Why this resolution of Hawkins case is bad news for American evangelicalism

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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

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

Wheaton College and Professor Larycia Hawkins today announced plans to part ways, peaceably and in some kind of “reconciliation.” Both were undoubtedly ready to put their highly publicized dispute behind them. Much remains undisclosed. We do know that the Provost publicly apologized and was moved aside from the farewell program; the President expressed his appreciation for and endowed scholarships in the Professor’s name; the Professor expressed gratitude for this stage in her journey.

READ: “Larycia Hawkins, Wheaton College offer gratitude, move on”

It is significant that what many took to be the core issue in the case — the theological question of whether Christians and Muslims “worship the same God” — remained officially unresolved. Professor Hawkins did not back down. Wheaton College did not back down.

I suggested a month ago that the theological question was secondary rather than primary. I believed that what got the ball rolling was that a highly vislble, politically progressive, theologically evangelical, African-American female professor had run afoul of the conservative Wheaton political culture multiple times — this last time because she expressed visible, physical solidarity with Muslims at a most inopportune moment in the American and evangelical political context. Nothing I have heard since has changed my view.

READ: “Wheaton College, Doc Hawk, and a whole heap of trouble”

This whole situation has been reminding me for quite some time of the Dreyfus Affair in late 19th and early 20th century France. Probably only someone who spent way too many doctoral hours studying the Holocaust would think of this parallel. But indulge me for just a moment.

Alfred Dreyfus was a captain in the French army who in 1894 was accused of treason for allegedly passing military secrets to a German military official. Dreyfus also happened to be the only Jewish officer in the French General Staff, at a time of rampant and rising anti-Semitism in France. The evidence against Dreyfus was weak, and his secret military trial was grossly unfair. He was convicted, publicly humiliated (to cries of “Death to the Jews”), stripped of his rank, and sent off to exile on Devil’s Island. The case was capitalized upon by the anti-Semitic French Right to claim that Jews could not be trusted and should not enjoy full and equal citizenship rights in France.

Protests over the handling of the Dreyfus case extended far beyond the Jewish community. Two years after Dreyfus was convicted, a newly appointed, actually quite anti-Semitic French officer named Picquart investigated the case afresh and concluded that Dreyfus was innocent, that a non-Jewish officer named Esterhazy was guilty, and that the French Army had known this and covered it up. His protests were seen as embarrassing to the French Army and so Picquart was transferred to Tunisia.

Shortly thereafter the French novelist Emile Zola offered a famous page-one protest. He accused the French Army of the cover-up and a gross miscarriage of justice. He was in turn convicted of libeling the Army and had to flee France.

By this point it seemed all of France had taken sides in L’Affaire Dreyfus. Conservative forces, including the Army and the Catholic Church, were committed to his guilt and to its political implications. Republicans, radicals, and socialists were committed to his innocence and to its implications. The case was no longer about Dreyfus — it was about whether France was going to be a modern liberal republic or an authoritarian, reactionary Catholic state.

It took until 1906 for Dreyfus to be fully exonerated and restored to his military rank. The forces of reaction were finally defeated, though not destroyed. The argument that France had been having about what kind of country it wanted to be continued for decades more.

My comparison is this: in L’Affaire Hawkins, this case was only superficially about whether a previously unknown political science professor at Wheaton had violated the Wheaton doctrinal statement.

Eventually, at least, it was about the forces lining up on either side of Professor Hawkins. It was about what they think not just Wheaton, but evangelical Christianity as a whole, ought to be. Does the best future for American evangelical Christianity look more like Professor Larycia Hawkins — both her person and her convictions — or more like those who wanted her gone?

The actual outcome at Wheaton, stripped of the nice words today, is that those who wanted Professor Hawkins gone did in fact prevail. She is leaving. That does say something about who currently has the upper hand in defining American evangelicalism. Unlike in the Dreyfus case, the conservative side won.

Which is yet another really good reason for me to say this: I personally renounce any identification with that side of American evangelical Christianity that arrayed itself against Larycia Hawkins. I will fight, alongside many others, for a better version of Christian faith than the one you offer.

