Student Media at Wheaton College “Stonewalled” by School Leaders

Wheaton College, Dr. Larycia Hawkins, The Wheaton Record, Kirkland An


 

 

I’m thinking perhaps some higher ups at Wheaton College might wish their student journalists weren’t quite so talented.

But let me first back up a bit to refresh your mind about this story. A new article came out yesterday which will help: Dr. Larycia Hawkins on the ‘Inquisition’ at Wheaton and Why She Wants to Stay.

The summary from the article will hopefully fill in some gaps:

 

Dr. Larycia Hawkins — the Wheaton College political science professor who recently was placed on administrative leave because of her Facebook comments showing solidarity with the Muslim community and saying Christians and Muslims worship the ‘same God’ — has been the center of much speculation over the future of both Christian liberal arts and the evangelical faith writ large. The administration maintains that her comments seemed to be inconsistent with the college’s Statement of Faith, and earlier this month provost Stan Jones delivered a recommendation to the president to initiate termination. A hearing before the Faculty Personnel Committee on Feb. 11 will result in a recommendation to the president and board of trustees on how to move forward.

Dr. Hawkins carefully articulates her position in the article and I encourage you to read it.

Okay, back to the main topic of the story. The case of Professor Laryica Hawkins is far from over, but the editor-in-chief of the Wheaton Record, Kirkland An, is doing a stellar job of letting the public know what is going on by utilizing social media. Take a look:

He has live-tweeted Wheaton community meetings (here’s only a sampling):

 

And he tweets information pertinent to the story that we might not see in major news sources:

 

But this is what concerns me:

 

 

 

In the first tweet below, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, religion reporter for The Washington Post, expressed her concern. It should be noted that Sarah has a personal tie with Wheaton College. She “ran Wheaton College’s student newspaper” while going to school.

Randall King questions Ms. Bailey in the second tweet. Randall King notes on his Twitter profile that he is “media professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, broadcaster, producer, storyteller.”  It makes sense that he, too, would be concerned:

 

 

This was posted on the Wheaton Record Facebook page:

 

Wheaton College, The Wheaton Record, Dr. Hawkins

 

I am disturbed by the behavior of the school leaders.  I, however, applaud the work of Kirkland An and the student staff at The Wheaton Record. They deserve open and honest dialogue. I hope Wheaton leaders will respond appropriately and respectfully to the student journalists who are doing their best to bring information to their readership. It seems to be the most Christ-like way to respond, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

66 comments on “Student Media at Wheaton College “Stonewalled” by School Leaders

  1. Much the same cultural conflict being played out in many churches has simply become visible on a Christian college campus.

    On one side is an largely older and patriarchal status quo holding the reigns of power. On the other is a typically younger, more diverse, and less rigid cohort willing to explore old issues from a different perspective.

    Much of it is a typical generational divide.

    Like

  2. Excellent post Julie Anne! I was impressed with her interview in Sojourner’s–compassionate and yet firm in her analysis of the process. Gary W, I encourage you to read it.

    When an organization is perceived to be at the top of their industry, i.e. the “Harvard of evangelicalism,” the organization has to become defensive of that position. There are always competitors nipping at their heels in an attempt to take their place as number one. The goal then is to defend the institution first and foremost–people come way after that goal. I’ve seen this in play at Wheaton for a long time. It is sad because it runs counter to all that they teach and certainly to the message of the Gospel.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Those not in power are not allowed to discuss, question, or even express concerns on issues that the powers that be don’t want attention drawn to. Open dialog? I was a moderator on the Christian Post for 5 years, before I was removed after increasingly questioning or “disrespecting” the authors (and those that ran CP) in comments. I should add, CP is very conservative.

    I can certainly see why this professor’s comments are disconcerting to Wheaton’s board, but refusing to have open dialog with students or the student newspaper appears condescending. Student opinions don’t matter, because, well, they’re “just” students/kids.

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  4. I absolutely do not think that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. I also believe that Wheaton has the right under our Constitution and federal statutory law to enforce a policy whereby adherence to their religious distinctives are part of the requirements for faculty and students, so long as those distinctives are part of a clear and consistent policy. This is absolutely allowed under federal civil rights law.

    However, I’m disturbed by the actions of Wheaton here vis-a-vis the press, that does not speak well to their integrity. Very troubling, it’s a little hard to imagine our Lord being insecure and locking out the press, sounds more like the scheming of a cult. They need to be very careful here, because Wheaton is one of the few high profile Christian institutions that has maintained fidelity to faith and high academics, they run a serious risk by taking this path.

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  5. Romans 10:13 (and Acts 2:21): “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    ἐπικαλέσηται (who calls upon): call upon, appeal to, “call by a supplementary/additional name”

    ὄνομα (name): “name, character, fame, reputation”, “the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others.”

    The definitions above are taken from Thayer’s Lexicon at biblehub.com. I take the above to indicate the word “Jesus” is not a secret password, but that the man Jesus is the gracious open door who makes himself known to all, even those who do not know his name.

    We are fond of condemning even those who have not heard the gospel since they are without excuse because all creation testifies to its creator (Romans 1:20). Yet when people rely on the evidence of creation to appeal to the nature of its creator we damn them because they don’t say the sometimes-secret code word “Jesus.”

