Larycia Hawkins ‘flabbergasted’ by Wheaton’s move to fire her

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Larycia Hawkins speaks on Jan. 6, 2016, at First United Methodist Church in Chicago. Religion News Service photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Larycia Hawkins speaks on Jan. 6, 2016, at First United Methodist Church in Chicago. Religion News Service photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

CHICAGO (RNS) Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins says she is “flummoxed and flabbergasted” by the evangelical flagship’s decision to begin dismissal proceedings against her for expressing the belief that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Speaking at a press conference in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple on Wednesday (Jan. 6), Hawkins reiterated that she has not wavered from the college’s statement of faith.

“Wheaton College cannot scare me into walking away from the truth (that) all humans — Muslims, the vulnerable, the oppressed of any ilk ­– are all my sisters and brothers, and I am called by Jesus to walk with them,” she said.


RELATED STORY: Wheaton professor’s views triggered online hate storm 


Hawkins’ remarks came the day after she received a “Notice of Recommendation to Initiate Termination-for-Cause Proceedings” from Wheaton, the evangelical Christian college confirmed in a statement on its website.

Wheaton said it disagrees with some of the facts presented in the press conference, according to an updated statement. But, it noted, “The College admires Dr. Hawkins’ commitment to caring for our Muslim neighbors.”

The tenured political science professor, who has taught at Wheaton since 2007, had posted a photo of herself wearing a hijab on her personal Facebook page on Dec. 10. She wore the Muslim head-covering throughout Advent, the Christian season preceding Christmas, according to Arise Chicago, an organization that builds partnerships between faith communities and workers to fight workplace injustice.

It wasn’t the hijab that gave Wheaton pause, the college has said, but the caption the professor posted with the photo: “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.”

She since has made additional posts on Facebook and Twitter reaffirming that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

That seems “inconsistent with Wheaton College’s doctrinal convictions,” according to the college. All faculty members are required to sign Wheaton’s statement of faith when they join the college.

The college also charged Hawkins with an “unqualified assertion of religious solidarity with Muslims and Jews,” she said.

But Gene Green, professor of New Testament at Wheaton, said, “What’s the problem?” Hawkins has given the college a “clear and detailed affirmation” of its statement of faith, Green said, and many on campus are confused about why there are continuing doubts.

His department likely will take up the question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God when classes resume this month — but, he said, he doubts there will be consensus. “That’s the beauty of it,” he said.

Several religious leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Ahmed Rehab of CAIR Chicago, the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, expressed their support for Hawkins.

It “did not to me cause me to wonder whether she was diluting the message of Christianity, but rather taught me what Jesus is about,” Rehab said.

The college placed Hawkins on paid administrative leave Dec. 15, and she responded in writing to questions regarding her theological convictions two days later. The provost assured her that would be sufficient, she said, before she was asked for further theological discussion and clarification.

To Hawkins, it felt like “the rules changing, the goalposts keep moving,” and she declined to answer more questions. She and Wheaton now have reached what the college has termed an “impasse.”

In her statement dated Dec. 17 and addressed to Wheaton Provost Stanton Jones, which was posted online Wednesday, Hawkins wrote, “My intent has always been to stand with my Muslim neighbors out of my love for Jesus and the love I believe He has for the rest of the world. It is because of my love for Jesus that I have affirmed wholeheartedly the Wheaton College statement of faith all nine years I have been at the College, and I continue to do so.”

She also acknowledged Muslims and Jews differ from Christians in that they deny the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But, she quoted John Stackhouse, “when pious Muslims pray, they are addressing the One True God, and that God is, simply, God.”

As of Wednesday, a change.org petition titled #ReinstateDocHawk had gathered more than 54,000 signatures. That hashtag was being used by the professor’s supporters on Twitter, while those supporting Wheaton’s action took to #ThankYouWheaton.

Hawkins said she made some “3,000 new Muslim brothers and sisters.”

Next month, Hawkins will have a hearing before the faculty personnel committee of nine tenured and elected faculty members. The committee will make a recommendation to Wheaton President Philip Ryken, who then will make a recommendation to the Wheaton College Board of Trustees.

