Church Bandwagon

Wheaton College Professor Larycia Hawkins: Standing in Religious Solidarity with Muslims?


I am pleased to offer this article by Brenda Campbell, who blogs at A Solitary Journey. Brenda, a Wheaton College alum, wanted to share her thoughts on the recent news of Wheaton’s Professor Larycia Hawkins being placed on administrative leave due to her remarks about “religious solidarity with Muslims.” These words have left a firestorm in Christian social media. While the aforementioned quote has illicited strong responses by Christian leaders, it is important to be clear headed before coming to conclusions. Many charismatic leaders influenced us to only think their way. Brenda challenges us to do go beyond what you may have heard or read to consider another side. Thank you, Brenda!  ~Julie Anne



 Wheaton College Professor Larycia Hawkins:  Standing in Religious Solidarity with Muslims?

by Brenda Campbell

We live in a nation that is becoming ever more polarized, reducing complex social, political and interpersonal issues to sound-bites intended to further pit one group against another. We have heard presidential hopefuls as well as Christian college presidents urge extreme action in response to our collective sense of helplessness in the face of growing terrorism. We have become a citizenry that is quite comfortable with allowing the loudest and most extreme among us to think for us, preferring to be told how to think about any particular issue rather than thinking for ourselves. We are like sheep, completely willing to be led if it means we do not have to personally grapple with compelling issues.

Events at Wheaton College this past week are a perfect example of this new reality in our society. Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a tenured political science professor at Wheaton, decided to don a hajib as part of her Advent devotion. In explaining her actions on her Facebook page, she indicated that she was doing so to demonstrate her support for Muslims, who are feeling the rage of a nation after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino:



“I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay, descendants of the same cradle of humankind, I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book … But as I tell my students, theoretical solidarity is not solidarity at all. Thus, beginning tonight, my solidarity has become embodied solidarity.” (Source)

Photo courtesy Facebook


In its official statement, Wheaton indicates that their issue with Professor Hawkins is not that she wore the traditional Muslim headdress for women, but rather in the theological implications of her statement that Muslims and Christians worship the same God:

“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.” (Source)

Needless to say, Wheaton College is once again at the center of a firestorm and it has nothing to do with child pornography or pedophilia.  Students are protesting Dr. Hawkins’ suspension, staff and faculty are divided and the media attention is huge. Theologians on both sides of this complex issue are standing up and providing us with their soundbite evaluation of Dr. Hawkins position as well as the reaction of the College Administration.

The theological question that is at the crux of this controversy is whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. According to the Old Testament account, Muslims are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar. So the world’s three largest religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam claim the same Patriarch, and God promised that the descendants of both Isaac, the son of the promise, and Ishmael would form great societies. In that historical sense, we all worship the same God though our expressions of worship and understandings of him vary greatly. According to Dr. Miroslav Volf, a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and currently on the faculty of Yale Divinity School, the disciplinary action taken against Dr. Hawkins had nothing to do with theology and everything to do with anti-Muslim bigotry:

“Hawkins asserted that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. She did not insist that Christians and Muslims believe the same things about that one God. She did not state that Islam and Christianity are the same religion under a different name, or even that Islam is equally as true as Christianity. She did not deny that God was incarnate in Christ. Neither did she contest that the one God is the Holy Trinity. In fact, by having signed Wheaton’s Statement of Faith, she affirmed her belief in God as the Trinity and Jesus Christ as God and man, fundamental Christian convictions which, among other things, distinguish Christian faith from Islam.” (Source)

Wheaton’s most famous alum, however, went further than Dr. Hawkins or even Dr. Volf did.  In a televised interview in 1997, Billy Graham said:

I think everybody that that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the body of Christ. And that’s what God is doing today. He’s calling people out of the world for his name whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light that they have. And I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven.

Wheaton College is the home of the Billy Graham Center and Museum, and he is still honored on Wheaton’s campus. I don’t recall much of a controversy when he made these statements, which is curious to me. I would hope that patriarchy and gender discrimination are not at the root of the disciplinary action taken against Dr. Hawkins.

But beyond that, I have noted during my lifetime within the evangelical bubble, the tendency to approach the world from a defensive stance, rather than an offensive one. Eschatology often drives this stance as does fear. Jesus words in Matthew 16:18 (“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”)  are interpreted as a defensive strategy rather than an offensive one—in other words, we’ve got to lock and bar the church door because the enemy is without and trying to get in.  Instead of offensively pushing against the strongholds of hell, we huddle together inside the comfort of the prisons/organized religions we have created for ourselves. Everyone who is not like us, does not believe as we do, dress or act as we do, have the same values or cultural norms as we do, is perceived to be an enemy. We prefer theological certainty over compassionate vulnerability, and isolation over interaction with the world outside our reinforced doors.

By identifying with her Muslim neighbors, by daring to stand in solidarity with those who are caught between the war on terror and Jihad, Dr. Hawkins reflected more of the image of God and His heart towards this broken world than I’ve seen in a long time. Her actions remind me of the One whose birth we will celebrate in a few days—He walked among the marginalized and those who were hated by organized religion. He choose to identify with the vulnerable and welcomed those who were outcast and enemies of the predominant culture (i.e., lepers, Samaritans and tax collectors). He was a rebel, a radical and His love was inclusive and exorbitant then and still is today. It just gets clouded by those who opt for certainty (i.e., theological correctness) rather than love, who value orthodox purity more than welcoming all and who prefer sound-bite-like answers rather than really looking at the complexity and simplicity of the problems we face today. Dr. Hawkins chose love for others over job security, esteem and privacy. May we all have more of her attitude during these days of Advent.




110 thoughts on “Wheaton College Professor Larycia Hawkins: Standing in Religious Solidarity with Muslims?”

