And God’s comfort to his family.
“The gospel is this,” Keller said time and again: “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
At his church in Manhattan, Keller told the nation’s cultural elites that they worshipped false gods.
“We want to feel beautiful. We want to feel loved. We want to feel significant,” he preached in 2009, “and that’s why we’re working so hard and that’s the source of the evil.”
Keller explained to New York magazine that this was, in a way, an old-fashioned message about sin. But when many people hear “sin,” they only think of things like sex, drugs, and maybe stealing. The modern creative class that he was trying to reach, however, was beset by many more pernicious sins jostling to take the place of God’s love in their lives.
“Same as everyone else,” he told World magazine. “My sermons were too long, my pastoral approaches to some people didn’t work—I was sometimes too direct and sometimes not [direct] enough. I started new programs no one really wanted. But because the congregation was so supportive and loving, I was able to make those mistakes without anyone attacking me for them.”
“I … learned not to build a ministry on leadership charisma (which I didn’t have anyway!) or preaching skill (which wasn’t so much there early on) but on loving people pastorally and repenting when I was in the wrong,” he said. “In a small town, people will follow you if they trust you—your character—personally, and that trust has to be built in personal relationships.”
“Fifty years from now,” a CT editor wrote, “if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbours, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.”
“If the resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened,” Keller told The New York Times, “then ultimately, God is going to put everything right. Suffering is going to go away. Evil is going to go away. Death is going to go away. Ageing is going to go away. Pancreatic cancer is going to go away. Now if the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, then I guess all bets are off. But if it actually happened, then there’s all the hope in the world.”
— Christianity Today