The professor said she believes she will get a fair shake from the faculty personnel committee as, she said, “their fate is bound up in my fate.”

The board will make a final decision regarding Hawkins’ employment with the college.

(Emily McFarlan Miller is a contributor to RNS)

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  • This is a watershed moment for Wheaton College. I’m shocked that Professor Gene Green doesn’t see a problem with Dr. Hawkins saying that Muslims and Christians have the same God. That’s a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, that there is only one God and His name is Jehovah or Elohim, the God who sent His Son Jesus (who is also God) to the world to save sinners. This gospel as told in the Bible and particularly the New Testament, excludes all other religions, all other supposed gods. In Isaiah the Lord says, “I am God and there is no other.” Perhaps Dr. Green needs to be reassessed as to his beliefs.

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  • Loren Haas

    What about Christians and Jews, do they have the same God? Jews do not believe Jesus was divine. What about Mormons? They have beliefs about God that diverge wildly from most Christians, but at least for the 2012 elections they were orthodox enough to vote for. This woman’s persecution has got to be about something else, because Wheaton’s stated reasons fail the logic test.

  • Larry

    How is the ridiculously punitive action remotely surprising?

    Evangelical belief absolutely depends on denying any form of respect to any faith and sect but one’s own. How can one “spread the good word”, essential to evangelical belief, without denigrating and attacking other faiths?

    What Prof. Hawkins did was to show a modicum of respect to Islam and note similarities in belief. Tried to foster some kind of open arms attitude towards Muslims.

    Arguing about “worshiping the same god” is a pointless exercise in religious hair splitting akin to debates over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. No two religious faiths/sects are alike. All monotheistic faiths are exclusionary by nature. So Hawkins statement was more a matter of being polite to Muslims than a statement of religious importance.

    Obviously Wheaton College is not interested in interfaith relations. Evangelicals do not play well with others unless there is a common agenda. Its a given.

  • This debate is as embarrassing as the presidential debates. There are two sides of supposedly intelligent people arguing over whether they worship the same God when they can’t possible know whether this God exists. And we’re supposed to be able to restore the health of our mother nature? We’re so stupid we really don’t deserve to survive. http://thelastwhy.ca/poems/2006/9/26/god.html

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  • laurie higgins

    Dr. Greene should, indeed, be reassessed about his beliefs. I was in a Sunday School class he was invited to teach about eight years ago. During a break, he told my husband and me that he supported civil unions for homosexuals. This would suggest a perspective on homoerotic behavior and relationships inconsistent with the theological views of Wheaton, where two of my children and their spouses attended.

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  • Pablo Giménez

    Evangelicals are not Christians. They practice a Bible Cult invented by John Calvin around 450 years ago as a political reaction to a corrupt Roman hierarchy. “Solo scripture” is idolatry, and has no valid basis in Christian tradition.

  • I’m embarrassed and frightened for humanity. A supposedly intelligent professor is fighting with a university about whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God that neither side can prove exists. And we’re supposed to cooperate to save our planet from climate change? Come on people, you’re creating a pile of sacred bull. http://thelastwhy.ca/poems/2006/9/26/god.html

  • Neon Genesis

    Maybe now Professor Hawkins can get a job at a real college.

  • Doc Anthony

    There is no reconciliation between Wheaton’s clear and biblical Statement of Faith, and Dr. Hawkins’ new-found, Non-Evangelical belief system.

    Granted, we can all express some degree of agreement with Dr. Hawkins’ concern for the treatment of Muslims at a time of heightened national tensions.

    But we can ALSO all express some degree of agreement with Truth-In-Advertising laws. Wheaton College is very clear about what it advertises to Christians and Non-Christians alike, via its Statement of Faith. It is what it is.

    Dr. Hawkins obviously doesn’t agree with Wheaton’s statement anymore. So it’s time for her to voluntarily LEAVE Wheaton. She should seek out a more liberal or secularized school that fits her new, Non-Evangelical belief system.

    But if she’s going to insist that Wheaton bow and kowtow to her new-found Non-Evangelical beliefs, then it’s time for her to be flat-out FIRED. Period. Finito. The End.

    And do it QUICKLY, too!!

  • Ben in oakland

    I believe that the ruling theocracy in China calls that “political correctness.” And the proper response to it they call “reeducation.”