  1. Well for starters, it’s NOT the same God and we are not “people of The book”. Christians use the Bible God’s Holy WORD. Muslims worship A false god invented by a man that wanted to raise an army to rape & pilferage the land. Religion was just his sales pitch. The God of the Bible is not the false “god ” of the Koran. We as believers in Jesus Christ can’t stand with Muslims and claim it’s just the same ole God. It’s not, this is a lie from the pit of hell and this professor is an agent of deception. We are seeing this all over the country as liberals fall all over themselves to accept this false religion a equel to Christianity . It is NOT and never will be. The same universalist church that was picketing the NRA this weekend with a well known Marxist group is advocating the same Islam acceptance garbage in their “church”.

    A building or association of people “of faith” that doesn’t advocate the truth of Jesus Christ as demonstrated through the truth of God’s Word is not a church. Frankly I wonder if Wheaten college is really even a Christian college anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Dr. Larycia Hawkins is the good Samaritan.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am a born again Christian and a liberal and I will picket the NRA whenever I darn well please. Like the professor, I stand with my fellow citizens who are peace loving Muslims against the persecution and paranoid rhetoric that has affected this country of late.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The issue here is not solidarity. Standing in solidarity with people as humans, and as religious people seeking to freely practice their beliefs, is a good thing. The issue in this situation is whether or not Allah is Yahweh. Committed followers of the Muslim faith would say no, just as do their Christian counterparts. When one faith says that the fundamental nature and essence of God is that of three persons in one divine being, and another faith denies that teaching and considers it blasphemy, there’s no question that the two faith groups are talking about entirely different beings. It is not anti-Muslim bigotry to agree with the teachings of both Islam and Christianity that we have different objects of worship.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AnotherTom, I would refer you back to this quote:

    “Hawkins asserted that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. She did not insist that Christians and Muslims believe the same things about that one God. She did not state that Islam and Christianity are the same religion under a different name, or even that Islam is equally as true as Christianity. She did not deny that God was incarnate in Christ. Neither did she contest that the one God is the Holy Trinity. In fact, by having signed Wheaton’s Statement of Faith, she affirmed her belief in God as the Trinity and Jesus Christ as God and man, fundamental Christian convictions which, among other things, distinguish Christian faith from Islam.”

    I think people are making the issue about God a theological one. I don’t see that she is doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie Anne,
    All conversations about who God is are, by definition, theological. It is nonsensical to claim that two groups worship the “same God” when the things they believe about who God is and what He is like are fundamentally contradictory. It’s as if I said the Julie Anne I know is a tall redhead and another guy said the Julie Anne he knows is a blonde dwarf, and then someone trying to say we know the same Julie Anne. God cannot be separated from his essential characteristics anymore than anyone else can.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I see what you’re saying, Tom. Theological was not the right word, then. I think people are making it into a theological issue and she is NOT trying to do that. I shouldn’t try to speak for her, but I feel like I have a general understanding of what she is getting at after reading her Facebook page. But hopefully we will all find out as she has initiated the reconciliation process with the powers that be at Wheaton. Hopefully, her words will bring more clarity for all. I do think that people jump quickly and overreact without having complete understanding. She seems to hold to the same core beliefs that I suspect most of us hold to here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. To say that Christians and Muslims worship the same god is troubling to me. True, there is much that the professor did not say, but when it comes to drawing conclusions from silence, I submit that we should be as slow to excuse as to accuse. I suppose that it behooves the College to make inquiry.

    It is anecdotal, but I have reason to hope that the College will not totally discount the demands of Love. When I was a Wheaton student back toward the end of the third quarter of the 20th century, the College made the decision to expel a student who, insofar as all the well-known expectations were concerned, ought to have been expelled. Many students approached the deans, making arguments to the effect that love requires that one who has been embraced must not then be excluded. The decision to expel was reversed. Professors will no doubt be held to a higher standard than students, but there you have it.

    While I have some hope that the professor will be treated justly, and maybe even with grace and mercy, I have less optimism that the College will become a shining example of how to love our increasingly marginalized, peace loving Muslim neighbors. Unfortunately, if the College’s response a few years ago to their pedophile professor is any indication, they fall short when it comes time to minister to those who are suffering.

    I fear that the College will join the priest and Levite in their headlong rush to Jericho, while those in need will be left to the mercies of the despised, and no doubt heretical, Samaritan man (woman?)–and to the mercies Professor Larycia Hawkins. And Brenda. And maybe many more women than men.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There is only one God. At what point do we separate ourselves from people whose conception of God is different from ours? Personally, I have a great deal of trouble with the Calvinist notion of a God that predestines some individuals to be saved and others to be damned. I cannot square that with Jesus dying on the cross; what was the point of his self sacrifice if not to bring salvation to all that repent and believe? Isn’t he a Shepherd that rejoices over the one hundredth lost sheep who is found even though ninety-nine were already safe? To me these are very different views of God. And yet aren’t Calvinists our brothers and sisters in Christ?

    I agree with Julie Anne. I really do not think this is a theological issue for the professor. Her theology is in line with Wheaton College or she wouldn’t have signed a statement of faith and received tenure. I think that she is saying that Muslims are people who believe in one God who commands people to behave morally and as such are not so different from Christians as human beings and fellow citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Marsha asks, “At what point do we separate ourselves from people whose conception of God is different from ours?”

    We humans have historically rejected people who are in any way different from ourselves. This may be overly subtle, but I think perhaps the Professor has fallen prey to this mindset. She seems to need to base her identification with her Muslim neighbors on shared views, rather than simply on our shared humanity.

    As to the (hyper) Calvinist view of God, some have pointed out that he looks a great deal like Allah. I wish to be careful not to paint all Calvinists with the same broad brush, but I am inclined to think that the likes of John Piper do in fact worship the same god as the one who is portrayed as being worshiped by Muslims. So, yes, I will concede that some misguided Christians worship the same god as Muslims. Yet such Christians are, maybe, the least likely to love their Muslim neighbors.