    I have a beautiful Native American Indian prayer hanging in my home. It is a loving thank you to the creator and sustainer of all life. The only word missing is “Jesus.” And yet God did not leave this beloved people without knowledge (or hope, or salvation), IMHO.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Romans 10:13 (and Acts 2:21): “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    ἐπικαλέσηται (who calls upon): call upon, appeal to, call by a supplementary/additional name

    ὄνομα (name): “name, character, fame, reputation”, “the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others.”

    The definitions above are taken from Thayer’s Lexicon at biblehub.com. I take the above to indicate the word “Jesus” is not a secret password, but that the man Jesus is the gracious open door who makes himself known to all, even those who do not know his name.

    We are fond of condemning even those who have not heard the gospel since they are without excuse because all creation testifies to its creator (Romans 1:20). Yet when people rely on the evidence of creation to appeal to the nature of its creator we damn them because they don’t say the sometimes-secret code word “Jesus.”

    I have a beautiful Native American Indian prayer hanging in my home. It is a loving thank you to the creator and sustainer of all life. The only word missing is “Jesus.” And yet God did not leave this beloved people without knowledge (or hope, or salvation).

    Like

  7. @Brenda

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment that Wheaton’s “goal then is to defend the institution first and foremost–people come way after that goal.” What religious organization is there concerning which that could not be said? It is just and appropriate to examine an organization’s specific actions in light of its motives, biases and prejudices.

    In this particular case, however, I am concerned that there is this concerted effort to distract attention from everything except the underlying issue, which is whether the professor espoused, and continues to espouse, the view that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

    In a Criminal prosecution, one very effective tactic of defense counsel is to do everything possible to distract the jury’s attention from the simple question whether the defendant did or did not commit all the elements of the statutorily defined criminal offense. If defense counsel can turn the tables on the People and, in effect, put the arresting officer on trial, if they can paint the policeman as being the real bad guy, so much the better. If the defendant can be painted as the real victim, there is a good probability that the jury will never even get to the question of whether the defendant did or did not commit the crime charged.

    From reading the Sojourner interview, it seems to me this is very much the tactic the professor is engaging. She specifically declines to discuss her theological views. Rather than sticking with the underlying theological issue, she attempts to distract our attention with a diversion into questions of politics, freedom of speech, academic freedom and so on. It seems she is still trying to say the issue is her wearing a headscarf, and what she intended to communicate by that act, when it clearly is not. She makes the College out to be somehow corrupt (the bad cop), with herself being no more than an innocent victim.

    The professor protests her desire for reconciliation. Well and good. She can simply admit that she was in error to claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. She can qualify her statement if she wishes, but she needs to accept the fact that, at best, her statement regarding the identity of the Christian and Muslim gods left a wrong impression. Unfortunately, after having read the professors theological views, as set forth in her letter to which the Sojourner article pointed, I doubt she can legitimately do any such thing.

    By the way, thank you for pointing me to “Eve” by the author of “The Shack.” Without taking time to make an appropriate segue, I am compelled to confess that my present theological views would doubtless disqualify me from employment, and probably enrollment, at Wheaton.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. According to what’s written here, Wheaton does not have an official position on whether or not Muslims and Christians worship the same god. If that’s the case, then it seems like it would be difficult to use that as the reason to fire her. So, it is actually very relevant here, and not a distraction.

    Of course, like many, I don’t believe that’s the real reason they fired her. It’s just a convenient excuse that’s now less convenient since the university doesn’t have an official position on it.

    These are the same folks that gladly walked right in line with George W. Bush, who on several occasions said it’s his belief that they are the same god. But he wasn’t an woman of color who needed to learn her place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. @Janet

    I just began reading the Koran, and one thing is made very clear (though I haven’t gotten too far), that is the belief and insistence that everything in the Koran is a “new testament”. It categorically denies the divinity of Jesus, calling Him instead a good man and prophet, on par with Muhammad, author of the Koran.

    It is that denial of Jesus’ divinity which makes Muslims “unsaved” according to the Gospel. Muslims call on the name of God, not Jesus. John 5, 23-24, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life…”

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Make sure when reading the Koran, to read the older English translation. The new translation written for Americans will use the word love several times and it seems to be a concept that is unknown in the Koran. When I read the entire Koran I did not see the word love or even the very idea of love anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One of the interesting thoughts about this professor wearing the head scarf is her total misunderstanding of why women wear it. The Koran does not speak to the wearing of it. It is a relatively new tradition and it is worn to show that the woman is in subjection to men. I find it interesting that a woman, college professor that has been given the opportunity to earn a PhD and then given an opportunity to teach at the college level would wear the scarf that shows she is in subjection to men. Just saying.

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  12. I don’t want to lose sight of some dynamics. What I’m trying to do is show how leaders respond to conflict. This is an interesting case also in the fact that it involves an African-American woman. Does this play into the equation? Kirkland An’s tweet shows that he has obviously thought about this issue.

    And the bigger issue I have right now (and it doesn’t even have to do with Jesus/God issue and whether you agree with Dr. Hawkins or not) is the idea of school leaders controlling the dialogue and access to information. Is this appropriate or does this cross the lines of acceptability? Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Randall King, both share concerns. Where is everyone else in this? Are they remaining silent because they disagree with Dr. Hawkins? Can’t the two issues be separated?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. My copy looks like novel and was translated by John Rowell who died in 1900. It reads somewhat like the King James version of the Bible with “thees” and “thous”.

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  14. This is on Wheaton’s page about the benefits of a liberal arts education:

    “A strong foundation in moral virtue and ethical reasoning that builds character, fosters integrity, strengthens relationships, promotes stewardship, and earns respect outside as well as inside the church.”

