Hijab-wearing Larycia Hawkins will not be returning to Wheaton College, a small evangelical school in suburban Chicagoland. Good for her, and good for Wheaton, that has upheld the Christian faith against syncretistic attack from the “CoExist” bumper-sticker crowd.
And they did it while honoring Christ, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
“The administration and Dr. Hawkins have come to a place of resolution and reconciliation,” [college President Philip] Ryken wrote. “With a mutual desire for God’s blessing, we have decided to part ways.”
Hawkins said she would wear a Hijab for Advent to show “religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.” The school expressed no problem with the Hijab, but when Hawkins quoted Pope Francis and posted “we worship the same God” on Facebook, Wheaton Provost Stanton Jones suspended her pending a doctrinal inquiry into her statement.
After Hawkins refused to back off from her “same God” argument, Jones moved to have her terminated. He should have. Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Muslims believe we are all subject to Allah, a singular God whose last and best prophet is Muhammad. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, a blasphemy to Islam. This isn’t a fine point of theology, it’s an irreconcilable and unbridgeable gulf in the very definition of God. The only thing Christians and Muslims have in common regarding God is the word “god” itself.
To give in to Hawkins, Wheaton would have to accept syncretism, the belief that all religions can be reconciled and amalgamated into one formless blob of “god worship.” They didn’t give in.
But they also didn’t give in to dour condemnation, which may be the greatest witness for Christ.
“This is a time for prayer, lament, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation,” Ryken said.
Yes. Reconcile the sinner, forgive the sin, but stand for the faith. That’s Christianity in action.