  11. Scott & Gary,

    I consider myself a follower of Jesus. That would imply that I worship the Christian God. That does not necessarily mean, however, that the God I define is EXACTLY the same as the God either of you or, for that matter, anyone else on this board does.

    Does a muslim believe the same thing about God that any of us do? No, likely not.

    It’s worth watching the following video (and others in the series).


  12. If the Wheaton professor is being pounced on for being theologically imprecise, and the investigation indicates no real problem with what she actually believes, then I agree that she should not be punished or dismissed. In the meantime she ought to be given the benefit of the doubt.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. joelfrederick,

    I submit that it is only to the extent we serve, follow, obey, trust in, worship and empathically identify with Jesus, who is the perfect image of the Father, that we know the Father. It is by relationship, not intellect, that we come to know both the Son and the Father. Until we see Him face to face, we will not fully know Him. We are all heretics, in the sense of being imperfect in our mental understanding. That does not mean we are all apostate, though I do submit that some who have a more nearly accurate intellectual conception of the nature of Father God than others may also be apostate, for having rejected love. The question is whether we are about the business of being the good Samaritan to those around us.

    Jesus is the Truth, and we know him relationally. It is interesting that the women who are posting here are, it appears to me, the ones who are concerned about relational truth. We men are more apt to be in pursuit of right thinking, which is a lesser good than right relationship.

    As one whose faith has been lived primarily in the realm of the mind, I am compelled to concede and proclaim that Brenda, and the other women posting here, must surely be closer to the heart of Jesus/God than I. While I am confident that my theology must be more accurate than what professor Hawkins has pronounced, I must also concede that her heart appears to be more nearly in tune to the heart of Jesus/Father God than is my own.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Brenda, thank you for your insightful article. You articulate so well how the professor’s actions are a reflection of Jesus. Dare I say a reflection of the Gospel?
    I had started to believe the neo-Cals had appropriated that word as their own (especially with “gospel marriages” whatever that means). But I can honestly say her actions do honor God and that IS the Gospel. Brenda, your heart reflects an understanding of the agape love of God. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been paying attention to the Wheaton vs Larycia Hawkins story. I received an invitation to sign a MoveOn petition to reinstate Hawkins immediately, and have signed. Perhaps others would like to sign as well:

    I don’t know that Hawkins is an expert on Islam, but unfortunately for her employment she knows a bit more about it than the average American and apparently a whole lot more than the Wheaton administration. My understanding is she’s most in trouble for stating the truth that Moslems and Christians worship the same God. I guess her bosses don’t understand that the Arabic word for “god” is “allah,” that Christian Arabs worship Allah, and that Moslems revere Jesus as a great prophet.

    I believe the biggest theological difference between Moslems and most Christians is the Christian belief in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, the Christ. If that’s fundamental to Wheaton’s objection, then I’m sure they don’t consider Unitarians (including most of our Founding Fathers) to be Christians or worshippers of the one God, either.

    I thank Julie Anne for helping to distribute Brenda’s beautiful and inspiring message.

    I think the quote from Dr. Volk at Yale really nails the argument; that the God truly is the same and only our beliefs about Him differ.

    As an agnostic myself, a Thomas as it were, I know I don’t know everything, as the sage once said, “…a known unknown.” Perhaps there is an all-knowing Consciousness out there that my consciousness will join when I die. I don’t believe so, but then what do I know?

    I take great comfort in Billy Graham’s words as quoted in Brenda’s essay, not because I believe I will be with him in heaven, but because Billy believed I will be with him in heaven. His belief gives me some optimism about humanity’s potential.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lest there be any misunderstanding, the fact that I am perceiving (others may disagree) that the women here, and the Professor, are closer to the heart of Jesus/God than I should not be construed as some sort of claim that my intellect, as opposed to heart, is superior to theirs. Brenda is just one of the many SSB participants, both male and female, whose intellect exceeds my own.


  17. While I do not think that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, I do think that the anti-Muslim rhetoric of many conservative evangelicals amounts to paranoia and end-times conspiracy, forgetting that in our own Old Testament we find stoning for adultery, acts of homosexuality, and the like. We may point to the New Testament, suggesting that we do not practice such anymore, but that does not discount those historical practices from the OT — it’s still part of our past, and part of our holy book, as followers of YHWH.

    Some tend to point out the “kill the infidel” passages in the Qur’an but forget YHWH’s command for the Jewish people to annihilate the Canaanites — or the fact that YHWH’s Angel of the Lord wiped out thousands of disobedient Jewish people as punishment, etc. I hope I’m not being blithely naïve, but I do think we need to take a long, hard look within the pages of our own Bible before we criticize the violent nature of Islam’s holy book and religious practices, even if some of us still do not believe that both camps worship the same God; and by this I am referring not to the character of God, but to the nature of God, which I think is a very significant distinction.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Godith,

    Could not Muslims make similar arguments as those offered by Dr. Williams and others regarding moral objections to violence in the Qur’an? I am not challenging you — I am asking this in sincerity.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Julie Anne,

    Anyone can sign a statement of faith and receive tenure as a college professor. That doesn’t automatically mean either they were being completely honest at the time they were hired, OR that their views didn’t privately change over the years, while concealing that fact from the administration. I’m not saying either one was definitely the case here as we don’t know yet, but if Wheaton still has any concern for basic Christian orthodoxy, they were well within their rights to take the action they did. The history of Christian institutions of higher education is littered with examples of those that started out completely orthodox by the standard of at least the ancient creeds, and over time gradually went heretical with what was being taught and/or published.

    To say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God as part of her justification for donning the hijab, is at best a highly incautious statement reflecting theological confusion and/or ignorance. That CAIR is fine and dandy with it is not the point. Jesus taught that no one comes to the Father except through Him. This is why I find Billy Graham’s quote as well as any similar statement by the Pope or post-VII Magesterium to be highly problematic as well. If Wheaton has been hypocritical in how they’ve handled this case relative to past ones, they need to be called out. They should not be practicing the sin of partiality toward Graham or anyone else.

