Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989. Screenshot from Vimeo

Why Princeton’s snub of Tim Keller should outrage progressives

If you’re a conservative evangelical Christian who feels called to ministry, you’re welcome to attend Princeton Theological Seminary. But you’re not worthy of honor there. That’s the message sent by PTS’ president, Craig Barnes, today.

In an email to faculty and students, Barnes announced he reversed his decision to honor Pastor Tim Keller with the annual Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness. Doing so, Barnes said, might “imply an endorsement” for Keller’s conservative views on women’s ordination and same-sex relationships.

RELATED: Princeton Theological Seminary reverses decision to honor Redeemer’s Tim Keller

I’m more progressive than Keller on these issues, but I disagree with PTS’ decision. The American church is grappling with issues of gender and sexuality right now, and some on both sides have decided to declare their foes anathema. We must learn to make space with Christians of mutual goodwill who disagree with us on secondary theological issues.

To be clear, PTS has the right to honor whomever they wish. They are not obligated to let Keller speak, much less grant him this award. Setting this aside, we must ask, “How does marginalizing Tim Keller make the world a better place?” And since we’re talking about a seminary, we might add, “How does it promote unity among disparate churches?” The answer to these questions is the same: It doesn’t.

I’ve had the pleasure of being with Tim Keller on two occasions. Each time, I recognized areas where his theology and mine did not align. But I also walked away feeling I had been in the presence of someone who was eminently reasonable, thoughtful, kind. Tim Keller is no extremist. He is no misogynist. He is no bigot. He is not hateful. Anyone who has paid attention to his Manhattan ministry can attest to this.

If Christians like Tim Keller are unworthy of honor and deserve to be marginalized, American Christianity is in serious trouble.

Keller is like the tens of millions of American Christians who hold to traditional interpretations of the Bible on these issues. Most of them do not hate gay people (though some do). Most do not believe women are inferior (though some do). They are doing their best to love their God and love their neighbors and live their lives according to what they believe the Bible teaches.

It’s important to recognize that Barnes’ decision not to grant Keller the award came in response to outcry from students and alumni. As PTS alum Rev. Traci Smith wrote on her blog:

“I’ll let others argue finer points of Rev. Keller’s theology. My personal soapbox is much less refined. It boils down to this: an institution designed to train men and women for ministry 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.”

I don't know the makeup of the PTS student body or its views. Let's assume that half of them disagree with Keller. What about the other half that holds to a traditional view of sexuality and gender? Should an institution designed to train men and women for ministry tell the conservative half (more than half?) of its student body that their theology makes them unworthy of honor?

I appreciate the work of PTS, and will even be speaking there this summer as part of the "Frederick Buechner Writing Workshop." But I am dismayed by the message this sends to conservative Christians. Having grown up in a conservative Christian community, I've been familiar with this message. For years, I've watched evangelicals marginalize their progressive brothers and sisters over issues of gender and sexuality. They have made these matters a litmus test, withholding honor from any Jesus follower who dared to assert a more progressive stance. These conservatives have marginalized and maligned progressives, treating them with contempt.

At the same time, progressive Christians have pleaded with their evangelical brothers and sisters to make space at the table for them. They’ve argued for diversity of thought and theology on secondary issues like these. Conservatives often dismissed their pleas, drawing lines in the sand over issues of sexuality and gender.

As the cultural tides shift, the church is also transforming on these matters. As progressive Christians gain more cultural and religious influence, will they embody the Golden Rule and make space at the table for conservatives (as they once asked conservatives to do for them)? Or will they treat conservatives the way conservatives have treated them for years?

Though I wish it were not so, many will likely choose the latter. After all, conservatives haven’t cornered the market on fundamentalism.


  1. “It’s impossible to know how whether half or more of the PTS student body agrees disagrees with Keller, but let’s assume that Rev. Smith is correct.”

    I could be wrong, but I don’t believe Rev. Smith was talking about students who *disagree* with Keller; I believe she was referring to the Princeton seminary students who *are* female and/or part of the LGBTQ community — people who Rev. Keller believes should not be ordained as pastors because of who they are, not because of what they believe. If that is the case, I believe Princeton was right to decide to not present Rev. Keller with an award and instead just welcome him to campus to present a talk and start a discussion.

  2. I have a feeling Tim Keller couldn’t give a flip if he doesn’t get an award because some would consider it an endorsement of a view that they hold differently. I also have a feeling Tim Keller won’t give a flip when those who hold the same views as him criticize him for endorsement of a differing view by accepting an invitation to speak at an institution like Princeton.
    Sometimes seminaries turn perfectly good people into seminary students, it’s just a shame when that happens.

  3. There’s nothing “progressive” about unbiblical views of sexuality and gender. They’ve been around for centuries. If anything, they are regressive ideologies. Sadly, liberal evangelicals foment a lot of the animosity toward Biblically-based Christianity because they believe in a religion of tolerance and arbitrary sin. Sorry, Jonathan Merritt, the intolerance of PTS is not about “secondary issues” in regards to LGBT/gender issues. (As an aside, we do support the ordination of women.) Gender was established before sexuality commenced and before the need for a Messiah. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Sin is evil. Society doesn’t like to say it, and many “progressive evangelicals” make excuses for it, but Scripture doesn’t tolerate it. We love one another by illuminating and living the truth. The marginalization of Pastor Tim Keller is, in large part, due to the rampant and destructive marginalization of Biblical truth. The only thing new under the sun are the euphemisms we use to tell a lie.

  4. ““I’ll let others argue finer points of Rev. Keller’s theology. My personal soapbox is much less refined. It boils down to this: an institution designed to train men and women for ministry 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.” ‘ yes, but, women do have a right to learn.

    “I don’t know the make-up of the PTS student body or its views. Let’s assume that half of them disagrees with Keller. What about the other half that holds to a traditional view of sexuality and gender? Should an institution designed to train men and women for ministry tell the conservative half (more than half?) of its student body that their theology makes them unworthy of honor?” It isn’t a case of “honour”. It’s a case of following Christ’s direction.

    “These conservatives have marginalized and maligned progressives, treating them with contempt.”
    “Progressive” would mean something new, innovative, outstanding, but, “progressives” want to return us to Sodom and Gomorrah.

  5. My question in all of this, is, what happened to the reason we do this is because Christ said so? His command isn’t good enough any more?

  6. Actually, do you really want someone who has been turned over to a reprobate mind – to do that which is not good – teaching you scripture?

  7. “We must learn to make space with Christians of mutual goodwill who disagree with us on secondary theological issues.”

    Whether or not women (and LGBTQ folk) are fully human is not a *secondary* issue. But perhaps we should instead debate the full humanity, and intelligence, of bloggers? “Should Jonathan Merritt be allowed to write for the public? Let’s hear both sides!”

  8. “They are not obligated to let Keller speak, much less grant him this award. Setting this aside, we must ask, “How does marginalizing Tim Keller make the world a better place?””

    You can’t simply “set aside” the issue of the award *because that was the focus* of the critiques. I quote from the petition that was sent to PTS, and do note the request for more careful consideration of *future* award recipients:

    “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.”

    Also note: he was *not* “marginalized* at all and the fact that you use that loaded word to describe an invitation to speak at a prestigious academic institution suggests you either don’t know what the word means or don’t care. Or are you also being “marginalized” by being invited to speak at PTS this summer?

  9. “Tim Keller is no extremist. He is no misogynist. He is no bigot. He is not hateful.”

    No one suggested he was. Know why? Because his *personality and character are not the point!* His *theology* is! I seriously suggest you think twice–and then think again–before writing about matters like this. This entire essay is riddled with the kind of sloppy, popular thinking I’d expect to find in Facebook comments, not from a paid writer.

  10. “What about the other half that holds to a traditional view of sexuality and gender? Should an institution designed to train men and women for ministry tell the conservative half (more than half?) of its student body that their theology makes them unworthy of honor?”

    Well, yes, PTS should say exactly that. Is that really surprising? Or is this what comes from treating as mere adiaphora the idea that half (and more) of the human population is *inherently* incapable of serving the church on the same basis as the other half?

    PTS affirms the ordination of women as a *theological* doctrine. Why should they “honor” theological error by honoring theologies that deny ordination to women? If half of student body at PTS were Arians, would you whine and cry about how “marginalized” they were for not receiving an award? How much more than an theological error that calls into question the worth of whole groups of people?

  11. “Will progressive Christians gain more cultural and religious influence, will they embody the Golden Rule and make space at the table for conservatives (as they once asked conservatives to do for them)?”

    Seriously, it’s like you haven’t really thought through what’s at stake here at all. This isn’t an ivory-tower seminar debate, son. This isn’t some grand “conversation” where people gather at the “table” and simply express themselves and agree to disagree at the end of the day. This is about human lives and the practice of ministry.

    Your tired, but predictable metaphor reduces the whole problem to one of merely abstract ideas. Then, amazingly, you pretend that those two ideas are of equal intellectual, theological, and moral weight. Worse still, you lament that “progressives” are being mean to “conservatives” and that “conservatives” and–their views about the inherent limitations of whole groups of people–should still be treated with the respect of serious consideration. Because “tolerance” or “diversity” or whatever buzzword you were too lazy to examine and replace with something better.

    You conclude by wagging your finger at “progressives” for behaving like fundamentalists. This is a dumb false equivalence if ever there were one. Do you really get paid to write stuff like this? Or did you just dash this one off, with little or no real self-reflection, just for fun?

  12. For the record, not awarding Tim Keller an award hardly marginalizes him! He is like a God in evangelical circles, he sells massive amounts of books and people just see him as such a spiritual giant, for many good reasons, but are less aware of the extremist circles he has been in which are highly highly patriarchal. He co-founded a network called The Gospel Coalition (which has as one its core tenets that defines “The Gospel” a patriarchal model of marriage and church life) which is at the epicenter of a massive church planting movement which has saturated cites like Boston with highly patriarchal churches which started by people coming from outside the state who literally are coming here because they do not think we have any “real Christian churches” here. Princeton realized it made a mistake in extending an award to someone who does not embody its core values but it is still giving him a platform to speak and engage in civil dialogue. Keller has a massive place of honor across the country and the world. One seminary not giving him an award might be a little dose of humility to look at how his theology conflicts with justice and and a little check to say am I truly using my platform for the good of all or am I passing along the unjust aspects of the christian legacy as the essence of the gospel. No harm is done. I bet good dialogue will happen.

  13. No one invited you to lecture at PTS, Sandi, so they’re ok.

  14. You say that “I don’t know the make-up of the PTS student body or its views. Let’s assume that half of them disagrees with Keller. What about the other half that holds to a traditional view of sexuality and gender? Should an institution designed to train men and women for ministry tell the conservative half (more than half?) of its student body that their theology makes them unworthy of honor?”

    Keller’s position is that women should not be in ordained ministry. I would hazard a guess that about 1/2 of PTS’ student body is female and or LGBTQ. Having Keller come to talk – no problem. Holding him up as a figure to celebrate with the most prestigious award from the largest seminary in our denomination is a slap in the face of all of us who have our ordination questioned by men.

    What if Keller were to say that a particular racial/ethnic group should not be ordained because of the mark of Cain? Would anyone at PTS seriously invite him to receive it? Why is gender discrimination, an issue that is now 75 years old for women (!) still something we are willing to pass over?

    He’s still coming to give the talk (I do respect him for being willing to do so), but no award. I think his ego and his patriarchal views will not suffer.

  15. I don’t see how denying him this award can be equated with marginalizing him or denying him a seat at the table.

  16. Just because Keller follows the precepts of the Bible does not disqualify his ideas. Being orthodox means its definition. By the way, “progressive” is liberalism, sometimes radical liberalism. Progressive Christians implies those who have different ideas are #*&@phobic. Choose your noun. Homosexual physical relationships are contrary to scripture. Same sex relationships are not. BTW, intimate heterosexual relationships are also contrary to scripture and thus the Faith. And we could continue with the rest of the precepts he holds. If his precepts are conservative yet adhere to scripture then you are wrong.

  17. Let’s be honest: this is not about their being “fully human”! Of course they are! Why would you couch this with that terminology?!

  18. That is the blunt of the issue. I agree with you. we should not allow false doctrine. Yes we should allow association if they wish,but not teaching or preaching in our churches.

  19. Really appreciated your take on this Jonathan, esp. because you do consider yourself more progressive than most of your conservative counterparts. I’m so tired of the back and forth in the Body of Christ – it’s a wonder anybody is drawn to Christ these days. It’s almost like the HS gets no help from the body, no matter where the wind blows: left or right. And it shouldn’t be divided that way anyway. 🙁

  20. So when PTS decides that giving an annual prize in the name of Abraham Kuyper is going to get them more support and money, well that’s just the “art of the deal” isn’t it? And now that they have found out that someone who takes Kuyper’s perspective seriously is going to foment controversy among their students and perhaps lose some fee-paying aspirants for churchly duties, they cancel a prize that has been awarded to someone for his public contribution more or less in Kuyper’s line. PTS would be more honest to actually give up the Kuyper prize. Stop playing dice with the theological futures market.

  21. Is it not odd for an institution to offer a prestigious prize to a man who rejects that institution’s stated purpose, which is to educate men and women for ministry? Merritt makes a significant mistake as a journalist, allowing “I don’t know the makeup of the PTS student body.” Adding, “Let’s assume that half of them disagree with Keller.” If he’d done his research he’d know a full half of the student body is women, and few if any of their classmates would question their right to be there. Odd, isn’t it, for the institution which selected those women and grooms them to be preachers and leaders to honor a man with a theology prize who has said:

    “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.” http://byfaithonline.com/the-case-for-commissioning-not-ordaining-deaconesses/

    For that matter I can’t understand why Keller would agree to receive this theology award, with its $10,000 cash prize, from a seminary of a denomination which wholesale promotes a use of scripture which is “alarming and disturbing.”

    Would Keller’s Redeemer Church honor Sally Brown, Ellen Charry or Yolanda Pierce — members of the seminary’s faculty, with a preaching prize? Of course not. It doesn’t believe they can legitimately preach or exercise leadership. If we expect Redeemer to bestow honors in keeping with the integrity of their beliefs, why not Princeton Seminary?

  22. “Fully human” = “as fully human as men.” Keller thinks women are *inherently* incapable of/are disqualified for ordained ministry. That is, there is something lacking in their being, their humanity. And that’s before we even get to his comments on LGBTG folk.

    Please don’t rehearse complementarian talking points about women to me. I’m not interested in arguing about Keller’s theology.

  23. Merritt seems not to realize it is not a generic seminary, it is planted in a denomination (PCUSA) which has already made commitments to supporting women in leadership. You cannot be a PCUSA congregation without any women on your session. Those who didn’t agree left to join Keller’s denomination.

  24. I would say this a bit differently, but I agree. Keller’s personality and character are not the point.

  25. Secondary theological issues I would argue is a phrase uniquely suited to an amenable ‘convening of he members of the universal church” – or a somewhat similar pie in the sky situation envisioned by those ensconced in the proverbial ivory tower.

    For people with their boots on the ground, ‘secondary theological issues’ are real and personal. The invitation by PTS appears to be offered without thinking – easy to do when one’s default lens is male and straight but also easy to do when Christianity is also seen as being a big tent.

    But the idea of secondary theological differences makes me wonder what the primary differences are that would have precluded consideration in the first place,

  26. I would add that Merritt missed a few years of significant history. Keller’s denomination was formed in 1973 in opposition to the PCUSA. “The Kenyon Case” involved a Princeton Theological Student General theological concerns were in the background but the breaking point was over the ordination of women. Seems worth revisiting if we want to understand how we got to this place.

  27. I’d ask you to consider the idea that Keller sees women as absolutely, 100% human as men, and that within his complementarian belief they are fully affirmed in that humanity through the roles that God has set out for them. I’m not a complementarian myself, but I know full well that this is the framework from which Keller and many other complementarian views operate from.

    I understand that you don’t want to argue, but presenting your comment under the assumption that Keller’s views inherently discredit someone as fully human invites that debate – because the idea of being fully human is not something that is universally agreed upon between conservative and progressive mindsets. If you seek to claim your interpretation of “fully human” as absolute, you run into the same problem that Princeton is right now in that you are not allowing room for a plurality of thought. Again, I’d encourage you to consider other viewpoints and invite the conversation rather than exit it.

  28. Hard to follow your point. But “50 percent of the seminary (or more)” are not in agreement with Keller’s views of women? 50 percent of the student body ARE women, training to be preachers and church leaders. It is a seminary of a denomination which settled this question long ago.

