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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Famed pastor was slated for award — then seminary got heat over his objection to gay ordinations

Well-known pastor and author, the Rev. Tim Keller, was supposed to get an award from Princeton Theological Seminary — that is, until the school got backlash over Keller’s objection to the ordination of gays and women.

So seminary President Craig Barnes said Wednesday that Keller won’t be getting the Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness award after all, the Washington Times reported, as doing so may “imply an endorsement” of his positions.

Barnes’ letter added that “many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as an affirmation of Reverend Keller’s belief that women and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained.”

Keller is pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and is considered among the most prominent and highly regarded Christian leaders in the country, if not the world.

But that didn’t sway the Rev. Traci Smith, a Princeton seminary grad who is the pastor at Northwood Presbyterian Church in San Antonio. She took issue with Keller’s views — as well as her alma mater for intending to give him an award.

Smith wrote in a blog that Keller is “arguably the most influential pastor” of the Presbyterian Church in America, which 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.”

She said that Princeton seminary “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 … it hurts my feelings.”

Princeton seminary is aligned with the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination, which has long supported the ordination of woman and has allowed the ordination of those in same-sex relationships since 2011.

Keller will still deliver a lecture at the seminary on British theologian Lesslie Newbigin and the mission of the church, the Times reported.