  • Rosemary

    Thank you for your comments. I’m glad to know that someone will be fighting for a better version of Christian faith than the one represented by Wheaton College. I think the “apology” is a sham and a disgrace. I also think that race was a significant factor in this deplorable situation. It is extremely challenging, to say the least, for an African American, especially an African American female, to be in a predominantly white academic environment. I say this as someone who knows. I believe the institution wanted to get rid of Professor Hawkins for some time. This was their opportunity. I’m glad there will be an endowed scholarship named after her. Although she won’t physically be at Wheaton, she’ll still be a presence.

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  • Phil

    I’m with you Dr. Gushee. It is time for Christian people to redefine what Christian means.

  • Christopher Rose

    Conservatives have been winning this battle since, in my estimation at least, the SBC split from Northern Baptists.

  • Doc Anthony

    As others have said or suggested, this was not a full reconciliation. In fact, it’s probably not even a 50 percent reconciliation.

    But it’s the best you can do when you have a faculty member at an evangelical Christian school openly teaching a clear denial of biblical Christianity, and refusing to accept correction or coaching.

    Could Wheaton have handled the “due process” better? Yes indeed, as its Provost conceded in his apology.

    But the fact is that Larycia Hawkins openly denied at least two non-negotiable tenets of the Wheaton Statement of Faith (that Jesus is “the Son of God” and is “true God”), by proclaiming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. In fact she was effectively blurring or denying the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ by doing so.

    So she needed to leave. She wouldn’t retract nor modify her mess, so she needs to go find a liberal or secular college where such mess is acceptable.

  • Gary Hinchman

    Holding a tenured professor accountable for her beliefs that run totally counter to the institution she works for and represents, is totally just, upright, and proper before God and men. Seeking some kind of “anti-authority justice” for Hawkins who will not hold up faith in Christian orthodoxy or the statement of faith her own school holds, is an example of being swayed by the populace rebellions of our times to follow the self-righteousness of popular opinions over the righteousness of God in faithfulness to the truth as revealed in the Bible and in the Q’ran. Believing a lie, promulgated by the spirit of Antichrist, is the just reward from God on so-called “evangelicals” falling away from The Faith for a faith in Chrislam, which is not Christian in any way.

    2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
    2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness

  • Christy

    I don’t think you are that well-informed about the situation. Eleven of Wheaton’s own Bible and Theology department PhDs evaluated her follow-up theological clarification and found it acceptable theologically and in line with Wheaton’s Statement of Faith, including Gary Burge, Gene Green, and Vincent Bacote. Do you think they can’t recognize heresy when they see it?

  • Bruce

    I dunno. Biblically, Jesus was “Son of Man,” the “Messiah,” a “Prophet,” and other conceptual roles in addition to “Son of God” or “God.” Choosing the latter role as exclusive is doctrinal on its face. My understanding is that “God” in Arabic is “Allah,” and is identical to the God all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians, worship. Yes, Muslims deny that Jesus was the “Son of God” or “God,” but accept him as a prophet and accept the New Testament as revelation, which weighs mightily with me. I wonder if what really undercut her was the conservative evangelical belief that Arabs, the biblical but mythical descendants of Ishmael, are doomed, regardless to the common genesis of the Abrahamic faiths and their universal focus on love. Mess? Really?

  • Michele

    Doc & Gary: funny, I thought the Bible taught that Christians worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Joseph. That’s the same God worshipped by Jews AND Muslims. Just because they worship Him differently from how Christians do, doesn’t mean it’s not the same God.

  • Steve

    That’s already been tried in the mainline denominations and university. The SBC and largely conservative-leaning evangelical backlash is the correction.

  • Steve M

    Being well-informed isn’t worth much if you make false claims about the information. The profs you cite simply voiced opinion about whether her comments violate the College statement of faith.

    Read between the lines here. These professors are simply “unionizing” to protect their own tenure and employment — and I don’t blame them. Certainly there is tacit support for Hawkins in their statement, but it’s quite a stretch to claim these profs have wholly endorsed her theological views. Show us where these profs “found it theologically acceptable” or “in line with the Statement of Faith,” as you say.

    Instead, these profs use language fit for a courtroom, careful not to endorse her message, yet asserting the negative. Here is their comment:

    “Our judgment is that Professor Hawkins has not failed to affirm or model the Wheaton College Statement of Faith or Community Covenant.”