  29. Writing in the 1830s, Tocqueville praised American society for the equality of women, something he felt we had largely achieved. Unlike modern feminists & other utopian, Tocqueville’s ideas of equality & freedom were rooted in experience rather than abstract speculation.

    Like Tocqueville, Keller respects women as women, not as imitations of men. There are a long and distinguished overlapping traditions of social thought, social practice, and theological reflection which aspire to uphold the dignity of women as women. Historically, these traditions guided the Western church, nurtured the development of freedom in England, and produced the American Constitution.

    The utopian alternative gave us the French Revolution and related disasters produced in the name of Justice.

    When I see words like “patriarchy” and “extremism” thrown about with the reckless abandon displayed by Mrs Jones, I know that reasonable dialogue is not going to arrive. (The liberal “patriarchy” of traditional American society really has nothing in common with the “patriarchy” of Ancient Roman or modern Arabia.) Her narrow social views do not allow her to appreciate different perspectives. Anyone who disagrees with her is “passing along the unjust aspects of the christian legacy as the essence of the gospel.” She is *that* certain that the vast majority of Christian theologians for the vast majority of Church history have been wrong — and not just wrong but thoroughly wrong.

    How loving, open-minded, and humble.

  30. Eric is simply engaging in Straw Man tactics. In logic, such tactics are considered fallacies. In ethics, they care called “lies.”

  31. That’s all fine, but just admit progressives are exclusivists too. Conservatives admit it, Progressives should too. It’s about being honest.

    (And many women do study at conservative seminaries to go into ministry, just not the ordained positions that the Bible sets apart just for men.)

  32. I am struggling a lot over this. I feel like this guy was incredibly sloppy in his argument about how ‘both sides are equally bad.’ Yes, we should always be ready to criticize ‘our own side/people’ MORE than the other side, but this is about theology of what roles people can choose to play in the Christian world. What if they gave a prize to someone advocating that “Asian Christians aren’t less than Caucasian ones, but they shouldn’t be leaders either. They just have different, complementary, roles to play in the church.” Just because blatant sexism is more okay in our culture than racism, doesn’t mean we need to reinforce that.

    There are so many places where those female seminary students wouldn’t be allowed to preach, and the supportive place they DID find is giving this award to someone that says their calling is both a) unGodly and b) harmful? I wish for conservative Christians to be free to practice their own beliefs (within reason; no child abuse like ex-gay camps) and welcomed into discussions, but I’m not going to hold up their *theology* as something to ever be praised. People are different – my very theologically conservative uncle in Sri Lanka cares a lot for the poor and I want to emulate him in many, many ways.

  33. Kuyper wouldn’t be able to win the Kuyper award.

    What were Kuyper’s views about ordaining women?

    He said that “the holy order of God” rested on “the principal difference between men and women” and talked about how confusing it was an affront to the family.

    Keller is more Kuyperian on this point than Princeton.

  34. The difference is the Bible does set apart male and female, and especially in regards to ordained leadership. The Bible doesn’t do that for Asians and Caucasians.

    A view that Asians shouldn’t be leaders but Caucasians should is a view that adds to and progresses beyond the Bible.

    Likewise a view that both men and women should be ordained for leadership is a view that adds to and progresses beyond the Bible.

    There are many different kinds of Progressive views that don’t always agree with each other.

  35. They could also revisit the history of Kuyper. (That is who the award is named after, and doing so clearly gives him honor.)

    What do you think Kuyper’s views on ordaining women and LGBT issues would have been?

  36. I hear PTS has a nice library. Everything else is business as usual as it has been for the last century or so. Keller should wear this affront as the badge of honor that it is.

  37. A better than average commentary from Mr. Merritt.

  38. Don’t forget what happened to Rev. Louis Giglio when Obama found out that he’d preached a single sermon 15 years prior expressing opposition to gay marriage.
    Already invited to give Obama’s Inauguration Prayer, he was instantly disinvited.
    He took the national insult with grace and humility. No fussing no fighting, he just bowed out peacefully.

    But as you suggested, “I knew that reasonable dialogue was not going to arrive” from the likes of Obama and his Libbie Democrats. The writing was on the wall, just as it is now with Princeton University. I’m surprised Jonathan Merritt didn’t see this coming.

    They say that “ministers” of some sort are “trained” at Princeton, but that’s become a visibly unfunny joke.

  39. You do have a correct point about why Keller would even want to receive a theology award from a NON-BIBLICAL, has-been, used-to-be seminary like Princeton.

    Now I can see a skeptic like Bart Ehrman going back to receive a “theology award” from Princeton — Bart Ehrman is the real and correct face of Princeton today. Keller should have declined and recommended that Ehrman do the award and the speech.

  40. Not my research project, but this incident will likely prompt the seminary to examine the award in its full context. That seems all for the good.

  41. As she said, you should be free to believe what you want and practice your religion as you see fit. However, Princeton Theological Seminary has a mandate to teach women and men to be preachers and leaders. It is an institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and there the matter is settled. Keller’s denomination, the PCA, was founded in 1973 in large part because it did not agree with the ordination of women. Neither the denomination nor the seminary treat this as an open question. Indeed roughly half of its student body are women preparing for ordained ministry.

  42. You are not wrong. Princeton Seminary, as an institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has a mandate to teach and mold men and women as preachers and leaders of the church. Roughly half of the student body ARE women, and few if any of their classmates or professors would agree with Keller that they shouldn’t be there. So the question is, why would an institution with a mandate offer a prize to someone who disagrees with that mandate? Keller’s denomination (PCA) was formed by people who left the PCUSA in 1973– largely because of its decision to ordain women.

  43. Also, quite apart from whether this is a “secondary” theological issue — it is a primary issue for the mission of Princeton Seminary, whose purpose is to train men and women as preachers and leaders. It is no longer debating the point. It is an institution of the PCUSA which long ago settled the question, prompting Keller’s denomination, the PCA, to break away.

  44. Jeremiah 10:21

    For the shepherds are stupid
    and do not inquire of the LORD;
    therefore they have not prospered,
    and all their flock is scattered. (ESV)

  45. Thank you Mr. Ryder for your response. Sorry you found my word choice offensive. You clearly are a debater and I ask you to yourself try to be open-minded and seek to understand why so many women are so jarred by the continued patriarchal orientation of leaders like Keller who still are espousing ideas which are part of a historic and oppressive social norm which going back to its roots in the ancient world believed women should be subject to the will and authority of men because they were inferior in being. Complementarians like Keller now soften that language and assert ontological equality but hold onto the flip side of ancient view that to inherent in femaleness is subordination/submission.

    Interesting that you bring up de toqueville… maybe he did notice some progress in the way women were treated in 1830 America, but the “equality and freedom” of women that you assert was “rooted in experience rather than abstract speculation” was hardly equality: women were not able to own property, to vote, and were not seen as possessing the “natural liberties” and “inalienable rights” of being a human being and a citizen. Whatever words you use to describe this, it is patriarchy which in its root means “rule of men”. We have shifted as a society to a more level, mutual view of male/female that seeks to shed the vertical construct (master/subject) that we inherited from the ancient world but yet we still hold onto vestiges of it in our churches which are so contrary to the essence of the Gospel and our American values of all human beings possessing intrinsic yearning for freedom and equality.

    Your language of “respecting women as women” and “uphold the dignity of women as women” seems to reflect that you do not see the basics of freedom and equality as intrinsic to female humanity… As contemporary followers of Christ, we need to make sure we do not carry forward vestiges of our past which were in fact and still are oppressive to not just women but to all sorts of groups of people who were deemed as a class of human beings not possessing the basics of “dominion” that are at the core of what it means to be made in the image of God.

    If you are interested, here is a great article (https://www.christiancentury.org/blog-post/does-teaching-submission-encourage-abuse) by a woman who shares very powerfully and from her own lived experience how this teaching of “women submit” may be surrounded by benevolent sounding intentions that do do not intend to provoke abuse but it fact in day-to-day life make women vulnerable to their basic human agency being violated in myriad ways, including physical violence. Please read and listen to what she is saying as this is not abstaction but rooted in lived experience which so so many women I have met and interacted with describe. If you travel in the developing world, you see the more severe face of patriarchy than the soft complementarianism that Keller embodies. Thankfully, he is a good guy and his wife speaks widely around the world so has a pretty good thing going. But the same ideas in a lesser man do not look so pretty. Women today want full equality and don’t want a man to define for them what being respected “as a woman” means. Insisting on full equality does not mean being treated as an “imitation of a man” it means being treated as a full human with the same yearning and intrinsic wiring to live as free people who live together in mutuality together as partners who work and make decisions together with a shared dominion that honors and defers and respects that each person has a multifaceted uniqueness that cannot be defined by a simple role or a false binary like men are made for authority and women for submission.

    I bet to be honest Keller feels the tensions in his own incongruent beliefs and wouldn’t be surprised if at some point he changed his mind, as many good guy evangelicals have done over the years. I hope good conversation happens through this and that empathy happens across the gender line to say hmmm maybe these beliefs are not the best we can offer the world… maybe just maybe we have missed the forest for the trees. Anyway, thanks for the dialogue. peace

  46. Not sure what the point of calling them “exclusivists” would be. Princeton Seminary doesn’t train plumbers, does that also make it exclusivist? It is an institution of the PCUSA, and It’s mandate is to prepare women and men as preachers and leaders in the church.

    So it has a purpose, this, not that. Preparing women to serve in leadership, not debating the point.

  47. When we talk about being exclusive (which we all are), then that begs the question why? What standard should we appeal to when excluding certain views?

    Those with a high view of the Bible would like to appeal to the Bible. Sometimes Progressives make the error of instead of appealing to the Bible, appealing to some other standard, like their own subjective opinions.

  48. I have no idea what point this makes. Institutions evolve, and they have to figure out what to do with their past. Both Princeton and Redeemer would lay claim to Calvin — but I’m hoping neither would have a heretic like Servetus executed. An award with the name Kuyper would have to reckon with his history, just like an award with the name Calvin.

    I’m afraid the subtly of your “art of the deal” point is lost on me. Yes, educational institutions and churches require donors. All of them. Day in, day out.

  49. I do not accept the conclusion that one who believes women ought to preach and lead doesn’t have a “high view of the Bible.” Or that Princeton Seminary doesn’t.

  50. This states the reasons for why the PCA (originally called ‘National…’) left the PCUSA:


    The primary issue seems to be related to the view of Scripture:

    “accepting other sources of authority, and from making them coordinate or superior to the divine Word. A diluted theology, a gospel tending towards humanism, an unbiblical view of marriage and divorce, the ordination of women, financing of abortion on socio-economic grounds, and numerous other non-Biblical positions are all traceable to a different view of Scripture”

    And also interestingly there is a specific emphasis on tolerance, unity and acceptance in the declaration:

    “It is our conviction that the Reformed faith is not sectarian, but an authentic and valid expression of Biblical Christianity. We believe it is our duty to seek fellowship and unity with all who profess this faith…

    We greet all believers in an affirmation of the bonds of Christian brotherhood. We invite into ecclesiastical fellowship all who maintain
    our principles of faith and order.”

  51. Sometimes God reads my best and most knowledgeable comments on RNS and He says, “you know your right, and like I have always said from the beginning, there is something about the fruit of knowledge that makes mankind sinfull”. When He does this I don’t find a lot of hope in His words but I do find hope in His tone. I guess what he is saying to me is His right knowledge and His righteousness are not the same.

  52. One could say all these things, but the fact is the split occurred in 1975. Prompted by “The Kenyon Case” in which a male student was denied ordination in the Pittsburgh Presbytery because he wouldn’t support the ordination of women. The PCUSA didn’t suddenly change its theology in that year, or its view of abortion. or its view of the Bible. All of these things may have been murmurings in the background for decades, but an incident having to do with the ordination of women prompted the secession.

  53. Sorry, I don’t understand — seems a non sequitur.

  54. I’m not sure what an appeal to Kuyper means exactly. Every institution has to grapple with its history and its historical figures. Both the PCA and the PCUSA would lay claim to Calvin, but presumably, neither would advocate for the execution of heretics as Calvin did of Servetus. There are likely hundreds of Calvin churches and I’m sure many Calvin prizes. I do not think they mean to celebrate that regrettable point in Calvin’s thinking. A Kuyper prize would not need to endorse his views in their entirety. But it ought to grapple with his legacy, surely. Just as both denominations have to grapple with Calvin.

  55. “What standard should we appeal to when excluding certain views?”

    In this case, we should exclude a view that (a) runs completely opposed to PTS’s own views and (B) says half of the student body/faculty are *inherently* unfit for ordained ministry. Not that complicated.

  56. Disappointing to say the least. As I have said, I am someone who supports women’s ordination and justice LGBTQIA people . So I disagree with Tim Keller’s theology in this respect. But two things about Rev Keller that has been a constant are the following: (i)He is not a culture warrior. In fact he eschews the culture wars and the reduction of Christianity to an ideological narrative for political gains. (ii)He’s a bridge builder. He is a Conservative theologian, but he leads a cosmopolitan Church in Manhattan and has won praise not only in the religious world, but in the secular world for being able to reach out to those with views different from his.

    You will never hear him preaching a fire and brimstone sermon bashing people in the LGBTQIA community or bashing people in the Church who has views different from his. If anything, he should be awarded for being a bridge builder who is able to reach out to different voices. Unfortunately with this stunt, the liberal voices here are behaving exactly like the fundamentalists they say they eschew. And I am saying this as someone who again, supports the full participation of women and justice for LGBTQIA people

    How in the world are you gonna build bridges, if you just burn bridges like this, against someone who is a bridge builder himself, simply because that person doesn’t fit your own ideological narrative and your own social echo chamber? I disagree with Pope Francis also on his views on Gender and Sexuality. Does that all of a sudden mean I can’t build common bridges with him on things we agree on, or even dialogue about those we disagree on and recognize the good he’s doing in the world?

  57. I’m not going to engage in a dishonest debate about the equal worth and humanity of women; that argument has been done and you are merely asking me to reinvent the wheel and pretend that complementarian gender ideology is just one legitimate option among “a plurality of thought.”

  58. Hi, my name is Ted Morgan and I have been an elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan for over a decade. It has been one of my life’s great honors and joys to sit with Dr. Tim Keller for countless hours over many years as we pondered ministry matters great and small.

    I have not put the question to him directly, but I’m pretty sure Tim would NOT agree with the following statement: “There are no biblically valid expressions of the gospel which include the ordination of women.” He’s nowhere near that dogmatic on this issue, and his worldview allows for immense complexity, diversity and even mystery in the body of Christ, the church. Redeemer has planted tons of churches, after all, in denominations with different views on this topic.

    On the other hand, he obviously would agree with this: “I am part of a denomination, the PCA, which does not allow the ordination of women.” And, yes, his theology can accurately be described as “conservative” or “evangelical”, although he prefers the term “orthodox” (representing our deep connection with the historical faith and the many great thinkers of the past two millennia).

    Am I disappointed with PTS? Sure. I’m afraid they confused a theological conservative for a political one. But I’m not that concerned; anyone who listens to Tim’s sermons or read his books knows that he’s not a bigot in any way, no matter the appearance PTS is creating.

  59. Neither your idol nor your hatred will save you.

  60. Unfortunately for society, Judaism and Christianity are tied to an old book based on a primitive society that is out of touch with the real word, socially and scientifically. The hardcore faithful are obligated to defend some of the more archaic beliefs.

  61. Shorter version: I don’t want gay or female clergy in any sect because I do not respect them as people nor want them in positions of religious authority. I do not respect beliefs besides my own sect.

    Yes we get you are anti gay and sexist and expect people to consider you the sole authority on such subjects for no reason whatsoever.

  62. According to your personal flavor of Christianity, sure. But there are ten thousand, perhaps hundreds of thousands of other Christian sects. Many of which hold different views.

    Each of which claims theirs as the only True Faith.

  63. “I think his ego and his patriarchal views will not suffer.”

    That would be an understatement for most misogynistic homophobes hiding behind a preacher’s collar. I think you showed extraordinary civility and restraint, marking the patient strength that we expect from real persons of faith. Thank you.

  64. If I don’t give you a Christmas gift one year, well, no big deal. But if I give you a gift, but then show up at your house a week later and demand it back, now we are talking personal insult. That is what “taking back” a publicly announced gift amounts to. In my opinion, it singles Keller out for public disdain.

  65. Thanks for the post-modern Amish view of social progress. Are you sure it’s entirely “biblical” for you to be using electricity, much less blogging on an “unholy” “unbiblical” electronic device? I am sure your misogynistic homophobic guardian “angel” must be weeping for you. Next time, you should probably opine by passenger pigeon, since that is the biblical means of doing so. Say “hello” to Noah and his doves while you are at it.

