Princeton Seminary Disses Pastor Timothy Keller
March 24, 2017
Can we all agree that modern leftists tend to politicize everything they can get their hands on — in every venue? Even the sacred isn’t sacred.
Princeton Theological Seminary reversed its decision to bestow the annual Abraham Kuyper Prize to New York City pastor Timothy Keller — for essentially political reasons.
Keller leads an enormously popular Reformed church in the heart of New York City. Before you challenge popularity as a meaningful yardstick for evaluating a pastor, know that his popularity is not based on straying from Scripture or Christian principles, but on being faithful to them.
Yes, even in New York City there is obviously a deep spiritual hunger for the truth and that is what Keller and his church provide, in spades.
I am familiar with Keller and his preaching, as I own several of his books and his entire sermon archive, which I purchased through Logos Bible Software — an amazing resource that I’ve used to research my Christian-themed books. I have visited Keller’s church, and though he wasn’t preaching that day, the pastor who was delivered a biblical, Christ-centered message without a hint of politics.
Neither in Keller’s writings nor his sermons have I detected the slightest inclination toward the political. He preaches the Gospel and the entire Bible with clarity and inspiration. His insights are invaluable and routinely profound. He is truly gifted and seems to practice the Christlike humility he preaches, not seeking to make himself a celebrity or otherwise leverage his talents to redirect the focus from Scripture to himself.
His disqualifying sin was not that he joined the now defunct Moral Majority or publicly endorsed some evil Republican politician. Nor was it that he rejected any of the church’s doctrinal tenets. It was not that his teachings might lead people away from the church’s mission to spread the Gospel. Rather, it was apparently his refusal to deviate from Scripture and conform his teachings to the current liberal political line on certain hot-button issues.
Certain people raised Cain about Keller’s “conservative positions” and the seminary decided it better renege on offering the award. Keller is a leader in the Presbyterian Church in America, which, according to Princeton Theological Seminary President Craig Barnes, “prevents women and LGBTQ+ persons from full participation in the ordained Ministry of Word and Sacrament.” The Seminary is part of a different denomination — the Presbyterian Church (USA), whose position on this issue conflicts with Keller and the PCA.
“Many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as affirmation of Reverend Keller’s belief that women and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained. This conflicts with the stance of the Presbyterian Church (USA). And it is an important issue among the divided Reformed communions.”
The Kuyper Prize 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.”
Keller apparently satisfied the criteria when he was chosen, but the ubiquitous forces of political correctness and social justice would have none of it. So Keller got the axe.
Keller won’t get the award, but not to worry — he’ll still get the consolation prize of being allowed to speak at the school’s annual conference in April.
Ah, liberal tolerance — it’s everywhere.
Keller is especially worthy of such an honor and the school’s action is disgraceful. “If you can’t give an Abraham Kuyper award to Tim Keller,” asked Southern Baptist leader Daniel Darling, “who can you give it to?”
Even in the church and church-affiliated institutions, those who subscribe to biblical views on marriage, even universally respected Christian leaders, must be scorned. The Bible and those entrusted with teaching it must yield to the moral strictures of the culture.
People sometimes ask what Christians and conservatives can do to reverse the relentless advance of secularism, progressivism and moral relativism in our culture. Well, they can start by waking up to the reality of the ongoing attacks on biblical and traditional values and the vilification of those who openly embrace them. They can quit ignoring these assaults because they prefer to avoid controversy. The truth is often controversial and should not take a back seat to pseudo concerns for harmony articulated by those who daily sew seeds of discord unless you unquestionably submit to their views.
The Bible should be our guide, not the shifting currents of political correctness and the bullying demands of leftist malcontents. Pastor Timothy Keller will not be harmed by this rejection. This good and faithful servant has already received an infinitely higher award.