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Wheaton, Hawkins: Let Us Reason Together, Please

How might a Christian college handle a controversy that threatens to undo it?
Wheaton, Hawkins: Let Us Reason Together, Please
Image: M. Spencer Green / AP Images

The situation at Wheaton College continues to unravel. Political science professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins refuses to meet any longer with the administration, and the college is now initiating the process of firing her—many assume because she said that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. (If you’re not aware of this controversy, check out our news coverage here and here and here.)

Of course, a controversy of this magnitude—it’s been international news for weeks, with stories and comments in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Guardian, and now Time—is never actually “all because” of one thing. The media coverage has often needlessly inflamed the conversation, and yet you could hardly invent a case that would touch on a greater number of fundamental issues in Christian higher education:

1. The theological integrity of a Christian institution. Evangelical Christians want their institutions to have and maintain standards of belief and behavior. We’ve seen too many historical examples of Christian institutions that let their theological guard down, and the result has been the sabotaging of the institutions’ Christian identity.

2. Loving our Muslim neighbors. Islam and Christianity have literally been at each other’s throats for centuries. We need to figure out how not to slander one another, let alone kill one another. We want to encourage fellow believers to take bold steps to foster better relationships with Muslims.

3. Academic freedom. All truth is God’s truth. Professors at Christian colleges need freedom to explore truth wherever they might find it. This includes the right of professors to explore truth in ...

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Wheaton, Hawkins: Let Us Reason Together, Please
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