  • Ben in oakland

    I believe sola scriptura is truly an ancient and honorable catholic institution, as they indeed created the entire bible and all of the doctrines that Martin Luther inherited…

    ….from the Catholic Church.

    The bible as we know it, with all of its contradictions, inconsistencies, and errors, would not exist were it not for the Catholic Church. It is wholly a creature of that church. Luther got rid of the craziest part, Revelations, but that was about it.

  • Susan Maneck

    Allah is a direct cognate to the Hebrew Eloh

  • Susan Maneck

    Let’s start a witch hunt now.

  • Susan Maneck

    No, he didn’t get rid of revelation. Luther very much believed he was living in the last days when the devil was loosed. The parts of the Bible he had trouble with were the Apocrypha and James. He said he’d give is doctor cap to the man who could reconcile James and Galatians.

  • Susan Maneck

    The United Methodists have got a lot of good ones.

  • Susan Maneck

    The Statement of Faith says nothing whatsoever about whether Muslims worship the same God.

  • Susan Maneck

    Here’s the thing. She taught there for seven years, long enough for everyone to know exactly what she believed and they tenured her none-the-less. Tenure is a life contract, and Wheaton College is trying to violate that contract. I’m betting the faculty won’t go along with this.

  • John

    God created man in His image. God is merciful irrespective of men’s religion.

    “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?” Jonah 4, 11.

    The people of Nineveh were not Jews. Jonah, a Jewish prophet, would have liked to see the people of Nineveh destroyed. Yet, due to their repentance our Father in Heaven forgave them.

    We, who claim to be our Father in Heaven’s children, should be like Him, merciful, compassionate.

    Irrespective of the decision the College will make, there is but One God, Creator of all human beings.

    ” And He has made of one blood all the nations of men living on all the face of the earth, ordering their times and the limits of their lands, So that they might make search for God, in order, if possible, to get knowledge of him and make discovery of him, though he is not far from every one of us:…

  • Neon Genesis

    I wonder why you’re so scared of people having different beliefs than you, Doc? Perhaps Hawkins’ statements have reminded you of your own insecurities?

  • Neon Genesis

    It should also be pointed out Luther was rather crazy himself with all his violent anti-Semitic views.

  • Shawnie5

    I always think the same thing when I hear of professors being fired or threatened with firing for the expression of conservative beliefs, such as Dr. Carol Swain at Vanderbilt, Dr.Kenneth Howell at the University of Illinois, and Dr. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. In fact, I think the same thing about every campus protest that erupts over someone being “offended” or “triggered” by someone’s “different beliefs” but as long as they’re not left-leaning beliefs belng attacked you guys seem quite blase about it.

    We do indeed live in an age of insecurity about personal beliefs and convictions and the resulting hypersensitivity about it all, but the left hasn’t much ground to complain since they’re responsible for the lion’s share of it.

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  • Truth

    I haven’t seen her written responses to the college. Given that based on her written responses the college requested additional clarification and she refused suggests there is more to the story.

    She started teaching there in 2007 and was tenured two years ago.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    Interesting. Exactly how many Christian teachers do you see at Islamic universities? How many Atheist teachers do you see at Christian or Islamic universities?
    How many Catholic teachers to you see at a Protestant university?

  • “The college also charged Hawkins with an “unqualified assertion of religious solidarity with Muslims and Jews,”

    I feel bad for the parents who sent their kids to this “school” where religious claims and mumbo jumbo pass for “studies”.

    Wheaton Religion Indoctrination Institute needs to shut down.
    Gods are invented by men to push people around. In light of that, a course in Leprechauns or Unicorns would be more useful.

    Class dismissed.

  • “Theological Center”

    Massive air pocket for winds of empty claims and groundless bloviation.

  • Michael

    Let;’s not loose sight of the real issue in the most of all the media hype. Dr. Hawkins stated clearly that Muslims and Christians worship the same God while at the same time saying she affirms Wheaton’s Statement of Belief – and it is over this issue that she is being dismissed. Is this legitimate? Yes. Here’s why.

    Wheaton’s statement about the nature of God is clear: WE 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; and we believe that God created the Heavens and the earth out of nothing by His spoken word, and for His own glory.”

