Over the past weekend, our social media feeds were flooded with the news that Dr. Timothy Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, prolific author, and chairman and co-founder of Redeemer City to City, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His announcement invited us to join him in prayer and concluded with a reminder of God’s grace, “Running the race set before me with joy, because Jesus ran an infinitely harder race, with joy, for me (Heb. 12:1–2).”
On behalf of all Acts 29 churches around the world, we celebrate Dr. Keller’s impact on the advancement of the gospel in our postmodern cities and minds today. Through his calm, intellectual voice, he uniquely combines and conveys both the beauty of Jesus and the implications of his work on the cross. He pursues this in every passage of Scripture he preaches, with the utmost consistency and commitment to the doctrines on which we stand.
Through him, the church in New York City—once deemed a dark and lonely ministerial outpost—has become a beacon of gospel hope for church planters and pastors in all cities. Dr. Keller’s undeniable impact on pastors is synonymous with commonly-uttered phrases such as, “There’s a Keller sermon on that,” and “Keller spoke on (or wrote about) that.” Regardless which part of the theological spectrum one resides, very few have shaped our city ministry landscape to the scale and dimension as Dr. Keller—challenging and transforming our views on church planting, the strategic importance of the city, and Christ-exalting, gospel-centered preaching directed at the skeptic in all of us. Keller’s sermons and preaching style are widely studied. His books are well-read by both skeptics and believers—having repeatedly appeared on the New York Times bestselling authors list. His continued work in training tomorrow’s church planters bears fruit for new churches and movements all over the world.
Tim is a friend and partner—deemed by many as one of the single greatest influences in the growth of their spiritual and ministerial character. Despite his efforts as a pastor, preacher, author, and trainer, he always underscores the importance of prayer and humble reliance on our Savior—who is also Healer and Sovereign Lord. And so we appeal to our Great Healer and Shepherd as we lift up prayers alongside our dear friend. We pray for healing mercy and grace—that the Lord will contain, regress, and remove all traces of cancer while encouraging and sustaining our brother through every high and low. We pray for the Keller family as they await the results of ongoing treatment—for their comfort, resilience, strength, and encouragement. And perhaps most importantly, we pray for the continued advance of the gospel of Christ’s kingdom through his ongoing presence, writings, and leadership. May God’s presence be abundantly experienced by Tim through the prayers of the multitude who have been shaped by his powerful ministry.