Tim Keller Obituary: Evangelical Minister Dies at 72

Who Was Tim Keller? 

Timothy James Keller (September 23, 1950 – May 19, 2023) was a prominent American pastor, theologian, and Christian apologist associated with Neo-Calvinism. He co-founded Redeemer City to City, an organization dedicated to training pastors for global service. Keller was the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, known for its influential impact on urban ministry.

He authored several bestselling books, including The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith (2008), Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (2014), and The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (2008). In 2016, he released the prequel to The Reason for God, titled Making Sense of GOD: An Invitation to the Skeptical. Keller’s writings and teachings have had a profound impact on individuals grappling with faith and skepticism in the contemporary world.


Tim Keller Obituary

Tim Keller, an influential figure in the Christian community, dedicated his life to serving God and sharing his faith. Together with his family, he played a significant role in establishing Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City in 1989. Under his leadership, the church grew remarkably, attracting a weekly attendance of over 5,000 individuals. Through Redeemer Presbyterian Church, numerous other impactful ministries were birthed, including Redeemer City to City, Hope for New York, and Redeemer Counseling Services.

In July 2017, Tim Keller stepped down as the Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church but remained actively involved in full-time service for City to City, a ministry that has played a pivotal role in the establishment of more than 1,000 churches across 150 cities. Through this ministry, over 79,000 leaders have been trained or impacted.

Tim Keller’s journey in ministry began when he was ordained into the Presbyterian Church in America in 1975. He served as a pastor at West Hopewell Presbyterian Church from 1975 to 1984. Following that, he taught at Westminster Seminary and served as the director of Mercy Ministry for the Presbyterian Church in America’s Mission to North America program. In 1989, he took on the role of Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, where he faithfully served for nearly three decades.

Throughout his career, Tim Keller authored numerous influential books, many of which have gained widespread recognition. Some of his notable works include “The Reason for God,” “The Prodigal God,” and “The Meaning of Marriage,” co-authored with his wife, Kathy. In total, he wrote 31 books, which collectively sold over 6 million copies and were translated into 29 languages.

Tim Keller is survived by his beloved wife, Kathy, their three sons, David, Michael, and Jonathan, as well as his sister, Sharon Johnson of Sorrento, Florida. He is also fondly remembered by his daughters-in-law, Jennifer, Sara, and Ann-Marie, and his seven cherished grandchildren: Lucy, Kate, Charlotte, Miles, William, Eleanor, and Daniel. His legacy as a faithful servant of God and a profound spiritual leader continues to inspire and impact countless lives around the world.

Timothy Keller Dies at Age 72

Tim Keller, a prominent pastor based in New York City, passed away at the age of 72 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Throughout his ministry, Keller made a significant impact by reaching out to young urban professionals and demonstrating how a winsome Christian witness can effectively share the gospel in unexpected settings.

Keller’s journey began with the planting and growth of a Reformed evangelical congregation in the heart of Manhattan. This thriving church served as a beacon of hope and drew people from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, Keller played a key role in launching a network dedicated to planting churches, spreading the message of the gospel even further.

As a co-founder of The Gospel Coalition, Keller actively promoted a unifying vision of Christianity, bringing together believers from various denominations. Through this platform, he engaged in thoughtful discussions and addressed important theological topics. Keller’s impact extended beyond his church and network.

He became a renowned author, writing multiple best-selling books that delved into profound subjects such as God, the gospel, and the Christian life. His writings resonated with readers worldwide and provided them with valuable insights and perspectives. Central to his message was the emphasis on sin and grace.

Keller consistently shared the truth that all humanity is deeply flawed and sinful, yet in Jesus Christ, there is an immeasurable love and acceptance that surpasses our wildest hopes. Throughout his ministry, Tim Keller displayed a genuine passion for sharing the transformative power of the gospel. His teachings and writings continue to inspire believers and challenge them to live out their faith in impactful ways. While his presence will be deeply missed, his legacy as a faithful servant and advocate for the gospel will endure for generations to come.

Tim Keller Career

Despite having no prior experience, Keller was approached by his denomination to establish Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan in 1989, after two others had declined the opportunity. This unexpected endeavor marked the beginning of Keller’s remarkable journey. In 2008, Keller released his first book since his earlier report on diaconal ministries.

Titled “Ministries of Mercy,” it drew from his ministry experiences in New York City and addressed common objections to the Christian faith. Following its publication, Keller’s subsequent book, “The Reason for God,” quickly gained popularity and secured a spot on the New York Times Nonfiction bestseller list, reaching the seventh position.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church witnessed significant growth under Keller’s leadership. Starting with just 50 individuals, the congregation expanded to over 5,000 attendees each Sunday by 2008. This remarkable achievement led many to consider Keller “the most successful Christian evangelist in the city.” Redeemer gained recognition as one of Manhattan’s vibrant and influential congregations, receiving praise from Christianity Today in 2004.

What set Redeemer apart was its focus on young urban professionals, a demographic Keller believed held substantial influence over culture and ideas. The church’s composition was unique for a US megachurch, with a majority of single adults, over forty percent of the congregation being Asian-American, and many members working in the arts and financial services.

Keller’s preaching style differed from the more divisive evangelical voices often heard, as he fearlessly addressed challenging Christian truths while avoiding aligning himself with specific political parties or taking public stances on political issues. This approach fostered a politically centrist environment within the church.

In addition to its religious activities, Redeemer Presbyterian Church established various initiatives to serve the community. These included Hope for New York, a nonprofit organization that supports over 40 faith-based ministries addressing social needs in the city; the Center for Faith and Work, which provides Christian theological training for professionals; and Redeemer City to City, a program that trains and financially supports pastors not only in New York but also in other cities.

Keller’s influence extended beyond his local congregation. He played a pivotal role as a co-founder of The Gospel Coalition, a collective of Reformed leaders from across the United States. Furthermore, his mentoring efforts, such as guiding Scott Sauls in Nashville and Steve Chong in Sydney, significantly impacted and expanded his global reach.

In 2017, Keller made the decision to step down as the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, as part of a larger vision to shift his focus from preaching to equipping the next generation of church leaders and establishing new churches in global cities through Redeemer City to City. This transition allowed him to continue his influential work on a broader scale.

Tim Keller Biography 




Timothy James Keller


September 23, 1950

Place of birth 

Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.


May 19, 2023 (aged 72)

New York City, U.S.


  • Bucknell University (BA)
  • Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv)
  • Westminster Theological Seminary (DMin)


Minister and author

Notable work

Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church


Kathy Kristy ​(m. 1975)​




Presbyterian Church in America

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