Princeton Theological Seminary has rescinded an award initially given to Rev. Tim Keller after a backlash over the pastor’s views toward the ordination of women and gay people.
Craig Barnes, president of the seminary, said the Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness will not be award to Mr. Keller because it might “imply an endorsement” of his views.
“In talking with those who are deeply concerned about Reverend Keller’s visit to campus, I find that most share this commitment to academic freedom,” Mr. Barnes said in a letter Wednesday. “Yet many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as an affirmation of Reverend Keller’s belief that women and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained.”
Mr. Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and is considered one of the most influential Christian thinkers in America.
But the seminary’s decision to give him the award drew a backlash from some in the Princeton community who said his views on women and homosexuality are “offensive.”
Rev. Traci Smith, a Princeton Theological Seminary alumna and pastor in San Antonio, wrote a blog post saying “an institution designed to train men and women for ministry shouldn’t be awarding fancy prizes to someone who believes half the study body (or is it more than half?) has no business leading churches.”
“It’s offensive and, as I have taught my four and five year olds to express, it hurts my feelings,” she wrote.
Princeton Seminary is associated with Presbyterian Church (USA), a liberal wing of the denomination. Mr. Keller is a leader of the more conservative Presbyterian Church of America.
Mr. Keller will still deliver a lecture at Princeton Theological Seminary on British theologian Lesslie Newbigin and the mission of the church.