  66. The fact that you think so is all the evidence I need that his “opinion” is just more of your brand of religious bigotry. It’s pure, artificial Wonder Bread in place of the Bread of Life.

  67. Yes, Jonathan Merritt misunderstood what I meant when I was talking about 1/2 the student body. I was referring to the 1/2(ish) who are either women or LGBTQ+ – Many have pointed this out on Twitter, FB, etc.

  68. I appreciate and agree with the author’s position, but it’s likely not helpful for either the author or commenters to guess the demographic of the student body and then make predictions based upon that guess. Better to get the actual stats first. Still, this debacle exposes the wounds of division that took place decades ago between PCUSA and PCA. This division is exactly what Jesus prayed against. Unity is more important to God than doctrinal correctness. And “this kind can only come out through prayer.”

  69. Mr. Johnson, sarcasm is counterproductive to your dialogue. You are effectively reinforcing Ms. Jones’ points. I am weary of men who are barely or not able to refrain from condescension telling women how it is on this topic. Further, please review your American history – even (?) as a Canadian, I know that the image you paint is inaccurate. Given what is happening in conservative churches in the U.S. at present – and across your country – you cannot afford to be either glib or closed in your approach to these issues.

  70. lol….I’d go back to your “hallelujah” comments….they made more sense….lol

  71. No hatred Eric. I would love to see these people go to Heaven. I’m not a part of the “endorsing” crowd who are trying to assure they get into Hell. Big difference.

  72. She estimated 50% but I am a female, and I agree with Christ that women should not be pastors. Perhaps they need to understand that Christ gave us all things we can and cannot do. Women are not to teach or have authority over a man in a church.

  73. “How does marginalizing Tim Keller make the world a better place?”

    This the crux of the problem with the article. To see this as marginalizing. Keller is highly respected, published and influential person. He is not marginalized. Nor is him not receiving an award and act of marginalization. He’s still being asked to speak. He’s not being silenced (that even that wouldn’t be marginalizing to a man like him).

    When we (white, christian, men) can’t see the power and privilege we hold, nor the ease with which we get offend and liken that to marginalization. Its sad i think.

  74. Keller reflects a tradition profoundly in conflict with the central tenets of the faith: equality and inclusion, and contrary to the life and work of the PCUSA. That some should lionize him is no surprise; that’s why we have the PCA, PCA and ECO.

  75. Do you think any conservative seminary is going to give the time of day, much less an award, to a woman or LGBTQ persons? This should be a two-way street, but I can’t imagine Al Mohler’s Southern Seminary inviting an ordained woman or LGBTQ person as a sponsored speaker because he and his ilk don’t accept women and LGBTQ persons as equal to men.

    Why is it that progressives always have to compromise?

  76. Okay, that’s nice, but not relevant. This is about a PCUSA seminary. You’ve wandered into a conversation that really isn’t about you and insisted all day that it is. Sort of like wandering into a discussion about Catholic liturgy and insisting that infant baptism really doesn’t work for you, because you’re a Baptist. Nice, but they aren’t having that debate.

  77. If you think Tim Keller is a “misogynistic homophobe”, then you clearly know nothing of the man. Your hate is showing brother. You should cover that up.

  78. When the SBC and the vast majority of Bible Belt Evangelical churches/seminaries/conferences/leaders/ welcome those with Progressive views in their gatherings, get back to us. Until then, please save the victim narrative. It’s silly.

  79. Extending him the award, announcing it, and then withdrawing it could certainly be interpreted as an act designed to marginalize and undermine.

  80. Complementarianism says NOTHING to me as a single, never-married middle-aged woman. Comps have turned marriage into an idol and have made it part and parcel of their “gospel” and have cut out those of us who don’t fit. Keller’s been told this but has done nothing to change the situation.

  81. Orthodox Christianity is based on a very short list of beliefs – the death and resurrection, the substitutionary atonement, the Word… Pastor Keller represents Christian orthodoxy as well as any pastor today and better than most. He does it only in love, not an ounce of hate or anger, and overflowing with compassion. He represents the best of American Christianity both in his theology, and in his demeanor. The act of extending him a well-deserved honor, and then publicly withdrawing it is shameful. The party diminished and made lesser by it is the seminary, not Pastor Keller.

  82. Hmm I see. It seems like you have already set your own boundaries about the scope of the conversation you’re willing to have, and put your foot down about certain definitions and concepts. In that case, I wish you well. Even though you might have exited the dialogue, I hope you will continue God’s work of empowering women and LGBT+ people as dignified and beloved by the Lord. I certainly am working towards that end too, brother.

  83. I hear your frustrations. I am also saddened by how notions of love and marriage have become idols in churches across the theological spectrum. As a future pastor, I’m committed to working against this notion in my church by celebrating and recognizing the role of single people, of which I am one as well. I’m praying that you’ll be able to find a community, complementarian or egalitarian, that will help you feel welcome and empowered to do God’s work. Wishing you well, sister!

  84. Not trying to be “helpful.” Not trying to be nice about it anymore.

    This kind of mess needs to stop. Period.

  85. Many such awards and givings of honor should be examined.

  86. We would have to appeal to the Bible to see if your conclusion is accurate.

  87. That’s fine. Being exclusive is fine. Everyone does it.

  88. No. I am a female and I agree with what Christ taught. I’m certain there are some female at that college who would agree also. Not every female hates the Lord’s word.

  89. I think this argument dies in the specifics. It wasn’t about general “bridge building” or hearing the man. It was about giving him a $10,000 award for “Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Speaking.” Akin to Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian giving a preaching award to Sally Brown, a Princeton faculty member. or a Catholic Seminary giving Keller an award for “Excellence in Ecclesiastical Thought.” Keller’s intellectual project is wholly in opposition to the Catholic church or for that matter, Princeton seminary. Hear the guy, respect him, admire parts of his thought — but this is just nonsensical.

  90. Your gender (and mine!) are irrelevant. And it is not a college, it is a theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church (USA.) It would be plenty odd for a woman to be in the MDiv program, designed explicitly to train pastors, if she didn’t agree that she could be one. But hey, maybe there is some woman there taking her required preaching classes for no reason at all. Maybe she declared that was her intent right on her application! But unlikely.

  91. Read what he said, Texas. He didn’t call Mr. Keller anything. Thus “you should cover that up” is inapplicable, inappropriate, and hopefully not projecting.

  92. I’d add that when I was there the student body was 1,000. I didn’t meet a single woman or man who didn’t support women’s ordination. This is not a Southern Baptist institution.

  93. “From the likes of”….”Libbie Democrats”….

    You are the reason dialogue cannot happen. You. And if you’re “not nice about it anymore,” I doubt you ever were.

  94. Then you missed Christ’s teachings, eh? God bless you gapaul.

  95. Because progressives don’t believe that they know everything and are in sole possession of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

  96. You’ve NEVER tried to be nice about it.

  97. he NEVER was. But it is not in accord with his image of himself as a good Christian ever to admit it.

  98. Thanks for saying so, but your own ad hominem adds nothing to better my “misunderstanding” of the man. I am very aware of the biblical opinions of the Apostle Paul on women. However, most current biblical opinion on LGBT appears to be unnecessary and unwarranted homophobic language interposed on the actual ancient languages during translation from same.

  99. You bring up Ellen Charry. I would like very much to know what she thinks of this. Having been present to hear her enrage the left at a “teach-in” at Yale Divinity School at the outbreak of the first Gulf War by not toeing their line, I imagine her view would be quite interesting.

  100. I would suggest that the issue here is not Keller’s views per se. Rather, the really important issue is that the seminary’s primary responsibility is to educate its students. That means keeping the field open not simply for free *speech* but rather for free *inquiry*. That means that not only should all viewpoints (within reason) be considered, but also that–even more importantly–nothing the seminary does should get in the way of the *students* ability to learn, question, ask questions, and seek answers. For better or worse, PTS has chosen to educate and prepare both men and women for ministry. That means that Keller believes that half of PTS’ students have no right to be there at all, and have no business to presume to teach or minister to men. That of course, is the precise opposite of what the Seminary as an institution is trying to do. So how, then, can it serve *all* its students by honoring someone who only acknowledges the right of *some* of them to be there? Refusing to honor Keller doesn’t mean that his viewpoints won’t be considered, that his writing won’t be read, or even that he wouldn’t be able to express his views in person. It simply means that the seminary is being responsible to its own mission as a place of learning for both men and women preparing for ministry.

  101. Labeling a leading and widely respected theologian, a man that has brought the gospel to millions, who is so soft spoken and loving in all his ways as a “misogynistic homophobe hiding behind a preacher’s collar” is truly despicable and unworthy of the faith you claim brother. The article avoided such mean-spirited and patently false rhetoric, and yet here you are dragging the dialog into the gutter. It’s shameful, though I anticipate a full-throated defense.

    I take it you’re of the school of theology that rejects Paul’s teachings and the other parts of the bible you find challenging to your preferred faith. I was once an active member of the ELCA and participated in their process (late 2000s) of debating and discussing the merits of allowing homosexuals to be members, participate in holy marriage and enter the pulpit. I entered with an open mind, but left after a year of watching the church reject the plain language of the bible with contrived and temporal human logic. I to have felt the tug to amend the faith to make it easier. But the gate is narrow, and I’m not the one who made it.

  102. From your other posts, I see you’re one who enjoys “correcting” others out of a sense of self righteous indignation and a desire to find and take offense.

    Alas, RidingTheLine’s language was quite clear and unambiguous. Perhaps you read something else? Labeling Pastor Keller a “misogynistic homophobe hiding behind a preacher’s collar” is bad enough. Defending it and excusing it as appropriate language and rhetoric as you have is all the worse. Perhaps thou should protest less, and stick with expressing your own thoughts rather than incorrectly reproving other’s.

  103. the “plain language of the Bible” says you should stone gays to death. You agree with that?

  104. When those conservative students’ theology is telling my lesbian daughter and bisexual son that they are unworthy of also serving alongside them by leading in the church that they also both deeply love, then, yes, I’m sorry, I feel they should be telling them that they are wrong. This is something that causes our youth to have wounds from the church that reach into their lives in ways that people don’t want to think about. My 19 year old son has already been asked to give parts of the sermon in our congregation, and has moved us all to tears and to cheering with his way with insights into Scripture and his way with words and speaking. Yet part of the depression he his battling right now that is making it hard for him to go to college, and even to seek out God anymore, is due to what he thinks the majority of Christians believe about homosexuality and if they are right, does that mean God rejects him as well. My daughter began her battle with this somewhere in the primary grades in the Mennonite elementary school she attended, talking over certain verses in school, and then our congregation at that time was having an internal struggle over whether or not to hire a woman as a pastor. That this was even a question was deeply upsetting to her, and continues to be to this day, even though she is now a teacher herself, she is also a very vocal feminist, as well as speaking up for the rights and lives of everyone, she is simply that kind of person, something the church taught her as well, part of her life serving the Jesus she loves as much as any straight person.

  105. Apart from and beyond the various perspectives on this issue, it grieves my heart to see and hear the caustic nature of the comments and replies being shared back and forth by fellow believers who belittle and tear down one another. People at Rotary or Kiwanis get along better with one another. A sad commentary on the climate in our church and culture today!

  106. Matthew 7:12 does not have an “except if the PCA won’t” exclusion.

  107. PTS, as Merritt notes, accepts students regardless of their views, and regardless how they might choose to apply what they learn there. It’s certainly possible, if not likely, that men and women who attend or have attended did so with a desire to apply their credential to a calling that would in no way conflict with the PCA’s limiting views on ordination, such as as a missionary, social worker, or teacher.

  108. Sometimes it’s the people who love each other that are the most free to be open about contentious issues (not needing to walk on egg shells).

  109. And yet, if my understanding is correct, Princeton is a seminary of the PC(USA) and its students will inherently accept that fact when they apply to be a student there. The seminary should therefore reflect the values and the theology of the PC(USA) branch of the Reformed tradition. Ever since the ruling regarding Walter Kenyon, the PC(USA) (via its predecessor body) has affirmed that women’s ordination is part of the core values of the PC(USA).

    To then have this PC(USA) seminary present an award for theology to someone who disagrees publicly with this value goes against what the seminary supposedly stands for. They were right to revisit this decision, withdrawal the award, and just invite Rev. Keller to present and initiate a discussion on campus.

  110. I find it interesting, in light of this topic, that Gordon Conwell TS awards the Rev. Timothy J. Keller Scholarship for Pastoral Ministry, a $7,500 annual award to up to three students. Recipients must agree to pursue local church ministry, and “reflect the Seminary’s commitment to ‘live biblically’ in service to the Church.” Keller approved the criteria and reviews the candidates. In no case is the applicant’s views on gender or sexuality issues relevant.

  111. Have you ever read the Great Commission?

  112. No thank you. I’d prefer the Lord’s truth. If these people do not want to obey God, how can they teach His word? Only makes sense.

  113. Are you honestly saying that an LGBTQ person attending Gordon Conwell (hard to imagine) would be awarded one of these awards? Has that happened?

  114. No. I don’t agree we should practice the old testament punishments, nor do I think we should practice the old testament laws of cultural separation, because Jesus showed us that under the new covenant we are to give those up because He has fulfilled them. What Jesus did NOT say was that moral sin, is no longer moral sin, or that we get to pick and choose the moral sins we will avoid, and those we will embrace.

  115. 2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

    Judging from many of the posts here and from what I read of the Princeton seminary, it strikes me as a school for such teachers, preaching a theology of “I’m okay, you’re okay, we’re all okay”.

    Jesus’ own words from Matthew tell us the way isn’t meant to be easy – “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

  116. ok then, share with me where Jesus spoke out to condemn slavery. Or-lacking that, show me where Paul, or Peter, or John- or any supposed NT writer spoke out to condemn slavery. When someone can show me the Bible (OT or NT) speaking out against the commonly accepted (in the day) practice of one person owning another person, then I will look to it as a moral guideline for living. Until then, no thanks.

  117. But this is my point, you see: PTS is not a PCA-affiliated seminary. My idea here is that this is not a question of theology, but rather a question of institutional mission. PTS, whether you happen to agree with them in doing so or not, has chosen, based on the theology of its parent denomination (PCUSA), to train both men and women *as pastors* (not only as deaconesses or for other forms of ministry). That means its female students have been promised and have a right to expect training as such, and the institution has a responsibility to accomplish that training–and also not to get in the way of that training–for *all* its students, both men and women. This does not mean that PTS couldn’t or shouldn’t allow their students to engage with Keller’s work or ideas (he’s still invited to speak) or take them seriously. But it would certainly be saying something substantive to PTS’ female students–who are training to be pastors–if the institution were to *single out for special recognition* a scholar who has explicitly stated that he does not believe that they have any business doing the work for which the institution has committed to train them. There’s no way that could fail to present, at the very least, a contradictory message, which is something one generally wants to avoid in teaching. Certainly a PCA seminary might choose to extend such an honor to Keller without impinging on *its* particular mission.

  118. So you don’t look to the bible as “a moral guideline for living”, much less the inspired word of God. The Bible doesn’t say what you wish it said. I’m with you. I wish the law didn’t include references to my pet sins and struggles. Life would be easier. What you’ve done though is create a litmus test of what it must and mustn’t say for you to deem it worthy. For you… slavery. The slavery of the biblical era was very different to the chattel slavery of American history, but I don’t think that will matter much. If it wasn’t “slavery”, it would be something else. The only bible good enough for Dave Warnock, is the bible that Dave Warnock writes. You, are your own God, and you, will make your own “law”, in a way that you can conform to it and be “rightous”.

    That’s okay Dave. But we’re on different planets, not different pages. In Matthew 5, Jesus said “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Jesus quoted scripture when he was challenged, he used it to teach, to reprove, and to love. He defended it and called it holy. I’ll go with “what Jesus said” on this one. You can stick with the “Law of David Warnock”. Sadly, I don’t think that will work out well for you.

  119. no it’s actually working out really well. I believed all that stuff for 35 years, and life sure makes more sense once I let go of the need to see it through the lens of an ancient text that has no bearing on the world we live in now. You take care now- I think we’re done here. 🙂

  120. Well I guess it is needed since you are not correctly articulating the complementarian position. It has nothing to do with capability or full humanity. As you well know there is much ministry women can do. If God has set up the design for the family and the church (with unique roles) who are we to contend with and change that? …I think we need to grapple with this question: Can we untangle the theological from some of our historical cultural mess (i.e. the immoral aspects of how God’s design has been misunderstood and misapplied in history in the church, family, and culture)?

