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International: USA – Princeton snubs Tim Keller

May 2017

Timothy J. Keller, founding pastor of Manhattan’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, has had an honour rescinded by Princeton Theological Seminary.

Because Mr Keller has stood against gay marriage and does not agree with the ordination of women or allowing practicing LBGT people into the Christian ministry, Princeton has said it would no longer be giving the annual Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness to Mr Keller.

Although Mr Keller said he would still deliver the annual Kuyper lecture, the president of the mainline Protestant seminary, Rev. Craig Barnes, said the ‘theological diversity of our community’ was too important. In an email to faculty and staff, Mr Barnes said, if the seminary had given the award to Mr Keller, it could imply an ‘endorsement’ of Mr Keller’s views.

The Kuyper Prize was named after Dutch theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper, who presented a series of lectures at Princeton in the late 1890s. Ironically, Mr Kuyper would have been stoutly opposed to modern liberal thinking on ordination of women, the LGBT movement and theological modernism in general.

According to a 2011 essay by Arie Molendijk, ‘A squeezed out lemon peel: Abraham Kuyper on Modernism’, published in Church history and religious culture, Mr Kuyper blasted modernism in one of his Princeton lectures.

The essay states, ‘He vigorously ridiculed modernism in theology as a new-fangled fad based on a superficial view of reality. He argued that modernism missed the reality of God, of prayer, of sin, and of the church. He said modernism would eventually prove as useless as “a squeezed-out lemon peel”.’

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