    By not allowing the students to participate in the conversation, they are not exhibiting what they believe to be important about a liberal arts education. The students are greatly affected when something like this happens to a professor. They should have adequate representation in the discussion.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Shutting anyone out when the issue involves them (as with students having a legitimate interest in faculty) seems counter to Jesus saying that we are to act as light and walk in the light/ Shed light and controversies might lose their controversial nature.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. “In this particular case, however, I am concerned that there is this concerted effort to distract attention from everything except the underlying issue, which is whether the professor espoused, and continues to espouse, the view that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.”

    That is part of my takewaway, too. But even more than that what is Dr. Hawkins’ end game?

    I am no fan of Wheaton and would never recommend it. In fact, I do the opposite. But I am also no fan of Sojourner. We are want to label everything these days so I will say they are part of the radical religious left which I have as much problem with the as I do the right.

    I am also curious why Wheaton would need a statement concerning Muslims and Chrisitans worshipping the same God or not? AS others have pointed out here, Jesus Christ is the full representation of God in the flesh. He is “all in all”. Jesus Christ is a kind prophet in the Quran. He is not God in the flesh to them so the point seems rather moot to me and concerning that Profs who teach at a Christian college don’t realize this.

    I would rather see Dr. Hawkins go for her 15 min of fame supporting someone like Brenda who was treated horribly by Wheaton during that ordeal. That I could understand standing up for.

    Here is another view on wearing the Hijab to show solidarity by Muslim women that I think deserves a read:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/12/21/as-muslim-women-we-actually-ask-you-not-to-wear-the-hijab-in-the-name-of-interfaith-solidarity/

    Dr. Hawkins was not doing Muslim or Christian women a favor by her empty gesture. But it got her in the news.

    If the students are demanding the college accept that Islam and Christianity worship the same God or that it is ok to teach that exclusively, then I also think that is a problem. Why not study it and they might find Jesus Christ as God in the flesh? At least I hope so.

    As to diversity, I see many problems with that as a cause. I was taught to see people as individuals and think judging by skin color is part of the problem. Racism is also hating whitey. Both sides need to see people as individuals and like Dr. King, judge by content of character. Not use race on either side. One can dream, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. “These are the same folks that gladly walked right in line with George W. Bush, who on several occasions said it’s his belief that they are the same god. But he wasn’t an woman of color who needed to learn her place.”

    He also was not a professor at a Christian college. Not sure why GW is our go to guy for this?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ” I was impressed with her interview in Sojourner’s–compassionate and yet firm in her analysis of the process. Gary W, I encourage you to read it.”

    I could not see where she made a case at all about her actions. It was a lot about her feelings. I think she has a leftist agenda. And I think the Admin has a rightist agenda. Pox on both their houses.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Gary you said:

    “She specifically declines to discuss her theological views.”

    That is not true – she said this –

    “I will say the college has painted me as saying I wouldn’t talk to them. I said there would be no more theological conversation because my theological statement was a bona fide statement of an affirmation of Christian faith and orthodoxy. I said on the basis of my statement I will not explain any more. That’s protecting my dignity and my right to say, look, if that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what would be enough. What’s to question? …”

    If you read the article you will find a link to a four page letter to Wheaton that is a statement of the Proff. beliefs.

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  20. Julie Anne asks about “the idea of school leaders controlling the dialogue and access to information.” I would say it just depends. What kinds of meetings are students being excluded from? Are they related to those personnel matters that are specific to the professor’s disciplinary process? If so, it seems highly likely that the college has a contractual duty to exclude the public, including the media. Before blaming the college, I would have to see the professor’s contract of employment, the college’s personnel manual, its policies and procedures and everything else relevant to a disciplinary proceeding like the one in play with the professor. Even if the college isn’t legally obligated to follow the course these media types find so distasteful, surely it would be simple courtesy in most instances to exclude the public, thereby protecting the privacy of whoever is being subjected to discipline.

    As to the complaints of Mr. An and other media types, all I can say is that they thrive on stirring up controversy. If it is controversy in which they are the center of attention, so much the better (from their point of view). My personal experience is that, if I give an interview to a reporter with whom I am not personally acquainted, I get misquoted, quoted out of context, and quoted in fragments designed to make me look like a fool. Plus, the story I read bears no relationship to the facts as I know them to be. Nope, I’m sorry. I have about as much sympathy for most reporters as I have for the great accuser himself. After all, both the media and the satan traffic in accusation, blame and a process of personal destruction.

    Probably I had best not share my thoughts in relation to how the race card is being played.

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  21. Bridget,

    Thank you. I did read the professor’s letter, which I referred to in the next to last paragraph of my 7:18 AM comment. It seems to me that, in this letter, the professor missed an opportunity to defuse the situation. Rather, I was left with the impression that she was either playing the narcissist or else spoiling for a fight–maybe both.

    Still, based on her letter, maybe we should cut the professor some slack when it comes to theology. For example, unless I am completely misunderstanding her, she thinks that the virgin birth and the Roman Catholic concept of the immaculate conception are one and the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Janet, thank you. Your comment is very thought provoking.

    “The definitions above are taken from Thayer’s Lexicon at biblehub.com. I take the above to indicate the word “Jesus” is not a secret password, but that the man Jesus is the gracious open door who makes himself known to all, even those who do not know his name”.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

    “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.

    or

    “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world but it’s only really good news if you’re lucky enough to live in a country where the name of Jesus is preached… by those without an agenda, and oh… without works being tacked on also”.