  121. The people who need some openness to dialogue, are not you or I (nor even Ben), but the soggy Princeton cowards who have openly insulted the Rev. Tim Keller.

    You don’t invite people to your fancy house to get a big fancy award, knowing full well what their theological positions are, and THEN, after they accept your fancy invitation, you suddenly cancel the award, humiliating them on a national level. And then you go tell everybody that it’s all because of what THAT PERSON happens to believe. As if you didn’t know when you openly invited him or her.

    Oh no. At that point, you’ve already gone too far.

    Now Rev. Keller, he’s gracefully swallowing the national insult, just like the Rev. Louis Giglio did when Obama publicly ripped him off. And that’s okay for them.
    Me, I offer some well-deserved pitchforks and torches.

  122. Think about it Ben. Evangelical seminaries do NOT invite openly gay preachers to receive big honors and THEN suddenly shut down the honors saying, “Well it’s because they’re an openly gay preacher.” Then why invite the gay preacher in the first place? Why mislead him or her? Why humiliate and insult THEM with the fake invite, when you already knew what they taught and practiced?

    Whether libbie, conservative, gay, or straight, at least don’t rip people off, don’t invite them to your big party and then kick ’em to the curb. If you do, then don’t look for “nice” responses!

  123. Investigative journalism, and especially any such journalism “in Kuyper’s line”, would investigate the history of PTS’ “Kuyper Prize”. It would not simply accept the existence of a prize because PTS “lays claim” (or burns incense) to one or other of its own chosen predecessors. The entire episode reeks of a failed Protestantic attempt to remake itself by rebadging its own history. The article tries to launch a critique of the PTS decision by countering the president’s decision to with-draw the honour with an alternative political correctness, a view of why “progressives” should be outraged. JM may have served us better had he developed a genuinely critical discussion of how and why was the decision was made – what was the basis for it? And then investigative journalism “in Kuyper’s line” might also have explored for us why the prize was set up in the first place. Was it not aimed to win back prestige for PTS and maybe also for Kuyper (and his L P Stone lectures “On Calvinism” of 1898) among conservative presbyterians and those of Calvinistic persuasion – in other words, how does PTS’s “Kuyper Prize” relate not just to Redeemer Church but to Westminster Theological Seminary and those in the line of Machen? Then we might also find clarity from knowing who funded it and why (i.e. the funding agent’s side of the deal), who is associated with it within PTS’s faculty, what other PTS programs it is linked with, where its international reformed links can be found, and how it sits with PTS’s present managerialism and public reputation. How does this prize relate to the churches, like that of the un-given prize nominee, who were in the sites of PTS fund-raisers when the prize was initially set up? With such questions dealt with we might actually be in a better position to reckon with what PTS is doing by continuing to announce “Kuyper Prize” prizewinners and what that prize-giving actually represents in relation to Christian higher education and then what the decision to undecide upon a previously considered worthy recipient might then mean. In other words let us have some “Kuyperian journalism” that actually uncovers the “art of the deal”. A good place to start may be Kuyper’s own work “De eerepositie der vrouw”.

  124. My experience has been exactly opposite to Mr. Merritt’s. He suggests evangelicals have shut out progressives in academia. Not so. What generally happens is that progressives work their way into positions of leadership by pretending to be less progressive than they really are. Once in a position to open and close doors (to employment, speaking opportunities, etc.) they bring in speakers and professors who are even more to the left, all in the name of diversity and broadmindedness. When conservatives and evangelicals beg and plead for at least a balanced speaker roster they are ridiculed as narrow-minded and worse. I’m old enough now to say with some confidence that what I describe here is far more the rule than the scenario put forward by Mr. Merritt. I appreciate his readiness to give a platform to a great and godly man, but I excoriate his scheme to blackguard the largest branch of Christianity under the guise of openness and generosity.

  125. So what would unity look like? This author’s position, that we call 50 percent of this institution’s students, and not a few of its faculty, a secondary matter?

  126. That much I can agree with. But of course, when it comes to insulting others…..

  127. Them sneaky libruls. Always lyin’ and manipulatin’ and infiltratin’.

  128. Dave, may I suggest Galatians 3:26-28; and 5:1, in light of Philemon 16 and notwithstanding Ephesians 6.
    The Bible doesn’t command an end to slavery, but it makes slavery incompatible with Christianity, therefore slavery ends.
    In a similar way, when the Declaration of Independence declared that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” it created a tension between our common humanity and the institution of slavery that made the end of slavery inevitable.

  129. Your children are lucky to have you.

    As a gay man, this is what I would tell your son: don’t let the hallelujah hypocrites teach you to hate yourself. They do it extremely well, and they do it so that you will oppress yourself. They do hate to get their hands dirty, because the poison in their hearts and minds isn’t attractive.

    My brother hated himself because he was gay, but that was just one more reason to hate himself in a long line of such reasons. It destroyed his life, and cost me my brother.

    There is nothing wrong with you, young man. There has never been anything wrong with you. What is wrong is using a few vaguely worded passages in a millennia-year old collection of books the justify a vicious and ancient prejudice and the harm that they would willingly inflict on innocent victims. The Bible knows nothing of sexual orientation or gay lives. What it does not know if cannot condemn.

    It may possibly, in a vague, general sort of a way, condemn SOMETHING that may, in a vague, general sort of a way, condemn some aspect of same sex sexual behavior. But you need only look at the sodom story to see how much scripture has been twisted and perverted to create an antigay narrative and justify plain old fashioned bigotry.

    If the church You’re with does not accept you, then find a better church to attend, and a better class of Christian to hang out with.

    Love a good life.

  130. What’s the point of calling them exclusiveists?

    To exclude, of coure

  131. FWIW … Princeton is NOT an institution of the PC(USA). It is an affiliated seminary.

    From its webpage history article:

    “Affiliated from the beginning with the Presbyterian Church and the wider
    Reformed tradition, Princeton Theological Seminary is a denominational
    school with an ecumenical, interdenominational, and worldwide
    constituency. This is reflected in the faculty, in the curriculum of
    studies, and in the student body.”

    That said, the ecumenical part of that paragraph is someone suspect.

  132. Good for you that you think that way, but…

    So, in other words, you just decided the biblical morality is repugnant to you in this case, and need not be enforced. Or, putting it another way, whenever the Bible says something either inconvenient or morally repugnant, it clearly must mean some else entirely

    But there is also labeling something a moral question when it clearly isn’t. I’m not heterosexal. I’ve never been heterosexual I know I was gay when I was three, though I didn’t know what it meant. But I KNEW.

    Why is that a moral Question? I have lived a good life and have a great husband in the manner after which I am made. Morals has nothing to do with it.

    But here’s my moral question? How is the immorality of what has been done to gay people for millennia–prisons, murders, besting, destroyed families and careers– the lies, the hatred, the violence– how is all of THat justified, let lone excused?

  133. Does everybody not know what Tim Keller has been trying to do for years at Redeemer and in the PCA? He’s been working to get women as Deacons for years, and has been called out on it by the hardcore right in the PCA.

    Say that he does not affirm women in ministry is a misstatement of his beliefs.

  134. What was given up? And what was fulfilled?

  135. The words are so blatantly manipulative: don’t go down the broad road; choose the narrow path. There will be those who will revile you for your belief. You are a chosen few. It all keeps the money flowing. It’s just so dishonest in my book.

  136. Abraham Kuyper would be ineligible for the Abraham Kuyper Award if he were still alive. Or even, I suspect, if he came back from the dead.

  137. You swung, and you missed. As in completely missed.
    That word “Jesus” just didn’t enter into your thinking at all. I didn’t say that *I* decided anything. What I said is that *JESUS* freed us from the old testament laws of cultural separation and old testament punishment. If you want me to cite verses and actions where he did that I can. The important part though is that *I* decided nothing. Good Christian theology uses the words and actions of Jesus as the foundation of theology, no the words or wisdom of men.

    Having same-sex attraction isn’t sin. “Gay” and “straight” are human constructs. Lust and sex outside of marriage are actions that are sinful. Who you are attracted to may be out of your control, but what you do with that attraction is 100% within your control. I don’t share your sin struggle. My sin struggle is lust and adultery. There are people with other sin struggles that are woven deep into they psyche, for life. We’ll only be perfected in heaven, never here on this earth. I’m sorry for your sin struggles, but I would be doing you an enormous disservice and I would be betraying my faith if I told you that since you have a sin struggle, therefore it’s not a sin and you should indulge. That is not something Jesus did, and it’s not something that we can do either.

    Who here do you justifying or defending the persecution of homosexuals? It’s tragic and horrible, and sinful. In the context of this conversation though, it’s also irrelevant. I’m sorry if you’ve been persecuted in some fashion. But telling you that acting on your homosexual feelings is sinful, and that God wants better from you is not persecution. It’s speaking truth. It should only be done in kindness, and empathy, and love. Jesus told the woman at the well to change, to go and sin no more. He didn’t tell her that her sin was not sin.

  138. Yes, you are a bigot. I got that already. Like most bigots of a spineless nature, you proof text religious scripture to create excuses for your personal prejudices and malicious behavior towards others. The Bible being edited to fit your personal need rather than as an inspiration towards acting well.

    What consenting adults do with each other is neither if our businesses. If you are so nosy and malicious that it must be a pretext to treat people with contempt, it speaks badly of your character. There is nothing resembling morals in your stance. Plenty of Christians do not take your views. You may not consider them to be of the same faith. But your opinion of such things is not a criteria.

  139. Fair enough. Except, I don’t believe in sin. And I don’t believe in sin struggles. BEing gay is an essential part of me, and my life as a gay man is how I experience my humanity, intimacy, family, sex, and romance. Doesn’t mean I am a whore.

    Good that you recognize that sexual orientation is not the same as sexual action. Not so good that gay people are expected to maintain a burden no heterosexual does. Worse at it is used as an excuse to harm, to violate, To disadvantage, and to incite.

    Nope. I’m fine. I’m more concerned about the youths who are the victims of toxic theology, the political battles that must be fought, the attacks on our families, children. Faith, and futures.

    Lots of people posting herein justify their antigay bigotry by their faith. When you tell me that I must be deprived of all of the things that you take for granted as a heterosexual, and yet tell me on the very same posting that you are a repeat offender as an adulterer, and yet ARE NOT BEING DENIED A SINGLE BENEFIT OF SOCIETY DESPITE BEING A REPEAT OFFENDER WHO WILL SIN AGAIN AND AGAIN…no one is questioning your marriage, are they.

    When you tell me that, somehow I think you actually believe that my sin sets me apart. YOU ARE TELLING me what YOU think, and what you think god thinks. Yes, Jesus told that woman. JEsus. not you. And nowhere did jesus say that my faith, family, children, freedom, assets, and participation in society should be treated any differently than yours.

    But there you have it

  140. Not to mention, it makes it just so special that they are the chosen ones, NOT YOU.

    It’s always there, right between the lines.

    another appeal to a completely unwarranted faith in an otherwise wholly imaginary superiority as a Christian or a human being.

  141. Who deserves pitchforks and torches in the economy of Jesus? Why that metaphor? Remove your own ego from the above rationale, then rethink.

  142. The “central tenets of the faith” are equality and inclusion? And here I thought they were the death of Christ for sin, the resurrection of Christ, and the second coming of Christ to judge the quick and the dead (funny how all three have the same thing in common). How did I manage to get things so badly wrong? I guess I need to quit reading my Bible, and start listening to PTS graduates instead. Maybe they can help me straighten out my theology.

  143. In the 21st century! I really hope the poison of religion that taints reasoning powers continue to dissipate.

  144. In my 2nd year of teaching in the public schools, a 9th grade Phillipino boy was bullied for appearing efeminate. He invited some fellow students to his home at lunch time, put a gun in his mouth, and killed himself.
    What a shock. I’ve never forgotten it. Sorry to tell you this Ben.It’s part of my life experience and the based for my hatred of religion.

  145. A pure tragedy. I know of other cases. When, oh when, will the religious reich take responsibility for the toxic spew they spew, let alone driving children to suicide? I just said this to Shawnie yesterday– I’ll stop standing up to religion when gay kids stop killing themselves because of religions’ TOXIC SPEW.

  146. No there’s not. “That” is not descriptive of evangelicals — it’s descriptive of Ben’s attitude toward evangelicals. Big difference.

  147. Ummm. Every unmarried person, gay or straight, is expected to abstain from sexual activity in the biblical ethic. So, no, you are not being.g held to a different standard.

  148. Who would care if Princeton Theological Seminary or any other Seminary snubs you? Who are they, or any other theological institute to judge anyone worthy or unworthy? God only can endorse or confirm a ministry or a minister. By being judge they only set themselves up to receive judgment from God. Who with a true ministry would even want the approval of earthly institutions? If God accepts you what else is necessary? Why try to jump through the various hoops that these institutes lay down? Possibly the love of reputation, the need for outside approval and love of money has corrupted your ministry.

  149. The intensity of the battles over sexual morality suggests that they may be more core doctrine than disputable matters.

  150. But heterosexuals can get married, can’t they. And if they don’t, and sin any way, they just have to ask Jesus for forgiveness, and he will grant it, because he always does, then they can resin and repent and re-sin again, and get forgivenesss each and every time,

    There are two double standards right there. And if that type of religion didn’t have double standards, they’d lack standards altogether.

  151. You don’t believe in sin, and you’re not a Christian. So why are you on a website essentially arguing the details of theology and the Christian faith? Not a rhetorical question. I’m genuinely confused as to why you’re here, at all.

  152. Not sure I understand your correction. From the webpage

    “What denomination is Princeton Seminary affiliated with?
    Princeton Theological Seminary is a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”


    Elsewhere on the webpage:

    “Princeton Theological Seminary was established in 1812, the first Seminary founded by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. The establishment of The Theological Seminary at Princeton marked a turning point in American theological education.”

    From its (current) mission statement:

    “A professional and graduate school of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Seminary stands within the Reformed tradition . . .”


  153. So you find the words of Jesus to be vile, dishonest, and blatantly manipulative.

    Why are you here? We’re in a message board discussing the merits of a particular pastor and whether he is or is not deserving of a specific honor at a specific Christian seminary.

    And here you are – a person that genuinely hates ALL of it, every word, the very words of Jesus, and you reject it all. You’re not a Christian, so much so that you find the very words of Jesus to be “dishonest” and “blatantly manipulative”. You seem to think that Jesus wanted to “keep the money flowing”. How exactly did Jesus make out in this scheme?

    I really don’t get it. I get rejecting the faith. Very much. What I don’t do is go into a bar hosting a watch party for a football game, and then walk around and tell fans from both teams that they’re stupid and their game sucks. I have better things to do. So what brings you here? Really. I’m curious.

  154. I wouldn’t know. I don’t rely on making stuff up for my arguments.

  155. But Ben, you don’t believe ANY of it. You’re not a Christian. You’re not bound by ANY of this. So why do you care? Why are you here? Why does a non-Christian, someone who categorically rejects the faith, feel compelled to argue (poorly unfortunately) about the theology of the faith? I suggest you stick with “what a bunch of hogwash”. Simpler and more honest.

  156. I think we know there are varieties of thought in the conservative church world. But this is what Keller has said, and it places him at some distance from the PCUSA or the working principles of PTS. Commissioning “Deaconesses” is not the same as ordaining 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.” http://byfaithonline.com/the-case-for-commissioning-not-ordaining-deaconesses/

    Keller defines the work of a deaconess in that article as “work with the poor, sick, (and) widows.” He is clearly not interested in ordaining women to serve as pastors, preachers and leaders. There’s the rub.

  157. That was fine, right up until the committee went through their presumably rigorous process of considering nominees, and awarded Pastor Keller. He was GIVEN the award. It was publicly announced, and he was “honored”. And then he was publicly stripped of that honor.

    What Janhoi said above is completely accurate and well said, and I appreciate his sentiment. I am a conservative orthodox Christian, very much in line with Pastor Keller. But what I like *MOST* about him is not his theology, but his spirit of love, reconciliation, understanding, bridge building, and general peace. He represents the best of Christianity in his temperament, whatever you think of his theology. He is the LAST pastor that would ever be offensive or pick a fight or be some kind of social warrior over the issues regarding women in the pulpit or LGBTQ issues.

