Tim Keller passed away today after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Pastor Keller is easily one of the greatest ‘people-I-didn’t-know-in-real-life-but-impacted-me-deeply.’
I read almost every book. I listen to a sermon almost every week. I appreciated the way he could take confusing and difficult realities of life and give practical, Biblical wisdom… in a way that made you want to hear more, not run away. Also the way he creatively crafted sermons and how every other message seemed to include a Lord of the Rings mention. He had so much grace and moxie for all who would hear him.
To put it simply, I’m really sad. And I’m also filled with a real joy to know he is whole, resting and delighting in the presence of the God he followed so faithfully for so long. As my own pastor says, “It was a good day for Tim.”
I hopped on Instagram and others’ words mirror my own.
“In my selfishness, I’m in tears; how will I continue my walk with Jesus without the faithful, intelligent, wry yet ceaselessly joyful counsel of Pastor Tim? And yet, I celebrate for him because I cannot imagine that first embrace and he crosses into the Lord’s arms.” Aarti Sequeira
“You’ve given expression in our generation to loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. We love in an age where Christians have sometimes forgotten their minds, and you always point us back. You’ve made contributions that will echo 100 years from now and beyond.” Carey Nieuwhof
“This news stings, and hollows a hole for sure. I’m (we’re) going to miss you. But we have troves of treasure in all the teachings you leave behind, along with your legacy of light, shining bright in this dark world. Onward, brother, in peace to glory.” Rachel Marie Kang
“Like a CS Lewis of our time, @timkellernyc — for oh, so very many of us… we love you like our very closest family as you’ve faithfully shepherded us for decades. Your investment in our spiritual formation is incalculable… there aren’t enough words to say thank you, brother. But please know the depths of how we mean those two words: thank. you.” Ann Voskamp
His book, Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, was my first exposure to him as a pastoral voice from hundreds of miles away, but it set off changes in my life that are still going on today. “Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as, ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that make me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness. The blessed rest that only self-forgetfulness brings.”
John and I read The Meaning of Marriage as part of our marriage counseling and I still reference it today. “There is so much to do that we don’t know where to start. Start here, Paul says. Do for your spouse what God did for you in Jesus, and the rest will follow. This is the secret—that the gospel of Jesus and marriage explain one another. That when God invented marriage, he already had the saving work of Jesus in mind.”
He’s technically a stranger because we have never met or spoken, but in another sense, probably in the realest sense, he’s a brother. And while he has gained everything, I will miss his voice and presence in the world. His life with God, the part he shared with the world via preaching and writing, helped me immensely in my own life with Him. And for that I will always be grateful and praise God for the life of fellow disciple, Timothy J. Keller.
“All death can do to Christians is make their lives infinitely better.”Tim Keller, (1950–2023)
“Once Tim experienced the grace of God in 1970, there was never any question how he would spend his life, all the way until his dying breath. Grace transformed an alienated, awkward teenager into one of the most beloved preachers of the last century. Tim couldn’t help but testify to the God who knew him completely and loved him perfectly. I want to spend my life the same way. I want to die the same way, trying to help everyone see their desperate need for Jesus, how the Savior offers us a better life than we could have ever imagined.” Collin Hansen, “I Met My Hero, Tim Keller”