    Hmm.

    The Good News today being preached is hardly good news at all.

    Whilst I cling to the Christ of the Cross in every ‘orthodox’ sense… and my hope and trust is 100% in Him (how could I ever ‘save’ myself)?

    I do not feel I have much in common with the Religious Men who represent my Jesus in the Temples (Churches) made with men’s hands.

    When we consider how few believe in the name of Jesus (however you pronounce it), and of those few so many add on good works as a silent requirement to validate their ‘faith’…

    you have to wonder whether it was worth Jesus dying at all.

    For a few thousand people. haha.

    In all honesty… I’m not a ‘all roads lead to God’ Christian.

    But I am definitely in a place of questioning the magnitude of God’s mercy and grace (as far as the East is from the West… Psalm 103 etc)…

    John said,

    “BEHOLD the lamb of God… who TAKES AWAY the sin of the WORLD”.

    So either he took it away… or he didn’t.

    We are known as his disciples, if we love one another.

    How much love do we see in the ‘Christian’ camp.

    Makes you wonder who will make the final cut huh?

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  23. At to Julie Anne’s concern, I don’t know why the college won’t allow student reporters to sit in on meetings. I don’t think it would harm anything if they were allowed to.

    As to a few posts above. Even if Islam and Christianity had the same God (which I’m pretty dubious about), Jesus says in the New Testament that he alone is the only way to God (John 14:6), something Muslims would deny.

    Muslims regard Jesus as just another prophet, Mohammed is the final and best prophet (in their view), and correct me if I am wrong, but don’t Muslims deny that Jesus was crucified and/or resurrected?

    From what I’ve learned of Islam, they think salvation is only kind of possible if one does good deeds and meets other qualifications, and salvation is only guaranteed if one kills infidels (especially Jews and Christians) and is martyred (dies) in that process.

    There is no grace in Islam, no concept of God dying in your place and being good on your behalf because you can never be good enough.

    In the New Testament, God’s standard is absolute perfection, something nobody can live up to, hence why God (the Son) had to take the place of humanity at the cross.

    Anyhow, Jesus says in John 14:6 he alone is the way to God – Muslims would dispute that belief / teaching, regardless if they worship the same God as Christians or not.

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  24. Acts 4:11-12 “He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

    From what I know, Muslims don’t believe that.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. As to the issue of worshipping the same God, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Abrahamic religions having the same root but believing starkly different theologies. What I do wonder about is Christians who say we worship the same God as Judaism but deny it for Islam. There needs to be a consistent answer across the board.

    As to the college board, I feel they are making a huge mistake in the way they are handling this, commenting on some aspects of a personnel case when it’s to their advantage while being secretive about things that may not be. I also think the professor’s gender, if not race may have something to do without how this is being handled. Just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. “As to the issue of worshipping the same God, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Abrahamic religions having the same root but believing starkly different theologies. ”

    The key word might be “root”. Something to consider is that it was invented over 500 years after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So the claims are there but for me it is similar to something like Mormon claims to Christianity. The Mormons simply co-opted Jesus Christ.

    I dont say this to disrespect any religion and disagreeing about them is not the same as wanting harm to come to them but an interesting by product of this issue is how we respond. It is scary stuff.

    In the name of tolerance do we agree? And so what if we don’t? We don’t live in a theocracy so I am at a loss as to the professors provocation and her endgame.

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  27. Tolerance doesn’t mean you have to agree with each other, quite the contrary. It simply means you let the other believe/live as they wish without wishing or doing them harm.There was a time early on of tolerance between Muslims, Christians and Jews as “people of the Book”. We could use some of that now.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. @Niteowel

    You charge the college with the possibility of racism and gender bias. I don’t want to put you on the spot, so feel free to ignore my question, but if you are comfortable answering, what are the facts you think justify such charges?

    In the world in which live (I’m a lawyer, but please don’t tell anybody), the person who makes an allegation has the burden of presenting the evidence to substantiate their charge. It seems to me that it is a good practice, both inside and outside the courtroom, to expect anybody who makes a charge to point to their facts.

    For the professor and Mr. An to insinuate the college may be motivated by racism and/or gender bias, without so much as stating the alleged factual basis of their charges (never mind actual proof), is simply unacceptable. Unfortunately, the present political climate in the U.S. is such that a mere charge of racism or gender bias can destroy unless the party being defamed can prove their innocence. The defamed party is for all intents and purposes guilty unless and until they satisfy the unjust and unacceptable burden of proving otherwise. Again, the burden of substantiating a charge ought to be one making it.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. @Tim

    You say “Shutting anyone out when the issue involves them (as with students having a legitimate interest in faculty) seems counter to Jesus saying that we are to act as light and walk in the light/ Shed light and controversies might lose their controversial nature.”

    This would no doubt be true if we were addressing a policy making process. However, in the present instance, we are dealing with the application of preexisting policy and contractual obligations to a specific alleged violation. If I am correct in supposing that the College is engaged in a judicial type review, and if I am correct in supposing that they are following established procedures, it would be ill advised to allow outside pressures of a political nature to come into play.

    If the professor wishes to call students as witnesses at whatever hearing(s) established procedures permit, well and good. If the professor is found guilty of violating her agreements with the college, I would think it appropriate to hear from representatives of the student body with respect to the question of consequences.

    However, for the college to submit to political pressures in this judicial type proceeding would be no more appropriate than it would be for a trial judge to be influenced by public clamor in a politically charged trial proceeding.

