A Facebook comment could render Wheaton College’s statement of faith meaningless if the member faculty council gets its way and the administration withdraws its efforts to fire Dr. Larycia Hawkins.
I previously explained that Wheaton professor Larycia Hawkins was not suspended for wearing a hijab. Rather, she was suspended over the theological implications of stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. While Wheaton’s administration began the process of firing Hawkins, the faculty council disagrees potentially bringing more controversy on the school. In fact, Wheaton’s faculty council recommends the move to fire Hawkins be withdrawn.
Now, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, writing for the Washington Post, expresses the idea that the Facebook controversy comment has turned into a nightmare for Wheaton. She further claims that not only is Hawkins’ future at stake, “but the future of evangelicalism.”
Bailey may be right about the stake of evangelicalism’s future but for a different reason – a larger issue. The larger issue is that a Facebook comment could render Wheaton College’s statement of faith meaningless. Let me explain.
Bailey notes that, “Wheaton Provost Stan Jones told students Thursday that the college does not have an explicit stance on whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God.” True, but here is the rub. Theological positions as found in Wheaton’s (or any) statement of faith have theological implications. Every position does not need an explicit statement.
For example, the Bible does not explicitly say Christians are not to use crack or other such drugs. Yet, the Bible does say Christians are to be sober-minded (1 Pt. 1:13) and self-controlled (2 Pt. 1:6) which implicitly forbids use of the drugs in question.
The current controversy over Christians and Muslims worshiping the same God reveals a clearer contradiction of beliefs at the simplest level. Christians and Muslims disagree over the very nature of God – of who God is. Something cannot be defined as A and non-A at the same time. Simply stated, God cannot be Trinitarian and a non-Trinitarian.
One cannot logically believe in the Trinity (as Christians affirm) and at the same time profess agreement with a non-Trinitarian position (as Muslims affirm). Yet, such contradiction is what Dr. Hawkins is holding to when she affirms Wheaton’s statement of faith which states they believe in “one sovereign God, eternally existing in three persons: the everlasting Father, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, the giver of life.” Not only do Muslims disagree, but hold that believing in the Trinity is a form of shirk, the unforgivable and greatest sin in Islam.
Finally, the above controversy may be over a Facebook comment, but it is much more than that. The implications of Hawkins’ comments and the outcome of Wheaton’s actions are far greater. If Wheaton’s administration is not allowed to interpret and apply their own statement of faith among its faculty and its clear implications at a basic, non-contradictory level, the future of evangelicalism may be at stake.
Indeed, a Facebook comment could render Wheaton College’s statement of faith meaningless.
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