Tim Keller, a prominent Christian author and the longtime pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, passed away on Friday morning at the age of 72 after a battle with cancer.
Keller, who retired from full-time ministry in 2017 and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020, served for decades as senior minister of Redeemer Church, which he founded in 1989. He was the husband to his wife, Kathy, a father to three children, and a grandfather.
Redeemer Church announced on Friday morning that Keller passed away in his home “trusting in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.” The statement noted his humility in interactions with both congregants and global ministry leaders, as well as his delight in “communicating the profound wonder and transforming power of the gospel of grace.”
“We are forever grateful for his leadership, heart, and dedication to sharing the love of Christ with others,” the statement added. “While we will miss his presence here, we know he is rejoicing with his Savior in heaven.”
Michael Keller, his son, had announced hours earlier that his father was discharged from the hospital on Thursday to receive hospice care. “Over the past few days, he has asked us to pray with him often,” he wrote. “He expressed many times through prayer his desire to go home to be with Jesus.”
Keller authored books such as “The Meaning of Marriage,” which articulates the biblical design for the covenantal union between one man and one woman, and “The Reason for God,” which addresses doubts about the Christian faith held by many modern Americans. He also frequently wrote about urban church planting and other theological topics.
The veteran minister received degrees from Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He previously served as a pastor at West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia, a professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and director of mercy ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America.
Keller revealed earlier this year that he had developed new cancer tumors and had started to receive treatments targeting a genetic marker of the disease. “Please pray for our trust and dependence on God, for his providential oversight of the medical preparations now in process, and for our desire to glorify God in whatever comes our way,” he said.
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Fellow ministers and evangelical figures reflected on the life and ministry of Keller, citing his robust intellectual capacity and his simple love for Jesus Christ.
“His sermons were never so cerebral that arguments were allowed to displace confession, prayer, and a deep sense of the presence of God,” Don Carson, emeritus professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, wrote about Keller. “Most people who spent time with Tim thought they were among his best friends. Like the apostle John, who thought of himself as the one whom Jesus loved, not a few of Tim’s parishioners thought of themselves as particularly loved by their senior pastor. That is a common mark of a well-cared-for church.”
“He was my hero because when I read or listened to him, I loved Jesus more. When Tim and I catch up someday in the new heavens and the new earth, I can’t wait to hear all he’s learned. But for now, Tim’s death leaves a void I can never fill,” Collin Hansen, editor-in-chief of The Gospel Coalition, an online publication and content ministry which Keller co-founded, said in another tribute. “For many in my generation, even if they only grew up listening to his sermons or reading his books, Tim Keller became a spiritual father.”