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Death is announced of Tim Keller, New York pastor, author, and global speaker

22 May 2023

YouTube/HTB Church

Tim Keller preaches at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in 2018

Tim Keller preaches at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in 2018

THE Revd Dr Timothy Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, and a bestselling author of books on apologetics and spirituality, has died, aged 72.

Dr Keller died at his home on Friday morning having been diagnosed three years ago with pancreatic cancer. His son, Michael, posted on social media: “Dad waited until he was alone with Mom. She kissed him on the forehead and he breathed his last breath. We take comfort in some of his last words: ‘There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.’”

A letter to members of Redeemer, sent by the church’s leadership team, said: “We are forever grateful for his leadership, heart, and dedication to sharing the love of Christ with others. While we will miss his presence here, we know he is rejoicing with his Savior in heaven.

“Tim loved what he did. He 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. . .

“There will never be another Tim Keller and we will all miss him.”

The letter said that a memorial service would be held in New York City in the coming weeks, which will be livestreamed.

In 2005, Dr Keller co-founded the Gospel Coalition, a network of Reformed church leaders and theologians in the United States.

The organisation’s interim president, Sandy Willson, said: “Tim Keller was a once-in-a-century sort of person. There is no pastor I know, in the last 100 years, who did what Tim Keller did to take the Reformed faith to the street, to the church, and to the academy. He will be remembered among this generation’s most effective Christian pastors, apologists, and evangelists.”

Anglican leaders in the UK have paid tribute. The Bishop of Horsham, the Rt Revd Ruth Bushyager, described Dr Keller on Twitter as “a giant of the faith”. She continued: “His death is a huge loss to the global church. The most impressive thing about him was that you never came away thinking ‘Isn’t Tim Keller amazing?!’ but ‘Isn’t Jesus amazing. Isn’t He wonderful. Isn’t He beautiful. Isn’t He captivating’.”

The former Bishop of Kensington, Dr Graham Tomlin, said: “Few people had such a combination of a love for Christ, a love for the city he lived in, and an ability to interpret Christian faith for our cultural moment with grace and wisdom.”

The former Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, the Revd Nicky Gumbel, described him as a “brilliant communicator, superb role-model, and wonderful friend.”

Dr Keller was best known for The Reason for God: Belief in an age of scepticism (Hodder & Stoughton, 2009). His more recent works, also published in the UK by Hodder, included Forgive: Why should I and how can I? (Books, 24 February), Hope in Times of Fear: The resurrection and the meaning of Easter (Books, 1 April 2021), and Making Sense of God: An invitation to be sceptical (Hodder & Stoughton) (Books, 13 January 2017).

The editorial director of Hodder Faith, Joanna Davey, said: “Keller’s trademark ability to explain complex theological ideas in a way that resonated with and challenged contemporary, urban young professionals is unmatched, and will continue to influence new generations of Christians and spiritual seekers.”

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