and his influence will be felt for many years.
Keller is survived by his wife, Kathy; his three sons, David, Michael, and Jonathan; his sister, Sharon Johnson; his daughters-in-law, Jennifer, Sara, and Ann-Marie; and his seven grandchildren.
Keller’s legacy will continue to impact the Christian community for years. His books will continue to be read, and his work will continue to be studied. Keller’s legacy is one of faith, hope, and love. He was a man who loved God and loved people. He was a man who made a difference in the world. He will be remembered as a giant of the Christian faith.
A memorial service will be held at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, and more details will be shared here.