David Brooks described Tim Keller as a recliner. It’s perfect.
Tim Keller was at ease with the gospel and the world around him. Christ had apprehended him and that joy carried him through the hardest of places.
American evangelicalism suffers from an intellectual inferiority complex that sometimes turns into straight anti-intellectualism. But Tim could draw on a vast array of intellectual sources to argue for the existence of God, to draw piercing psychological insights from the troubling parts of Scripture or to help people through moments of suffering. His voice was warm, his observations crystal clear. We all tried to act cool around Tim, but we knew we had a giant in our midst.
He understood his own place without Christ and his place in Christ and it gave him a peace that truly passed all understanding.
The gospel, Keller taught with a nod to his late friend Jack Miller, says, “We are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, yet more loved and accepted in Jesus than we ever dared hope.”
There was a beautiful ease to his life as he calmly explained who Christ was to him. It was an ease that stayed when he got into areas where there would be tension and he would say things like, “Now, what I’m about to say you’re probably not going to like…” and he would go into the lesson without changing tone or pace.
Even in his last three years as he battled cancer, his ease was apparent. In one interview he was leaning back in his office chair and said simply, “If Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and he was, then everything is going to be okay.”
I wrestle internally. I struggle in my walk with Christ. There are wrestlings in my soul. The ease with which Tim Keller followed Christ and could engage with anyone in the world around him shines in my life. This is the walk I love to watch. This is the walk I long for in my own life.