    Let’s be careful not to use neutral statements as a personal litmus test for theological…

  • Actually,Michele,the order is: “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.The key proponent of authentic worship is that,like Abraham,one BELIEVES God.Unless it can be demonstrated in some proveable sense that Jesus was a bold-faced liar, one would have to presumably have to have a VERY good reason for not believing Him,because He made a extremely good case for presenting Himself as God.If one denies that,then logically speaking,we’re most emphatically NOT worshipping the same God; from a Scriptural perspective there’s no getting around that.So…one can disbelieve it,but one can’t claim it,and I would submit to you that Scripture taught that Jesus and The Father are ONE looong before Muhammad and the Quran came along.”I and My Father are One” is either true or false,and if anyone is looking for ways to tweak and parse Our Saviour’s Words seeking some kind of end-round,somebody’s going to end up an ill-informed,confused liar,and it WON’T BE ALMIGHTY GOD!!—PEACE.

  • I can make it VERY simple,Phil…Who do YOU say that He is?

  • Stacey

    So since Jews do not accept Jesus as the son of God, does that mean they also do not worship the same God? There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians but do not follow the commands of Jesus to love people. I wouldn’t say they are worshipping a different God. Just that they are not doing it well. I believe that Muslims are worshipping the same God but since they missed the memo on Jesus, they are missing the biggest and best part of the story. The God of the Old Testament appeared pretty blood thirsty with commands to kill every man, woman, and child of non-believing people groups. This is what Muslim extremists are attempting, isn’t it? I have not read Hawkins’ writings in the belief that they are the same God, but based on my own beliefs, I agree with that statement.

  • jimbo

    If Gushee is incapable of distinguishing between the God of Islam and the God of Christianity, or if he does not think the differences are significant, then what good is his “scholarship” and his Christianity? He might as well just be a humanist because he has little to offer in terms of real faith.

    I’ve studied the subject in some depth and these two Gods are very different, even contradictory.

    Remember, the crucial question was “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?” “Yes!” He was killed for that stand. Muslims today continue to kill Christians who take that same stand. Gushee need not worry.

    I applaud Wheaton for taking a stand and creating a definition.

  • Chris Dahlvig

    Lets not give up quite yet. It took Dreyfus 12 years.

  • Nelson Keener

    Except many of us agree that in and of itself Hawkin’s comment was not incorrect. My daughter recently commented that “God is bigger than our theology.” Dr. Hawkins understood that; Wheaton didn’t.

  • Nelson Keener

    Conservative evangelicals tend to loath political correctness while insisting on theological correctness.

  • Steve W.

    Actually Michelle, the Old Testament refers to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Christians and Jews agree with that definition but Muslims trace their lineage and revelation of God through Abraham’s son Ishmael, not Isaac. That didn’t settle the issue, but it does show that the respective religious identification of God split much sooner than most people acknowledge.

  • Ouchey

    Of all the things it could have possibly been about, this was NOT legitimately about race or gender, but it’s comforting to see that the Everything is Racism and Everything is Sexism tropes are alive and well to muddle the real issues.

  • KD

    She was placed on leave explictly because there was concern that her statements were INCOMPATIBLE with the statement of faith. I’m an alum. Wheaton is and always has been non-denominational. As such there is a range of theological positions one can hold and still qualify to be on faculty.

    These faculty members are saying that her statements were theologically innocuous (a term the provost even used before initiating termination) and that they are within the bounds of the statement of faith. No one is claiming that they “wholly endorse” or agree with her. No one would claim that as necessary. The point here is that faculty DON’T need to agree about this to be in good standing. If you think they do, you don’t understand Wheaton’s history at all.

  • Ken

    The one thing you can not challenge hard core evangelicals over is that smug exclusive truth claim (demanded, they will tell you, by their understanding of Holy Writ). If you dare, be ready for a heresy trial, quick conviction and banishment from the kingdom.

  • Christy

    The idea that those 78 professors publicly signed their name to a letter of support for Larycia Hawkins were motivated by some sort of self-interested CYA mentality is ridiculous to me. Do you really think an action that is likely to be perceived as insubordination by the people who were instrumental in facilitating Hawkin’s resignation is a self-interested career move? I’m going to take it at face value for what it was- a show of support of her beliefs (maybe not an endorsement, but an acknowledgement that they are acceptable in Evangelicalism) and a statement of solidarity with her.

