Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Losing Giants of the Faith

Losing Giants of the Faith


The memorial service for pastor and author Tim Keller occurred earlier this week. We mourn another loss in the greater Christian community as his name is added to the list of apologetic giants who have recently passed on to the glory of their Savior’s presence.

J. I. Packer, Nabeel Qureshi, Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, and now Tim Keller populate a partial list of giants of the faith now experiencing the reality of their life messages. What does that mean for those who listened and learned and are once again left behind?

First, it means families lost loved ones. Families lost husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers. We put these men on a pedestal and forget they were people with intimate human relationships before they were apologetic giants. But we’re called to weep with those who weep.

Second, it means they were vulnerable to the same frailties we are vulnerable to. Physical weakness and death. Spiritual doubts and temptations. Mental and emotional trials and struggles. And sin. Yes, sin, too.

In short, they were human, just like you and me.


In Place of Giants


After the death of each of these giants, I heard the same question asked multiple times. “Who will God raise up to take his place?” And I’ve wondered if the answer is not limited to another “giant.”

Is it possible God is looking to raise up His entire Church instead?

To raise up an army of countless men and women who will boldly proclaim the gospel.

A throng who will fulfill 1 Peter 3:15, to “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (ESV).

A multitude who will eagerly desire to be the fulfillment of 2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (ESV).

John Piper once said, “When all your favorite preachers are gone, and all their books forgotten, you will have your Bible. Master it. Master it.”

Perhaps it’s time for all Christians to stop looking for the next Tim Keller or Billy Graham. Just as Mordecai challenged Esther to speak up “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 ESV), will we stop waiting for someone else to act? Instead, will you and I take up their mantle wherever God has planted us?

To always be ready to share the gospel?

To rightly handle the word of truth as one who need not be ashamed?

And to know why we believe what we believe and then offer this truth in love?


I can’t think of a better tribute to the giants who have gone before us. Can you?

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