    What Princeton did was offensive, the article we’re all talking about was on the money. It is patently offensive and disgraceful to extend someone an honor, and then withdraw that honor, not based on some new information, but only based on the hue and cry of people that can’t tolerate someone being honored that they are not in 10000% agreement with. The demand for “orthodoxy” from those that are at war with orthodoxy is particularly ironic and sad. Pastor Keller is a bigger man that I for agreeing to speak at the seminary at all. I wouldn’t honor them with my presence after being treated so disrespectfully in such a public manner. Shameful.

  158. Extending an award publicly, and then withdrawing that award publicly is most CERTAINLY “marginalizing” at the very least. I would characterize it as an insult. Thou doth protest WAY too much, and are very caught up in the semantics, in addition to being wrong. It would appear the author has struck a particularly raw nerve with you, which makes me think he’s particularly spot on.

  159. My question exactly. Who is looking for this “outside approval” or having this “love of money”. Does he think Keller is the one that wrote this article about himself? Can he ask any more vacuous rhetorical questions?

  160. I don’t disagree that what Princeton did was ham-handed, clumsy, embarrassing and rude. He should have never been offered the award in the first place. He seems like a nice enough fellow, but I’m also perplexed as to why he would accept the award. If he believes as strongly as he has written, that ordaining women requires a reading of scripture that is “alarming and disturbing” why accept an award from an institution where fully half its student body, studying for ordination, are women? Where the money for the prize may have come from their contributions, or at least the contributions of those who champion them? Would you accept a $10,000 prize from an institution whose very mandate violates your belief to that extent? What was HE thinking? He will offer an address to a room that will be half full of women studying for ordained ministry, with more than 90 percent of the rest of the room consisting of students, faculty and staff who support those women in their quest. And he’d walk off with $10,000?

    Let me put it another way. If I condemned your vocation and your wife offered me two tickets to Hamilton, I believe I would demure. It would seem wrong to make nice in that way as if we don’t have a serious difference in opinion, and I would recognize that some part of those tickets were supported by the work I condemned you for. It would be an integrity thing, wouldn’t it?

  161. You may call them lies, but your prior posts tell a far different story. 🙂

  162. By all means be offended. I don’t want you to mistake me for someone who takes nonsense being slung seriously.

  163. The reason that he would accept the award, is because he’s not some theological purist. He’s the OPPOSITE of that. He is a man of moderation and love and compassion. He isn’t some hard-nosed conservative that believes women should be barefoot and making babies and is gunna tell you right! He has worked tirelessly within his denomination to create ever greater roles for women. But more than anything, he isn’t a culture warrior. On the list of “what’s important”, this issues is going to be WAY way down at the bottom, so far that he would role his eyes and say “Please… can we talk about Jesus?” That, is Tim Keller. The man is humble beyond belief. Which is all the more reason that once awarded, and once graciously accepted and appreciated, it was patently offensive and in fact spineless for the seminary to do what they did. I don’t know much of anything about the Princeton seminary. They were a blank slate to me. But they have defined themselves as an intolerant and narrow-minded institution in my eyes, and one unworthy of such a kind and righteous man at Tim Keller.

  164. How horrible. I am so sorry — for you, for that poor boy, and for his family. Nothing else to say except that the rest of us should read this and redouble our efforts to make the world a better place.

  165. They weren’t’ the words of Jesus. You cling to the Old Testament treachery, don’t even know what Jesus taught. In the end times, Jesus said, “He will come like a thief in the night “…you’d better be sure you know right from wrong.

  166. I have read him and heard him and understand that he strikes an irenic tone in all things. However, he’s also written (in an article which should be read in full.)

    “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.” http://byfaithonline.com/the-case-for-commissioning-not-ordaining-deaconesses/

    And this is the rub. He’s said some unequivocal things which call into question the mandate of the seminary to educate both men and women for ministry. Which would seem to say that the very existence of the seminary is improper. I don’t know, but I find it head scratching. Not that he would agree to speak, but that he’d agree to accept an award. I wonder if he thought to ask, “what is likely to be the feeling of the student body here, half of whom are women? Or the women on the faculty, some of whom are homilectics instructors? Or the donors who contribute to this prize — who may be women in ministry, or simply people who support the seminary because it has set about this task.”

  167. Pastor Keller makes more money in an afternoon on book royalties than the $10k prize. He wouldn’t care about the money, and would likely put that money right back into ministry.

    You are VERY hung up on this issue of women ordination. While I won’t go so far as to call it adiaphora, it is VERY far down the list of things that truly matter. Jesus matters. Introducing people to Jesus matters. Helping people develop a relationship with Jesus matters. Making disciples… matters. Caring for the poor, the needy, the afflicted, the persecuted, the hungry… matters. I don’t know how many books Keller has written. Dozens. I’ve probably read five of them. Do you know how many of them argue a theological point about the ordination of women? I’m going to venture a pretty safe guess at NONE. Do you know how many sermons he has preached about the role of women that argued that they shouldn’t be ordained ministers? I’m going to venture a pretty safe guess at NONE.

    Your myopic focus, your CHOICE to pick out the things that separate your beliefs, strike me as a desperate desire to justify your sect, your belief as the only true and righteous one. Pastor Keller is the opposite of that. He’s the “big tent” type of pastor, while still holding to an orthodox Christian belief shared by 90% of Christendom. And yet he’s not good enough for you. He’s not worthy. His 99% alignment… not good enough. The fact that he’s done more for expanding the Kingdom than the entire PCUSA has done in the last decade…. not good enough. There’s a reason that the PCUSA and the ELCA and the Episcopalian churches are in decline. The illusion of “inclusion” by editing out the parts of the Bible you find inconvenient to make people happy leaves you standing on sand. Once you start down that road of editing, then you’ll soon end up without any bible at all. You’ll find a reason that none if it makes sense. You’ve made yourself god.

    Either Jesus is who he said he was, or he isn’t. And if he IS who he said he was, then his words about the sanctity of the bible aren’t something that the PCUSA or other denominations can ignore, and claim a sound theology. Keller knows that, and in spite of it he will come on your campus and speak love, knowing that the path you have chosen is dangerous and wrong. But he’ll be there in love. Much more love than he has been shown.

  168. I wonder if Jonathan Merritt would say the same thing about Christian segregationist back in the day? After all, Christians of “good will” disagreed deeply about the issue of segregation. Would he be lecturing a progressive seminary to allow a leading segregationist minister to speak?

    Timothy Keller belongs to the PCA which is extremely anti-gay and believes in the secondary status of women, and the PCA mandates agreement with those views. He’s considered a leader in the PCA, not a rebel. The PCA says (and Keller believes) that gays are damned to hell without exception. If a PCA church allowed a female minister, they’d be booted out of the PCA. Timothy Keller supports that stance 100%. If he didn’t he’d be put on trial and kicked out of the PCA.

    And it doesn’t matter how personally nice or disarming Keller is. Tons of segregationists were (are) as nice as they could be too. The South was filled with fine, upstanding, kindhearted people who were staunch segregationists. Church going people. Ministers. Leaders. They were fundamentally wrong and held immoral views.

    One doesn’t have to allow every view to be presented under the guise of “fairness”. Should Jews allow a neo-Nazi to speak to them? Should black people allow a member of the Klan to speak to them? Well, to the LGBT and female theological students at Princeton, Keller is just as offensive to them. He wouldn’t allow them to speak in his church, or allow them to work or serve as a leader in his church, or be a member in good standing. So why should Princeton give him a platform?

    I wouldn’t expect Jonathan Merritt to understand how troubling this is for the female and LGBT students at Princeton because he’s neither female or LGBT. It doesn’t affect him like it does them. He just doesn’t get why it’s a big deal. That’s too bad that he doesn’t.

    One last point, the PCA schools won’t allow female or LGBT ministers to speak at their schools, much less give them an award. So why does a PCUSA school have to allow him to speak to their female and LGBT students? And all the outraged Evangelicals who’ve commented on here wouldn’t allow female or LGBT ministers to speak in their churches either. “Selective” outrage is what that is.

  169. Yes, a flawed conclusion drawn by the author. 40%-50% of the PTS student body is female and/or LGBT. So the author concludes that the remaining 50%-60% of students are ALL conservative interpreters of scripture??? EVERY male student is therefore conservative? Wha? But the central point is not the make-up of the student body, although the PTS leadership certainly started by not paying very much sensitive attention to the very likely position of most of its students regarding who can lead the church. The central point of the author that should be refuted is that by not honoring Keller with a major award, PTS is somehow “marginalizing” him. Not giving someone a special award is not marginalization! PTS kept open its invitation to Keller to speak there, so it’s pretty hard to argue that they marginalized him. To his great credit, Keller graciously accepted. I’m sure this was very awkward for all involved, and Keller was generous in his response. I hope he is welcomed and respected when he speaks at PTS.

  170. You don’t get to set the terms of anyone’s speech but your own, and frankly, you are the expert in hate speech. As is typical for a religious bigot, you claim that your harsh, indefensible language is just being “truthful,” while claiming that any disagreement is automatically hateful and deceitful. After reading several of your posts, I can see why you hate the terms “misogynistic” and “homophobic,” since both are most aptly applied to you.

  171. “Bible” isn’t a strong subject for you Mary. That quote is from the book of Matthew (not “Old Testament”), and a direct quote from Jesus. But I think you’re kind of making it up as you go along so…. you just do that honey.

  172. I have never met an Evangelical yet who would “endure sound teaching.” Their version of the “gospel” is that disconnected from Christ. I may be okay, LGBT may be okay, but hallelujah hypocrites are definitely not okay. The closest they come to “okay” is cracking open a new can of Planter’s Mixed Nuts.

  173. I have it on good authority that LGBTQ people are attending Gordon Conwell right now, and have in the past. Whether any sought or received that particular award, I have no idea. But I see nothing in the criteria that should discourage them from applying.

  174. Doesn’t it also say something substantive to PTS’ female students when they *single out for special recognition* by naming the award after Kuyper, someone who has views much closer to Keller’s than PTS’ on the issue of ordaining women?

    Or maybe there is a distinction between honoring a contemporary scholar compared to honoring a historic scholar?

  175. Please look again at Merritt’s title. “Why Princeton’s Snub of Tim Keller Should Outrage Progressives.” Occasionally, there IS a proper place for outrage “in the economy of Jesus.”

    Yet it’s obvious that progressives aren’t feeling the outrage. THEY think it’s okay to invite people to prestigious award parties, knowing full well what the awardee believes, and then kick ’em to the national curb. (It doesn’t even look as if YOU find anything disturbing about this situation, quite honestly. Why is that?)

    So I have no problem with offering a little of the outrage. “Pitchforks and torches” are an appropriate imagery for this occasion.

    (Originally I wanted “W-80 cruise missile warhead” imagery, but hey, no need to get all excessive about things.)

  176. Thanks for the (admittedly rare) point of agreement. We’ll just have to dance around a little more on the question of “insults”, but that’s what we generally do anyway.

  177. At the same time, though, surely a Kuyper award is, itself, honouring Kuyper? Even if there were elements of his thinking and theology that Princeton doesn’t support, presenting an award with his name on it is saying that in spite of that dissonance, he is still worth honouring by putting his name on the award, no?

  178. throwing poo, Dave. What does the Bible say about same sex sexual behavior. What did Jesus say?

  179. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to think that PTS’ theological positions on women in ministry have changed in the last near-100 years since Kuyper’s death, and that while they might retain the name of the prize as a matter of institutional *history*, their current priority would be to serve their institutional mission as it exists in the present, rather than what it might have been a century ago.

  180. Sir, I am perhaps “very hung up on this issue of women’s ordination” because that is how I’ve spent the last 28 years of my life. Moreover, I was brought into the Church of Jesus Christ by an ordained woman’s preaching 35 years ago. And just yesterday I was corresponding with a woman who is pastoring in a developing country, while teaching other would-be pastors at a seminary there. I am truthfully concerned and praying for her safety. So what to you is an unimportant matter has been important in my life and my faith and in the faith of others you are concerned for.

  181. Fair enough gapaul. We all have our own position that we perceive things from. I think you would find a man like Pastor Keller, and a man like me, very supportive of your ministry and your efforts, even if we interpret the bible has having a different role for women in ministry. A dear friend (female) that I am in community with is in Africa for the next three weeks, traveling alone at great risk in some of the most war torn and persecuted nations, sharing love, helping, and sharing the gospel. She’s not an ordained minister, but she is highly trained and skilled and is active. I pray for her daily. Best wishes in your ministry.

  182. When your response to scripture is disdain, I think I can safely bucket your response on most other things. The church and scripture of RidingTheLine is all you need brother. I hope that serves you well, but I fear it won’t.

  183. Ben, I really am at a loss as to why you and Mary are here, arguing your non-points at all? I really am curious, why two people with an obvious and clearly stated deep hatred for the Christian faith and the bible are here attempting to participate in a spirited discussion about a pastor and whether he is or isn’t deserving of an award?

  184. You’re right. It is in Revelations too, and Thessalonians. I don’t see most Christians as moral people. Of course as with any group there are good people and bad people. And I don’t know how I got to this thread. So, bye now. btw, when you call me “honey” …isn’t that a term for your mate? My problem with religionists is they take too many liberties with women…

  185. Thank you, I appreciate it. Looking through all of the comments on the board, it strikes me that some of us, myself included, have a point to make but don’t always make it in a way that invites listening or understanding. I can see that you have been touched by Rev. Keller’s ministry, and no part of me wants to deny or take that good away from you. I have known others who would say the same about his writings, and somehow it ought to be possible for someone like me to say I have deep misgivings about a portion of his teaching and writing, but to also say that most of us are much more complicated than any label, or any one conversation, would hold us to be. Best wishes to you as well, and in your partnership in this faith we share.

  186. Segregation was not ever a position with a valid biblical basis. Segregationists were racists that attempted and failed to support their “ism” with their biblical context. One way to test that is to ask the question whether orthodox Christianity broadly supported segregation? The answer was, and is, no. Nor could a segregationist string together a cogent biblical argument for racism, whereas any competent Christian theologian can easily cite myriad verses and build a solid case on how Jesus specifically tore down all of the societal and cultural barriers and made the gospel available to all. It’s a false and disingenuous comparison.

    And you grossly and falsely mischaracterize Keller’s position on homosexuality. He most certainly doesn’t believe “gays are damned to hell without exception.” That is a flat out lie. What the PCA and Keller believe is that the Bible is clear about sex outside of marriage as sin, and that marriage is a holy union between one man and one woman. While you might find those beliefs offensive, they are quite unambiguous in the bible, and the only way to avoid them is to cut them out. The act of pruning the list of sins and in fact the entirety of the bible based on the social norms of the day is the heart of the issue, not some specific view on women in ministry or homosexuality. The heart of the issue is how you come to such conclusions – using the bible as the reference, or using the wisdom of men and ‘amending’ the bible from day to day based on that ever changing wisdom.

    Today, you have deleted the parts of the bible regarding the role of women in ministry, and the parts of the bible that clearly and repeatedly call sex outside of marriage “sin”. Tomorrow, you and the PCUSA will convene a new counsel, and there will be new “wisdom” and the scissors will come out a gain. Rinse… repeat… That is the heart of the matter brother.

    Listen to Tim Keller talk about homosexuality. Listen to one of his MANY sermons on the topic. You won’t find an ounce of hate, or anger, or bitterness. You will hear words of love, and compassion, and understanding. No, he doesn’t tell homosexuals that there desire to sin isn’t sin, and therefore they should indulge. That would be a horrible thing according to orthodox Christian theology. Nor will you hear wag his finger and condemn them to hell as you say he does. That, is a lie.

  187. I don’t have disdain for the scriptures; I have disdain for the false interpretations of the scriptures put forth by Evangelicals as if they got their view straight from Jesus Christ; I have disdain for hypocrites who turn Hope, Faith and Charity into Despair, Disrespect, and Deception, hence – “hallelujah hypocrites.” A house full of deceivers is not the Body of Christ.

  188. Your “problem[s] with religionists” are manifold, and ever expanding, no doubt. You have made yourself god.

    Jesus either is who he said he is, or he’s the chief of liars. You’ve apparently made your decision on that. I hope one day you find reason to revisit it and come to faith. I will pray that for you Mary. I really will. I already have.

  189. When the bible says repeatedly and unambiguously that sex outside of marriage is a sin, and that marriage is a union between a man and a woman… who is making the “false interpretation” brother? I can not imagine a better example of 2 Tim 4. You’re blind. Really. You SO WANT your pet sin to NOT be sin that you simply make it so. The biblical and theological arguments for gay marriage are so desperately contrived and un-biblical as to be confusing. How can you call up, down? You’ve bought into the world, and made yourself a home in it, and you lead people astray in the process.

