Tim Keller health update

Theologian and bestselling author Tim Keller is to be released from hospital next week after a recent health scare during his ongoing battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Keller’s son Michael shared an “encouraging update” about his father on social media, saying, “Things were scary for a bit but God was gracious, working through your prayers and the skill of the doctors, and now he is doing much better. He is due to be released from the hospital next week, and will have ongoing outpatient treatments for a while.”

The update attracted hundreds of likes and comments, including Australian evangelist Christine Caine, who said, “Praise God! Praying for your dad and family!”

Michael attributed his father’s turnaround to answered prayer, after calling on people to pray several days earlier as his dad deals “with the side effects of an immunotherapy treatment that he is undergoing.”

71-year-old Timothy Keller was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in May 2020. He “celebrated” the second anniversary of his diagnosis last month, saying on social media that “the chemotherapies have reduced the stage 4 cancer that was found and God has seen it fit to give me more time.”

However, he added, “we are also moving onto an immunotherapy trial at the National Cancer Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as of June 1. This has shown great promise in potentially curing cancer, though it is a rigorous and demanding month-long program (that will need updates up to six months).”

Keller – founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and Chairman & Co-Founder of church-planting organisation Redeemer City to City (CTC) – is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. His books have sold over 2 million copies and have been translated into 25 languages.

Ironically, Keller’s book On Death was published only a month before his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He wrote about this, and what it’s like to face his mortality in an article for The Atlantic.

“I have spent a good part of my life talking with people about the role of faith in the face of imminent death. Since I became an ordained Presbyterian minister in 1975, I have sat at countless bedsides, and occasionally even watched someone take their final breath. I recently wrote a small book, On Death, relating a lot of what I say to people in such times. But when, a little more than a month after that book was published, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I was still caught unprepared,” he wrote.

“One of the first things I learned was that religious faith does not automatically provide solace in times of crisis,” admitted Keller, who also survived thyroid cancer in 2002.

“Despite my rational, conscious acknowledgment that I would die someday, the shattering reality of a fatal diagnosis provoked a remarkably strong psychological denial of mortality.”

However, Keller continued, “To our surprise and encouragement, Kathy and I have discovered that the less we attempt to make this world into a heaven, the more we are able to enjoy it.

“No longer are we burdening it with demands impossible for it to fulfill. We have found that the simplest things—from sun on the water and flowers in the vase to our own embraces, sex, and conversation—bring more joy than ever. This has taken us by surprise.

“This change was not an overnight revolution. As God’s reality dawns more on my heart, slowly and painfully and through many tears, the simplest pleasures of this world have become sources of daily happiness. It is only as I have become, for lack of a better term, more heavenly minded that I can see the material world for the astonishingly good divine gift that it is …

“I can sincerely say, without any sentimentality or exaggeration, that I’ve never been happier in my life, that I’ve never had more days filled with comfort. But it is equally true that I’ve never had so many days of grief.”

Keller’s trademark faith in God despite his circumstances was again displayed in the most recent offering on his social media, posted today: