Professor suspended for saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God

It wasn’t the hijab that caused Wheaton College to suspend a tenured political science professor, it was her assertion that Muslims and Christians are not so different – “‘as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.'” Christianity Today reports:

A tenured Wheaton College political science professor who pledged to wear a hijab during Advent in support of her Muslim neighbors has been placed on administrative leave. Not for donning the Islamic head covering, but over “significant questions regarding the theological implications” of her explanation of why she was doing so.

“Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion, and theological clarity,” the college stated in announcing the decision. “As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college’s evangelical Statement of Faith.”

That Statement of Faith can be found here. Associate Professor Larycia Alaine Hawkins, who has on the Wheaton faculty since 2007, posted a statement on her Facebook page, which included the following:

Whether or not you find this position, one held for centuries by countless Christians (church fathers, saints, and regular Christian folk like me), to be valid, I trust that we can peacefully disagree on theological points and affirm others like the Triune God (albeit there are differences here as well–Athanasian Creed, anyone?), the virgin birth (or Immaculate Conception depending on your persuasion), and the Resurrection. Let there be unity in our diversity of views about all of the above.

Hawkins cited “Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?” by Miroslav Volf in the Huffington Post, 2011, and a Christianity Today interview with Volf on the same topic, also in 2011.

Yesterday’s report also touches on controversies surrounding Jerry Falwell’s statement on guns and Wheaton’s response, and the decision of a Cordova, Tennessee church to open its doors to Muslims needing a worship space.

Hawkins, as a tenured faculty member, will go under review by the college.

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