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  30. I don’t know that allowing a student paper journalist to watch and report on proceedings is exactly allowing political play. Maybe we’re envisioning different scenarios, but I would think it would be very educational for students to see how board meetings, etc. work. Granted, this is more than an ordinary board meeting, all the better to train them for Senate reporting.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. “Tolerance doesn’t mean you have to agree with each other, quite the contrary. It simply means you let the other believe/live as they wish without wishing or doing them harm.There was a time early on of tolerance between Muslims, Christians and Jews as “people of the Book”. We could use some of that now.”

    I must have missed this part. Who was trying to claim Muslims were not free to believe what they want in America or wishing them harm? Is that what prompted her provocation on Facebook? I am confused. I must have missed the first part somewhere

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  32. Brenda, I read the post. Is your friend aware of just how patriarchal Islam is?

    People are missing the HUGE contradictions here. Yes, Evangelical subculture is patriarchal but isnt Islam worse?. So why all the rallying around Islam in this situation while trashing Christians for gender bias?? I don’t get it. It is non sensical.

    When I see the words “white privilege my eyes glaze over. This country elected a black president….twice. And it would NOT have happened without lots of white votes. I could not even vote today except for MEN voting to make it so. At some point we are going to have to see the individuals. Not groups, colors, religious affiliation and be judged by our character.

    The hard part for me in this is I cannot stand Wheaton. So it looks like I am defending them. But that does not mean I should jump on a bandwagon that is going after them. They might be wrong, too. I am viewing the professors provocation as extremely politically motivated.

    And I found her claims to image of God to be a very strange defense of her position of us worshipping the same God as Muslims. All humans are made the image of God whether Hindu, Buddhist or Satan worshipers. This situation becomes stranger and stranger.

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  33. OutsideLookingin: “These are the same folks that gladly walked right in line with George W. Bush, who on several occasions said it’s his belief that they are the same god. But he wasn’t an woman of color who needed to learn her place.”

    lydia00: “He also was not a professor at a Christian college. Not sure why GW is our go to guy for this?”

    I never said he was a “go to guy” for this. I’m not saying I agree with him.

    My point is the selective application of religious ideological purity. How is it determined who will get a pass and who will be held to the fire?

    I think it goes beyond simply “one is an employee of Wheaton” and the other was not.

    The problem with being selective about it is that it calls into question whether or not that truth is actually important to them or not. I suspect there’s some commentary about the intermingling of politics and religion here.

    At any rate, controversies like this wlll push Wheaton more in the direction of Liberty than toward Duke. Even more insular and parochial. It’s a sign of our times unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Niteowl: ” What I do wonder about is Christians who say we worship the same God as Judaism but deny it for Islam. There needs to be a consistent answer across the board.”

    Yes, yes, one hundred times yes. “We were right to do it, but they were wrong to do it.” In my mind, there’s a Jewish Spiritual Sounding Board (in some alternate universe) where the debate is how anyone could believe the god in Judaism and Christianity are the same.

    To hit more on the topic of Julie Anne’s original post, like many here, I’ve been treated very badly by more than one church. In all cases (and in the ones often writing about on this site), the church and various members made it clear that it would not be addressed, that they didn’t want others to know about it, and they wouldn’t cooperate any further. Oh, yes, and even though you were wronged, you need to leave so we can just move on and forget it happened.

    So, in my experience, the standard operating procedure from many, many churches is to be secretive and cover-up the truth. So, I don’t see why Wheaton’s actions here (with regard to the reporting) are surprising.

    It is certainly odd for that to be the typical response for many churches when the claim is that they desire “truth.”

    Liked by 2 people

  35. @Loura Shares a Story

    Good point at 6:53 A.M. With limited exceptions, the media is allowed to observe trial proceedings. My sense, however, is that there is an attempt here by the college newspaper to influence the outcome of the proceedings, and maybe even to be a participant in the process. Maybe I’m wrong.

    I’m supposing the college is following preexisting policies and procedures. Maybe they aren’t. It would be interesting to have access to whatever policies and procedures may be prescribed for the college in matters like this. Perhaps it’s all available on the internet. I haven’t gone looking.

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  36. “My point is the selective application of religious ideological purity. How is it determined who will get a pass and who will be held to the fire?”

    I am not sure I understand. Were you expecting Wheaton to put out an official statement condemning the President for saying such a thing?

    My point was Bush was not under contract with Wheaton nor signed a statement of faith. That seems to be what is at play in this debate.

    Like

  37. College is a unique experience, and a small private college is even more unique. Students have the chance to build wonderful relationships with professors, so when something like this happens to a faculty member at a small school, I think it is to the administration’s best advantage to allow students to listen to hearings and to give input when appropriate.

    That being said, having worked in administration at a small Christian college, I know that there are times when it is not possible for students to be involved in all the conversation. However, this situation is different because it has potential to divide a community that should strive to maintain unity. If this had happened when I was a student (at the small Christian college I worked for), I know I would have been upset and wanting to find out as much information as possible. It would serve the community well to allow the student reporter access to faculty meetings so that the students might have a better understanding of what is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. “My point is the selective application of religious ideological purity. How is it determined who will get a pass and who will be held to the fire?”