    Islam denies this and teaches the opposite. Islam is NOT trinitarianian but orthodox Christianity is – meaning, Christians and Muslims do NOT worship the same God. If Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Green can’t see the difference between these positions, they need to get educated and Wheaton is right in dismissing one or both.

  • @laurie,

    “Inconsistent with theological views…”

    So is football.
    “You shall not touch the skin of a dead pig” – Yahweh (Lev. 11:7-8)

    Or touching a woman who is having her period.
    “You shall not touch a menstruating woman or any furniture or clothing that has come in contact with menstruating women” – Yahweh (Lev.15:19-21)

    But slavery is okay:
    “Slaves surrender to your master, even if it is a perversity..” – (1 PETER 2:18)

    Now that should be an education!

  • Michael

    Atheist Max, it takes more faith to be an atheist than to be a Christian, imho – but you’re entitled to your ‘faith’ and I’m entitled to mine. One of us will be eternally wrong.

  • Raq

    Why are you so angry Atheist Max?

  • @Michael,

    “it takes more faith to be an atheist…”

    Wrong.
    You are a 100% Atheist with respect to Zeus and Jupiter. Does that take ‘faith’ on your part? Some effort of some kind? Right – I didn’t think so.
    But thanks for confirming your faith in your God takes no effort even to the point where it is not a choice. Your Bible claims faith is a big deal and requires all sorts of things.

    Besides, I didn’t claim a god doesn’t exist – perhaps gods are real.
    Atheist just don’t believe in gods. It isn’t a claim. It is an opinion. And an opinion is flexible – opinions are not faith.

    “one of us will be eternally wrong”

    Eternally? Hard to say. I’m the one with the more flexible position.
    You have already chosen one god from the thousands claimed to exist. My odds already look better than yours.

  • Ben in oakland

    Atheism isn’t a belief system, but quite the opposite. It’s a no belief system.

    There is a world of difference between these two statements:

    “I believe there is no god.” and “I have no belief in a god.” And there is an even bigger difference between the latter and “I have no belief there is a god because I haven’t seen any evidence. but show me some credible evidence, and I’ll be happy to reconsider.”

    #1 is an anti-theist. #2 is an atheist. #3 is an agnostic.

  • @Raq,

    “Why so angry, Max?”

    Oh, I’m not angry.
    But if God does not exist the entirety of Theology (a list of claims without any proofs) is an incredibly wasteful enterprise. And it leads to untold violence against innocent people.

    How many millions of women have suffered crimes
    from violent battering husbands because of Theology?
    “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord…wives should submit to their husbands in EVERYTHING.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)

    If God does not exist, rules like this to be abandoned.
    Even if he exists – his rules are awful and should be ignored.

  • Doc Anthony

    You are correct that the Wheaton Statement of Faith doesn’t explicitly mention the topic of whether Muslims worship the same God.

    BUT…the Statement Of Faith clearly and explicitly states that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It clearly and explicitly affirms Jesus’ deity, and that Jesus is “true God”, as the Statement puts it.

    That’s absolutely NOT the same God that the Muslims worship, as I am sure you are aware.

    In fact, the Koran at Sura 5:72ff, spells it out for everybody.

    “Those who say, “God is the Messiah, son of Mary,” have defied God. The Messiah himself said; “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” If anyone associates others with God, God will forbid him from the Garden, and Hell will be his home. No one will help such evildoers…”

    So let’s just be honest . Larycia Hawkins’ theological position is in DIRECT OPPOSITION to the Wheaton Statement Of Faith. She DOES need to leave. If she won’t, it’s time to get FIRED.

  • Doc Anthony

    Please see my reply to Susan Naneck. Are you able to refute that reply, Neon?

  • alison

    OH, please. Wheaton didn’t change the rules. She did. And now she’s flabbergasted????

  • Daniel Berry

    if you looked around, I think you just might be surprised at how off your preconceptions – or shall i call them “prejudices”? – are.

  • Daniel Berry

    there you go again, Doc Anthony – just brimful of your usual dose of mercy and embracing love.

