Dr. Tim Keller’s death today marks the close of a remarkable personal ministry of a good man who lived faithfully, tirelessly, and creatively for the Lord.
His last words to his beloved wife Kathy should inspire and convict every Christian believer. According to his son Michael, as he lay dying, Tim said, “There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.” He then kissed Kathy’s forehead, laid back down – and went to Glory.
A quiet, cerebral, steely man of sound doctrine and strong conviction, Dr. Keller was often referred to as the C.S. Lewis of our time, and with good reason. A gifted teacher and preacher, whether in print or speaking from the pulpit, he engaged both the head and the heart.
Over the course of the last eleven years, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of both interviewing and visiting with Dr. Tim Keller many times. Most recently, I sat with Tim outside his apartment on Roosevelt Island overlooking the East River to discuss his excellent book on forgiveness.
At the time, Tim knew he was dying. He was nevertheless determined to take full advantage of the days the Lord was giving him, and he spoke with the optimism of a saint confident of his final destination.
Tim Keller was warm, witty, and fearless. He wasn’t shy about tackling the tough issues of the day. He brought the full weight of the Scriptures unapologetically into the culture, and he presented and framed messages in an engaging manner that managed to draw millions to God’s Wisdom and ways.
It was the Psalmist who wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (116:15). Tim Keller’s passing grieves those of us who knew, loved and benefited from his ministry – but it brings this beloved husband, father, scholar and theologian face-to-face with the God he so loyally and effectively served and worshipped.