  • Christy

    “I applaud Wheaton for taking a stand and creating a definition.”

    The infuriating thing is that it still remains completely unclear exactly what “stand” was taken, and no approved “definition” has actually been put forward. It has not been clarified at all what were the “remaining concerns” they had with her statements after her clarification. You are applauding Wheaton for making a mangled mess of things.

  • Christy

    The College’s own Diversity Committee disagrees with you, and unlike you, they actually interviewed people involved and compiled some evidence before forming an opinion. If it was so certain that race and gender were NOT legitimate factors, why in the world would President Ryken ask the board to launch an investigation of possible racial and gender discrimination? Obviously discrimination is a possible factor.

  • Patrick

    I’ll stand with the Bible, God, his Son Jesus Christ…learned men such as Dr. John McCarther, James McDonald, Tony Evans, Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, David Jeremiah, etc….versus the likes of the author, who smugly assumes that the Bible needs updating. Professing to be wise, became utter fools.

    Wheaton was correct. The Professor needed to be dismissed. Doctrine must be upheld, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. No one with a Biblical IQ above 70 can rationally argue that the god of Islam is the same as the God of Christianity. It is not a close case. To argue otherwise is to admit to a massive amount of ignorance about both Islam and the Bible. I am shocked that this author has doubled down on this stupidity. But we all know that in the last days, unsound doctrine will invade the church. The above is case in point!

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  • Jim

    That is easy….anytime a person of color is involved any dispute, people automatically assume racism (thank you current culture/media) to order a investigation is an automatic response to prove that it wasn’t racism. This is about beliefs, and the correct evangelical belief is that we do not worship the same God.

  • Phillip

    Interesting as your discussion is, I do not find in it any compelling sorting out of what the real issues are. Surely, procedure is a part of the problem – to hold a non-theological faculty to immediate public discipline for a problematic theological statement is certainly more than questionable. Whether there is anything personal with respect to relationships with Dr. Hawkins is more than I can know. But the question of the statement (some version of “Christians and Muslims worship the same god”) is certainly of long-term consequence to Evangelical Christianity, as to Christianity in general. Surely, as someone who has studied the Holocaust, you must recognize the danger in the statement, un-mooring, as it does, the Christian God from his Hebraic roots and the inherent Christian claim of the particularity of revelation. This is virtually the same compromise that Hitler demanded of German protestants and that resulted in the German Christian Party.

  • Roger

    I attended yesterday’s news conference and found it moving and instructive.
    The visual contrast between the affect of Dr. Ryken, Wheaton’s President, and that of Dr. Hawkins is a memory which will stay with me a very long time. I would characterize it as the difference between death and life, or perhaps more accurately, between “deadness” and “aliveness”.
    It seemed to me that Dr. Ryken represented Wheaton College’s high regard towards being precise and theologically correct (right). Dr. Hawkins represented Wheaton College’s high regard towards being loving and compassionate.
    The predictable difference between the pursuit of these two values is the difference between a controlled stone face without expression and a lively countenance with smile and tears.
    Some already observe that Wheaton is a dimmer place with Dr. Hawkins’ leaving. I wonder if other professors and students will begin to judge that Wheaton College is lacking in a very important way.

  • David A. Toth

    I was generally with you until the last paragraph. “Any” identification . . . . marginalizes everyone into one group. I have disagreements with some components of the decision but not all. The reason I take issue with this comment is bolstered by the phrase in your opening paragraph, “Much remains undisclosed.” Could some undisclosed information be materially key to a clearer explanation? Perhaps.

  • Rev Eric Pone

    So a second schism in Christianity is coming and it is inevitable. The conservatives will go their own way and the liberal church their own way with moderates splitting and young people in general just remaining disengaged from both. But at least dogma will be determined and that is way more important than saving people.

  • Winfield Jones

    You write: “Unlike in the Dreyfus case, the conservative side won.”
    Well actually in the Dreyfus case the conservative side did win. It took twelve years for their victory to be totally overturned. We do not yet know if there will be more chapters to this story. This article is illuminating, but you miss one of the main lessons of L’Affair Dreyfus—that the initial outcome may be–but is not always–the final outcome. Moreover, you say the theological issues in this case are not the real issue, but perhaps they are….Winfield Casey Jones, D. Min

  • jimbo

    I think the stand was in affirming that the God of Christianity is not the same God of Islam. At least that is how I understand the controversy. Hawkins asserted that they were. I see no mess other than the gods of political correctness are upset and they want to force their values upon Wheaton.

