Paul L. Caron

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Princeton Seminary Revokes Award To Tim Keller Because Of His Traditional Theological Views

Princeton KellerWall Street Journal, A Seminary Snubs a Presbyterian Pastor: Princeton Rescinds an Honor to Tim Keller Over His Traditional Theological Views:

Princeton Theological Seminary announced earlier this month that it would award the Rev. Tim Keller its Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness. The seminary lauded Mr. Keller for his commitment to spreading Christianity in cities, his bestselling books on religion, and his work helping to launch hundreds of churches. But thanks to some of his conservative views, Mr. Keller’s warm welcome didn’t last long.

In 1989 Mr. Keller founded Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which is part of the Presbyterian Church in America. The church now has a weekly attendance of around 5,000, and it is particularly popular among young professionals. It also maintains orthodox positions: opposing the ordination of women and practicing LGBT individuals while supporting traditional marriage. This made theologically progressive students, alumni and faculty furious over the decision to honor Mr. Keller. They wrote letters, signed petitions and planned demonstrations to pressure the seminary to rescind the award.

On March 10 seminary president Craig Barnes responded that while “we clearly stand in prophetic opposition” to some of Mr. Keller’s views, “my hope is that we will receive Rev. Keller in a spirit of grace and academic freedom.” By Wednesday Mr. Barnes relented: No one will receive the award this year, he announced, although Mr. Keller will still deliver what would have been his acceptance lecture.

This unfortunate outcome was not surprising to anyone who has watched seminaries throughout the country embrace and elevate radical “identity theology.” Identity politics have been dividing Americans for decades. Now identity theologies are splitting Christian denominations, colleges and seminaries in similar fashion ... Identity theology breaks down the communal cohesion and deep unity that Jesus and the apostle Paul sought to establish. 

Christians need a theology that prophetically denounces sexism, homophobia and racism—in the past and in the present—without the divisiveness inherent to identity theology. This sort of inclusive theology is central to Mr. Keller’s preaching and ministry, which is done in one of the most diverse places in the world, New York City. Theologians like Mr. Keller focus on God, scripture, loving others, and missionary work. They’re not very concerned about their own navels.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” Martin Luther King said in 1964. Is Mr. Keller not our brother? I am sad that my alma mater chose to undermine King’s vision and succumb to the demands of identity theology. When Mr. Keller stands before the seminary community next month, he will not deliver an acceptance lecture for the Kuyper Prize. Instead, he’ll demonstrate grace and magnanimity, for Mr. Keller’s unity with his detractors will truly be in Christ.

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He's a fairly conventional Christian, they're aspirant institutional parasites who wish to be den mothers on salary.

Posted by: Art Deco | Mar 28, 2017 1:13:00 PM

rc --
Politics is the religion of the Left.

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Mar 27, 2017 3:20:25 PM

Homophobia? What a ridiculous term. I recall well the situation in high school when I and my classmates faced the Vietnam-era draft. We realized there was the 'try to kiss the recruiter' escape clause—simply claim to be homosexual and you wouldn’t be drafted. No one wanted to do that and not from any "phobia." Homosexuals were regarded with pity rather fear. Someone who didn’t like girls wasn’t put together right.
And why would any right-thinking male fear them? All the stereotypes of male homosexuals portray them as far from dangerous people, typically lisping and limp-wristed. There's no more reason to fear them than to fear your little sister. If anything, the presence of them makes being a man easier. There's not need to compete with them for a woman's attention. They aren't interested. I once had a event-venue job where perhaps half the staff was gay. When a lovely young lady began to work with us, I was delighted to have so little competition for her attention.
The real hostility toward homosexuals comes from women and even there it’s not fear. I once worked in medical research and one of the researchers was obviously gay, joining marches and the like in the late 1980s. One afternoon he was using a computer in an office I shared with a woman. I was talking on the phone with a woman I was dating at the time. That wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was my roommate talking loudly about her boyfriend, who was in the army in Korea. with another woman. Odd, I thought, she doesn’t do that. I suspected she was deliberately doing that to irritate him. She saw his attitude as insulting her womanhood.
Indeed, with all that heterosexuality going on in the room, that homosexual researcher got up and stalked out. We had no phobia about him, merely pity in my case and contempt in the case of my roommate. It was he who had a phobia about us heterosexuals.
Projection is the term used for people who project their attitudes on others.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Mar 27, 2017 11:43:12 AM

Just more evidence that all of this has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with politics.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Mar 27, 2017 9:37:55 AM

"Christians need a theology that prophetically denounces sexism, homophobia and racism—in the past and in the present—without the divisiveness inherent to identity theology." Sigh. Have you not been paying attention? These "isms" are all nothing more than rhetorical clubs used to silence any opposition to a Progressive agenda. That is their only meaning. So any church which tries to create some uninfected version is just playing Trojan horse. (And that goes for every other phobia and ism we are supposed to accept as real and righteously abhor).

Posted by: Fearan Iarthair | Mar 27, 2017 9:10:40 AM

I sometimes feel like I've dropped through a trap door into Bizarro World.

Posted by: Michael | Mar 27, 2017 8:08:58 AM

There's a more conservative seminary down the road in Phila. maybe they'll give him one, instead

Posted by: mike livingston | Mar 26, 2017 9:44:45 PM

It's no surprise that "progressives" in the church chose to destroy rather than even pretend to be Christian. ... Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, I didn't leave the Presbyterian Church. It left me.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 26, 2017 7:39:37 PM