Famed evangelical pastor and author Timothy Keller dead from cancer at age 72

 May 20, 2023

The Rev. Timothy Keller, an evangelical past and best-selling Christian apologist author, passed away on Friday at the age of 72 following a years-long fight against pancreatic cancer, Just the News reported.

According to posts on Keller's social media accounts by his son, Michael, Keller died just one day after he was removed from a hospital and placed under hospice care at home.

A post on Thursday evening announced that Keller had been discharged from the hospital and was ready "to go home to be with Jesus," while a tweet less than 24 hours later on Friday morning revealed that Keller, a beloved "husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, pastor, and scholar," had "breathed his last breath."

Cancer diagnosis in 2020

Keller, who was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020, was the founder of New York City's Redeemer Presbyterian Church and a related organization known as Redeemer City to City that sought to establish new churches worldwide.

"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, of the Redeemer Network Leadership Team, said in a statement. "We are forever grateful for his leadership, heart, and dedication to sharing the love of Christ with others."

According to The Washington Times, Keller was also a best-selling author with more than two dozen books, including his best-known work "The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism," along with many others on the topics of faith, forgiveness, prayer, and much more.

The editor-in-chief of the Christianity Today magazine, Russell Moore, lamented in a statement that Keller's death "is an incalculable loss to the church, the world, to those of us who loved him [and] those of us he helped in our darkest hours."

Dedicated to spreading the gospel

Born in 1950 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Keller attended Bucknell University and then received a master's and doctorate degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1975 and 1981, respectively, per the Times. He would go on to lead a Presbyterian Church in Virginia for several years before moving to New York and establishing his Redeemer church and network in Manhattan in 1989.

Keller also helped found an evangelical ministry organization known as The Gospel Coalition in 2005, and that group's interim president, Sandy Willson, said in a statement, "Today the Christian world is in mourning, for one of our great leaders has departed this life. 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," he continued. "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."

"He planted the most amazing church New York City may ever have seen, he planted thousands of other churches globally through Redeemer City to City, he co-founded The Gospel Coalition, and he inspired an entire generation to love and serve the Lord," Willson added. "We all grieve for Kathy and the dear Keller family. And we all rejoice for the unmitigated delight that is now Tim’s, as he looks upon the beautiful face of his Savior, whom he has faithfully served."

Keller's work will continue on

Another organization established by Keller, Gospel in Life, which serves as a resource center for all of his works, also announced the sad news of Keller's death and asked for prayers for his family and friends as they grieved the tragic loss.

"While our hearts are heavy with the news of Tim’s death, we know he is rejoicing with his Savior in heaven," Senior Director Cregan Cooke said in a statement. "Our spirits are also lifted because of the gospel that Tim so eloquently and regularly preached -- that in Christ we have life everlasting, that one day every wrong will be made right, every tear will be wiped away, and we will live with our savior in the new heavens and new earth."

Cooke further noted that a special livestream memorial service would soon be held and that Keller, prior to his death, had made certain arrangements to ensure that the organization would be able to continue and expand upon its mission to "spread the gospel through his teachings, books and other resources as God leads in the days ahead."

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