photo of Tim Keller sitting on a bench in a city

Thank You, Tim Keller, for Confounding Us All

I’m joining the ranks of countless others when I write a word of thanks for the life and ministry of Timothy Keller, who died on Friday. Tim Keller is probably most well-known for his many bestselling books, but I am most thankful for his gifts as a preacher. 

Towards the end of my years in college, someone passed me cassette tapes of his sermons on 1 Corinthians 13, and he gave me a whole new understanding of love. Then, as Peter and I prepared to get married, someone else passed along a set of his sermons on Ephesians 5. We gave copies of those sermons to everyone in our wedding party, and we listened to them multiple times over the years. They helped provide a foundation for marriage that holds us to this day. 

The funny thing is, I did and do disagree with Keller when it comes to the roles of men and women. He believed the Bible outlines distinct roles for men and women. I believe both men and women can lead within the church and the household. The reason he (and his wife, Kathy) were able to teach me so much even in an area where we fundamentally disagree is that there was a shared foundation—faith in the gospel of grace—beneath our distinct positions on gender roles within the church. 

Tim Keller blew through my own categories of liberal and conservative. He developed in me—and countless others—a concern for human flourishing that burst through my individualistic lens. He confounded conservatives with his approach to justice. He confounded liberals with his approach to gender and sex. He sought after Jesus, not after success or popularity or perfection. He gave me an expansive view of God as a source of greater love and grace than my mind or heart could ever imagine. 

I am so grateful for him. May he rest in peace.

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