Timothy Keller is an American author, speaker, and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City, New York. Timothy is the author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God.
He was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. However, he learned the most from his nine years as a pastor of West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in the small blue-collar town of Hopewell, Virginia. The congregation there loved him, suffered through his earliest days as a pastor, and taught an intellectual northerner to be clear. His second church was Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons.
Question: How can living in New York inspire a turn toward faith?
Keller: When you come to a place like New York City, first of all, you are bombarded with people who are like you, only better. So, you maybe the best violinist in [Hot Coffee], Texas and you get off the train in Penn Station, and, to your horror, there is somebody out there begging, you know, playing the violin and she’s better than you, and so that makes you just dig down deep and just practice, practice, practice. So, you see, all these people who are like you, the second thing in New York City, a place like New York gives you is tons of people who are so unlike you and they differ with you and they see things very differently and they bombard you with objections and arguments and questions and that makes you really either come up with a better rational for what you want to do than you ever would have gotten before, or it makes you incorporate new ideas. And so the diversity, you have so many people like you and so many people unlike you that it creates better enterprises. It’s a hot house for coming up with new models and new ideas and I think actually New York made me a far better minister. I don’t think it has to make you secular. I think it can make you more Orthodox, but you’ll be different.