Tim Keller shares positive cancer update: 'All praise belongs to God'

Pastor Tim Keller, founder and former pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City. | Courtesy of A. Larry Ross Communications

Pastor Tim Keller shared a positive update as he continues to battle pancreatic cancer, revealing doctors are both “surprised and delighted” at his body’s response to chemotherapy. 

“Thank you all so much for continuing to pray for me during my treatment for pancreatic cancer,” the 70-year-old pastor wrote on social media Friday. 

“God has been very gracious in answering those prayers, and my most recent CT scans on Monday showed more improvement. My doctor is both surprised and delighted that I am able to tolerate the continued high level of chemotherapy with relatively few side effects (they are there, but not as debilitating as they could be) as well as having such a strong therapeutic response.”

Keller first revealed his cancer diagnosis in June. At the time, he asked supporters to pray for God “to use medical means or his direct intervention to make the cancer regress to the point of vanishing."

He also asked for prayers for he and his wife, Kathy, to “use this opportunity to be weaned from the joys of this world and to desire God’s presence above all” and for his “family to be comforted and encouraged.”

In his update Friday, the pastor revealed God had answered those prayers. 

“All praise belongs to God, who has been merciful and generous in caring for us both physically and spiritually,” he wrote.

The now-retired pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and co-founder of The Gospel Coalition is also a survivor of thyroid cancer, which he had in 2002.

Despite his cancer diagnosis, Keller has continued to write, preach, and engage with current events. Ahead of the 2020 election, he repeatedly denounced the idea that a Christian must vote for Donald Trump or must vote for Joe Biden, citing a “liberty of conscience.”

In late October, the Uncommon Ground author posted a link to a 2018 New York Times op-ed about politics that he authored. The pastor quoted from his column on Twitter: “Nevertheless, while believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one.”

“As anyone knows who has listened to my preaching over the years, I have always, incessantly, equally critiqued the positions of the Left and the Right, not one more than the other,” Keller tweeted. “To claim that I am mainly a proponent of one side or the other is amply refuted by looking at my books and sermons.

In an interview with The Christian Post in April, Keller said that until Christians are able to engage culture with empathy and understanding, they are unlikely to find a way forward in a largely pluralistic society.

“Here’s the trouble: American society has been deeply influenced by Christianity, and that’s something that secular people don’t want to admit,” he said. “So many of our values, like love, human rights, the dignity of the individual, arose from cultures based on the Bible that came out of the Christian West. Yet, secular liberals often don’t want to admit how much of what’s good in our society came from Christianity.”

Conversely, Keller added, “Conservative evangelicals don’t want to admit how flawed our past is.”

“Modern Christians feel like we had a Christian society in the past,” he said. “It was influenced by Christianity, but was it really that Christian? We had slavery, segregation, we mistreated people — as a society we’ve done a lot of things wrong. Modern conservative evangelicals don’t want to admit how flawed our past American society had been.”

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