    Those in POWER, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Thank you Brenda for that link! I was really blessed to read Dr. Mangis’s words and
    hear his testimony! I suppose we all have a mix of the spiritual and our politics as we seek to frame and communicate our beliefs. I do not believe that Prof. Hawkins was elevating Islam in what she was saying and is doing. After all even tho we disagree heartily with Doug Wilson’s writings and sayings, we understand that others must make their own decisions. Ultimately we all stand before God regarding these things and I believe we should extend grace to those others we heartily disagree with.
    And yes, right now I am feeling really convicted about my own judgmental attitudes towards those ignoramuses who disagree with me!! I try to remember that I would never deny another person room to kneel at the foot of the cross.

    Like

  40. This conversation began to discuss how Wheaton leaders have denied access to meetings, information (nd to be honest, I had hoped that the primary discussion would be about that, but that’s the way blogs roll – lol). I have strong issues when people in positions of authority intervene in the flow of information. I believe Wheaton leaders have crossed the lines and have created a high-controlling environment that is unhealthy and not allowing free discussion of shared concerns.

    The discussion here has included questioning Dr. Hawkins’ motives or agenda. I guess I’m a bit puzzled by this. This all transpired after ISIS attacks, abroad and in the US. She was troubled by the way her Muslim neighbors were lumped in with that extremist group. We would be upset if non-Christians lumped us with Westboro Baptist “christians,” and they don’t kill people.

    Maybe donning the head covering or saying that we worship the same God did not fit our way of thinking or line up doctrinally. I still believe she was trying to say “look at the things we have in common as human beings who worship God” It was not meant to be a doctrinal statement, and she has said that repeatedly, but people are tearing it apart as if it was. Her message was one of exhorting Christians to strive to live in peace with those around us of other faiths, instead of labeling them all as evil terrorists. Why does her original message continue to be lost in the discussion? I believe her message has been hijacked to suit the agendas of Wheaton leaders and they are trying to make sure her wording looks exactly like what they want to portray.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. “She was troubled by the way her Muslim neighbors were lumped in with that extremist group”

    If people were verbally attacking them I agree with her standing up for them and applauding that. I am at a loss why the hijab and insistence we worship the same God was necessary to stand up for them. Now folks are being accused of being racist and gender biased.

    Islam is horrible for women but it seems to be getting a pass, too, for the sake of some bizarre application of political correctness. I understand the problems with Evangelicalism as I have them,too. But this whole thing seems extremely contradictory.

    Wheaton should throw it open and hopefully the students and student journalists will be neutral and look at all sides but it does not look like it by tweets accusations of gender bias and they need a statement on whether Islam worships the same God.

    I will bow out and move on.

    Like

  42. For lydia00
    lydia00 – I think you are the same Lydia as who posts at T-W-W blog? If so, are you on Twitter? If you are, may I know your Twitter name? I was wanting to speak to you either in a Tweet or a Direct Message.
    Thank you!

    Like

  43. Gary W. Sorry for the late response but I am a caregiver during the day. My opinion is based on past experience with Wheaton, which I shall not go into detail over.

    Like

  44. Lydia, my comment was meant to reflect the worldwide conflicts, but since you mention America, there has been a sharp increase in violent crimes against Muslims since Paris and San Bernsrdino, not to mention presidential candidates wanting to bar Muslims from the country, deporting them and individual cities barring any new mosques.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. “College is a unique experience, and a small private college is even more unique. Students have the chance to build wonderful relationships with professors, so when something like this happens to a faculty member at a small school, I think it is to the administration’s best advantage to allow students to listen to hearings and to give input when appropriate.”

    Absolutely true.

    Furthermore, especially when students are treated as children, the college’s administration all too often winds up teaching those students lessons that it never intended to teach them.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. So, if I understand the situation, the Kirkland An’s tweets reproduced in the main blog article were published during the course of an open and well attended assembly of Wheaton College students. It appears that some representative of the college is responding to questions in an open and uncontrolled format. It appears that the assembly is taking placed in space made available by the College. I may be wrong, but it appears the meeting place may be the large lecture room in Blanchard Hall. This does not appear to me to be “a high-controlling environment that is unhealthy and not allowing free discussion of shared concerns”?

    Wheaton is not perfect. They did Brenda dirty. They very much fall into the category of what I am calling Jericho Road Christianity, or the Jericho Road church. As with evangelicalism generally, they are quick to go chasing after fallen sinners, but with little regard to the plight of those same sinners’ victims. I am no fan of institutional Christian anything. It really is true that any institutions primary concern is survival.

    In the present case, however, I am increasingly convinced that the College has become the target of an unfair and unjust political jihad. The issue isn’t about participation and access. The photo of the large assembly of students is proof enough of that. The issue is whether politics will prevail over preexisting standards and due process procedures. The issue is whether the desires of an emotionally invested crowd will prevail, or will the result required by the the College’s policies and procedures, and the professor’s contract, prevail? Of course, there is still the possibility that the outcomes will be the same either way.

    Like

  47. Gary, I continue to believe the higher ups are reading far more into her couple of sentences than she ever intended. Her ultimate message was unity with people of other faiths. 100% of the faculty wants her to remain. The students want her to remain. Who is fighting here?

    Like

  48. Two more professors speak out:

    “Becoming a community of grace”
    By Keith Johnson (Associate professor of theology)

    and Matthew Milliner ’98 (Assistant professor of art history)

    Just a few months ago, several faculty members were around a table with the late Brett Foster. Someone brought up grievances that Dr. Foster previously had with Wheaton. Brett then began to weep, and said in a weakened voice, “Those grievances are the furthest thing from my mind right now because lately I have been shown nothing but grace by this place.”