    Finally, regarding Dr. Volf’s opinion piece—I saw one great big setup of a false dichotomy. Either we support peaceful Muslims even to the point of implicitly bringing the Gospel into question, or else we’ve effectively condemned all Muslims as our enemies. I would put to you that it is very possible to be charitable toward our Muslim neighbors and support them in their basic humanity as fellow image bearers, without donning specifically Islamic garments or making statements that give the impression that fundamental doctrine which has divided us for more than a millennium, was really no big deal after all. Is the Allah of Islam the same as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Not from my understanding of Koranic doctrine, and their prophet Muhammad was quite clear regarding what he thought of the doctrines of both Jews and Christians. Support our neighbors in peacefulness? Absolutely. Support false, damning teaching? No.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. NJ,

    As I said earlier. I think people are making this into a theological issue and she was not. Her actions (and what I’ve seen from her on her Facebook and Twitter accounts) show that she is trying to show unity with Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorist groups. In some places in our country, all Muslims are being characterized as terrorists. That is simply not true, just as not all Christians behave like Westboro.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. William, You probably need to study further to see the vast differences. I have no doubt Muslims might try to accuse the OT of the same, but it is clearly not. Primarily, because the God of the OT is the true God (as you know).


  22. I understand your point, Julie Anne, about how all Muslims are being characterized in too many quarters. Unfortunately, professor Hawkins has made this into a theological issue by not only her statement that both religions worship the same God, but her appeals to Dr. Volf for support of her position. In both the Washington Post and a blog for the Huffington Post that she linked to on her Twitter feed, he has repeatedly argued the very statement she made. What it comes down to, is Volf’s belief that unless every Muslim and Christian the world over can be persuaded that they really worship the same God after all, the bloodshed will never cease. Most Christians I know would disagree with that, although we can sympathize in wanting an end to religious wars and killing in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I see your point, too, NJ. I think we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of the reconciliation talks. She could have been more clear on her side. And some may have jumped prematurely to wrong conclusions and missed her underlying message.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. “I would hope that patriarchy and gender discrimination are not at the root of the disciplinary action taken against Dr. Hawkins.” “…anti-Muslim bigotry?” These statements should have been struck from the commentary.

    The issue surrounds the instructor’s personal decision to identify with Muslims in the classroom, not her teaching ability or her gender. In terms of anti-Muslim bigotry, I suppose it could be said that any of us who would refuse to don a hijab would also be considered bigots. Such inflammatory, politically correct rhetoric is truly offensive. There is a presumption that no one has a right to disagree here. That’s wrong. Dissenters should be free to disagree without being labeled as bigots or anything else.

    The truth is that, throughout the world at this very moment, we are witnessing the horrors of the Muslim faith at its darkest. It doesn’t mean that all Muslims are directly involved in the atrocities, but it must be acknowledged that the teachings of Islam accept the murder of any and all who have been deemed infidels as good, appropriate and necessary actions. So women and children are being raped and enslaved, innocents are being tortured and beheaded, families are being driven from their homelands and evil marches on in the name of Allah and in pursuit of a world-wide caliphate. And if you want to see the full meaning of patriarchy and gender discrimination, look no further than Islam.

    If we worship the same God, then should we not also claim Mohammed as His prophet and embrace the Koran as the inspired Word?

    I simply cannot see their God and the One I serve as one and the same. I certainly do not support retribution against non-violent Muslims who live among us, but God gives us spiritual wisdom and discernment, and we have a responsibility to exercise it.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. If she is standing in solidarity with Muslims’ right to practice their religion freely in peace, free from terror, I support her 100%. If she is making the statement that both the Christian system of belief and the Muslim actually represent the same thing, then I find that problematic. Her statements are not very clear at this point so I am giving her the benefit of the doubt until she explains herself more fully.

    I think that Christians tend to forget that we must support the freedom of all to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience or we have cut off the branch we ourselves are sitting on. All persons deserve to live in peace, all persons must have the right to follow their own conscience in terms of their beliefs.

    Right now the issue of refugees seems to be causing a great divide in the Christian community. It is a testing point. I feel much more affinity for Prof. Hawkins’ stance than that of Jerry Falwell Jr’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I have no problem expressing support for Muslims who publicly and forcefully denounce the torture, beheadings, drownings, and other brutal murders that the hordes of Muslim jihadists are committing throughout the world. However, these “peaceful Muslims” who denounce jihad are few and far between. Opinion surveys show that many western Muslims support enforcing Sharia law on non-Muslims, which includes stoning adulterers and homosexuals, not eating pork or consuming alcohol, forcing women to wear head garb, etc. Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God, the God of the Bible. A cursory reading of Mohammed’s life show he was a disturbed man who communicated with demonic entities and had an underage wife. The Koran demands warfare and subjugation against Jews, Christians and other “infidels” who won’t accept Islam, and allows the rape of women (including girls) conquered in battle. If we want to show solidarity with victims of violence and prejudice, how about the thousands and thousands of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East who have been murdered by Islamic madmen and those who are right now fleeing for their lives for fear of the adherents of this “peaceful religion”?

    Liked by 2 people

  27. There have been some great thought-provoking comments. Thank you.

    It seems that with the event of the terrorist attacks, Christians are having to make difficult thoughts/decisions:

    Do I support the right to bear arms? To what extent should the govt be involved in that?

    What is the Christian response to immigration/refugee crisis? Does it mean we should open our boarders and welcome all? . . .even if they are Muslim?

    What does religious freedom mean to me? If I exercise my right to religious expression, does it not mean that people of different faith can express theirs, too?

    How can I uphold my religious convictions of the one true God, who died, shed His blood for me, while at the same time respect and co-exist with others of faiths who hate my Christ?

    What does peace with our really neighbors look like?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. @LifeWithPorpoise:

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the Bible and the Word was the Bible”, said no John ever.