  190. Ms. Jones:
    1. Thanks for the “heads up” that your comment on Tim Keller gave me regarding TGC. I knew and worked with Rev. Keller years ago, and have attended his Manhattan church. You helped me understand much more clearly why Keller was dis-awarded… the wrath of thousands (not as accommodating as you are) arose, and Princeton’s submissive leaders had to back off.
    2. You clearly claim Christ’s justice as your reason for throwing off patriarchy. What do you make of 1 Cor. 15:28? Is it just for the sinless Christ to be required to submit, in an even more complete way than wives are ever commanded to submit to their husbands? The author’s thrust is clear: having become the ruler of absolutely everything, Jesus will completely submit it all to Someone Else!
    Understanding this has completely changed my view of submission and all that it means. The Lord calls me to submit to authority as a witness to His far more deep (Phil. 2) and complete submission to both His murderers at the cross and His Father at the end of the age. Even further, I have learned to submit to my wife — in the areas where she is clearly better equipped and by her nature more skillful and mature. This has led to a better marriage and more godly household.

  191. “…repeadedly and unambiguously…” never applies to the Holy Bible, at least never together. There are lots of themes that repeat, but they change in tone and meaning with every repetition. It’s that way from the get-go and when Hallelujah hypocrites say otherwise, it’s all part of their Holy Con Job on the rest of Christendom. Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 give conflicting accounts for the creation of the world and of human beings. The whole Hebrew Lilith Myth is based on the idea that God created two women in the two different accounts. According to the Lilith tradition, Lilith came from the earth as Adam did and had her own will and agenda, but Eve came from Adam’s rib and was therefore subservient to him. From the Lilith Myth we get the myth of the Nephilim, the children of Angels and Men through Lilith committing adultery with a fallen angel. That of course is the basis for the current TV show “Shadowhunters” on Free Form, and illustrates how Bible-based mythology persists in our culture. Most of what Evangelicals teach as “eternal truth” can also be relegated to Bible-based mythology and nothing more.

  192. Ted – I don’t know whether Ms. Jones will reply or not, but based on my considerable dialog with PCUSA, ELCA and Episcopalian believers and theologians, I think their general response would be:

    A) Paul was a good guy, and a great missionary, but he had his limits. He never married, and was a bit of an absolutist. His letters provide some good guidance, but they’re very anchored in their times and cultures, and so we can take them much less literally and take greater latitude in what we do and don’t accept of them, as compared to the Gospels, Acts, etc. This would apply to all of Paul’s writings then.

    B) We have to apply our ever expanding knowledge of modern science and psychology and “wisdom” in our interpretation of scripture. Where that knowledge/wisdom conflicts with scripture, we must have the latitude to change our “interpretation” of the scriptures to conform to our knowledge/wisdom. In the case of the role of women, we are more enlightened now than the first century church and understand the equality of women in ways they didn’t. With regard to homosexuality, we now have knowledge about the psychology of same sex attraction, and since it is innate rather than a choice, we can presume it’s not sinful to act on that innate attraction.

    Mind you, I agree with NONE of that, but I think it’s a fairly accurate view of how these ‘inclusive’ Christian theologies have bent their faith and edited scripture to conform to their earthly views.

  193. Thank you for that. It helps me understand your view of scripture quite well.

  194. I don’t have time to answer your questions right now, but they deserve a response. And I will do so, politely and respectfully, as I usually do. But neither of those words should imply that I won’t say what I think and can clearly observe.

    But I will say this much of an answer to your rather biased, presumptive, and frankly, insulting question. As I have been told by many so called Christians of a certain class, who “disagree” with my life and my participation in society on anything but their own terms, based upon their own “facts” and bolstered by what they claim are “sincere religious beliefs”…

    ….”disagreement” isn’t hate.

    This totally atheist couple was married by a dear friend who is a Christian minster. My oldest friend in the world, for nearly 55 years, is a committed Christian and minister who would never think to weaponize his Bible against others.

    Later, when I have time.

  195. You are here… on a message board dedicated to discussing an article regarding the merits of a Christian pastor and theologian winning or not winning an award from a Christian seminary. And you (and Mary) fully reject the totality of the Christian beliefs of BOTH parties (those that believe Keller should have received the award and was denigrated by its withdrawal, and those that think he should never have received it and support its withdrawal). You reject the bible as the word of God. You reject the deity of Jesus, his substitutionary work for the forgiveness of your sins. You reject the very idea that you even HAVE sins and that there exists such a thing as “sin”.

    And yet you are here, in this place, arguing that we’re all wrong, arguing based on your own certainly that because you’re gay, therefore we’re all wrong and you are all right. For what purpose? Perhaps “hate” is too strong a word, and I genuinely apologize if that offends you. But you’re most certainly not here out of love or concern or even curiosity. I’m happy to ‘talk’ with you about it, but I don’t get it. I don’t make it a habit of going to message boards dedicated to the LGBTQ community and tell them all that they’re going to hell. That would be rude, and I believe hateful. And yet…

  196. That’s doubtful. But if it means you stop trolling, we’re good.

  197. How have I been “trolling” RidingTheLine? What of my words do you think have been insincere? You seem very quick to take offense and project evil and insincere motive.

  198. I am an atheist ,but you assume wrongly when you say I would call Jesus a liar. I have always loved Jesus no matter if he’s real or just a story. We all take guidance from heros from all the stories man has contrived. But it has always been just too much to believe in a god that creates man imperfect, then commands perfection or else: hellfire. The virgin birth story can be found in ancient lore before Christ. The flood has been noted in ancient stories, ;also a persecuted hero, who found the holy grail and achieved new knowledge. The Easter story was told as long as long ago as the beginning of man.
    Religionists manipulate the fold by telling them they are special, that they need only go down the narrow path, that you will be a martyr if you hold fast, there’s an afterlife for you where you’ll see all the family friends again. Too hard for me to believe all that nonsense.
    Evolution makes more sense to me than the Bible ever has.

  199. I don’t care for Keller’s views on women, on infant baptism, and a number of other issues. The world might very well be better off without the so-called “Gospel Coalition,” which is really “the Fundamentalist-Calvinist-sexist/patriarchalist-arm-of-Crossway-publishers Carson-Keller-cronies Coalition.”

    But I think Merrit’s point has some merit.

    A) Giving an award to someone is never to endorse all the opinions or positions of that person, nor (B) can Keller’s ministry be reduced to one or two issues with which institutions or groups may not agree. (C) When neither Kuyper (for whom the award is named) nor Keller (a Presbyterian with at least some theological overlap with Princeton) are really welcome at Princeton, perhaps this really is a new degree of confused intolerance.

  200. My experience with the regressive lib so-called christians is that in place of an examination and discussion of the text of Scripture they just stomp their little feet, hold their breath, and then call names. They can’t argue for their position from Scripture because to do so they have to end up calling Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the World, a homophobe, intolerant, sexist, etc. But they won’t do that. I wonder why they bother to show to church at all.

  201. Wrong again Errol Flynn. Nice try but no cigar. Hasta la vista, baby.

    I can use cliches to be “clever,” too.

  202. “But it has always been just too much to believe in a god that creates man imperfect, then commands perfection or else: hellfire”

    You’ve missed the gospel completely. I hope one day you meet someone who will share it with you face to face.

  203. I am 70. .have.read the Bible, have attended Bible studies..took two courses at university. ..Studied Literature. ..it never took. ..can’t believe it. I am so amazed and intrigued with the science of evolution. .
    If it comforts you, who am I to say…be well.

  204. Sure, as long as the female students that could be offended are aware of that.

  205. Evolution is indeed fascinating. It really is. And I, as an orthodox Christian believer, also believe that there is evolution. I don’t understand how it reconciles with God’s creation. One of the mysteries I look forward to understanding on the other side. I suggest you read Lee Strobel’s “A Case for Christ”. For those that anchor on science, it spells out a compelling narrative for how he came to faith. It’s being released in the coming weeks as a movie in theaters, and the previews actually look good. Perhaps you might see it? If I knew you personally and where you were, I’d offer to pick you up and take you and talk about it over a cup of coffee.

  206. “Is there an adult at your house I can converse with?”

    That’s very cliche to anyone who served a mission for the Mormon Church. What do you think mission boys ask when a kid answers the door? They are not there selling Girl Scout cookies.

  207. I thought the same, and just kind of sadly laughed at Tom’s core theology of “Can’t we all just get along?”

    Personally, I bring it down to the Apostle’s Creed – if we can agree on that, then I can call you brother and claim that we share a faith. That doesn’t mean that there may not be issues of substance we might very much disagree on, but I can and will call you brother and engage with you in love on those issues. For me, that would include the PCUSA and the people of Princeton seminary, even if I think they (and the ELCA and Episcopalian church and others, though a significant minority of Christians) have gone down a very dangerous path of putting the wisdom of man in a position superior to the Word of God.

  208. Need a hanky? Or should I call you a “waa-mulance?”

  209. They increasingly don’t (show up to church). Look at the stats on the PCUSA, the ELCA, the Episcopal church and other denominations that have put the “wisdom of man” in a position superior to the Word of God. The results speak for themselves.

  210. Gary North’s history of the takeover of the PCUSA by liberals, “Crossed Fingers”, is a perfect example of what you describe. They used the seminaries to infiltrate, all the while pleading for tolerance. Once they had a majority, they immediately forced the conservative pastors to accept doctrines they knew would be anathema under penalty of expulsion and loss of pensions they would need for their old age. No tolerance whatsoever was shown. J. Gresham Machen was one who fought in vain to avert this travesty. The PFA and OPC churches formed due to the schism.

    This has been the pattern of all forms of liberalism, as well as Islam. Tolerate them at your own risk.

  211. That’s real sweet of you.
    When I die, I’ll cease to exist. This I accept. While I can be judgemental, often I am not because I understand that there is no such thing as sin. Surely there are evil people in the world. .But most often people do the best they can with what strengths they were given.
    Read “The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins, Darwinian biologist. Evolution is a gift that keeps on giving. I could never go back to religion again.It made me feel guilty and unhappy. Being a good person is the result of having good parents. Goodness is in my DNA…

  212. But if there’s no “sin” Mary, surely there can be no evil? Not trying to be nitpicky, but I find those statements to be contradictory. I’m not trying to goad you, so you don’t need to answer if you’re not inclined, I just thought it was a curious remark. I’ve read the God Delusion and am very familiar with Richard Dawkins work.

  213. “Sin” suggests disobedience. There is no religion, no man, no group who I have to obey other than secular law.

  214. Agreed! I honor Tim Keller as a man of God, a visionary church planter, and a wonderful theologian. I could never be a member of the PCA. But I thank God for Tim Keller.

  215. Got your “cliches” — still waiting for your “clever.”

  216. If Christians equate not winning an award with marginalization, American Christianity is in serious trouble.

  217. Part of education is, as you say, “learning questioning and seeking answers.” And part of that in turn involves considering opinions which you disagree with and asking if there might be something to be said for the opposing side. People at Princeton Theological Seminary- women as well as men- certainly ought to *consider* the arguments against women’s ordination and think about whether their opponents might have a point. And who knows, maybe some of them might decide that the PCA has it right and that they *shouldn’t* really be in ministry. If you refuse to listen to the opposite side you aren’t exactly honouring the ideals of liberal education, or of open mindedness.

  218. Former Princeton Theo. student here… I think that as one who was there in ’15 (i.e. not too long ago), PTS is in an awkward bizarre time in which they’re trying to find and figure out their own identity; mostly, what will essentially be best for the future [financially]. But in this case, it’s not just the matter of sexuality and/or gender, but, it’s a matter of race and reconciliation. As I’ve said over on Patheos recently, the campus vibe is that it’s locked into the 1950’s, super conservative with a marketed/falsified liberal look. The best descriptor for others on the outside is to watch the movie “Get Out” – it’s just as bizarre of an experience, and a perfect analogy pointing to the issues on campus (LGBTQ, POC, Gender, Allies of any of these, etc.) that have lead to this “marginalization” of Keller.

    All this to say, I still have a place in Princeton (not mine, just loving friends and family I visit often); if you’re around and wanna grab coffee, when you lecture there, hit me up. I’d love to connect.

    Keep writing good shit; I dig the hustle.

  219. I agree with you entirely. But if you look at the original articles, you’ll see that what you’re recommending is, in fact, going to happen. Keller was still invited to speak at PTS, and has accepted the invitation even though he won’t be getting the award. He will still make his views known there. Students will still read his books there, consider his ideas there, discuss them there (some directly with Keller). Nothing that PTS has done in any way gets in the way of students’ consideration of his work. The only thing that’s *not* happening is the process of PTS singling out Keller for a special award *above and beyond* the normal, and entirely accepted and encouraged, engagement with his ideas. As I argued above, doing so is compatible with the particular educational mission of PTS, and therefore entirely appropriate.

  220. I’d suggest that history is a factor here. Naming the “Kuyper Award” does honor to a figure that, for PTS, is an important part of its history, honoring Kuyper *for* his role in that history. But, of course, it should hardly be surprising that the institution has changed its collective views on a few things in the last *century* since Kuyper’s death. On the other hand, the Kuyper Award for 2017 is about honoring a *present-day* working scholar–suggesting that his views are concurrent with the mission of the institution *now*, not simply as a matter of its history. As I’ve argued above, Keller’s views are not compatible with PTS institutional mission as it stands *today*.

  221. But isn’t that the same kind of separation of one individual into “actions worthy of honour” and “opinions we will let slide” that proponents of giving Keller the award are after? How can we allow Kuyper to be honoured contextually and for only part of who he was as an individual and not allow the same for Keller?
    I think there is something to your point that Kuyper contributed to the vitality of PTS, but I think the argument would be that surely the volume of good work that Tim Keller has done, the ways he has contributed to the mission of the universal (and broadly Reformed) Church of today should likewise earn him consideration.
    As a sidenote, I wonder if this would mean it would be more possible to give this award to Keller only posthumously (Since he’d no longer be, strictly speaking, a present-day working scholar). It’s a sad statement if we can find more grace and common mission with dead theologians than with living ones.

  222. Let me try this again: the institutional mission of PTS has changed since Kuyper’s day, specifically in the sense that they openly train both men and women for the pastorate. To single out, for a special honor (over and above due scholarly consideration, which is still happening) a currently-working scholar whose views are incompatible with the present-day institutional mission would be inappropriate–not because Keller’s views are not generally worthy of consideration, but because endorsing his views in that way would send mixed messages, at the very least, to a large number of the students the institution has committed to educate (and one thing you do *not* do as an educational institution is get in the way of student learning). It’s not about the quality of Keller’s work (no one is questioning that), it’s about the compatibility of his work with the institutional mission.

  223. I would wholeheartedly agree with your final sentence there: It’s about the compatibility of his work with the institutional mission. If the quality of the work is not in question, what is? I’d think any seminary would see itself first and foremost as training ministers for the mission of God in the world. If Keller’s work is quality work, it must be contributing to that larger goal, and, conversely, if it is not contributing to the mission of God in the world, it is not quality work. I could understand the argument that his work wasn’t of good quality or in line with the gospel, even if I would disagree, but to say that it is both good work (which, correct me if I’m wrong, but I would think of as meaning that it is essentially in line with the gospel) and also incompatible with the fundamental mission of the Seminary is confusing to me.

  224. That is a good one and keep up the good work.

  225. And not to add, “Munch , munch a bunch of Fritos corn chips!!!
    Some who go to church and whop and holler, come out and immediately seemed to forget what they were whopping and hollering about. It was nothing apparently but an emotional burst.
    But I am an evangelical and a fundamentalist.

  226. Pasting in my earlier comments on this: I would suggest that the issue here is not Keller’s views per se. Rather, the really important issue is that the seminary’s primary responsibility is to educate its students. That means keeping the field open not simply for free *speech* but rather for free *inquiry*. That means that not only should all viewpoints (within reason) be considered, but also that–even more importantly–nothing the seminary does should get in the way of the *students* ability to learn, question, ask questions, and seek answers. For better or worse, PTS has chosen to educate and prepare both men and women for ministry. That means that Keller believes that half of PTS’ students have no right to be there at all, and have no business to presume to teach or minister to men. That of course, is the precise opposite of what the Seminary as an institution is trying to do. So how, then, can it serve *all* its students by honoring someone who only acknowledges the right of *some* of them to be there? Refusing to honor Keller doesn’t mean that his viewpoints won’t be considered, that his writing won’t be read, or even that he wouldn’t be able to express his views in person. It simply means that the seminary is being responsible to its own mission as a place of learning for both men and women preparing for ministry.

