Tim Keller Word on the Week 20th May 2023.
In the passing of Dr Tim Keller this week the evangelical community has lost a towering figure. His stature came from his close walk with Jesus whom he portrayed in the most compelling language and actions.
Few can forget the superb Gospel illustrations he gleaned from the contemporary world of the arts, film and drama with which he presented the truth of Christ to a New York congregation.
Redeemer was the name of the church he planted, boldly stating the reason why Christ came to earth. He gathered his congregation by travelling weekly from Philadelphia to New York to lunch with a contact. During the meal Tim would share the Gospel and his vision of a new church specially for people like his new friend.
He would conclude by asking for two visiting cards. These would be of people the diner thought would appreciate meeting Tim over lunch the following week. This was how he built up a community and with the prayers of his friends in Philadelphia, Redeemer came into being.
His method of training disciples was also Gospel centered. Candidates were invited to become part of the Redeemed staff for a year during which time they were to make their church planting plans known and encourage any in the congregation to join a new work.
Perhaps Tim is best known through his books and taped addresses. He was a popular conference speaker who, along with Don Carson founded the Gospel Coalition. The vision they held was that Gospel churches had more in common with each other than with their denomination. The Gospel Partnerships these churches formed was a way to foster the Lord’s work without necessarily leaving their denomination.
Another part of his vision was the ‘City to City’ ministry. He understood the similarities which exist between large cities. Often they have more in common with each other than they have with their hinterland. We have an example of this work in ‘The Third Way’ in Smithfield Dublin – a Christian space for Gospel work.
Perhaps the greatest asset in all his endeavours was his wife Kathy. She shared her vision with Tim and the Lord used them greatly. Our sympathy goes to her and their three sons on their great loss.
Then the king said to his soldiers, “You must know that a great leader has fallen in Israel today (2 Samuel 3 verse 38).