    Grace has been our experience here as well, because we have been shown it repeatedly.

    Two examples come to mind. Early in his career, Dr. Johnson hit the breaking point. He felt burned out to the extent that he wondered if he was cut out to be a Wheaton professor at all. Grace arrived in the form of an email from Provost Jones: “Let’s have lunch.” Despite his busy schedule, the Provost spent nearly two hours helping Dr. Johnson see that he really could make it at Wheaton.

    In a similar way, after Dr. Milliner wrote an indiscreet opinion piece that angered an alumnus, Provost Jones showed him grace, gently advising him to be more sensitive to our constituency but also defending him to that alumnus. The Provost’s forbearance equipped Dr. Milliner to do his job in freedom.

    Our experiences give us hope for the current situation involving Provost Jones and Professor Hawkins. Like many professors before her, Dr. Hawkins said and did things that angered some within our constituency. These words and actions, compounded by the overreaction of many (for which she should not be held responsible), have been costly.

    Yet Dr. Hawkins has since made it unimpeachably clear that she fully affirms the statement of faith, and the Provost has clarified that the “same God” question is a complex and multi-faceted discussion befitting a wide range of responses in keeping with our Statement of Faith.

    And suddenly we feel grace begin to stir.

    In President Ryken’s first chapel address, he famously said that he knows of “no college anywhere in the world that needs the gospel more than Wheaton [College] does.” Our need may never have been greater than right now. And we have to remember that the gospel not only is something we believe in; it also is something we embody. “Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” Paul says, “so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel and are in no way intimidated by your opponents” (Phil 1:27-28).
    We model our faith in Christ precisely when we live in unity with one another in the midst of our differences.

    We have intimidating opponents, and have therefore struggled to live in a manner worthy of the gospel over these past six weeks as a college. President Ryken and Provost Jones have received an exhausting cascade of criticism each day. At the same time, Dr. Hawkins has received hundreds of harsh and painful letters, including many from current Wheaton students. It seems as if all the power in the world is directed toward tearing the three of them apart.

    Our response should be to draw together as a community, because with the eyes of a polarized world upon us, our witness to the truth of the gospel is going to happen through our unity rather than apart from it.

    In this light, we humbly plead to the Provost, FPC, President and Board to show grace by reinstating Dr. Hawkins. Wheaton College needs shalom, and a shalom that does not include Professor Hawkins runs the risk of being hollow and ultimately false. She deserves the same forbearance that has been extended to so many of her colleagues, because grace that is shown to some faculty but not to all is questionable grace because it lacks justice.

    At the same time, we humbly plead with Dr. Hawkins to forgive those at the college who have failed her. We also plead with the critics of President Ryken and Provost Jones to show them grace. Few people love Wheaton College as much as they do, and they have sought to be faithful to their responsibilities in the midst of a complex situation at great personal cost. No matter where we stand, we should encourage them in their duties and comfort them in the midst of their pain over this situation.

    For well over a year now, a small group of students has been praying earnestly for revival to come to Wheaton. But it still hasn’t come. Maybe this is how it begins: with the faculty, staff, and students of a broken college embodying our commitment to Jesus Christ by standing in unity, by lifting up these three people and saying, “We will not allow you to be divided from one another any longer.”

    Perhaps this is the moment when we truly become a community of grace.

    This article was first published in The Wheaton Record’s 18th issue, on Jan. 28, 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Interesting. One Brett Foster, who is said to have had certain grievance against Wheaton College, is described as having and said, as he wept, “Those grievances are the furthest thing from my mind right now because lately I have been shown nothing but grace by this place.” Provost Stan Jones, who is said to have recommended the initiation of termination proceedings, and President [Dr. Philip Graham] Ryken, who it appears will make the final decision regarding the professor, are both described as being men of great grace. If one advocating for the professor describes the College as a place of great grace, and if two men with perhaps the greatest responsibility regarding the professor are also acknowledged to be men of grace, why would we just assume, then, that they are somehow inclined to treat the professor badly.

    Why should we think that it is the professor who chooses to fight?

    Is it because the professor, in her letter to the provost (http://www.scribd.com/doc/294760937/Theological-Statement) chooses to reiterate and justify her problematic statement about the identity of the Christian and Muslim gods. Rather than express sorrow for the controversy she sparked, she defiantly adopts the statement that “when pious Muslims pray, they are addressing the One True God, and that God is, simply, God.”

    Is it because she has gone to great efforts to justify herself in the media, including secular media if memory serves, rather than seeking the reconciliation she claims is her desire?

    Is it because she chooses to enlist the student body, the faculty, the public and who knows who all else, as allies in a grand political confrontation with the College?

    Is it because she has sought the limelight, thereby stealing that light which ought only to be reflected back onto our Lord Jesus?

    Is it because she see others, especially white people, as being inferior to herself, as evidenced by her assertion (as I recall from an earlier article) to the effect that, in relations between white people and black people, race is always an issue?

    Is it because she falsely persists in promoting the idea that her problems are related to her having chosen to wear a Muslim headscarf?

    Is it because, as is reported in the Sojourner article, she stubbornly and defiantly refuses to discuss her theology with the College?

    Is it because she refuses to acknowledge that she may have made a mistake, if only in judgment?

    Is it because the fruit of her response to legitimate, or at least understandable, questions and concerns is division, division and more division?

    Is it because she chooses to fight the fight rather than to humbly receive the grace Provost Jones and President Ryken, as men of grace, must most certainly seek to extend?