  • Perry Bulwer

    “This gospel as told in the Bible and particularly the New Testament, excludes all other religions…”

    That it excludes all other religions (according to your interpretation) does not mean that those three Abrahamic religions don’t worship the same god. Nor does your Isaiah quotation. The dogmas and the proclamations of the various prophets in the Abrahamic religions may differ in detail, but that doesn’t mean they don’t all worship the same god. It’s kind of like the parable of the blind men and the elephant. I like Natalie Merchant’s song which you can hear at:

    http://www.nataliemerchant.com/r/leave-your-sleep/lyrics/the-blind-men-and-the-elephant

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!

    Moral

    So oft in theologic wars,
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
    And prate about an Elephant…

  • Perry Bulwer

    …and prate about an elephant
    Not one of them has seen.

  • thearrow

    The unfortunate comments about Dr. Hawkings here don’t understand the argument for why Dr. Hawkings, Dr. Green, the Pope and others say Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Dr. Hawkings isn’t equating them as the same. it’s about a larger conversation that commenters here are unaware of.

    For conservative evangelicals, they are fixated on Christ vs Mohammad. And yes, as Christians we hold to the belief that Jesus is the Way, Truth, Life. But this isn’t what Hawkings statement is about so when you say Dr. Hawkings and Dr. Green need to be re-educated biblically, you’re speaking from a lay person’s understanding rather than scholarship. In other words, you are not addressing the conversation Dr. Hawkings and Dr. Green are speaking into. They aren’t saying what you think they are saying.

    Miroslav Volf gave this talk AT WHEATON years ago and was given an enthusiastic response by staff and faculty:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv14RzKauis

    So what’s…

  • Larry

    What is interesting is how you fail to address a single point I made. Most notably that evangelical belief precludes treating other faiths with respect. Hawkins was being punished because she deigned to show a slight bit of warmth to a faith which was not her own.

    I am not surprised by the behavior of the school or fellow evangelicals on the subject. Attacking the religions of others is ingrained into evangelical belief.

  • thearrow

    laurie higgins,

    your conclusion of Dr. Greene suggests you only see his statement in one light. He is in favor of civil unions for homosexuals therefore he must have an inconsistent theology with Wheaton. they aren’t the same.

    This is the same issue with the Dr. Hawkins issue. She’s is speaking of solidarity with muslims not saying Islam also brings salvation unto God. You’re not understanding the conversation.

    Similarly, there are many Christians that still hold to a traditional marriage theological view but may support civil unions for practical reasons, or compassionate reasons, or other reasons. They is a spectrum that is still rooted in orthodox theology.

  • John

    Hello, Bethteer !

    Mistakes made by God in my case?

    Do you happen to refer to John who posted a message at 5:03, January 7 2016, about “One Compassionate God Who created man in His image” ?

    If your answer is “yes”, I am ready to tell you that my God makes not only ” mistakes”, but people speak even of His ” foolishness”. But ” God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom…”( 1 Corinthians 1:25).

    If your message is not for me, please, ignore mine.

  • edward

    There are different definitions of the word “Evangelical”, but for 90% of those who use that word to describe themselves thy remark is absolutely accurate, Pablo Gimenez. Thanks speaking the truth.

  • Doc Anthony

    “Love” and “Mercy” are A-okay, Daniel. We all understand that. But Christianity, which Wheaton openly advertises, deals with a third great virtue as well — “Truth.”

    The Biblical truth that Wheaton publicly advertises in its Statement of Faith, is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that Jesus Christ is indeed “True God”, as Wheaton’s statement clearly puts it.

    Hawkins disagrees with that truth, because the Koran makes clear that Jesus is not God and Jesus is not the Son of God. Islam is NOT winking and nudging on this issue, even though Hawkins is clearly doing so.

    I wish only the best for Hawkins’ career. I gave her credit where due (although you ignored it).

    But if you are working for an employer — any secular or religious employer in any industry or institution — do you seriously think you can publicly OPPOSE, publicly CONTRADICT your own employer’s core mission statement and still remain employed much longer with that same employer?

  • Doc,

    “Jesus Christ is indeed “True God”…

    This is a guess at best. Who would know? And why would they know but not others? Makes no sense.

