I have read eight books by Tim Keller. None have been duds, but I certainly have my favorites.
Opportunities to interview Keller have come on two occasions. The first was on his book about suffering. That interview can be found here:
The other was an exchange of emails about preaching. That exchange was published here:
And now we have a terrific book on the formative influences that made Tim Keller who he is. Here then are a few observations from Collin’s Hanson’s wonderfully conceived book:
*Many times, God uses the most unlikely people. Keller’s awkwardness socially would not have made one think he was destined to the ministry we now know him for. By the way, Keller got a C in his seminary preaching class, not an encouraging sign that he would amount to much as a preacher.
*Mentors are hugely influential. Keller had several, but Edmund Clowney was one of the most formative. Clowney’s kindness, learning, and commitment to Keller reminds me of the role Ambrose played for Augustine.
*Keller’s ability to synthesize material, commitment to listen well to others, free people up to use their own gifts, but most of all, his humility, are things God has honored.
*There is no Tim Keller as we know him today without Kathy Keller. If you have a spouse who is a partner in ministry (I am graced by God to say that I do), then thank God for that blessing. If you are single and looking for a spouse, be diligent to find someone who shares the vision God has laid on your heart.
*If I were asked to list a couple of specifics that make a minister used of God, I would list true piety, humility, ability to keep loyal friends over the long haul, and courage. For the latter, Keller had a powerful model in a pastor who preceded him. He is a long-forgotten name, but you will be inspired by getting to know William E. Hill Jr. I’m glad Collin regularly brought in obscure figures who had a big impact on Keller.
*I mentioned above that I have read eight books by Keller. Making Sense of God is probably my favorite. I am glad that Collin gave some attention on the need to write such a book. My review of Making Sense of God is here: