The very public drama that unfolded at Wheaton College over the past few months revealed stark divisions within the evangelical community, and how they view the responsibility for living in Christ's footsteps.
Yes, the ways in which Christians and Muslims think of God are different. The two traditions have different views of what
Professor Hawkins said Christians and Muslims "worship the same God."
The word "God" in the English version of the Christian Bible is rendered in the Arabic version as "Allah." But Allah and Allah are two different entities, according to evangelical Wheaton College.
This claim has been commonplace since the Middle Ages. The Catholic church has explicitly affirmed it. It is an absolutely
Wheaton College is a private institution and appears to have the right to admit and remove students, faculty, and administrators based on disagreements over ideas. The real question for a place like Wheaton that attempts to hold itself to the highest moral standard is, "Should it behave this way?"
Whether or not Professor Hawkins has violated Wheaton College's Statement of Faith will be decided by Wheaton College. But I am with those who believe that she was moved by her understanding of Christ's commandment to love and stand with the vulnerable and the stranger, whoever they may be at the moment.
Dr. Larycia Hawkins is loving her Muslim neighbors as herself at a time when I will admit - we can use some neighborly love. And Dr. Hawkins could be losing her job for it. Is it really necessary for Wheaton College to nitpick the nuances of the differences between Christianity and Islam?
A vibrant and dynamic faith institution should acknowledge that whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God is a legitimate and unsettled question for many faithful Christian believers.
Hawkins has struck fear into the conservative leadership of Wheaton College by rejecting the anti-Muslim agenda that has taken root in right wing America. To show--and encourage in her students-- solidarity with Muslims who are being persecuted in the United States Hawkins has taught class wearing a hajib, the traditional head covering for Muslim women.