    What’s worse is that you have guys like Gushee, who admittedly don’t know the details of the situation, use this opportunity to fling poop at people they disagree with.

  • Christy

    Hawkins said, “Like them [George, Stackhouse, McKnight, Volf] I acknowledge that the statement “we worship the same God” is a simultaneous “yes” and “no” to the question of whether Christians and Muslims (as well as Jews) turn to the same object of worship, namely, the “God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:6).” She then gave her rationale for the yes, and for the no parts. http://drlaryciahawkins.org/2016/01/06/theological-statement-by-dr-hawkins/
    She told NPR:
    “They’re two different religions. And we diverge on questions of salvation, soteriology — how do you get to God? — and also on questions of Christology — who is Christ?” Hawkins said. “I can’t intuit … how they deem me inconsistent with the statement of faith … when Wheaton College[‘s] president and provost and an adjunct faculty member in 2007 signed a statement saying exactly what I said — that Muslims and Christians are people of the book, we worship the God of Abraham.

  • Christy

    Yes, please throw more insults at the intelligence of people who have actually tried to examine the incredible complexity of this issue and admit it’s not a simple answer because people mean different things by “worship” “same” and even “God” and sense of words and context matters. The Evangelical Missiological Society wrote a whole special bulletin on it, and their combined IQ and expertise in both Islam, Christian history, and theology merits some attention. But, no, why wade through thoughtful arguments that take into consideration what is actually at stake theologically and missiologically when it’s so much easier to consider the matter definitively settled by a couple sanctimonious tweets, FB posts, and blog articles. That is what is wrong with Evangelicalism today. http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/january/do-muslims-christians-worship-same-god-wheaton-hawkins-ems.html

  • Dean Smith

    Hawkins should never have been hired in the first place. Wheaton has every right to be a conservative institution, just as almost every other college in America maintains a far left culture. What percentage of the faculty at places like Harvard, the University of Michigan, UCLA, or any other major university are conservative?
    I’ll bet it’s less than 5%. No one says anything about that. So Gushee should quit looking down his liberal nose at Wheaton. He has plenty of libs to hang with.
    Leave Wheaton alone. It’s still sort of a free country until the libs make everything PC. No one is LESS tolerant in this country than PC liberals. You deserve only destruction if you disagree with them. The haters are mostly on the left. Try exercising your first amendment rights on almost any college campus if you’re not a lock-step liberal.

  • Michael Mates

    Living in Pakistan many years ago, I once mentioned to a Muslim friend, regarding the Incarnation, that God humbled Himself. “No,” he replied with some agitation and even anger “God is PROUD.” That’s not all. He with many Muslims believes that the Father’s fatherhood of Christ required a physical relationship.

    I believe his remarks are representative. If they are, the God of the Christian faith is not the same as the God of Islam.

    Further, you can take any of the religious “oliogies” (theology, hamartiology, soteriology, eschatology and so on) and find Christians and Muslims in profound disagreement about each one, and therefore about the God whom theologians on both sides are attempting to explain through those categories.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    Michael Mates

  • Roger

    I couldn’t agree more with Ken.
    When what is true about an infinite Creator gets confused with what we (in this case Wheaton College) think is true, and the humility to know the difference is absent, love is sacrificed for the sake of being right.
    It is usually obvious to all observers, but hidden from the religious.

  • Warren Magnuson

    The Gospels teach us that Jesus was nailed to a cross and died. The Koran tells us that this never happened (Surah 4:156 – 158). So IF Christians and Muslims worship the same God, which group did this God lie to? And who would want to worship a God that lies to people (other than Prof. Hawkins)?

  • Shawnie5

    Amen, Dean. Thank you.

  • April

    You ask, “Does the best future for American evangelical Christianity look more like Professor Larycia Hawkins — both her person and her convictions — or more like those who wanted her gone?” The best future would be a biblical future, so the answer would have to be “those who wanted her gone.”

