Suppose, in the wake of a series of anti-Semitic incidents, a teacher at Wheaton College were to write the following on her Facebook page: “I stand in religious solidarity with Jews because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” Would she be suspended from her position?
If so, then I suppose I’d have no problem with Wheaton’s suspension of political science professor Larycia Hawkins for updating her status a week ago with those identical words, except for “Muslims in place of “Jews.” The Christian definition of God in Wheaton’s statement of faith — which all professors are required to sign — differs as much from the Jewish conception of God as it does from the Muslim. Its trinitarian formulation of God’s nature is equally alien to both.
Whether that means that Christians worship a different God than Jews and Muslims is another question. Certainly they, like Jews and Muslims, claim to worship the God of Abraham. And while, like Jews and Muslims, they believe their understanding of that God to be the most accurate, I suspect that the God of Abraham feels sufficiently identified in the worship of all three.
Be that as it may, I don’t think Prof. Hawkins would have gotten into trouble at the Harvard of Evangelicalism had she identified Jews as worshiping the same God, and not just because Christians have always claimed the Jewish God as their own. In recent years, American evangelicals have embraced their Jewish roots even as they have come to regard Islam as the enemy. Especially in the current post-San Bernardino climate, Muslims are the Abrahamic goats who must be separated from the sheep.