  227. Kupyer was against women’s ordination. Oh, so was Paul, and so was Jesus. I think you are the one slapping faces.

  228. We could stick to the New Testament, since we are not Mosaic Jews.You agree with with that? Paul is pretty clear on the gay question if in your exegesis you leave your sympathies and confirmation bias at the door.

  229. ” I don’t believe in sin.” Or taking up crosses, it sounds like. You may be a very nice person, but if your comments here are an indication, you aren’t a Christian — since Christians believe in sin and the Bible as well as Jesus, not the new gospel of some Church of Ben in Oakland. And there you really do have it.

  230. Because non-religious kids never bully effeminate boys? Seriously? Sad story but also sad you can’t make obvious distinctions.

  231. “they can resin and repent and re-sin again, and get forgivenesss each and every time” This caricature of theology is a worthy match to the B.S. that all gays are whores. Try getting an honest grip on traditional theology versus a distorted on based on your hate. The Catholic Church’s CDF letters would be a decent place to start if you want truth versus what you insist on hearing.

  232. Active homosexuality violates the seminary conduct code.

  233. “not awarding Tim Keller an award hardly marginalizes him!” best point of the day

    “they do not think we have any ‘real Christian churches’ here …” which bothers you, probably like “his theology conflicts with justice” bothers them.

  234. “Outrage” is now the norm. It’s exhausting.

  235. So true! It is fascinating how ideology/theology can cloud our sense of what is real and what is just…

  236. “Should an institution designed to train men and women for ministry tell the conservative half (more than half?) of its student body that their theology makes them unworthy of honor?”
    Mr. Merritt, seriously? You do not realize that it is not the theology of the 50% that renders them unworthy . . .? I’ll let you re-think this concept–maybe you will be able to figure it out; it is VERY apparent to me.

  237. Why is it always labeled hate when someone points out the obvious? Why can a certain country clerk, for example, get married four times, and announce nicely and proudly that she has Jesus’s forgiveness for being married and divorced, but nevertheless is too good for any of them dirty promiscuous homosexuals who just want to get married once?

    I absolutely see what traditional theology says. Likewise, I see what a lot of Christians do with it. It’s like when Anita Bryant got divorced, stating that it stood against everything she believed. But she got divorced anyway, didn’t she. Or a certain well known pastor, related to famous pastors, who committed adultery with one of his parishioners? Likewise forbidden, and then likewise forgiven…

    As I often say, and will say again, “look not for the mote in your brothers eye lest you miss the beam in your own,”

  238. Might you please provide me with the verse(s) wherein Jesus condems women’s ordination , please? I am not being argumentative, I am seeking guidance. Thank you kindly.

  239. Given that most Christians the world over don’t think women should be ordained, yes, you absolutely ought to be prepared to have your ordination questioned, and to defend your beliefs against criticism, if you can.

  240. “. . .thrown about with reckless abandon . . ” Really? It is part of her belief; how does she give her POV if she is not allowed to buttress her position with the words that reflect her position? And when she uses those words, she is accused of “reckless abandonment” Tjis puzzles me greatly. You opine that “reasonable dialogue” has been thwarted by HER “reckless abandon”: I humbly suggest that a dialogue consists of at least two persons, only ONE of whom needs to be reasonable; it is incumbent on the offended party to extend grace and compassion to the other(s) involved, to achiev said “reasonable dialogue,” n’est-ce pas? Also, I am unsure which of her comments display “her narrow social views>” But then, I am ot terribly intelligent, either, so may I please ask that you elaborate on this statement please? Thank you kindly.

  241. You are right to call me on this one.
    I have scorned the religious many times.
    But the whole picture for me is that there are good people found in all cultures religious or otherwise. I have Mormon in-laws who I love…we gather together holidays and picnics, camping.
    We never talk religion or politics.
    The problem I have with some religionists is when they refuse to accept the hard won civil right to lover and marry who you love
    To make much ado about your ‘so called’ religious ffreedom is only mean but absurd.

  242. And obviously a self-hating closet case projecting your self-loathing instead of charity, which is the pure love of Christ.

  243. Let me rephrase this. I understand traditional theology. My question is– Do Christians? I’m only commenting on what I can see, not on what you believe.

    And as I often say, if you people would stop insisting on your right to meddle in the lives of people who don’t share your particular and peculiar beliefs, you would be astounded at how little we would care about those beliefs.

    But you don’t. Instead, you accuse us of hating you. That’s much easier, isn’t it?

  244. You’re right. I’m not a Christian, and thank the god I don’t believe in for that. I don’t believe in crimes against god. I don’t believe in hell. I very nearly became a Christian some 50 years ago, but John 3:16 convinced me of the absurdity of that. For god so loved the world…. and if you don’t believe it, you’ll burn in hell forever?

  245. I agree with you saying that “-nothing the seminary does should get in the way of the *students* ability to learn, question, ask questions, and seek answers.” For what it’s worth, I’d agree that this means that Keller shouldn’t be hired as a professor at PTS, because in that role, I think he would absolutely be restricting that. I don’t see how receiving an award gets in the way of others’ learning, or their ability to question or seek answers. In fact, as evidenced by the lively debate it has stirred up, I’d say questions have arisen in the face of him being put forward, and answers have been considered and sought.
    I would strongly disagree with your argument that Keller is engaged in something that is the “precise opposite of what the Seminary as an institution is trying to do”. Perhaps if this was a purely academic institution I’d be able to understand that better, but I think that the Seminary, like Keller, would see itself as serving a larger plan (lets call it the Kingdom of God), and either Keller is serving that same plan or he is not, and if we can’t see him as serving the same fundamental gospel, I am concerned that we would be throwing most of the world’s people who try to follow Christ into a box labeled “not real Christians” because of what many might call issues of secondary theology. The question is, how distant does someone need to be from the details of our mission statement for us to say the difference is too great, and at what point does it become a new kind of fundamentalism, with a long list of doctrines that must be accepted to be considered a member of the body of Christ and worthy of honour for working as a part of that body?

  246. First of all, just let me say that I’m encouraged by your willingness to engage in such civil dialogue about this, even though we disagree. That’s really quite refreshing!

    First, allow me to recognize that I think there are two sets of issues going on here:

    1. An issue concerning intellectual freedom: PTS students should be exposed to, read, and engage with the work of any important scholars in the fields for which the seminary trains them.

    2. An issue of particular institutional mission: PTS has committed to educating both men, women, and LGBT persons for ministry (including training for the pastorate), and because of that has an obligation not to do anything that would impede that mission or reflect poorly on the quality or validity of the degrees that represent the training they have committed to provide.

    I think we already agree that anything that got in the way of #1 would be unconscionable. But I’d argue that nothing is getting in the way of #1: students will read Keller’s work, engage with his ideas, hear him speak on campus. Nothing that PTS is doing is getting in the way of free inquiry.

    In the case of issue #2, though, I think there’s really a problem: Keller has argued quite explicitly against women in ministry (particularly the pastorate). But PTS trains women for pastoral ministry, and has issued degrees to many women that are supposed to function as confirmation that they are, in fact, qualified for such ministry. Endorsing Keller for a special prize (above and beyond the requirements of intellectual freedom), it seems to me, would read, to PTS’ students and alumni, as a devaluation of its own training and its own degrees: saying to its female M.Div students “We endorse the work of someone who believes you have no right to be here,” and, to its female alumni, “We endorse the work of someone who believes that the degree we have already conferred upon you has no validity.” Why would an institution make an endorsement that devalues its own program, the degrees it confers, and the work if its own alumni?

  247. Mr. Thomas, so glad you have not fallen into the trap of the typical false binary (submission for females vs. dominion for males). Patriarchy is an ancient social structure which pre-dated the Bible (and is the cultural back-drop of the Bible) in which came to view females as unclean, inferior, and thus meant for subjugation, e.g. one-sided submission. It does not sound like you have a patriarchal marriage if you both submit to one another. The errors/mis-application that have become orthodoxy in so many churches is when we miss the forest for the trees, and freeze frame as timeless and treat in isolation passages like “slaves obey your masters” and “wives submit to your husbands” and miss the emancipatory, deeper current and trajectory of Scripture which entered into a highly subjugating culture where the dominant world as a “Great Chain of Being” where it was acceptable for people to own and subjugate others and people were seen to be born on a fixed caste or rung in society. We as a species have left this worldview behind and now believe in “inalienable” and natural rights and liberties that all human beings possess yet we fall into the trap of reading the Bible in a literalistic way which misses the emancipatory deeper message and freeze frames passages which describe a one-sided submission of females to males and women not sharing in leadership which conflicts with other passages in the Bible where you see women exercising leadership and more mutual gender norms of mutual submission which reflect a more spiritual way of being human together than the hierarchical ladder of being which characterized the ancient world. Anyway, glad for the dialogue and glad to hear men like you espouse an ethic of mutual submission and shared dominion of male and female. Again, the network that Keller has started is more patriarchal than the Bible itself which has numerous examples of women in leadership and where you see a movement away from male dominion/female submission to one of mutual submission and shared dominion/leadership. What I am saying is that in this moment of time in which we are living in the 21st c. you really can’t have it both ways–you can’t in good conscience and with intellectual consistency assert the shared human and civil rights of all human beings, male and female alike, that is the social code that undergirds modern society while also holding onto vestiges of the ancient ladder of being which is the world view from which both slavery and patriarchy emerged and came to be seen as fixed and immovable “natural order”. Keller is not as blatantly hierarchical/patriarchal as his more extreme colleagues in TGC but his moderate persona has given sanction to this and has done much damage. If he came out and said he changed his mind, so many people would follow him. I have talked with many young guys who are in these church plants who feel uncomfortable excluding talented women from formal leadership and don’t buy the servile female submission teachings that this network and so many others are now teaching. But because TGC has gained such loyal brand identity as representing “The Gospel” so many millennials blindly follow along. Thankfully Princeton and many evangelical networks and churches are not following along and are a needed dissenting voice. When our theology/ideology conflicts with justice, we need to listen to the angst and cognitive dissonance in our own hearts and minds and in the voices of others with empathy and really dig deep to say “is this really the deepest essence of our faith? Is this really a timeless ideal meant to be carried forward or is it a vestige of an ancient, subjugating cultural system and world view which plain and simple belongs in the past?

  248. I have t yet answered your earlier questions, but I hope to do so later today. You deserve it. This, however, I will answer now.

    it is simply historical revisionism to say that the previous support for segregation was not biblically based. Of course it was. They cited their bibles, chapter and verse. The issue is that YOU don’t accept those chapters and those verses. They were widely accepted in their day, as was the support for Jew hatred, slavery, and witch burning.

  249. Ben, I don’t want to come across as mean-spirited, but you’ve demonstrated throughout all your posts on this board a complete lack of knowledge of even the most basic understanding of the Bible. You arguing with me about what is or isn’t consistent with good hermeneutics is the equivalent of a child arguing with an adult on a topic that the child knows nothing about, and that the adult has a sound education, and decades of experience with. Don’t. It does not help your case, at all.

    Making a sound case that biblical Christian theology justifies or supports racism is simply not possible, and it wasn’t at the time that racists in the U.S. were doing it. Read some history about it rather than making up knowledge you clearly lack. I fully accept EVERY chapter and verse of the Bible, including the chapters and verses that anyone else might cite. And if you think I’m wrong, and that a sound biblical case can be made to support racism, then just DO IT rather than state that others did without a shred of citation or evidence that they did.

  250. Yeah, I’m sure that is going to make me change my mind after 20 years of ordained Christian ministry. You make exactly the point I was talking about: why have someone come to one of our seminaries who devalues women’s ordination?

  251. Let’s see – Jesus was against divorce – I guess you throw out folks who get one, right, including your male clergy? And slaves (including those human trafficked) should go back to their masters because slavery isn’t outlawed in the Bible either. Jesus never was against women leading that I read and valued women like Mary Magdalene. And that thing about women being deacons in the early church (yes, it’s there), and leaders of Paul’s churches should just be ignored because of a couple of verses in 1 Corinthians.

  252. If I may. You can fully accept every chapter and verse, see no way a faithful Christian could argue for racism/slavery/whatever, and it still be something that occurred regularly. It’s a function of interpretation and tradition. We need only look at the issue at hand, Keller and his views, to see that faithful committed Christians can now, in the past, and will in the future, disagree on what is present in the text.

    When you say “Making a sound case that biblical Christian theology justifies or
    supports racism is simply not possible, and it wasn’t at the time that
    racists in the U.S. were doing it.” your making a really difficult claim. Specifically if we go back and read what was written during the period about racism and it’s systemic support by the church. There are traditions and interpretations that make that hard to do, but it’s not inherent in “true” Christian theology.

  253. I’m actually traveling right now, and don’t have much time to write. Plus, I’m still working on a response to your other questions about me. So this will be short.

    Well, that’s what I thought when I started this, but I keep returning to it. So here goes.

    You’re not coming across as mean spirited, you’re coming across as a revisionist, and someone who sees his particular version of the Bible and biblical truth as THE TRUTH inerrant, and all other visions of biblical truth as wrong. The only reason you see them that way is because you seem to be a decent human being, and would be disgusted as such to use your Bible as a weapon.

    In short, your morals have progressed well beyond those of the self avowed Good Christians (TM) of a generation or two ago, just as their morals had progressed beyond those who slaughtered 6 million Jews a generation before them, just as they had progressed beyond the owning-other-people-is-a-swell-idea four generations before them, just as they had (mostly) abjured the kill-the-Catholics-kill-the-protestants (and burn the witches while your at it) fun-fest of a few centuries before them.

    I’m not arguing the theology of the slavery/segregation/racial theological questions, and there is certainly no argument, as far I am concerned, that these were horribly immoral. I don’t need the Bible for that. I am arguing the historicity of the use of the Bible to justify them. And that fact is simply incontrovertible. It does no good to say “they weren’t true Christians.” You’ll have to take that up with them. I am not the one claiming that the Bible said “X”, but those people who supported slavery, segregation, anti-semitism, and Jim Crow absolutely did so, and with the absolute certainty that they were doing and expressing the will of god. They are the ones that quoted their Bibles, not me. They are the ones that justify these crimes against humanity, not me. There are websites, photographs, judicial decisions, all indicating who said what and where they said it. Read loving v. Virginia. The judge upholding miscegenation laws said that THIS was what god intended. Whether his theology was as good as yours is completely besides the point.

    The things that I find truly interesting are the needs of present day true Christians to divest themselves of ownership of what the previous True Christians had to say, and more importantly, of what they did. What I more interesting is that your theology allows for these purely theological discussions to begin with. You’d think that the clear word of god would be clear, instead of open to interpretation as to whether god enjoys people owning people. But the most interesting, the most telling, is just how often CHRISTIAN theology has permitted the atrocities of war, slavery, and hatred. As always. God is being used to justify what cannot be justified by any other means.

    Your claim there was no biblical justification for it simply represents your morality, not theirs. What you are claiming is “well, they couldn’t have been True Christians if they said that.” But they were, and they were quite happy to tell you so, just as you are telling me so right now. You’re just using your bible in the same way they did, just as the witch burners did, just as the Catholics and protestants who justified two centuries of wars did. The southern Baptists are perhaps the best example– founded in slavery and justifying it through their bibles, they failed to apologize for it AND segregation until 20 years ago. Why is the United Methodist Church united– now?The roots of that go back a long way.

    This is just more of the same old “no true Christian” debate. I am an atheist and I have no horse in this race. But what I do have are facts, and the facts are they spoke as Bible believing Christians, their churches spoke as representing god’s clear will on the subject, and they justified all of the egregious harm they did to other people with their bibles, chapter and verse. It doesn’t matter that they were not theologically justified, in your opinion, in doing so. I absolutely agree with you.

    But that was not the actual historical fact. So called Christians have been flinging those charges at each other ever since the first querulous old man lifted a shaking finger, pointed it at yet another querulous old man, and hissed “Heretic! Burn Him!”

    Your claim that I don’t understand the Bible is also a matter of opinion. Again, that’s an argument you’ll have to take up with someone else who believes any of it. And frankly, I reject your presuming the lecture me as if I were a child on the subject. I am not. I will admit I am not as strong in the various theologies as I used to be, but I am quite clear that those theologies exist, what their claims to validity are, and about how the Bible has been used as a weapon to justify every bit harm wreaked upon innocent individuals in the name of god, both in the present and in the past, and the various claims of theological correctness that lie behind them.

