WHEATON, Ill. — Hundreds of Wheaton College alumni are threatening to withhold future donations to the school if officials follow through with the firing of a controversial associate political science director who was placed on leave after she declared in a self-initiated campaign to fight “Islamophobia” that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
According to reports, alumni submitted a petition to the college board and administrators on Friday calling for reconciliation with the professor.
“Until full restoration and reconciliation are reached, each of us will prayerfully re-consider our commitment to financially support the mission of Wheaton College,” it read.
Petition organizers told the Chicago Tribune that the petition generated at least 800 signatures from seven decades of Wheaton graduates.
As previously reported, professing Christian Larycia Hawkins posted to Facebook two photos of herself wearing a hijab last month, and stated in a lengthy explanation that she planned to wear it everywhere she goes during the Advent—including at the Christian college and to church. She outlined in her reasons for solidarity that she believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” Hawkins asserted. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”
In light of controversy over the matter, especially Hawkins’ “same God” assertion, the professor was placed on paid administrative leave by university officials while a review would be conducted.
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
Wheaton officials acknowledged late last month that talks had come to a standstill as Hawkins refused to continue discussions with members of administration about her “same God” beliefs following initial meetings. They soon issued Hawkins a “Notice of Recommendation to Initiate Termination-for-Cause Proceedings.”
While some have expressed support for the professor in light of the situation, others have used the opportunity to outline why it is flawed to believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
“Muslims hold that ‘God is one.’ Allah has no partners and assigning partners to him is shirk, the highest blasphemy,” explained Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., in a blog post for the Gospel Coalition. “Christians believe ‘God is one in three Persons.’ Each Person in the Trinity is fully and eternally God. Yet there is one God.”
He noted that as Muslims do not worship Jesus, who is God, Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.
“No one knows God who does not know the Son, who is the only mediator between God and man,” Anyabwile said. “The goal of Christianity is the salvation of sinners through the righteousness, substitutionary atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”