This past week, renowned pastor, scholar, and author Tim Keller died of cancer. I never met Keller, but his books and teaching had a profound impact on the way I diagnose culture through the lens of Scripture, engage with skeptics of Christianity, and articulate the rationale behind Christ’s teachings. Keller was extraordinary at blending orthodoxy and orthopraxy, never shying away from the fact that what one believes informs how one lives.
There has been an outpouring of reflections about Keller on social media, and one that grabbed my attention was by Brannon McAllister, who identified 16 lessons from Keller’s life and teaching that each of us can emulate in our lives…
- Live lives of fervent prayer.
- Be faithful to our spouses. Cultivate deep mutual friendship and collaboration.
- Take steps of bold faith-filled risk when we see God’s call.
- Invest in building networks and long-term institutions over personal platforms.
- Acknowledge where we are gifted or not – and delegate to others.
- Release and distribute our power to the next generation.
- Seek to truly understand others, even those we most strongly disagree with.
- Focus our energy on the center rather than the periphery.
- Work within historic streams and traditions.
- Innovate for each new context.
- Build bridges outside our own tribes.
- Influence through personal relationships and offline conversations, rather than trolling on social media.
- Think out the many applications and implications of our faith.
- Always be reading. Stay curious.
- Remember to continually tend to our own hearts with the gospel.
- Be generous with words of encouragement.
My two favorite books by Tim Keller are the following, if you are interested…
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism