Timothy Keller Kathy Keller Biography & Facts
Timothy J. Keller (born September 23, 1950) is an American pastor, theologian, and Christian apologist. He is the chairman and co-founder of Redeemer City to City, which trains pastors for service around the world. He is also the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, New York and the author of The New York Times bestselling books 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). The prequel for the latter is Making Sense of GOD: An Invitation to the Skeptical (2016).
Early life and education
Keller was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Louise A. Keller (Clemente) and William B. Keller, a television advertising manager. Keller is a graduate of Bucknell University (BA, 1972), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1975) and Westminster Theological Seminary, where he received his D.Min. in 1981, under the supervision of Harvie M. Conn. He became a Christian while at Bucknell University, due to the ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, with which he later served as a staff member. He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and served as a pastor at West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia for nine years, while serving as director of church planting for the PCA. He also served on the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he and his wife Kathy Keller were involved in urban ministry.
Keller was recruited by his denomination to start Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan in 1989 despite his relative lack of experience after two others had turned down the position. By 2017 when Dr Keller stepped out of the pulpit ministry over 5,000 people a week attended.
In 2008, Keller published his first book since his 1989 report to his denomination on diaconal ministries, Ministries of Mercy. The book, The Reason for God, was based on common objections to the Christian faith heard during his ministry in New York City. The book reached seventh on the New York Times Nonfiction bestseller list.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Redeemer Presbyterian Church grew from 50 people to a total attendance of over 5,000 people each Sunday as of 2008, leading some to call him "the most successful Christian evangelist in the city". In 2004, Christianity Today praised Redeemer as "one of Manhattan's most vital congregations".The church's emphasis on young urban professionals, whom Keller believes exhibit disproportionate influence over the culture and its ideas, has given the church an unusual makeup for a US megachurch. The majority of the congregation is made up of single adults; it is also over forty percent Asian-American, and has many congregants working in the arts and financial services. In his preaching, "he hardly shrinks from difficult Christian truths, [but] he sounds different from many of the shrill evangelical voices in the public sphere." Keller often critiques both political parties and avoids taking public stances on political issues, resulting in a politically centrist church.Redeemer Presbyterian Church has also founded Hope for New York, a non-profit organization that sends volunteers and grants to over 40 faith-based ministries serving social needs in New York City, the Center for Faith and Work to train professionals in Christian theology, and Redeemer City to City to train and fund pastors in New York and other cities.
Keller is a co-founder of The Gospel Coalition, a group of Reformed leaders from around the United States. His mentoring of younger church leaders, such as Scott Sauls in Nashville and Steve Chong in Sydney, has increased his influence globally.
On July 1, 2017, Keller stepped down from his role as senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. The move was part of a larger vision to shift his efforts from preaching to training the next generation of church leaders and starting new churches in global cities through Redeemer City to City.
Keller shuns the label "evangelical" because of its political and fundamentalist connotation, preferring to call himself orthodox because "he believes in the importance of personal conversion or being 'born again,' and the full authority of the Bible." He identifies with Calvinist theology, although he has been critiqued by some in that tradition for his modern interpretation of its doctrines. He has been described as a "doctrine-friendly emerging pastor" and a "neo-Calvinist."
Gospel versus religion
The centerpiece and underpinning of Keller's ministry has been his teaching of the doctrine of the gospel, emphasizing the doctrines of total depravity, unmerited grace and substitutionary atonement. This teaching is summarized in his oft-used explanation, "The gospel is this: 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.” This understanding of the gospel is contrasted to what Keller calls “traditional religion” (which he defines as a set of rules, rituals or actions that enable an individual to earn salvation or favor with God) as well as “irreligion” (which he defines as the belief that there is no God or no need for his favor). This has been referred to as a “gospel third way,” or “gospel-centered” approach. Typical of this teaching is his interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (see The Prodigal God), based on a teaching of one of Keller's mentors, Edmund Clowney.
Keller's preaching and writing in his apologetics is characterized by a respectful orientation towards an educated and skeptical audience outside the faith. His most explicit work on the subject is The Reason for God which he attributes to thousands of conversations with skeptical New Yorkers over the course of his ministry (Reason, xix). Elsewhere he has written about the loss of a Christian culture in the West, including in the academic and cultural establishments, and the need for Christians to contextualize to the current secular and anti-religious cultural climate.
On creationism, Keller states that his view is not strictly literal and that evolution is "neither ruled in nor ruled out" in his church. Keller has written on the topic for the Biologos Foundation.Keller's major influences in apologetics include C.S. Lewis, Cornelius Van Til, John Stott, Alvin Plantinga and Miroslav Volf.
Another central theme in Keller's teaching is idolatry, as based on teachings of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and on the Ten Commandments and other parts of the Bible. Keller states that contemporary idol worship continues today in the form of an addiction or devotion to money, career, sex, power and anything people seek to give significance and satisfaction in life other than God (detailed in his book Counterfeit Gods).
Social justice.... Discover the Timothy Keller Kathy Keller popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Timothy Keller Kathy Keller books.