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Open Letter To the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology and Dr. Craig Barnes

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Dear Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology and Dr. Barnes,

We the undersigned are writing to you today as a concerned group of students, faculty, and alumni upon hearing the news that Rev. Tim Keller is receiving the Abraham Kuyper Award and has been invited to speak on April 6th. Rev. Keller’s exclusionary and prohibitive stances on the ordination of women and LGBTQ persons is diametrically opposed to the mission and values of Princeton Theological Seminary. Below are some statements made by Rev. Keller that underscore our concerns.

On ordaining female elders and pastors:

“I affirm and support the PCA’s belief in male headship in the home and church. I would never want to see our denomination compromise its support of this biblical complementarianism. Along with Ligon Duncan, I have never seen a credible biblical case made for the ordination of women to be elders or pastors. And when I see some of my friends try to make such a biblical case, I find their use of Scripture alarming and disturbing.”

On gender complementarianism and homosexuality:

“ . . . male and female have unique, non-interchangeable glories — they each see and do things that the other cannot. Sex was created by God to be a way to mingle these strengths and glories within a life-long covenant of marriage. Marriage is the most intense (though not the only) place where this reunion of male and female takes place in human life. Male and female reshape, learn from, and work together . . . Without understanding this vision, the sexual prohibitions in the Bible make no sense. Homosexuality does not honor the need for this rich diversity of perspective and gendered humanity in sexual relationships. Same-sex relationships not only cannot provide this for each spouse, they can’t provide children with a deep connection to each half of humanity through a parent of each gender.”

We respectfully ask: if this seminary is committed to training up the whole body of Christ for ordained ministry and service to the church, how can it honor its commitments to these ideals while also honoring a pastor whose own ministry and practice stands in direct opposition to them? If the student body is nearly forty percent women, and also includes LGBTQ students, how can Princeton Theological Seminary bestow such a significant honor upon someone who denies their call to ministry? What might Princeton Theological Seminary communicate about its values by honoring Rev. Keller with upwards of a $10,000 prize?

While we wholeheartedly believe in academic freedom and the importance of hearing a diversity of perspectives, we believe this award constitutes an endorsement that jeopardizes Princeton Theological Seminary’s ability to be a place that affirms everyone equally in ministry. It is one thing to uphold academic freedom by allowing campus groups to invite certain speakers whose views may not reflect all the values of the institution. It is wholly another to honor Rev. Keller by awarding him a prize as significant as this one when he has actively and personally championed the exclusion of women and LGBTQ persons from sharing in the full ministry of the Church. Rev. Keller is not participating in a panel discussion where a plurality of voices will be heard, nor was he invited by a campus group; yet he is receiving an award via a representative of our institution. We understand per Dr. Barnes’ communication to the student body that Princeton Theological Seminary’s posture of inclusion toward women and LGBTQ persons is unchanging. However, we remain distressed and disappointed at what the receipt of this award communicates about Princeton Theological Seminary’s values and theological commitments regardless of the topic of Rev. Keller’s speaking invitation.

It is our hope that you will hear in our concerns that Rev. Keller’s exclusionary stances be taken seriously, and that in the future any award recipients be more carefully considered to avoid situations such as this.


Center for Theology, Women and Gender Advisory Council, Women’s Center and BGLASS Executive Board

