Dr. Larycia Hawkins and Wheaton College

[Updated 9/18/19 to use a link to an archived version of the Wheaton FAQ concerning Dr. Hawkins, and to remove a possible ambiguity from my initial paragraph.]

Wheaton College has initiated termination proceedings against tenured professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins who has been a faculty member since 2007 and who received tenure in 2013. Wheaton is taking this action because of her statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Apparently, this idea is counter to the Wheaton statement of faith. I note, for the record, that there is no explicit sentence in their statement of faith regarding which groups worship which God. Furthermore, in a FAQ published by Wheaton, question 7 asks "Is it true that Christians and Muslims worship the same God?" Wheaton lists doctrines which are distinctive to Christianity but are denied by Islam. But, note carefully, that Wheaton doesn't specifically answer the question with a simple "yes" or "no." For if they did, a bright undergraduate would then ask, "given this criteria, do Christians and Jews worship the same God?" I suspect Wheaton doesn't want that question to be asked.

But I digress. On December 17, 2015, Dr. Hawkins
wrote to Wheaton in which she explained the reasons for her position as well as her personal statement of faith.

Opinion is of course, split, concerning the question of whether or not Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Dr. Edward Feser addressed the issue in the affirmative here. Vox Day, and many of his readers, answered in the negative, here. Last night at dinner, my wife initially said, "no"; this morning at breakfast, my reform seminary graduate friend Steve immediately said "yes."

I think Wheaton College is about to fall into a pit that they just don't yet see.

Let us consider two cases, one from literature and one from science. For literature, consider the two authors C. S. Lewis, who wrote the Narnia Chronicles, and Gene Roddenberry, who wrote Star Trek. Now suppose that there are two groups of people. One group asserts that humans owe their existence to having entered our world through a gate from Narnia. This is, of course, backwards from the way Lewis told the story in "
The Magicians Nephew" — but bear with me. The other group asserts that humans originally came from the planet Vulcan. And again, in the original lore, it was the Romulans who were the offshoots of the Vulcans — just let me run with this. The only thing these two groups have in common is the idea that we came from somewhere else. Everything else is completely different and they are completely different because they are solely products of human imagination. Fans may argue the differences between Narnia and Star Trek, or Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5. No one takes them seriously (except themselves) because we know it's "just fiction." It doesn't make sense to argue about which imaginary world is right.

Now consider the realm of science which attempts to discern how Nature works. We believe that this Nature exists independently of us. It is not a product of our imagination. At one time, science advanced the theory of the
aether which was thought to be necessary for the propagation of light. But the Michelson-Morley experiments showed that this theory was wrong. Improvements to experiments to test Bell's inequality have shown that local realism isn't a viable theory of quantum mechanics. No discussion of misguided and incorrect scientific theories would be complete without mention of the famous phrase, attributed to Wolfgang Pauli, "That is not only not right, it is not even wrong." And let us not forget to mention String Theory, where some scientists say that not only is it not good science, it isn't science at all; while other scientists claim that it's really the only theory which can unite relativity and quantum mechanics. (As always, Lubos Motl is entertaining and instructive to read when it comes to String Theory).

In this case, we do not say, "you aren't studying the same nature we are." We say, "your understanding of nature is flawed."

If Wheaton continues down this path with Dr. Hawkins, whether they know it or not, they will be giving aid and comfort to those who claim that God is purely imaginary. And if they do that, then they are the ones who have betrayed their statement of faith.

What Would Jesus Do?

Every once in a while, a simple question comes along which shows the stark differences between what people believe Christianity teaches. This morning at Starbucks, I asked one of my friends one of these types of questions:

To set the stage, suppose we're in Arkansas, since the mascot of the University of Arkansas is the razorback. Some good old southern boys have prepared a pig and barbecued it in a pit. They invite the post-resurrection Jesus to eat with them.

Does He eat the pork or does He keep kosher?

My answer was "yes, of course, He eats barbecue pork." My friend's answer was "Absolutely not! He is a Jew and Jews are obliged to follow their dietary laws."

I don't know how it could be any more obvious, since Romans 7 teaches that death ends the jurisdiction of the Law:

Do you not know, brothers and sisters--for I am speaking to those who know the law--that the law is binding on a person only during that person’s lifetime? Thus a married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the law concerning the husband. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man, she is not an adulteress. In the same way, my friends, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.

The one caveat is that we are not to use our freedom to cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble in their faith (cf. Romans 14, Acts 15). But one would hope that in the presence of the Risen Savior, that weakness wouldn't last. Too, it's one thing to desire to keep a cultural or national identity, which can be perfectly fine. But one mustn't forget the Jesus is King over all nations and cultures. He is free to move among them as He will. As are those who have died and risen with Him.

2015 Reading List

1All You ZombiesRobert Heinlein
2The Puppet MastersRobert Heinlein
3Revolt in 2100Robert Heinlein
4Stand on ZanzibarJohn Brunner
5Do Androids Dream of Electric SheepPhilip K. Dick
6Neutron StarLarry Niven
7Strange StonesPeter Hessler
8The Nominated Short WorksJohn C. Wright
9The City on the Edge of ForeverHarlan Ellison
10Vic and BloodHarlan Ellison
11Dangerous VisionsHarlan Ellison
12Mention My Name In AtlantisJohn Jakes
13Tokyo ViceJake Adelstein
14The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway
15Primates of Park AvenueWednesday Martin
16Of Mice and MenJohn Steinbeck
17The Best Laid SchemesLarry Eisenberg
18And Then There Were NoneAgatha Christie
19SJWs Always LieVox Day
20QED: The Strange Theory of Light and MatterRichard Feynman
21The Meaning Of It AllRichard Feynman
22The Shape of Inner SpaceShing-Tung Yau
23Does God Control Everything?R. C. Sproul
24The Space TrilogyC. S. Lewis
25Natural TheologyEmil Brunner & Karl Barth

Additionally, I've started, but not completed, these books:

1The History of the ChurchEusebius of Caesarea
2Philosophy of MindEdward Feser
3Beyond Good and EvilFrederich Nietzsche
4Systematic TheologyLouis Berhkof
5SomewitherJohn C. Wright
6Riding the Red HorseTom Kratman
7Freedom of the WillJonathan Edwards
8Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical DoctrineWayne Grudem
9Paul's Letter to the RomansColin G. Kruse
10How to Read SlowlyJames W. Sire
11Javascript and JQueryJon Duckett