Wheaton stands on biblical truth
Published 2:12 pm Friday, January 22, 2016
By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.
Recently a firestorm has been happening in the evangelical world over a professor at Wheaton College named Larycia Hawkins. Since the issues surrounding Professor Hawkins have implications for all believers in Christ, what can we learn from the incident?
Here is the issue: Wheaton is one of the premier Christian colleges in the nation. Billy and Ruth Graham, and missionary martyr Jim Elliot, as well as his wife, the Christian writer Elisabeth Elliot, are all graduates of Wheaton.
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Just before Advent, Professor Hawkins announced that during Advent she would be wearing the hijab, the head covering worn by Muslim women, as an expression of solidarity with Muslims who may be persecuted in America. She also stated in a Facebook posting that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”
Dr. Hawkins was suspended by Wheaton, which is now seeking to terminate her. This has caused an outcry on the secular and religious left.
Let’s consider several angles of this story.
What about Dr. Hawkins’ decision to wear the hijab?
I believe her decision to wear the hijab was incredibly naïve and misguided. There is no mass persecution of Muslims in America, so she was protesting against something that simply is not happening.
What is happening on a massive scale is the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. How do persecuted Christians in the Muslim world feel about a professor at a Christian college in America wearing a hijab? We don’t have to guess, because they have spoken out.
They are hurt by it, because they know that when Muslim women become Christians, and remove the hijab, they are showing incredible courage and setting themselves up for persecution.
Furthermore, Muslim girls and women are often forced to wear the hijab. Therefore, Hawkins was actually showing insensitivity to both persecuted Christians and oppressed Muslim women.
What about her statement that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God?”
Frankly, anyone who has studied this issue at all knows that the Muslim concept of Allah differs radically from the God of the Old and New Testaments.
The Koran was written hundreds of years after the Bible and presents a God who is markedly different from the biblical God, in a plethora of ways. Thus, Hawkins’ statement is confusing.
A college like Wheaton needs to blow a certain trumpet, not a confusing one.
What about Wheaton’s move to fire Hawkins, and the uproar this has created?
I believe Wheaton’s decision is appropriate and courageous. They certainly knew that such a decision would provoke a firestorm on the part of the secular media, as well as the political and religious left.
Rather than seeking to please the world, Wheaton is standing without apology on biblical truth. As the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Wheaton is a confessional institution. If someone chooses to teach there, they must agree to support the school’s confession of faith. This would seem to be obvious.
No courageous stand on biblical truth will have the world’s applause. It will, however, have the blessing of God.
Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.