“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”
So said Larycia Hawkins, the tenured political science professor at Wheaton College (aka the Harvard of evangelicalism), in a Facebook post announcing her “human solidarity with her Muslim neighbor.”
Shortly thereafter, Wheaton placed Prof. Hawkins on paid administrative leave “in order to give more time to explore theological implications of her recent public statements concerning Christianity and Islam.”
But orthodoxy is the new heresy so it should come as no surprise that the progressive and enlightened (but I repeat myself) are troubled not by Hawkins’ doctrinal trespass but by the administration’s effort to hold the line.
Student protest letter: There is nothing in Dr. Hawkins’ public statements that goes against the belief in the power and nature of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit that the Statement of Faith deems as a necessary requirement for affiliation with Wheaton College.
Caitlin Post (student): We are not an institution that silences out of fear. For an institution that seems to want headway on issues of diversity, this is about a thousand steps backwards.
TOM¹: Does [Wheaton] wish to welcome a wider range of students and faculty into its fold, like an Ivy League school would? Or will it choose to calcify commitments to political and theological conservatism on par with schools like Liberty University?
Cripes, people. This is irritating not simply because the stakes are so high but because the issue is, well, simple. You don’t need an advanced degree to know that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.
But don’t take my word for it. Consider what Christ himself said about God and his worshipers:
John 4:23-24 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
5:23 He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
8:19 Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.”
10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
14:7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
So if you cannot worship God apart from knowing Christ, as Jesus himself claimed, where does that leave us? Unless we slept through a seismic shift in Islamic doctrine, I’d say Hawkins claim is in error (Pope Francis notwithstanding).
How ironic that the dust-up comes a week before we celebrate God’s clearest self-revelation in the incarnation of his eternal Son (Jn 1:1, 14; Heb 1:1-3).
¹The Other Merritt