  • Ben in oakland

    Personally, I just love it when someone complains about the liberals vs. the conservatives, and how the political correctness of the latter is more politically correct than that of the former.

    Or maybe it’s the other way around.

    The irony is often lost.

  • Ben in oakland

    As always, with anything about God, there is an inherent pair of assumptions.

    1) the being allegedly speaking to you is who It says It is.

    2) the being is telling you the truth.

    That’s why the evidence presented against any particular faith is the evidence provided by all of the other faiths which say that it is wrong. After all, God spoke to them or their founder(s), provided manuscripts, and told them his plans.

    Scientists announced today their very first evidence that gravity waves exist, determined from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light years away. Which is more likely? The God that created The Whole Enchilada can be contained between the covers of a book created in one small corner of our world?

    Or that the people who claim to represent him only represent themselves.

  • Ben in oakland

    I wish I’d said that. Brilliant!

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  • Ken

    Hey Patrick… I think that hero of yours in John MacArthur, not John McCarther.

  • Roger

    Very well said.
    Of course your points will be discounted without regard by those who worship the Bible.
    To many, a conversation about what the Bible actually is, or even how it should be understood is a slippery slope type of threat to their entire belief system.
    Your question of how (in what manner) a infinite Creator might be represented in a finite book, albeit a rather thick one, should be on a short list of important topics for truth seekers to consider.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Ah, so it was about “political correctness!” Understood.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Any Christian who follows Christ is a Humanist.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Argentum ad hominiem spotted

  • George Nixon Shuler

    It is true Wheaton has every right to be a conservative institution. It is not true however that they have a right to a tax exempt status.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Same difference.

  • ben in oakland

    Of course. They wish away these legitimate criticisms by just explaining how I don’t know truth– The Truth– that they know.

  • Patrick

    I suppose all that time I spent in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, etc…did me no good in understanding Islam. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit does a pretty good job of explaining what God’s word means. Islam rejects the divinity of Christ, just for starters. They reject the trinitarian God. So prattle on if you will, but to suggest that the god of Islam is the same as our God, is just patently ignorant. Again, professing to wise (you), you became fools. Take five minutes out of your day and read Mathew 7:21-28. You might want to dwell on that passage for a time.

  • Patrick

    Darn spell checker….good catch… 🙂

  • Patrick

    George: That’s what you are going to say to Jesus….when he asks you to give an account for your life? You are going to sit there, and tell the world a falsehood that Jesus and Allah are one and the same? You realize that when this satanic argument over whether Islam worships the same God as Christians, what is REALLY being said is that Jesus is not God. You might step back and consider who you truly worship?

  • Patrick

    1 Timothy 4 The Holy Spirit tells us in plain words that in the last days some people will turn away from the faith. They will listen to what is said about spirits and follow the teaching about demons. 2 Those who teach this tell it as the truth when they know it is a lie. They do it so much that their own hearts no longer say it is wrong.

    Paul warned us that the church would be infested with doctrines unsupported by scriptures. Matt 7:21-28 talks about the many folks who claim to follow Christ being sent away by Jesus, “for I will say unto them, depart from me, I never knew you, those who practiced lawlessness”….consider the above conversation as just one of many examples. Consider any mainline church as another…

  • Dean Smith

    Political correctness is the dogma of the left. I don’t know of any conservative pc. Example please.

  • jimbo

    I think you’ve made my point. Hawkins answers the question “Yes and No” (which is an asinine answer) whereas Wheaton answers it with “No.”

    Wheaton’s statement is:
    Yet her recently expressed views, including that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, appear to be in conflict with the College’s Statement of Faith.

    And fyi, anyone who says that Muslims are “people of the book” has a very shallow, and inaccurate understanding of Islam. Only Jews and Christians are people of the book. Hawkins wasn’t knowledgeable enough about the subject to even get that basic correct. I’ve got to believe she is yet another sloppy theologian. How can anyone familiar with Islam get that wrong?

  • jimbo

    It depends on how narrowly you define humanism. My understanding is that humanists don’t use faith as an aspect of their philosophy. I am a Christian, I am not a humanist. I like much of what they believe, and do, but the humanists I’ve engaged with rejected or minimized faith of any kind.

