Tim Keller Set to Receive 2017 Kuyper Prize from Princeton Theological Seminary, But Some Alumni Unhappy

Timothy Keller, senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, speaks at Movement Day Global Cities at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on Thursday, October 27, 2016.

Tim Keller, founding pastor of the multi-campus Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, is set to receive the 2017 Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness at Princeton Theological Seminary next month but some alumni are disgruntled because of his church’s position on women and LGBT individuals in ministry.

The Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life is awarded each year to a scholar or community leader whose outstanding contribution to their chosen sphere reflects the ideas and values characteristic of the Neo-Calvinist vision of religious engagement in matters of social, political and cultural significance in one or more of the spheres of society. A condition of the prize is that the recipient deliver a lecture on a topic appropriate to the aims of the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology.

On April 6 at the Princeton Seminary campus in Miller Chapel, Keller is expected to collect the  Abraham Kuyper Prize and deliver a lecture on church planting.

Despite expressing respect for Keller as a Christian leader and man of faith, Princeton Theological Seminary alumna Traci Smith argued in a blog post that she doesn’t believe Keller should be honored because of the Presbyterian Church in America’s position on the ordination of women and LGBT individuals.

“Rev. Keller is arguably the most influential pastor of a denomination that is very clear in its assertion that women should not be ordained to ministry. He (and the denomination he serves) is also very clear in its exclusion of LGBT people,” Smith argued.

“My personal soapbox … boils down to this: an institution designed to train men and women for ministry shouldn’t be awarding fancy prizes to someone who believes half the student 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 said.

“… (the reason he shouldn’t have been invited to give this lecture and receive this prize) is that this isn’t some minor thing. This is a giant lecture with a giant whoop-de-doo factor,” she opined. “There’s a place for common ground, but unless Rev. Tim Keller is prepared to argue for the ordination of all the women students of Princeton Theological Seminary, the The Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life is not that place in my opinion.”

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SOURCE: The Christian Post