    Like

  50. Gary W, thank you so much for your wisdom and discernment on this issue, which can be like bees in a hornet’s nest. You have expressed so much better than I, the thoughts that I have about this controversy with Prof. Hawkins. It seems she could clear matters up and make reconciliation possible if only she would humble herself.

    Like

  51. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website features a review of one of Dr. Ryken’s books (http://cbmw.org/uncategorized/galatians-reformed-expository-commentary-by-phillip-graham-ryken/) wherein it is stated:

    “Ryken clearly sees that differences remain between men and women, and that God-given gender has implications for the distinct roles of men and women in the home and the church. In other words, differences in roles can remain without diminishing equality in Christ. He then specifies that men are called to exercise servant leadership as husbands and officers in the church, while women are called to submit to this leadership as wives and as members of the church.”

    I suppose one should hold out the possibility that CBMW are, for their own purposes, misrepresenting or mischaracterizing what Ryken actually wrote, though I don’t intend to spend my money to purchase Ryken’s book to find out.

    Like

  52. Withheld wrote: “On one side is an largely older and patriarchal status quo holding the reigns of power. On the other is a typically younger, more diverse, and less rigid cohort willing to explore old issues from a different perspective. Much of it is a typical generational divide.”

    Wheaton College should be more worried about alienating those who graduated between 1986 and 2005.

    If you look at Pew Research, you realize the biggest money earners who are Evangelicals are between age 30 and 49, not the Boomers.

    Wheaton needs to be cautious not alienate the high-income Gen X-ers. A whopping 51% of them make $50,000 or more.

    http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/evangelical-protestant/age-distribution/18-29/#household-income-by-age-group

    Like

  53. “…the biggest money earners who are Evangelicals are between age 30 and 49, not the Boomers.”

    Are you confusing histogram bin with statistical spread?

    Like

  54. Here’s a followup on this story:

    Two weeks ago, faculty leaders unanimously asked Wheaton College to drop its attempt to fire tenured professor Larycia Hawkins over whether her views on Islam fit the school’s faith statement.

    Today, the provost of the college told faculty that he agreed.

    In a February 2 letter, Stan Jones told faculty, “I communicated to Dr. Hawkins that I recognize her as a sister in Christ, and that it was never my intent to call the sincerity of her faith into question. I asked Dr. Hawkins for her forgiveness for the ways I contributed to the fracture of our relationship, and to the fracture of Dr. Hawkins’ relationship with the College. While I acted to exercise my position of oversight of the faculty within the bounds of Wheaton College employment policies and procedures, I apologized for my lack of wisdom and collegiality as I initially approached Dr. Hawkins, and for imposing an administrative leave more precipitously than was necessary.”

    Jones says he also regretted not explaining the college’s public response, and for “introducing significant confusion regarding possible options for resolution.”
    “I stand by my concerns that Dr. Hawkins’ theological statements raised important questions. However, in light of the deficiencies in my early responses, and recognizing that Dr. Hawkins’ Theological Response was a promising start toward answering satisfactorily some of the questions that I was raising at the time, I revoked the Notice … and turned resolution of the administrative leave over to President Ryken.”

    Read more here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/february/wheaton-college-larycia-hawkins-same-god-reinstatedochawk.html

    Like

  55. I never did understand how she got so much publicity for wearing the hijab to show support for her Muslim neighbors. Evidently she did not just make a point to wear it at home/neighborhood or we would know nothing about it. Did she contact the media? Did her students? The college?

    If the college had ignored it, it probably would have gone away. She certainly was not showing support for oppressed women!

    Like

  56. The Washington Post reports on the situation at http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/wheaton-will-not-fire-professor-over-muslim-worship-comments-but-she-will-leave-college/ar-BBpclPu?ocid=spartandhp

    The Provost volunteers (or maybe “volunteers”) to become the sacrificial lamb by which the college comes out looking gracious and magnanimous. The college releases a joint, and I suspect college-drafted, statement wherein it is announced that there is a confidential agreement pursuant to which the professor will leave. There will be a well-scripted press conference at which no questions will be taken.

    So, the college gets to project the appearance of having demonstrated grace and humility, while at the same time achieving the professor’s departure and silence. A great PR war has been won by the college.

    I have not changed my opinion regarding the deficiencies in the professor’s statements and conduct. However, I now have some compassion for her. She has been all but defeated by what may be the most influential and powerful institution in the evangelical universe. Her defeat has not been total, nor is it permanent. Those with eyes that choose to see will now see her as a sympathetic figure. There will be no need for her to write her Wheaton experience into her resume. In some quarters she has achieved heroic status.

    In the process, however, the professor’s initial stated, and laudable, purposes have been all but lost in the fray.

    Like

  57. The article states she was put on leave when she posted on Facebook that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. I fear she was being unnecessarily provocative considering it is Wheaton and it is a controversial position. So it was not the hijab. My guess is she has offers already. She is a hero to many and her positions are very popular right now.. People will claim discrimination when in fact, she is purposely promoting the symbol of oppression for Muslim women. It boggles my mind.

    None of this changes the facts of Wheaton authoritarianism. It was just not a good situation to prove it. Had she chosen something like standing up for their treatment of Brenda, I would be seriously impressed. That would have taken real guts.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. “…the college gets to project the appearance of having demonstrated grace and humility, while at the same time achieving the professor’s departure and silence.”

    It’s the old circle the wagons strategy.

    Like

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