As reported here, Princeton Seminary has reneged on its decision to award its annual Abraham Kuyper Prize to well-known and well-respected author, pastor & theologian Tim Keller – for essentially political reasons. Keller, who opposes women and gays and lesbians from becoming ordained ministers, comes from the conservative Presbyterian Church in America, while the Seminary is part of the very liberal Presbyterian Church (USA).
The decision comes amid push back from some students, faculty and alumni, including the gay and lesbian and women’s groups, at the seminary (the existence of gay and lesbian groups in the seminary is quite revealing.) In an online open letter to the Kupyer Center and Barnes, they questioned how the Seminary could honor someone whose “exclusionary stances” are contrary to the values of the school.
“While we wholeheartedly believe in academic freedom and the importance of hearing a diversity of perspectives, we believe this award constitutes an endorsement that jeopardizes Princeton Theological Seminary’s ability to be a place that affirms everyone equally in ministry,” the petition read in part.
As attorney David Limbaugh observes,
His (Keller's) disqualifying sin was not that he joined the now defunct Moral Majority or publicly endorsed some evil Republican politician. Nor was it that he rejected any of the church’s doctrinal tenets. It was not that his teachings might lead people away from the church’s mission to spread the Gospel. Rather, it was apparently his refusal to deviate from Scripture and conform his teachings to the current liberal political line on certain hot-button issues.
Certain people raised Cain about Keller’s “conservative positions,” and the seminary decided it better renege on offering the award. Keller is a leader in the Presbyterian Church in America, (PCA), which, according to Princeton Theological Seminary President Craig Barnes, “prevents women and LGBTQ+ persons from full participation in the ordained Ministry of Word and Sacrament.” The Seminary is part of a different denomination – the Presbyterian Church (USA), whose position on this issue conflicts with Keller and the PCA.
While there are certainly notable exceptions at Princeton University today (i.e., Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton), the seminary is now a hotbed of progressive liberalism far removed from its origins as an orthodox bastion of the faith. All views are apparently welcome at Princeton Seminary... except any that conform to the historically orthodox faith.