  • jimbo

    If you want to read an argument as to why Christians and Muslims do NOT worship the same God, see:

    The topic is really not as complicated as many, even strong Evangelical Christians, have asserted.

  • ben in oakland

    You have to ask? In an article about Wheaton college and Doc Hawk, there is only ONE true Christian perspective, and it’s not hers.

    Here ya go.

    Marriage consists of one man and one woman together for life and making babies. Everything else is a threat.

    America is a Christian nation, even though God appears nowhere in our founding document, and religion only twice in a negative context.

    The right to bear arms shall never be restricted in any way, and certainly not by common sense.

    Obama is a dictator, even though elected and leaving office.

    All Muslims are responsible for islamic terrorism. All muslims are a threat.

    When Christians demand the right to discriminate against gay people, that’s religious freedom. When we fight back with anti-discrimination bills, that’s persecution.

    Disagreement and criticism of dominionist Christians is stifling their freedom of speech. Dominionists attacking liberals is just natural.

    I could keep going all day.

  • Dean Smith

    I could refute each of your examples at length and with a dose of common sense added but, unfortunately, they don’t give you enough space. As far as discrimination against gays, you are confusing concerns that our first amendment right to free speech may be criminalized and religious liberties curtailed merely by speaking out on what we believe concerning homosexuality in general. I don’t know anyone who mistreats gays personally. Jesus said that one of the two greatest commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself. There are no exclusions there. We all need all the friends we can get. Kindness and respect should be the order of the day in all interpersonal interactions. i just had a gay friend of thirty plus years pass away. He knew I was a conservative Christian. He also knew that I valued his friendship and considered him a business mentor, an area in which he was very astute, as well as being an all around pleasant fellow.

  • Christy

    Why would I prefer an obscure blog post by an anonymous author over peer-reviewed articles with footnotes and citations, written by people whose credentials and experience I can look up and verify? Again, this is what is wrong with Evangelicalism.

  • Ben in oakland

    You asked me for examples. I gave them to you. You could refute them, but you don’t.

    No one you know mistreats gay people. Good for you. You hang out with a better class of conservative Christian. yet the political campaigns as recently as the last election pronounced us a threat to everything good and holy. Kim Davis says she doesn’t have to respect the law. And state legislatures around the country are passing, or trying to pass laws, saying that discrimination on the basis of religious belief is perfectly acceptable. Our deaths are routinely called for. Utah still has its sodomy laws on the books, as do most of the state’s that had such laws invalidated since Lawrence v. tExas. Anti marriage laws passed by conservative Christians say that my children, love, life, faith and family are not entitled to the same protections as formicating, adulterous Kimmie.

    Sorry. I’m not buying it just because your friends are not as vicious as many.

  • Christy

    “People of the Book” is an allusion to an Arabic expression that refers to followers of Abrahamic religions, and the expression pre-dates Islam. Look it up on Wikipedia. It is not a synonym for “Christian.” It seems to me that you are the one with the shallow and inaccurate understanding of the context of her comments and the terms being used. It might be a good idea to get a handle on them, before you make pronouncements about what she meant using them.

  • Ross

    Amen Brother Preach it! Finally a Christian Response!

  • With your last comment,

    ‘I personally renounce any identification with that side of American evangelical Christianity that arrayed itself against Larycia Hawkins. I will fight, alongside many others, for a better version of Christian faith than the one you offer’,

    you have probably made yourself a target for conservative evangelicals. A brave statement, essential to make, but now you need to start looking over your shoulder. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  • cken

    To say you know what is right and proper before God has no basis except arrogance and ignorance. We don’t know who or more specifically what God is. God is beyond our comprehension, and we certainly can’t fathom His basis for judgment in totality. There are many non-Christians who live the way the truth and the life far better than most Christians. Will they be condemned to hell. They haven’t blasphemed the Holy Spirit and they have been good and kind to the least of these. So how will God judge them?

  • Joe M

    The thing is you simply don’t know. Maybe she chose to go even though they asked her to stay. The other thing is that since you admirably identify your “side,” you analysis is 100% commentary identified up front as against the religious tradition Wheaton represents. Why don’t you mid to our own family’s business, versus Wheaton’s?

  • Joe M

    “sanctimonious tweets”

    Throw more insults? Lady, I think you have that one covered, especially with the clever reference to IQs. Not at all nice, in any way, shape, or form. And you claim the high road. LOL.

