Skin-deep solidarity

by Nick Eicher

Posted on Friday, December 18, 2015, at 11:34 am

Each week, The World and Everything in It features a “Culture Friday” segment, in which Executive Producer Nick Eicher discusses the latest cultural news with John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Here is a summary of this week’s conversation.

An associate professor at Wheaton College says she is working to reconcile with her employer after she was suspended for a questionable theological assertion. Larycia Hawkins engaged in what she called an act of Advent devotion by wearing the Islamic hijab, a women’s head covering, in solidarity with Muslims around the world.

On her Facebook page, Hawkins said of Muslims, “We worship the same God.”

John Stonestreet and I talked about Wheaton’s response to Hawkins this week, and he said Wheaton did the right thing.

“The wrong approach would be to just fire her, which they’re not,” he said. “They’re giving her due process, and they’re looking at her statements and what that means, and that’s what a Christian university, I think, has to do.”  

Hawkins said Thursday she’s submitting a theological statement to Wheaton and grading final exams. She added that she wants to continue her “vocation as a Christian scholar and teacher.”

Stonestreet noted there are differing stances about whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Some Christian scholars compare Islam to a form of idol worship such as what was described in the Old Testament, where people worshiped the wrong form of a true God.

“My take on whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God is that, no, they don’t, because the God of Islam is not Trinity, the God of Christianity is Trinity. So they do have a completely different conception in an ontological sense of who God is,” Stonestreet said.

Beyond the theological ramifications of Hawkins’ statement, Stonestreet said her actions amounted to a shallow display of solidarity.  

“Is this the best Christianity has to offer? he asked. “An image stunt like this in the name of a social cause? To me, it was just underneath the deep resources that Christianity can bring to these questions.”

Listen to “Culture Friday” on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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