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  • Diogenes

    Obviously, the good professor’s expertise is not in systematic theology. No analysis however carefully massaged can render Allah (regardless of a purported linguistic linkage to the Hebrew “Eloh”) as the same PERSON as Jehovah of the Bible. I find no fault with the professor for expressing sympathy towards all of our fellow human “brothers and sisters,” but spiritually speaking there is no family linkage at all.

  • ZG

    It’s clear that the author of this article doesn’t understand the theological issues at hand. Wheaton has every right to terminate Dr. Hawkins’ employment: https://zgreport.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/wheaton-provost-recommends-the-termination-of-dr-hawkins/

  • Ariel Thomann

    For 15-20 years, my personal bookplate has stated my position on this nonsense:

    “For every absolute truth, there are one or more other absolute truths of equal validity and opposite direction. Beware of those who hold an absolute truth, for they are duty-bound to destroy all others”.

    When will Humankind finally transcend this self-imposed, fabricated problem of competing fairy tales?

  • Craig

    Larry,

    Not sure what perspective you are coming from, but I’ll respond as a thoughtful evangelical.

    You rightly mention that “all monotheistic faiths are exclusionary”. But then you mock evangelicals who act consistently with that exclusiveness. If you are aware of the way God is presented in the Old Testament, then you know that protecting true worship of the only true God was God’s highest concern. It comes in the first 4 of the 10 Commandments, and condemnations against every form of polytheism or idolatry fill the OT.

    The NT presents God as revealing Himself fully and ultimately in Jesus Christ. Wheaton’s doctrinally statement asserts a belief “in one sovereign God, eternally existing in three persons.” Islam cannot affirm this is the God they worship. Rather, they flatly deny a God in three persons, and specifically that Jesus is God.

    To promote “solidarity” (ie unity) is not mere kindness, but false doctrine. Wheaton is a doctrinal institution that she…

  • Craig

    see above, under Lauren.

  • Craig

    Lauren,

    It’s not illogical. You are thinking too superficially.

    The Old Testament presents the true God.

    Christians also believe the Old Testament which presents this same true God as revealing Himself ultimately in the person of Jesus Christ. And also in the internal dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, One God in three persons.

    Mormons also believe this, but their additional teachings alter things a bit. That’s why biblical Christians consider them spurious christians.

    However, Islam completely rejects the NT teachings about God as being revealed in His “Son” Jesus, who sends the Holy Spirit. So, it is anachronous to compare Islam with Judaism regarding their supposed belief in the “same God” as Christians.

    In short:
    Judiasm: Asserts 1 God.
    Christians: Worship this same God, thru Jesus.
    Islam: Denies the Christian God. Reverts to a pagan version of the OT God, an Arian hybrid. More akin to Samaritans.

  • Let’s see – Muslims, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, secular humanists, and leftist mainline (small “c”) christians all support allowing the “sheep in wolf’s clothing” Ms. Hawkins to continue teaching false doctrine in a private Christian School. Her supporters include CAIR, Jesse Jackson, Pope Francis, Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Wright, Father Flagher, President Obama, etc…. We’ve seen this dance before.

  • Langford_PO

    It is my understanding the words Allah and Elohim derive from the same Semitic root, ‘*L*H — “The Divine”

  • Langford_PO

    Whoops, you left out mention of the Holy Spirit!

  • Langford_PO

    I agree; there’s a good chance Elohim and Jehovah (YHWH) are, or at least WERE at one time, not the same god! Not until the Old Testament was stitched together from myriad ancient texts.

    Elohim is plural; the ‘im’ at the end makes is a multiplying suffix. That doesn’t necessarily translate as “the gods” — but rather makes it more encompassing. For instance, in English, we use the word “music” when speaking or writing about blues, gospel, jazz, bluegrass. We don’t say “musics”.

    It was Elohim who created the heavens and the earth in Genesis, and it was Elohim who Jesus asked “Why has thou forsaken me?” on the cross.

    Most Biblical scholars believe the Pentateuch (Torah) comprises 4 source texts: J (the Jahwist), E (the Elohist), D (the Deuteronomist), and P (the Priestly source.) This is fun stuff! Here is a good place to start learning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jahwist#References

  • Langford_PO

    ““I fear to lose truth by the pretension to possess it already wholly.”
    — William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

  • Robert Gross

    God beliefs lack even consistent generalities. Their intolerance of each other on specifics makes them appear thoughtless. The world needs more open atheism and secular humanism.