Center For Theology, Women and Gender Advisory Council and Women’s Center

Kerri Lee Alexander, CTWG Advisory Council and Women’s Center Co-Moderator

Leigh DeVries, CTWG Advisory Council

Jasmin Figueroa, Women’s Center Intersectionality Chair

Rashad Grove, CTWG Advisory Council

Barbara Florvil, CTWG Advisory Council

Chris Hallam, CTWG Advisory Council and Women’s Center Secretary

Christina Manero, CTWG Advisory Council

Katherine Scott, Women’s Center Co-Moderator

Davidson Sutherland, CTWG Advisory Council

Lydia Tembo, CTWG Advisory Council

Beatrix Weil, CTWG Advisory Council and Women’s Center Treasurer

BGLASS Executive Board

Mads Benishek, Co-Moderator of BGLASS

Zac Calvo, Worship Coordinator of BGLASS and incoming Co-Moderator of BGLASS

Meredith Cox, incoming Worship Coordinator of BGLASS

Cara Dost, incoming Co-Moderator of BGLASS

Holly Hayes, Secretary of BGLASS

Max Hill, incoming Treasurer of BGLASS

Lance Hurst, Co-Moderator of BGLASS

Erin Jacobson, Treasurer of BGLASS

Jabe Ziino, incoming Secretary of BGLASS


Dr. Raimundo Barreto, Assistant Professor of World Christianity

Dr. Heath Dewrell, Assistant Professor of Old Testament

Dr. Nancy Duff, Stephen Colwell Associate Professor of Theological Ethics

Dr. Jacqueline Lapsley, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Director of the Center for

Dr. Gerald Liu, Assistant Professor of Worship and Preaching

Dr. Gordon Mikoski, Associate Professor of Christian Education

Dr. Dennis Olson, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology

Dr. Mark Taylor, Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture

Dr. Sonia Waters, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology

Dr. Richard Young, Timby Chair History of Religions


Emily Arnold, M. Div. Junior

Ashley Bair, M. Div. Middler

Nicole Bazis, MA(TS) Junior

Delphine Conzelmann, MA(TS) Junior

Katherine Dickens, M.Div. Senior

Katherine Ellis, M. Div. Junior

Jamie Fiorino, M. Div. Middler

Anne Fyffe, M. Div. Middler

Zoë Garry, M. Div. Junior

Meg Gaston, M. Div. Middler

Jordan Goodwin, Dual M. Div. / MSW Middler

Virginia Goss, M. Div. Senior

Robert Hake, M. Div. Senior

Ashley Hamel, Dual M. Div / MACEF

Heather Koenig, MA(TS) Senior

Sarah Logemann, M. Div. Middler

Emily McCachren, M. Div. Middler

Daniel Nasry, M. Div. Middler

Elaine Nguyen, M. Div. Junior

Hannah Olson, M. Div. Middler

Chris Palmer, M. Div. Junior

Sarah Piek, M. Div. Middler

Hannah Scanlon, M. Div. Middler

Rachel Schaad, M. Div. Junior

Kalina Smith, M. Div. Junior

David Smith, Dual M. Div. / MSW Senior

Romee St. John, M. Div. Middler

Ellen Williams, M. Div. Senior


Rev. Reed Benedict, M. Div. Class of 2002

Rev. Arlene Dunn, M. Div. Class of 2004

Rev. Dani Forbess, M. Div. Class of 2002

Jen Fox, M. Div. Class of 2004

Jason Frey, M. Div. Class of 2013

Taylor Hall, M. Div. Class of 2016

Rev. David Hallgren, Class of 2007

Rev. Dexter Kearny, M. Div Class of 2016

Rev. Liz Kearny, M. Div. Class of 2016

Rev. Amy Long, M. Div Class of 2008

Rev. Laura M. Ford McKnight, M. Div. Class of 2006

Rev. Emily Morgan, M. Div. Class of 2013

Rev. David Johnston Norse, Class of 2013

Julie Prey, M. Div. Class of 2004

Matthew Querns, M. Div. Class of 2009

Rev. Jonathan Reinink, M. Div. Class of 2014

Rev. Jason Santos, PhD. M. Div Class of 2014, PhD. Class of 2014

Chad Shwickerath, M. Div. Class of

Rev. Jonathan Reinink, M. Div. Class of 2014

William Stell, M. Div. Class of 2016

Doran Stucky, M. Div./M.A. Class of 2016

Colleen Slats Toole, M. Div. Class of 2016

Rev. Daniel Vigilante, M. Div. Class of 2004

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