John Piper Shares Final Email from Tim Keller: ‘My Name Is Written in Heaven’

Author and pastor John Piper says his final email exchange with the late Tim Keller involved a hope-filled message from Luke 10 that also had inspired 20th-century minister Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Keller, the former pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and an influential apologist and author, died Friday at age 72. He and Piper, 77, rose to prominence among evangelicals during the same era.

“Based on the final exchange by email that Tim Keller and I had, there’s something I think he would want me to say to younger pastors –  maybe younger everybody,” Piper, the pastor emeritus at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, said in a YouTube video.

“We were reveling together in Luke chapter 10, verse 20, where Jesus responds to the 72 disciples as they returned from their ministry, and they are overjoyed that the demons are subject to them. And Jesus responds: ‘Do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you. Rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven.’

“And Tim reminded me that Martyn Lloyd-Jones found more comfort in that as he was dying than in any other text – ‘my name is written in heaven.’”

Keller died after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Lloyd-Jones died in 1981.

“So here’s what I think Tim would want me to say: By all means, do your biblical exegesis,” Piper said. “By all means, do your cultural exegesis. By all means, preach the Word of God with all your heart. By all means, love your church, care for the flock. But under all that, in all that, above all that, be more thrilled that you are saved, then that you are successful. Take more delight in the Savior than in his service. That’s what I think Tim Keller would want me to say.”

Keller and his wife launched Redeemer Presbyterian in 1989. He stepped down in 2017 in order to lead another ministry, Redeemer City to City, which plants new churches. His sermons can be heard on the popular Gospel in Life podcast.


Tim Keller Dies at Age 72: ‘I’m Ready to See Jesus,’ He Said in Final Hours

Photo courtesy: Creative Commons/Micah Chiang

Video courtesy: ©John Piper

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.