Dr. Tim Keller, author and founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, passed away this morning at age 72, following a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Yesterday, son Michael Keller posted an update on social media explaining his dad had been discharged from the hospital and was being placed in hospice care.
“Over the past few days, he has asked us to pray with him often,” the post read. “He expressed many times through prayer his desire to go home to be with Jesus. His family is very sad because we all wanted more time, but we know he has very little at this point.
“In prayer, he said two nights ago, ‘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.'”
Redeemer Church leaders shared the news that Keller had passed away early this morning.
“It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that Redeemer Presbyterian Church founder and long-time senior pastor, Tim Keller, passed away this morning at age 72, trusting in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection,” the leaders wrote in an email. “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,” they continued. “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.”
Michael shared another following his father’s passing.
“Timothy J. Keller, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, pastor, and scholar died this morning at home. 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.’ See you soon Dad.”
“There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.” See you soon Dad.
— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) May 19, 2023
In 1989, Keller founded Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Under his leadership, Redeemer grew to become one of the largest and most influential churches in New York City. Keller founded Redeemer City to City, a church-planting network that supports congregations in urban areas around the world. He was also the best-selling author of several books, including The Reason for God, The Prodigal God, and his final book, Forgiveness. Keller became known for his stance on “winsome approach” of evangelism, arguing that Christians should not give in to cultural wars and rather engage with others in a non-hostile way.
In 2021, one year after his initial diagnosis, Keller spoke with RELEVANT about his thoughts on death, and ultimately, resurrection. Keller shared that he always lived with “the knowledge that time is short,” but that’s “spiritually good.”
“The Christian view is after death comes resurrection,” Keller said. “The Christian view is that in the long run, there will be a resurrection, new heavens and new earth — but that the way forward is death and resurrection. Bad things happen and God brings good out of it, all the way to the very end.”
Keller also spoke about how throughout his life, love has been his primary motivation.
“Some people say, ‘Well, when you die, it’s just over. There’s nothing to be afraid of,’” he shared. “My response is, ‘What you’re saying is that death means the end of love. And you’re telling me not to dread that?’ Give me a break.”
He continued, “If I know there’s love on the other side of death, I can face it. If I know there’s infinitely greater love, then I can really face it.”