    I’m also quite clear about the revisionism that so many Christians seem to want to engage in. That is also your issue, not mine. I have heard many, many Christians attempt to disavow the very ugly past– not to mention, the very ugly present– of Christianity in exactly the same way you are doing. I understand why, but it is dishonest. One might almost think you were ashamed of how your faith was used to cause egregious harm to people who were not able to avoid getting bulldozed– err, umm, experience the benefits if Christian love.

    You can lecture me all you wish about theology. But do not presume to lecture me about history, or call me a child because I disagree with your obvious historical revisionism. That is what is childish.

    And I say that with all respect.

  254. All those words, words, words, Ben, and nowhere do you produce the one thing the poster asked for — the biblical case for segregation. Just a very loooong assertion that someone thought they had one.

    “I’m not arguing the theology of the slavery/segregation/racial theological questions, and there is certainly no argument, as far I am concerned, that these were horribly immoral. I don’t need the Bible for that.” The only reason you “don’t need the Bible for that” is because the heavy lifting has already been done for you, long ago — from the Bible. You still haven’t answered my question from before: would you have been the lone opponent of slavery in the pre-Christian world before the Jews and later the Christians introduced such “sinister and revolting” ideas as the fundamental equality of men and the right to life?

  255. Again…show the arguments for segregation from the Bible, not just assertions that someone had some.

  256. Rachel Held Evans lays out a number of the people and places those arguments were made in this post


    But I doubt that will suffice. What I hear you asking is for me to make an argument I don’t believe. I think it’s an improper way to interpret the bible, but my interpretation isn’t law. Nor is any one person, or denomination, etc. So I will see, just as you will, may interpretations that seem “off”. You can refute those arguments, but to say it can’t be made shows to me an ignorance of the past and a great deal of arrogance.

    Again, I don’t think it’s a good argument to make, but you can (and we have) just like you can make an argument for slavery, war, etc from the bible.

  257. Words words words, indeed.

    You proved my point exactly. As always with you, Christianity is only responsible for the good, not the bad. It is dishonest and frankly hypocritical.

    As I said, all it proves is that your morals were better than theirs. But with the insistence of this lie, in contravention to historical truth, it’s not by much.

  258. Philip mills says below that this is arrogance.

    That is exactly the word I was missing, but I’ve only had two cups of coffee.

  259. Or if simply suggests that sex obsesses some people.

  260. Now that I have had my 3rd cup of coffee, I can comment on what this is really about: the need for your type of Christian to be better, more moral, and just more in tune with God than anyone else. As I said to you the other day, you need the world to be a mess so that your brand of Christianity can save it. But that is simply your bias speaking, not reality.

    You may be a super-Duper Christian, and clearly proud of it. For myself, I’m willing to say that I am simply a human being, and prepared to take the consequences.

  261. We were talking about segregation, not slavery. Only one of Evans’ quotes had anything to do with segregation per se (Bob Jones University’s reference to the Tower of Babel), but that was a matter of divisions by language, not by race. I’m quite sure Bob Jones university never made any claim that it is immoral for people of different languages to mix or intermarry, so that particular position may be summarily disregarded. And even if they had, Pentecost reversed the division of mankind by language, so, in the absence of any further attempts to scripturally justify segregation… into the wastebasket with the whole matter.

    And as far as slavery goes, the gospel simply makes slavery as it was practiced in the Americas impossible to reconcile with Christian faith. If we are obligated to treat our fellow man as we wish to be treated, and we quite obviously do not wish to be held against our will without just cause and forced to work without pay, then we can not do the same to our fellow man. The only way to get around this truth is to make the argument that a slave is not a human person — pretty much the same argument that is used in our time to justify abortion.

  262. I feel like we’re missing each other here.

    We agree on interpretation it would seem. That does not however mean that my (our) interpretation cannot be wrong or that no has been able to make a biblical argument for racism. Again, the point is not how do you interpret it, but why is your interpretation the end of it?

    To say a biblical argument can’t be made appears to say “read it how I do or your wrong”. We can’t be so arrogant to say our way is the only way or the right way. Its what we believe for good reasons, but that casts a lot of judgement onto others who have done the same work and come to a different conclusion.

    I have zero interest in arguing that racism is good, it’s not. I have zero interest in arguing I think the bible says racism is ok, I don’t read it that way. BUT one can, and many have, made the argument that racism is biblical (much like violence, woman as less than men, etc).

  263. The only argument you showed me is that segregation is right because of the Tower of Babel. That simply is not an argument for racial segregation because it did not involve race but language. I can only think of one reference to race in all of scripture and it was a mere rhetorical statement about the “Ethiopian’s” skin being unchangeable. It’s simply not there. To get it one has to introduce all sorts of extraneous and incorrect assumptions into the text.

    If the Bible actually forbade racial mixing, most assuredly someone during the many centuries of church history would have discovered this before the American colonies, alone among the world’s nations, outlawed miscegenation.

  264. What I’m hearing is, your read the bible right and anyone who disagree with your interpretation (on segregation or any other matter) is wrong. Is that what your trying to say? If not then I don’t understand what we’re discussing. I’m commenting on your posture towards other peoples interpretation and the absolute nature you apply to your interpretation.

  265. Philip, I can take Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” and claim that it really means “Kelly poured Coke on Fred’s green socks” but of course nobody is going to say that my “interpretation” is just as right as anyone else’s. A few would cite the lexicon to point out my error and most would simply laugh.

    To accept, or to claim that we should accept, every assertion anyone happens to make about scripture as just as valid as any other, without any examination whatsoever, is simply irresponsible at best and dishonest at worst.

  266. I didn’t say accept ever assertion, but to look back over history it isn’t just any opinion of a person, but a strongly held position by many Christians.

    It’s a issue Christians need to wrestle with. Our history is littered with damage and harm because of how we are interpreting the bible. I think the response “well they were wrong, no one could make that argument” glosses over the damage and harm done by so many of us who did make that argument.

    But this is going in circles at this point. I’ll leave you the last word.

  267. If J. Gresham Machen were alive today he would need to repent for the sin of pride, for the vindication of his departure from Princeton Theological Seminary. Machen who founded Westminster Theological Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

  268. Shawnie, you’re not stupid.

    My answer was the original comment I made.

  269. Having an understanding of the Bible different from the holy roller viewpoint is not a lack of understanding but a sign of actual enlightenment. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. Holy rollers back then most certainly did use Bible verses to back up their racism. Being Black or Latino was just as “bad” as being LGBT, Mormon, Adventist or Jehovah Witness. They had Bible verses against everyone.

  270. You did everything BUT answer. No matter, though…by now I know when I’m likely to get an answer and when I’m not.

  271. Well, since I know you are not stupid, I’ll assume you just didn’t bother to read my piece, or more likely just prefer to change the subject.

    I’m not the one that has to defend or explain anything. As I said, if you have an issue with what those True Christians (TM) claimed, do take it up with them, not me. I’m merely pointing out that they claimed it and used their scripture to justify it. I know that embarrasses you, and by acknowledging it, you would have to bring in your whole Christian superiority assumptions.

    But that’s your problem, not mine.

  272. That wasn’t even my question, Ben.

    And I addressed your assertion (and mere assertion is all that it was) about scripture and segregation in my exchange with Philip. He couldn’t produce much in the way of specifics, either.

    Your prolific writing often reminds me of that of your guy John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality. I got the distinct sense while reading it that his multitude of words and footnotes were meant to conceal the fact that he wasn’t actually demonstrating very much. Probably why he was a hit with laypeople and a flop with his peers.

  273. Because of my family visiting, I haven’t had time to get to answering you, though I did start it. But I also notice you have not answered what I did say.

    So, as to why I am here, I’ll give you a short answer, well not so short, but what I answered to someone else who asked the same question. We can continue if you are so inclined.

    First, this:

    Why do I hang out here? someone else wants to know as well. If I can get some time for the lengthy answer he requires, I will!!!!

    But for your question: yes, it amuses me. Yes, there is stuff to learn, as much from the assumptions people make about their postings as from the postings themselves. Yes, I like to write. Yes, I like to think through people’s arguments, as well as my own.

    A few hyper religionists appearing herein would say I am here to misinterpret scripture, to lead astray the ignorant, the gullible, and the easily led. That’s a quote! If I only were it so easy a thing– or alternatively, if only they hadnt demonstrated conclusively how easy it is! Take your pick! Others say I am here to promote sin. Well that all depends upon what you view as sin, or at least, whether you’re referring to the pot or the kettle. Of course, there are a number of just plain bigots that post: religious bigots, antigay bigots, and Semite bigots, anti Muslim bigots, anti Mormon bigots, anti catholic bigots, and my very favorite ones, catholic anti catholic bigots, and an occasion homosexual hating homosexual.

    They are always fun and interesting, if only for their constant appeals to virtue– by virtue of their being bigots, of course. “It’s right to hate and despise ‘fill in the blanks’. If it wasn’t right, I wouldn’t be doing it.”

    Some will tell you I am a hater of all things christian. But that just tells me they don’t understand a thing about me, except for their ownprojections/reflections/deflections. I’m the one that’s always telling Good Christians (TM) to stop damning other Christians for not being the True Christians (TM) but do I get any credit for that? Only from the atheists. The liberal Christians are to too busy defending themselves from the conservative Christians, and vice versa.

    Feel free to peruse my comment history, and you’ll see a great deal of what I care about. Also, feel free to interpret however you wish; everyone else does. But I know who I am, and I know what’s in my heart.


    And then, this:

    Why am I here? There are a lot of reasons. I might post some of that again later, but I’ll try to answer it in part for now,

    I am a gay man. I am also a Jew, though I very nearly became a Christian nearly 50 years ago. Now, I am an atheist, though that is way too simple of a word. As all three of those things, I have listened to religious bigots use their religious beliefs to justify telling me that I am a threat to society, a danger to children, have no morals, no better than a mass murderer, and -am part of several world wide conspiracies which must be stamped out. I have listened to them use the stories they just made up– lets just call them lies, shall we, and stop pretending that they are “facts”– to justify murders, jails, concentration camps, suicides, laws intended to disadvantage me and mine in society, destroyed lives, destroyed families, destroyed careers, and huge amounts of collateral of damage to other innocent people. How many American soldiers died because of the purge of gay people who were translators in Monterey under don’t ask don’t tell, which purge left our country with a critical shortage of people who speak Farsi and Arabic?

    While we’re on the subject of killing the innocent, how many beautiful gay, lesbian and trans kids kill themselves, or are bullied into it, or live to enter lives of despair, unhappiness, and addiction, or are murdered because they are gay? Does the name Larry King ring a bell? Brandon Teena? Bobby Griffith? DAniel Fetty? And hundreds, if not thousands, more.

    And how much of that is directly due to the toxic spews of Franklin Graham, Ted Haggard, that perverted old Fossil Robinson, Jerry Falwell, and a host of other so called religious, so called Christian, so called moral people, many of them damnable, absolute hypocrites. As well as slanderers, revilers, liars. Some of them even post on these very pages.

    Last year, that Repulsive Old Fossil declared that gay men in San Francisco had special rings they used to cut other people in order to give them AIDS. He said this on his nationally broadcast TV program on his Christianist broadcasting system. You can call him an aberration, but he’s not. Nor was the failure of the hyper moral SBC or any other aspect of conservative Christianity to call him out on it an aberration. It was simply business as usual, and the anti-ex-gay-religious industry is quite a big business.

    If they just left at “we think thomosexuality is a sin” I would still think they are misusing and abusing scripture on favor an an ancient, vicious, and very durable prejudice– that’s a whole other discussion– but I could at least respect them to some extent for speaking their truth. But they don’t leave it at that. They demand that civil law put me and mine at a legal disadvantage, punished, disenfranchised, hurt, and kept down in the name of their religious belief. It’s a sin not to believe that Jesus died for your sins, but they NO LONGER push laws punishing Jews for not believing that Jesus died for sayone’s sins. why is this different?

    These so called Christian so called moral people are happy to embrace any lie, no matter how vicious, no matter how contrary to facts, logic, and experience, and call me, my family, my friends — all of us law abiding, tax paying contributing members of society — a threat to faith, family, children, heterosexuality, morality, public order, and western civilization, and ene,y of god, even. These are no matters of opinion, these are not facts that are difficult to find and evaluate. They are common knowledge, at least AMONG PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT TOTAL BIGOTS.

    So now you know why I am here.

    But let’s talk about theology. You ask me why I am arguing theology when I am an atheist? Why are you Christians– and Jews, buddhists, Hindus, Muslims– constantly arguing about theology?You’d almost thing that word of god was really not so clear as so many of you would prefer to believe.

    That’s why you all constantly attack each other– in your own belief system, only one of you can “win”.

  274. You lost me at, “marginalizing Tim Keller.” Give me a break. Not giving a cash prize and award to a fellow Christian member of my privileged white race is *not* marginalization. Let’s use words appropriately.

  275. That is exactly what she say and is always saying. She’s smart, educated, and intelligent. But her religious blinders keep her from seeing the obvious. She, of course, claims she has no blinders. You have correctly observed that that is the nature of blinders.

  276. As a woman, I am so grateful that I was able to attend a seminary where both conservative and liberal views regarding women in ministry were represented – both by the faculty and within the student body. While this led to some heated discussions, it also reinforced the point that, despite our differences, we could live and work side by side as followers of Jesus. The Conservatives I met were not misogynistic; the Liberals I met had not compromised their faith. Most, on both sides of the spectrum, were earnestly striving to glorify God and reflect the love of Christ. In the 15+ years since my graduation, these impressions have been reinforced as I’ve interacted with and learned from so many wonderful Christians, both Conservative and Liberal. My deep concern for the Church today is that, as Merritt says, “some on both sides have decided to declare their foes anathema.” May we find our way back to a place where we can listen attentively, debate passionately, and truly love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  277. Wouldn’t it be a more Christian method to honor a person because of what they have done, instead of focusing on those opinions on which some disagree? I thought awards were for achievements, which nobody can take away. Instead, because our current crop of students believe in participation awards, they do not understand the concept of doing something and getting an award.

  278. You don’t seem to understand my views at all.

  279. In my opinion you are spinning the resistance from students too harshly. I think it is worth noting that PTS students intentionally held a preach-in at a different time than Tim Keller’s lecture on campus and in a different location. This was intentional to give people an opportunity to go to hear ideas on both sides. That doesn’t sound as intolerant as you describe. Here is an interview with the president of PTS that talks about this in more depth: https://sojo.net/articles/princeton-seminary-president-talks-tim-keller-women-s-ordination-and-how-one-award-ignited

  280. More progressive than Keller = less biblical than Keller.

  281. Given that you’ve clearly shown that morality matters to you (mention of you and your husband being ‘good’, mention of your concern for bigotry, etc.) it seems to me you do very much believe in sin.

    You are right that your rights should not get taken away etc. – that is a political issue. And many couch their political views with religious ones. That is true. But just because someone thinks that homosexual practice is sinful, it does not mean they think that person should be thrown into jail or treated badly or have their rights taken away etc.

  282. No I don’t believe in sin– a doubtful offense against a quite possibly imaginary being, based upon what some people think a book written 2000-3000 years says abo something or other.

    I believe in ethical morality: treat others well, harm no one, make amends if you do harm someone.

    As I have said many many times, if you want to believe homosexuality is a sin, have at it. If you want to harm me, my life, my people, my participation in society, because you believe “something” is a “sin”, expect a fight. And if you want to lie and distort my life in order to enact your religious beliefs into law– sodomy laws, anti adoption laws, don’t ask don’t tell, religious discrimination is ok laws, anti marriage laws, and on and on and on and on– expect to be called a bigot.

    The sodomy laws are still on the books in several states. The howls of protest coming from the Religious Reich when the Supreme Court finally did away with them in 2003 are very illustrative.

    It’s all pretty simple.

  283. Thank you for your reasoned and compassionate response.

  284. you know not what u speak you are blind with fear, i see you too brother. ill pray

  285. a little match starts a huge fire we are watching it burn for 2000 years we are just trying to put out the flames people are dying on both sides. open your hearts you eyes will follow.

  286. thats the fire im talking about. in the book of james he talks about a small rudder that guides a big boat and can sink us all. your tongue, the rudder can kill. words matter words are our weapons, Jesus knew this. it is better to be wrong, than to err on the side of harm, life and death. God make it stop

  287. You’re very very late to the debate Kim. I think if you’ll read my many words in this and other threads on this topic you’ll find I very much do know ‘of what I speak’ and the only fear I speak out of is the appropriate fear of the Lord. If you have a reasoned argument to make, then please make it. Otherwise you’re but a clanging cymbal in a world full of noise. Me thinks you’ve not got a sound argument to stand on, hence the name calling. You’re in good company here.

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