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Tim Keller — prominent evangelical pastor, author, theologian — dies at 72 after long battle with pancreatic cancer
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Tim Keller — prominent evangelical pastor, author, theologian — dies at 72 after long battle with pancreatic cancer

Tim Keller — a prominent evangelical pastor, author, and theologian — has died at the age of 72 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Church makes announcement

Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan — which Keller helped found — sent a statement to members of the congregation saying he died Friday morning, the Christian Post 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," Redeemer stated, according the Post, which cited Church Leaders.

The church's statement added, "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. He would quickly disarm you and brush away your addressing him as Dr. Keller. 'Just Tim, please,'" the statement added, according to the Post.

Keller was born in 1950 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Post said. He received a master of divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a doctorate in ministry from Westminster Theological Seminary, the outlet added.

Keller's rise to prominence

In 1989, Keller founded Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York City, the Post said, adding that the congregation eventually grew to approximately 5,000 average weekly worship attendees.

Keller authored the 2008 bestseller "The Reason for God," which the outlet said is a work of apologetics focusing on answering tough questions such as why God allows suffering and sends the unsaved to hell.

“Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced ‘doubts’ skeptics bring to his church as well as the most important reasons for faith,” the Post said, citing the book’s official description.

He's also written "The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness," "The Meaning of Marriage," "The Prodigal God," "The Songs of Jesus," and "The Prodigal Prophet," the outlet added.

The Post said Keller sometimes was seen as controversial for his theologically conservative views.

Back in 2017, Keller was supposed to get an award from Princeton Theological Seminary — and then the school got backlash over his objection to the ordination of gay people and women. With that, seminary President Craig Barnes announced that Keller wouldn't be getting the Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness after all. It was decided that giving him the award may “imply an endorsement” of Keller's positions, the Washington Times reported.

The Post said Keller also got widespread attention during the 2020 presidential election cycle, when he denounced the idea that American Christians ought to be aligned with particular political parties.

“The Bible binds my conscience to care for the poor, but it does not tell me the best practical way to do it,” Keller stated then, according to the outlet. “Any particular strategy (high taxes and government services vs low taxes and private charity) may be good and wise. … [It] may even be somewhat inferred from other things the Bible teaches, but they are not directly commanded, and therefore we cannot insist that all Christians, as a matter of conscience, follow one or the other.”

Cancer diagnosis

Keller was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in May 2020 and underwent chemotherapy and an immunotherapy drug trial at the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Maryland, the Post said.

Two years after his initial diagnosis, Keller tweeted that chemotherapy was reducing the cancer and that “God has seen it fit to give me more time," the outlet added.

In March, Keller announced that new cancer tumors had developed, and he returned to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda for additional treatment, the Post said.

“They are unfortunately in some fairly inconvenient places, so the doctors encouraged us to go through the treatment again, this time targeting a different genetic marker of the cancer,” he noted at the time, the outlet reported.

On Thursday, Keller’s son, Michael, said his father had been moved to hospice care at his home — and quoted a prayer Keller had prayed earlier in the week, the Post said: “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.”

Tim Keller Tributeyoutu.be

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Dave Urbanski

Dave Urbanski

Sr. Editor, News

Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@DaveVUrbanski →