  • Ben in oakland

    One God. right.

    One God in three different persons.

    Mary being prayed to in order to change god’s mind.

    Saints being prayed to for the same purpose.

    Orixa in Catholic Brazil. Not so unusual to see a small chapel to Iemanja, tHe sea goddess, on the grounds of a church dedicated to Mary, Stella Maris.

    Interesting little festival going on in the Philippines right now, the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Magic and folk rituals.

    And on and on and on.

  • Ben in oakland

    But support civil unions for practical reasons…

    In other words, an admission that we gay people have a moral, religious, civil, constitutional, familial, marital and human claim among people whose theological views would denigrate us the second class citizenship and participation in society for theological reasons.

    And a further admission that there is no way in hell that they would ever say so.

  • Ben in oakland

    Well, who knew that Papa Frank was a mainline liberal.

    The no true Christian dog once more bites the hand that has been feeding it.

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  • Shelly

    I haven’t seen anyone post what I’ve been thinking during this discussion. If we believe our God, as He’s revealed Himself through the Word, through Jesus, He says He is One, and the only one; and that anyone who looks at creation must admit that He exists. All around the world (I learned this in the Perspectives on Missions course), whatever else they worship, each culture has a belief in the “ultimate” God, the highest one. People may not understand God; they may have it all wrong about what He’s like; they may worship other gods, they may follow false prophets, they may not acknowledge truth about God that has been shared with them; but they ultimately don’t worship a different God, because there ISN’T a different God. There IS only one. If a person longs for God, it is the One true God they long for, it is Him they seek, and even if they get it all wrong along the way, the Lord our God is one – just one. May we see people the way the Paul sees them in his sermon, Acts…

  • Langford_PO

    Sort of along the lines of Michael Dowd’s teachings “Reality Is My God”? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C44Nc-Qvtcs

  • Larry

    My original comment was removed, however, I will respond anyway.

    You deliberately see mockery where it is really more description. One which you really do not ultimately find fault with. Monotheism is exclusionary by nature and therefore not very amenable to showing respect towards other religious beliefs in of itself. It generally provides instant excuses for people to disrespect beliefs which differ from themselves.

    In a modern heterogeneous democratic society, following 4 of the 10 commandments would be considered improper behavior at best, vile and discriminatory at worst.

    One needs to look beyond the pages of merely one book if they are to get some idea how to act towards people outside their specific faith community bubble.

    In the end you reinforce just what I had said. Showing any kind of respect to other faiths is discouraged because God tells you so. Your faith allegedly excuses denigration of the religious beliefs which differ from yours.

  • Larry

    Jews would beg to differ that Christians worship the same god as they do.

    The two religions don’t even come close to similar interpretations of the same scripture. Christians put greater emphasis on their own scripture which is unique to their faith.

    It is no different that how Moslems treat the Bible. They consider it scripture, but not as important as their newer book.

    If you want to be technical, no monotheistic religion worships the same deity as another. But it misses the point that the remark was more a sign of respect and being polite towards another faith rather than a theological statement. It was that point which got people up in arms.

    “How dare someone treat Islam with a measure of respect. We can’t do that! We are Evangelicals. We don’t respect anyone but ourselves!”

  • Larry

    Of course like many Christian leaders, he only supported civil unions for gays when it became overwhelmingly apparent that marriage equality was inevitable. A way to concede with some measure of dignity left.

    It ignores the fact that such leaders vehemently opposed such civil unions when they were first proposed and worked to undermine their legal recognition. Dan Savage put it best:

    “But now that we’re winning marriage—now that victory is assured—the [Evangelical Christians] are willing to maybe think about supporting some type of civil union scheme. I’ll say this. That *****ng ship has *****ng sailed.

    What they are saying to gay people is this: “Okay, now that you’re winning marriage, here’s an idea: give marriage back and we will give you civil unions… which we once opposed with the same intensity and in the same apocalyptic terms that we oppose marriage today. Is it a deal?”

    No deal.”

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