  • fred gill

    The only bad news for conservative evangelicals is that they are letting people like Hawkins teach in their colleges in the first place. Wheaton is a Christian school committed to providing an education inspired by traditional Christian theology. Hawkins could have chosen to teach in one of vast, vast majority of American colleges which are not religious and no one would have blinked an eye at what she said. And to compare her to Dreyfus is ridiculous, bordering on idiotic. She is not, so far as we know, on her way to Devil’s Island to serve a life sentence. Let the distinguished professor of secular ethics – for that is what he truly is – stop berating Wheaton and instead take up the cudgels in defense of the many Christian student organizations which have been silenced or banished from universities across the land.

  • Charles Tysoe

    Diversity is great in principle… as long as it agrees with you and as long as it’s not conservative.

    Progressive? Conservative? Diversative?

    It’s all about who is in control and who wants to be in control.

    Who, Whom?

    It strikes me that there are many theological schools of a progressive bent who would welcome a scholar of Prof. Hawkins’ caliber… and with no conservatives on the faculty or in the student body to trouble her existence and her search for truth, justice etc.

    Or is it really, that even if there were 10,000 such places, there can not, there must not, be even one Wheaton?

  • Ajii

    There are two possibilities, using the criteria you have provided: they “live the way, the truth, and the life far better than most Christians,” and “they have been good and kind to the least of these.”

    If they accomplished these deeds perfectly, as perfectly as Jesus did during his life on earth, and loved and obeyed God flawlessly, as did Jesus, with heart, soul, and mind, they have earned their way into heaven.

    To invoke performance as the standard we want God to use when judging us, we have to read the handbook to find what the passing grade is. It is 100%.

    That is why we needed a perfect Saviour, who perfectly obeyed, perfectly loved, perfectly kept the Law, as our substitute. The good news is that by faith our sins–all of them–were imputed to Jesus and thus he died. And his perfect righteousness was imputed to us! And so we live! That’s great news!

    Re the original article, this is the good news Islam totally misses. Allah rewards & condemns on the basis of…

  • Ajii

    . . . performance.

  • Ajii

    Thanks for posting your comments, Ben. I worship a God who in no way is confined between the covers of a book. I see his fingerprints everywhere. The eyeballs you use to read my comments, the fingers I use to type out my thoughts. Perhaps you look at the same evidences and perceive something or someone else. I’m reminded of the ancient parable about the blind men all attempting to describe an elephant by what part of the body they,touched.
    But God has made himself known to us blind men in the person and words of Jesus of Nazareth. The proof of his words? His resurrection.

  • cken

    And Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. Therefor whether they know it or not they do believe in and follow Jesus. They love the Lord thy God with all their heart mind and soul and thy neighbor as thyself. All the rest of the good book is commentary. That is how you get into heaven. John 3:16 is what Christians use as their get out of hell free card and go about living however they want. You can recite that verse till you are blue in the face or you can not even know it exists and if you do wrong to the least of these your goose is cooked. Believing isn’t enough. Prayer isn’t enough. Going to church isn’t enough Worship isn’t enough. You must totally surrender to His will for you.

  • jimbo

    Christy wrote:
    “People of the Book” is an allusion to an Arabic expression that refers to followers of Abrahamic religions, and the expression pre-dates Islam. Look it up on Wikipedia. It is not a synonym for “Christian.”

    Try understanding what I wrote before you respond. I said that Hawkins was incorrect, that she didn’t know what she was talking about when she said that Muslims were people of the book. Muslims are NOT people of the book. They never were.

    Also, try reading the Wiki article in full before you quote from it.
    “The term “People of the Book” in the Qur’an refers to followers of monotheistic Abrahamic religions that are older than Islam.”

    This isn’t hard to understand. Muhammad always referred to either Jews or Christians, or both, when he used the term, “people of the book.” He never used it w/r to his followers.

    In fact, you can find some translations of the Quran that translate the phrase “people of the book” as “Jews and…

  • “Will they be condemned to hell if they are non Christians” Of course. God has already judged them before the foundation of the world. Good moral people, at least on the outside, can be on the inside their heart be moral unfit. God sees the heart more than what they are on the outside