    Well, somebody did write that Calvin achieved the Islamization of the Reformation, and his fanboys sure do have an attitude like ISIS.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. It’s very simple to state on one’s blog, on twitter, in a classroom, magazine article, etc. that not all Muslims are terrorists. That said, the professor decided to politicize it and then break with her statement of faith (by appealing to Pope Francis, surely not a way to win with the powers that be at Wheaton or much of Protestantism anywhere). What she’s done is practice an inexpensive virtue. As Todd Pruitt said, ‘if Professor Hawkins’ “embodied solidarity” will extend to giving up her rights to drive, vote, appear in public without a male family member, and having her testimony in a court of law rendered unreliable?’ Perhaps she unwittingly has done even more: she has given up her tenured professorial standing at a leading Christian college. Do we applaud or weep for her? (I’ve heard she’s negotiating to get her job back.)


  30. HUG:
    How can you reform the nonsense in Rome?
    Give the Priest a new outfit, modern building, different title. Crazy. Same whore, different dress.

    Gary W, your comment hit home for me.

    There are Christians who ‘get it’ (relationship) and there are many who don’t (mind).

    God know those who are his… But I often wonder about the high and lofty amongst us who have all the knowledge yet very little love.


    If you can couple the knowledge of solid doctrine with genuine love for the Lord and others…

    It’s nice to be around these people.

    I agree with your comments completely. They weren’t offensive because it was clear what you meant.

    Ever met a teenager who loves Jesus but has no clue about anything doctrine wise except He loves her and died for her?

    It’s the real deal.


  31. Is it correct to say that Muslims are descendants of Ishmael? I thought that Arabs were descendants of Ishmael, and that Islam came along many centuries after Abraham and Ishmael? Admittedly the first and probably largest group of Muslims are Arabs, but the way it’s worded sounds like a direct line from Ishmael to Muhammed.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. No, in fact not all Arabs are his descendants either. Just something that has been repeated so often that people begin to believe it.

    Kind of like: “Christians & Muslims believe in the same God”.

    Truly mind boggling is you have read God’s Word the Bible, and the Koran (also spelled Quaran in some regions of the world). More latter when I get off work.


  33. @HUG

    I suppose somebody will have to explain to Godwin’s law to me, but what do you think? If there is an attempt to bully another into silence by means of some sort of dismissive put down, could the bullying attempt not be designated a dismissio ad NAZIum? If the dismissive assignation takes a compound form, could it not be said to be an instance of dismissio ad NAZIum, ad nauseam?

    O.K., I admit it. That was not nearly so good as “Reductio ad Calvinum,” though I don’t think you are guilty of any such thing. Nor do I really believe there was any attempt to bully you. Dismiss, yes, but bully, no.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. It is clear that you have no idea who the God of the bible is.
    Even less what Biblical Christianity means.
    And for that matter what the Quran teaches about Christ.
    Everything is theological for the Christian; for in Him we live and have our being.
    I have unsubscribed from your blog.


  35. In looking only at language, Allah has been used by Arab Christians long before Mohammed made an appearance. Variants of the name Allah are used among Christian and Jewish people in parts of Africa and Portuguese speaking people. In Malaysia, a court determined that non-Muslim believing people could no longer use the word Allah in speaking about God. So, it is true, when thinking of Allah in terms of language, that Arabic speakers of all Abrahamic faiths use the word Allah to mean God.

    Does each Abrahamic faith describe God and worship God in a different way? Yes. So much so as to bring conflict where we are seeing Muslims killing Arab Christians because they dare to use the word Allah in their worship.

    Do Christians believe that we worship the same God as the Jewish God? I think most Christians do because of the Hebrew texts within the Bible. However, most Jewish people are appalled at the thought because they do not believe that God became a man.

    As far as the professor’s wearing a head scarf as a sign of solidarity, I am behind her on that. On a different note, Michael Moore recently stood outside Trump Tower holding a sign that said, “We are all Muslim.” I haven’t heard much much push back on him. Personally, if I were to choose a way to support Muslim people, I would pick the head scarf and the message the professor was promoting. Whereas Moore was pushing, “We are all Muslim,” I say we are not. We are all human – which is what the professor was promoting. And because we are all human – we bleed, eat, cry, sleep, die, laugh… – we should have empathy and support for our fellow human being. I think it’s time for us to move beyond our deep polarization which focuses solely on differences and start focusing on the fact that we are all human and we all deserve dignity and respect.


  36. Another thing I would bring up about professor Hawkins’ statement is her comment about “people of the Book”. As far as I know, that was coined by the early Muslims as a descriptor of Christians and Jews in contrast to animists and members of other minority religions. The problem with describing both Muslims and Christians as people of the Book is that we have two different books, and theologically they are not compatible.


  37. When I read Hawkins’ words, it seems as if she is trying to find commonalities with her Muslim neighbors. Right now, especially with the recent terrorist events and political and religious divisiveness among our political candidates, we are hearing words of combat, conflict, strife between people of different faiths. She seems to be trying to bridge that conflict.

    So when I read “people of the Book,” or that we worship the same God, I want to hear more specifically what she means. How does she come to those conclusions (especially when she seems to hold to the same traditional and fundamental (not fundamentalist) Christian beliefs that many of us hold to)?

    What I like about discussing this issues is that we can explore with each other respectfully. And we can also be free to come to different conclusions without destroying our relationships. This is a breath of fresh air for many of us who were spoon fed how we were to think/believe.

    Many of us were told if we associated with someone who had “wrong” beliefs, we were aligning with Satan, etc. This is another reason why I post controversial articles. I know we won’t all agree. And that’s okay.


  38. @Gary W

    Somewhere on SSB you left a comment about tithing grass clippings since the OT tithe was on “everything from the land.” Do you happen to know where that comment is? I totally ripped it off for one of my blog posts. I’d love to link to your comment if I can find It.


  39. I thought most of the folks at SSB were genderegals, rather than gendercomps. How do you square that with this professor wearing a symbol of submission?


