Princeton Seminary giveth and taketh away, won't award Tim Keller 2017 Kuyper Prize
In order not to offend certain individuals, Princeton Seminary's decision to award prolific author and theologian Timothy Keller the 2017 Kuyper Lecture and Prize, has been reversed. Under pressure from individuals who disagree with Keller's traditional and historically affirmed position on marriage between a husband and wife, Princeton has decided not to give the award to anyone, in a stunning reversal of its original decision.
M. Craig Barnes, President of the Seminary addressed the issue in a letter to the seminary stating, "Many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as an affirmation of Reverend Keller’s belief that women and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained. This conflicts with the stance of the Presbyterian Church (USA)."
Princeton Seminary is directly affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, while Keller and his church, Redeemer Presbyterian, are part of the Presbyterian Church of America, an important distinction and a large one regarding ordination and belief of the institution of marriage. PCA doesn't ordain women or persons sexually active outside male-female marriage.
Keller was set to receive The Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life, which honors contributors to the "Neo-Calvinist vision of religious engagement." Keller is still scheduled to deliver the annual Kuyper Lecture on April 6 as planned, but according to Seminary President Craig Barnes the school will not award the Kuyper Prize to anyone this year.
Keller, a prolific author and speaker, is founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which has planted dozens of other churches through its Redeemer City to City initiative. The network is notable for its success in reaching young urban professionals and for its racial diversity.
Frequently appearing in secular media as a religious and cultural commentator, Keller is one of the most influential pastors and Christian thinkers in America today. He is a guru of the rebirth of urban evangelical Protestant Christianity. His theology like his denomination's is orthodox and Reformed, but Keller typically avoids culture war issues and hot button debates.
The Institute for Religion and Democracy President Mark Tooley chimed in on the news stating there is nothing unusual about the stance of Keller or PCA, rather their views have been upheld by the majority of Christian denominations throughout history. "The objectors to Keller speaking at Princeton would also, if consistent, have to object to the Pope and to the clerics of nearly every major Christian body. Nearly all of global Christianity disagrees with the PCUSA and Princeton Seminary on these issues and would align with Keller, who is not exotic or unusual in his stances."