Tim Keller, a noted theologian, pastor and author, passed away Friday following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Keller was initially diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in May 2020.
“It is with a heavy heart that I write today 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,” Bruce Terrell said on behalf of the Redeemer Network Leadership Team. “We are forever grateful for his leadership, heart, and dedication to sharing the love of Christ with others.
Keller’s passing was also announced by his son Michael. “Timothy J. Keller, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, pastor, and scholar died this morning at home,” he posted on Facebook Friday.
“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.”
Keller told Christianity Today in 2022 that he desired people see the gospel as “intellectually credible” and that “it offers something that they’ve been looking for all their lives.” He also expressed a goal that new believers be integrated into the church community but not pressured.
“They felt that they were not trespassers, they felt welcomed, they felt that they were expected, and they were not under pressure to immediately bow the knee,” he said.
Condolences and remembrances of Keller have filled the internet.
Staff from the Gospel Coalition shared their condolences over the passing, saying he was unique. “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,” said TGC Interim President Sandy Willson, as quoted in the condolences.
Since Keller’s 2020 diagnosis, he has undergone two years of chemotherapy. He was also participating in the immunotherapy drug trial at the National Institute for Health in Bethesda, Maryland as recently as January.
However, despite the immunotherapy successfully killing 99% of the cancerous tumors, Keller announced in a Facebook post in March the return of additional cancerous tumors requiring him to undergo a variation of the previous immunotherapy treatment.
“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 cancer,” Keller wrote.
In April, he shared he was recovering from the treatments, and it would be a “long and slow process back.”
Keller is also a survivor of thyroid cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2002.
“He will be remembered among this generation’s most effective Christian pastors, apologists, and evangelists. Tim not only made the most articulate arguments for the Christian faith; he also demonstrated our faith with his humble and gracious spirit and his relentless passion to see the lost come to know the Lord he so loved,” The Gospel Coalition’s Willson stated.