  40. Hank Hanegraaff made a great point on his show last week. The idea that we worship the same god as the Muslims is offensive to Muslims. They don’t believe in the trinity. To do is to commit the unforgivable sin of Shirk. Assigning others the same status as Allah is horrendous to Muslims.

    Comparing the Quran to the Bible, we can tell that God and Allah are two different entities. If I ever get going on my next book, I’ll point out the differences between the two.


  41. Keith said:

    I thought most of the folks at SSB were genderegals, rather than gendercomps. How do you square that with this professor wearing a symbol of submission?

    I think you’re missing the point, Keith. She’s wearing it to show solidarity with those who have and will be discriminated against because of their faith and the wrong assumption that some Americans have that all Muslims are evil (like the terrorists).


  42. Having close friends from various religions, I’m fairly confident we all worship the same God. It’s just that each of my friends have cultural lenses that focus on different attributes of God. Some of my friends focus on holiness or power or transcendence or intimacy. And it’s uncanny that all of our “gods” love us unconditionally and have high moral standards (many of the “rules” are remarkably similar).


  43. So is the professor some kind of victim? Is she being spiritually abused because she wore a symbol of submission to the Islamic deity (and to males)?

    A few weeks ago, a person who wore the same type of garment helped murder and maim many. They are victims by any interpretation, except for some Islamic interpretations such as that held by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Now she wears this garment to show what, precisely? That followers of Islam are being persecuted in the USA? Perhaps this is happening, but I have not seen it.

    A faculty member at a Christian college refers to Christians as “people of the book”. What is her source for this phrase? Such a phrase appears in the Islamic scripture, but I do not think it appears in the Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Appreciate this perspective being shared. I had some debate with a fellow linguist back when a predominantly Muslim country was trying to stop Christians using the word Allah to refer to God. If I remember right, he pointed out that if we look at the word “God” in our own language it is interesting to see where it came from. I think there are some enlightening articles at the that might help Christians wrestling with how to love Muslims. I don’t think many Americans, even pastors, have had to wrestle with relating to Muslims as fellow human beings. I respect this woman for trying to raise awareness of a difficult issue, though I think she may not have expressed herself to evangelicals in a way that they could understand. One of the biggest things Christians need to be showing those they disagree with is that God is Love. That is radical thinking for many Muslims, because their emphasis is on submission to sovereignty. It is also radical (and heretical) to think of God loving us enough to sacrifice as Jesus did on the cross, but this is the truth of the gospel, as is the resurrection. If anything, these debates can lead us towards praying and loving our neighbors, if we can be humble about cultural and language issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. “So is the professor some kind of victim? Is she being spiritually abused because she wore a symbol of submission to the Islamic deity (and to males)?”

    Here is what I don’t understand about all of this. Any female missionary who goes to a Muslim country adheres to many of the customs of that country, including wearing a head scarf. Christian institutions don’t seem to have a problem with that. I don’t think the head scarf was the issue. The issue that some are having is that the professor states that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

    She is under disciplinary action at her school. Did she break some rule where she is employed?

    Liked by 1 person

  46. I am saddened that Professor Larycia Hawkins’ intent gets lost in debate on whether or not different religions believe in the same God. I think it’s pretty obvious what she was taking aim at considering the anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US today. The Bible asks of believers, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?”

    A reporter on twitter shared a link to a BBC story about Muslims in Kenya who stood up for their Christian neighbors when terrorists were trying to separate the two groups so that they could kill the Christians. The Muslims refused to separate and identify the Christians. Who showed love in this situation?

    Liked by 2 people

  47. “Did she break some rule…” I don’t know, but as Wheaton is described as a Christian college, she may have.

    The hijab shows submission to the Islamic deity and to males.

    Of course we don’t worship the same God. the Christian God is a Trinity.


  48. Wheaton’s Statement of Faith (you can Google it) starts out:

    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;

    I’m pretty sure that isn’t the same as the Muslim god. I expect a Wheaton professor has to subscribe to the entire Statement of Faith as a condition of employment. When the professor said Christians and Muslims worship the same God, I expect it was her apparent contradiction of the Statement of Faith that got her in trouble.

    Personally, I’m taking a wait and see attitude. The professor may have her explanations. Some allowance may be made for the fact that she is a professor of political science, and not a theologian.

    Then again, it is my anecdotal testimony that the only professor that ever did me dirty while at Wheaton was a professor of political science. I had the second best scores in the political science class I took, but received a lesser term grade than some with lower scores. It seems the professor didn’t like my brand of political convictions. It seems political science professors are capable of acting in conformity with their agendas.

    I’m actually quite conflicted on all of this. Maybe it was a case of laudable ends, unnecessarily ill-advised execution.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. I think it is up to the institution to decide what standards it has for faculty. Of course if there is a contract that would control.


  50. Would anyone have guessed that donning this attire so soon after the San Bernadino massacre would raise the ire of many at a Christian school?


  51. Keith-

    The hijab is about modesty. Christian female missionaries who live in Muslim countries wear them and are not called out by Christian institutions for doing so. It is done as a sign of respect for the people group they work among.

    The actions of the professor were much the same as Americans displaying the French flag after the massacre in France. Americans were showing support for the French citizens. The professor was showing support for Muslim Americans who might be experiencing hateful actions.


  52. It occurs to me that the patriarchs of the OT did not believe in the Trinity either. They had no such concept, yet they believed God and it was credited to them as righteousness.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. It occurs to me that the patriarchs of the OT did not believe in the Trinity either. They had no such concept, yet they believed God and it was credited to them as righteousness.

    Yes, Bridget, that is exactly why I think it’s important to wait and get further clarity on her words before condemning her.


  54. People of the Book is a term used to describe Christians and Jews. Maybe the Prof. was in error when including Muslims as “people of the book.” Maybe they do believe the Book but through the lens of Islam, which Christians would not agree with.


