Dear leaders and friends,
I chose not to offer hagiography this past Sunday over the passing of Rev. Timothy Keller. He met his Maker on Friday May 19. That being said, he has helped me know God, understand the gospel, and treasure Christ more than any contemporary pastor (that I’ve never actually met).
Keller exhibited gifts and character that I pray I have before I meet my Maker. He was gentle and patient, a good listener, and an advocate for the weak and poor. He knew when to hold fast to orthodoxy and when to challenge false accoutrements to the gospel. He loved his wife well and whenever he spoke of her there was a gleam of joy in his eye. He held to the Westminster Standards, served one denomination faithfully for his life (the PCA), and gave credit to the many saints who served alongside him at Redeemer Pres. in NYC.
Added to that, Keller admitted to being a poor leader, confessed he too often worked to keep peace when a more critical decision or statement needed to be made. He appeared at times to be a workaholic. Sometimes he seemed to overly support a social gospel that muddied the waters on the gospel message. He’s no perfect saint, but a saint in Christ just the same. I’m thankful for Tim Keller. I commend his books for reflection (our public library has many) and his sermons for instruction (https://gospelinlife.com/).
Keller taught me to read broadly (especially to read Puritans) and to pray for revival.
I’ll miss his calming voice amid the clamor of cultural infighting; I’ll miss his words that pointed me to trust in Christ alone.
Thankful to serve with you,
P.S. This is my favorite lecture by Keller on “What is the Gospel?” – https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/What_Is_The_Gospel_Keller.mp3
Here is a bonus lecture too that has marked me: “How the Gospel Changes Us.” – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SzABwJUX3Klc1DNSTEN29pXWDMWVfxvw/view?usp=sharing
I also appreciated David Brooks’ obituary in the New York Times – https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/22/opinion/tim-keller-death.html