The Wheaton College Professor Suspension Is Not About the Hijab but the Nature of God

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Wheaton College, an Evangelical school, recently suspended Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Associate Professor of Political Science. Two issues are in view in this suspension: 1) she wore a hijab standing in religious solidarity with Muslims and 2) she claimed Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The Chicago Tribune gets it wrong by seeming to focus on Hawkins wearing a hijab. USA Today gets it right by focusing on Hawkins’ same God comment.

Wheaton College did not suspend Dr. Hawkins because she wore a hijab, but over the nature of God. Her claims that Christians and Muslims worship the same God do not line-up with Wheaton’s statement of faith.  (Orthodox Christian doctrine agrees!) Wheaton explains in their statement.

In response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins has made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam, Wheaton College has placed her on administrative leave, pending the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member.

Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity. As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith.

I understand Dr. Hawkins’ desire to love her Muslim neighbors as Christians should. However, it is not clear how people of two different faiths, such as Islam and Christianity, can stand in religious solidarity. Christians may stand-up against Muslim prosecution and support their religious freedom, but that does not equate to religious solidarity.

Ironically, Dr. Hawkins admits to seeking advice from the  Council on American-Islamic Relations. Yet, she did not, get advice from her Christian employer before seeking religious solidarity with Muslims. That is, a Christian employer whose statement of faith she is supposed to uphold. Furthermore, it is strange that she references the Pope as an authority noting, “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

But Muslims cannot truly accept Hawkins’ religious solidarity.

The core doctrine of Islam to understand the nature of Allah is the doctrine of tawhid. Tawhid is Islamic monotheism defining the unity and oneness of Allah. Accordingly, Islam cannot accept someone who believes God is “one sovereign God, eternally existing in three persons” and that “Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, was true God and true man, existing in one person and without sin.” To believe as Christians believe about Jesus’ deity is to commit the Islamic sin of shirk. Shirk is idolatry which is committed when ascribing something to another the belongs solely to Allah, like deity or worship.

Regardless of what the Pope says, Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Beliefs from both sides show the Pope to be wrong. I pray Dr. Hawkins’ review goes well and she gains a fuller understanding of the importance of the Triune God and the exclusivity of Jesus’ gospel. I pray she will learn to stand-up for and love her Muslim neighbor enough to know they, too, need the gospel.

Here I blog…

Mark

Photo credit: Larycia Hawkins/Facebook

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The above article was posted on December 16, 2015 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alan Hewett December 18, 2015 at 7:42 am

Excellent theology and thanks for the lesson

2 Mark Lamprecht December 18, 2015 at 10:59 am

Thanks, Alan!

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