Princeton Theological Seminary is “Unworthy” Of Its Traditions, says Kuyper Conference Alumni

Some say Seminary admin telling everyone that all comment should be withheld from media in favor of a “consolidated” voice

Several of the signers of the declaration are hardly conservative in their theology. But they say that they defend the openness of academic institutions to people of differing views. “Although our positions on these distinct issues differ,” said the protestants, “we believe that a matter of disagreement over a theological matter should not be a reason to deny someone a prize one would otherwise have given.”

 

As Princeton Theological Seminary battens down its hatches in the controversy with a stiff control over comments to the media, its actions in taking back the Kuyper Prize from NYC pastor Tim Keller continues to be washed over by criticisms from former prize winners, presenters and participants at the Kuyper Conferences.

The seminary explained its decision to rescind the award of the 2017 Kuyper Prize to Keller because “many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as an affirmation of Reverend Keller’s belief that women and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained.”

Yesterday, fifteen former prize winners, presenters and participants of the conferences issued a joint statement decrying the loss of Princeton Theological Seminary’s traditions of  “free academic debate and diversity.”  The uproar has become international. Half of the signatories live overseas, teaching or studying at foreign theological faculties. Keller is due to talk on the seminary campus on Thursday, April 6th at 7 pm.

In response, the seminary external relations personnel has “been telling everyone at the seminary” that all administration and academic comment should be withheld from the media in favor of a “consolidated” voice , according to one leader at the university. The public relations effort seems to support the charge that the seminary leadership is squashing the traditions of “free academic debate and diversity.”

The declaration says that the seminary has sent out a signal that it will only celebrate people who agree with its ideological views, particularly with its “progressive views on ordination and sexual ethics.” The “religious other” cannot be cherished least it diminishes one’s own sense of dignity and righteousness. The seminary leaders, the signers say, confine the Kuyper Prize into a cage, a hedge around the hedge of Princeton purity and probity in which no disagreements are allowed to be honored. “Academic institutions should make clear that the conferment of an academic prize is not a declaration of total agreement with the recipient’s views.” The tearfulness of the opponents to Keller’s reception of the prize is not matched by an empathy to the hurt that they inflict on the conservative “religious other” or to Princeton’s tradition as an academic institution as a safe space for disagreement.

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