  55. Bridget: I don’t know how the actions of female missionaries in Muslim countries intersects with the standards a professor must maintain at Wheaton. I don’t really know that much about Wheaton, but apparently some believe that wearing the hijab for Advent is inconsistent with the institution’s statement of faith. Further, her contention regarding the deity of Islam as being the same as the Christian God has raised objection.

    I think Wheaton decides who teaches there.

    The hijab itself indicates submission to Islam and to men. She says she is showing “solidarity” with those who show this submission by wearing the hijab.


  56. I thought that “People of the Book” came from the koran/quran/qur’an (trying to use the various spellings so as not to offend anyone).


  57. Keith B –

    The links I posted explained the two terms. The scarf is for modesty as pertains to the Islamic culture. It is not necessarily about submission to a deity or to men.

    “I thought that “People of the Book” came from the koran/quran/qur’an (trying to use the various spellings so as not to offend anyone).”

    It is in the Koran, but the term in the Koran refers to those of the Christian and Jewish religions that came before Islam.

    All of this is explained in the links, which are short reads.


  58. We have become a citizenry that is quite comfortable with allowing the loudest and most extreme among us to think for us, preferring to be told how to think about any particular issue rather than thinking for ourselves

    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires
    – II Timothy 4:3

    Ironically, people who spend a lot of time obsessing over “sound doctrine” devote a lot of time and resources to conferences, radio sermon shows, books, blogs, and others to accumulate for themselves teachers who tell them what to think. Besides favorite Bible teachers, they also accumulate for themselves for themselves political pundits and talk show hosts as well, and purchase their books and listen to their commentary shows.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. “Opinion surveys show that many western Muslims support enforcing Sharia law on non-Muslims, which includes stoning adulterers and homosexuals, not eating pork or consuming alcohol, forcing women to wear head garb, etc.” – David

    I’m not sure who took the *opinion surveys”. Sounds like a group to the far right of Fox News.

    I’m a conserve Xtian but have many Muslim friends, of decades. Here in the West. That includes housemates, family friends, bosses, dentist, doctor, dermatologist, etc (the last three all being women who are Muslims).

    My Muslim friends are perhaps the most cynical of all about Muslim countries and regimes, having lived in them. They know all of the hypocrisies. That said, the slightest thing they say to protest can unleash violence, secret police arrests, and torture on their families by the government or any group in power.


  60. According to the article to which Julie Anne links on December 22, 2015 @ 10:09 PM, the College says:

    Contrary to some media reports, social media activity and subsequent public perception, Dr. Hawkins’ administrative leave resulted from theological statements that seemed inconsistent with Wheaton College’s doctrinal convictions, and is in no way related to her race, gender or commitment to wear a hijab during Advent.

    After allowing that everything the College says is in their statement, the professor mischaracterizes the statement by saying, “The college has been clear that it is not because I wore the hijab ALONE that I had been suspended, but because of comments I made in my Facebook post.” Emphasis added.

    In response to a question whether race is involved, the professor first says, “So, the answer has to be an unequivocal yes—race is always operative.” Then, in her very next sentence, she says, “Whether or not race was directly involved in why I was suspended or in how my comments have been interpreted, I cannot say.”

    Recognizing that we are not privy to the conversations between the College and the professor, it is beginning to look to me like the professor is being disingenuous, and that she is doing so in an effort make herself look good at the expense of the College. In the process, all that is legitimate about the point she says she is trying to make (a point with which I am in agreement) has been lost in a fog of public confrontation she appears to be doing more to promote than to dispel.


  61. Of one thing I am quite certain. Whatever its faults, Wheaton College is not guilty of the racial or cultural bigotry that would be indicated by the supposed reaction to the wearing of Muslim dress–at least not unless something has changed in the long decades since I was a Wheaton student. Assuming it works, the following link will enable anybody who is interested to explore the proactive efforts to which the College goes to PROMOTE cross cultural outreach:


  62. Thanks for your link at 1:57 P.M. (is something new going on that comments are being posted out of chronological order?)

    Anyhow, and I’m not winning too many “likes” here, but here are my takeaways from the interview:

    She disparages law enforcement and the justice system. Neither law enforcement nor the justice system can claim perfection, but she needs to tell us how to make them better, not just tear them down. She, and all who would proceed by confrontational means in matters of law and justice need to be mindful of one thing. Where the rule of law is brought low, the totalitarian disciples of Machiavelli will defeat the anarchist adherents of Bakunin. Every time.
    She lauds the notion of suffering with those who are being treated unjustly. Fine. There is a place for that. However, I frankly question why the professor needs to draw so much attention to herself in the process. Is she looking to alleviate unjust treatment, or is she seeking to draw attention to herself, maybe even seek a kind of martyrdom?
    When specifically asked about her statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, she initially talked about everything except her statement. When pressed, she point blank affirmed her assertion that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Rather than telling us what she means by this, she appeals to others who are allied with her in her thinking (like we’re supposed to be impressed just because somebody allegedly agrees with her–of course SOMEBODY does).
    I believe I heard her say the First Amendment guarantees (or words to that effect) against people interpreting things she says. If I heard her right, I question her qualifications to teach. What the First Amendment gives us is precisely the right to question and contest what others, especially public figures, think. Methinks the professor is rather relishing her 15 minutes of fame as a public figure.
    When addressing the question of reconciliation between herself and the College, she speaks of “sides.” She obviously doesn’t see herself as engaged in a process of reconciliation by dialogue, or even debate, between colleagues. When we view others as being on a different “side” from ourselves, we are viewing them as opponents–opponents who must be defeated by confrontation.
    She claims that race is always operative. She insists on leaving open the possibility that Wheaton College’s action against her is racially motivated. I need more than an unsubstantiated insinuation. I need evidence.

