Theologian and bestselling author Tim Keller will be released from the 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: “It was a little scary, but God was merciful, worked through your prayers and the skill of the doctors, and now he is much better. He will be released from the hospital next week and undergo outpatient treatment for a while.”
… next week, and will be undergoing outpatient treatments for a while. Continue to pray for the next six months as we wait for the Lord (Psalm 130) to destroy cancer. We are hopeful. 2/2-Michael Keller
The update attracted hundreds of likes and comments, including Australian evangelist Christine Caine, who said, “Praise God! Pray for your father and family!”
Michael attributed his father’s turnaround to answered prayer, after calling people to pray several days earlier, as his father is “dealing with the side effects of an immunotherapy treatment he is undergoing”.
Excellent, friendly care. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support. We long for your prayers at this time. /2-Michael Keller
Timothy Keller, 71, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in May 2020. Last month, he “celebrated” the second anniversary of his diagnosis, saying on social media that “the chemotherapy has reduced cancer found in stage 4 and that God has seen fit to give me more time.”
However, he added: “We are also transitioning to an immunotherapy trial at the National Cancer Center in Bethesda, Maryland, starting June 1. This has shown promise for potentially curing cancer, although it is a rigorous and demanding program of a month (which needs updates up to six months).”
Keller—founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and president and co-founder of the Redeemer City to City (CTC) church planting organization—is the author of the New York Times bestselling books 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 DeathDeathpublished just a month before his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. He wrote about this and what it’s like to face his mortality in an article for The Atlantic.
“I have spent much of my life talking to people about the role of faith in the face of impending deathDeathce I became an ordained Presbyterian minister in 1975, I’ve sat on countless bedsides and sometimes even breathed someone’s last breath. I recently wrote a little book, On DeathDeathwhich I tell many of what I say to people in such times. But when I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just over a month after that book was published, I was still caught unprepared,” he wrote.
“One of the first things I learned was that religious belief doesn’t automatically provide comfort in times of crisis,” admitted Keller, who survived thyroid cancer in 2002.
“Despite national, conscious admission that I would someday die, the crushing 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 found that the less we try to make this world heaven, the more we can enjoy it.
“We no longer burden it with demands it cannot possibly fulfill. We’ve found that the simplest things—from the sun on the water and flowers in the vase to our hugs, sex, and conversations—bring more joy than ever. This surprised us.
“This change was not an overnight revolution. As God’s reality sinks into my heart, slowly and painfully, and through many tears, the simplest pleasure,s of this world have become sources of daily happiness. Only now that, for lack of a better term, I have become more celestial, can I see the material world as the amazingly good divine gift it is…
“I can honestly say, without any sentimentality or exaggeration, that I have never been so happy in my life, I have never had more days of comfort. But it is equally true that I have never had so many days of grief.”
Keller’s trademark belief in God, despite his circumstances, was again shown in the most recent offer on his social media, posted today: