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By Rachel Stoltzfoos
Princeton Theological Seminary has pulled an award from well-known pastor and conservative thinker Tim Keller because of his views on gender and homosexuality.
The seminary was set to honor the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with an annual award honoring excellence in reformed theology and public witness. But the seminary president announced Wednesday Keller would not receive the award after all, because he does not believe women or LGBTQ people should be ordained as pastors.
“In order to communicate that the invitation to speak at the upcoming conference does not imply an endorsement of the Presbyterian Church in America’s views about ordination, we have agreed not to award the Kuyper Prize this year,” the president, Rev. Craig Barnes, said in an email to faculty and students Wednesday morning.
The seminary decided not to award anyone the prize this year. Keller has agreed, nevertheless, to give an address at the conference where he was to receive the award.
“It is not my practice to censor the invitations to campus from any of our theological centers or student organizations,” Barnes added. “This commitment to academic freedom is vital to the critical inquiry and theological diversity of our community.”
The Presbyterian denomination in particular is divided over the issue of ordination of women and gays as pastors. Keller is a big figure in the more conservative Presbyterian Church in America, while Princeton is more aligned with the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA).
Princeton praised Keller as an “innovative theologian and church leader” in the initial announcement of the award, and called him a “well published author, and catalyst for urban mission in major cities around the world.”