    I do not have access to a transcript. I have only listened once. Maybe I am not reporting everything just exactly right. But I don’t think I am getting things far wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. Velour said,

    (by someone named David):
    “Opinion surveys show that many western Muslims support enforcing Sharia law on non-Muslims, which includes stoning adulterers and homosexuals, not eating pork or consuming alcohol, forcing women to wear head garb, etc.” – David

    (Velour’s reply)
    I’m not sure who took the *opinion surveys”. Sounds like a group to the far right of Fox News.

    I believe Pew research is one of those sources.

    I just saw a link to their study about a week ago. I will post the link if I can find it.

    There is this (by a Muslim woman, Raheel Raza) in the meanwhile:
    Clarion Project: By the Numbers The Untold Story of Muslims Opinions and Demographics


  64. @David

    Opinion surveys show that many western Muslims support enforcing Sharia law on non-Muslims, which includes stoning adulterers and homosexuals, not eating pork or consuming alcohol, forcing women to wear head garb, etc.

    I’m not terribly concerned about Sharia law being enforced in this county. I’m far more concerned about a Reconstructionist foothold in our government whereby some professing Christians could enforce the very same rules you describe above except they originate from the Levitical law.

    If we want to show solidarity with victims of violence and prejudice, how about the thousands and thousands of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East who have been murdered by Islamic madmen and those who are right now fleeing for their lives for fear of the adherents of this “peaceful religion”?

    I absolutely think we should support these Christians and other minorities. But I think it’s important to realize that Islamic terrorists have killed far more Muslims than other religious groups. We should support all of these victims.


  65. Thanks, Keith. Maybe this would be a good time for me reiterate that I have no problem with the point the professor professes to be attempting to make. It’s just that it must surely be difficult for many to see what is legitimate in her position when she insists on making her point by provocative, even heretical, means.

    A young man with whom I had a passing acquaintance some years ago set a much truer example. Having a heart for Arab Muslims, he embraced them. He adopted Arab dress, but he went much farther. He went to live among them. He loved them in heart, mind and action. His commitment was not based on some supposed identity of the Christian God with Allah, nor was there any indulgence in the politics of identity. Rather, speaking of himself and his young wife he is quoted as having said:

    “We both strongly feel that God has called us to go to these people, knowing that the love of God and the power of Christ can change any heart, can break through any bond — and can turn people from violence into carrying the Word of God and piercing the hearts of people, not with bullets, but with the Word of God.” See link below.

    David McDonnall loved his Muslim Arab friends with no lesser love than the giving of his life. On March 15, 2004, he and three of his associates were killed in a hail of the very bullets he would avert with “the love of God and the power of Christ.” His wife was seriously wounded. The martyrdom made national news, but perhaps this old news article is as good as any at painting a picture of the heart of one who knew how to love:


  66. I’m late to this discussion, but this is so good maybe I can get in on the tail end. Julie Anne, Brenda’s post is great! I love “Instead of offensively pushing against the strongholds of hell, we huddle together inside the comfort of the prisons/organized religions we have created for ourselves.” So true!!

    When I tried to find Brenda Campbell’s blog, I found something called “A Solitary Journey” at, but the author there is Brenda Ratcliff. Is she the same Brenda?

    I’d like to contribute to this discussion a Washington Post article by two Muslim women. They grew up in in the 1960’s before the ascendancy of Sharia, so they had much more freedom than women in Muslim nations have today. They advocate for a more liberal kind of Islam similar to the kind they grew up with. They believe that wearing headscarves to show solidarity is misguided. They say: “In the name of “interfaith,” these well-intentioned Americans are getting duped by the agenda of Muslims who argue that a woman’s honor lies in her “chastity” and unwittingly push a platform to put a hijab on every woman. Please do this instead: Do not wear a headscarf in “solidarity” with the ideology that most silences us, equating our bodies with “honor.” Stand with us instead with moral courage against the ideology of Islamism that demands we cover our hair.”

    One more point: It is not universally accepted that Mohammed descended from Ishmael. Claiming descent from Abraham gave him some legitimacy, but this article says that Ishmaelite tribes died out around the 7th century BC, obviously centuries before Mohammed.


  67. @Sarah2

    Brenda’s blog is well worth reading. Maybe read chronologically starting with the earliest post. There is no way her experience can be adequately summarized here, but it involves what I deem to be a betrayal by Wheaton College, which is my own alma matter. Brenda’s husband, a Wheaton College professor of education, was arrested on child pornography charges. Brenda describes her betrayal, as a secondary victim, at

    “When my ex was arrested and his case became a media feeding frenzy, the religious organization he worked at [Wheaton College] made the correct decision to fire him. But they also made the decision to distance themselves from me and my children. I was a former employee and an alum. I was left in dire financial straits and would have been homeless if family had not intervened. I have since learned that at least one member of his former department visits him weekly–I guess to encourage him in the faith. They attend his court dates and offer counsel to him. I am happy that they are reaching beyond judgment, embarrassment and scandal to “minister” to him. However, I have yet to receive a phone call on even a quarterly basis from these men or from this organization. No one inquires how we are doing–or if we are surviving.”

    At Brenda describes how she was generally abandoned by Christian institutions and individuals. Among other things she informs us:

    “I needed cash and lots of it. Other than a few very small gifts, there was none forthcoming from any religious organization or individual. My Buddhist gay brother and his partner pledged to provide for us until I could get on my feet. And they did–tens of thousands of dollars–all a gift, nothing expected in return.”

    It is very disturbing, even disorienting, to note who, in Brenda’s circumstances, played the role of the priest and Levite, and who played the role of the good Samaritan.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. When an Arabic Christian refers to Allah, he or she is referring to the triune God. Not so for the Arabic-speaking follower of Islam.

    This professor’s priorities are horribly misplaced. At a time when Christian and Yezidi women and children are being sold into sexual slavery, and religious minorities are being subject to genocide in Iraq and Syria, she dons the uniform of the oppressor.

    She would do well to heed Archbishop Welby, who has described Islamic extremists as a ‘Herod of today”.


  69. What greater spiritual abuse is there, than to be imprisoned, sold into slavery or murdered for one’s faith?


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