Princeton Seminary cancels award to Tim Keller, but not his lecture

It all began with a 19th-century Dutch theologian. Each year the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary—named for the neo-Calvinist thinker and church leader who also served as prime minister of the Netherlands—awards a Prize for Excel­lence in Reformed Theology and Public Life. This year, the center planned to honor Timothy Kel­ler, the founding pastor of Redeemer Pres­byterian Church in Manhattan, New York, who leads a global urban church planting network.

But Keller is also known for publishing his views on gender and sexuality, which include the barring of women and LGBTQ people from ordination. In early March, several dozen students and alumni contacted PTS president Craig Barnes about the prize. Some expressed support, but most of them objected because they saw the award as an endorsement of Keller’s views. 

“That’s not what I thought it meant initially, but it became clear that’s what it meant to our seminary community,” Barnes said.