Wheaton College Statement Regarding Administrative Leave for Dr. Larycia Hawkins
On December 15, 2015, Wheaton College placed Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins on paid administrative leave in order to give more time to explore theological implications of her recent public statements concerning Christianity and Islam. … Yet her recently expressed views, including that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, appear to be in conflict with the College’s Statement of Faith. Read more.
The Huffington Post responded with this article, December 28, 2015, by Kelly James Clark, entitled, Muslims and Christians: On Worshipping the Same God. The key statement summing up the writer’s view states,
Muslim and Christians may worship in different ways, call God different names and describe God differently (sometimes incompatible) but they worship the same God. Read more.
As of the date of this writing, Dr. Hawkins has been unable to reconcile her views with those of the Administration, and continues on paid administration leave. However, Dr. Hawkins has stated she does not wish to continue the process of reconciling her views with that of the College’s Statement of Beliefs, to which she signed when she joined the faculty of Wheaton College. The Chicago Tribune quotes her as stating,
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she posted on Facebook. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” Read more.
Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God (when “God” is used in this post, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is being referred to. The Biblical name is “Yahweh” (Exodus 3:14))) but call Him by different names? Since each religion has a totally different path to eternal life, how one answers that question can have eternal significance. This post will address this very critical question. We will first look at the Christian perspective as outlined in the gospel of John, and then follow it with the Islamic perspective, and finally some of my own thoughts.
The Word Became Flesh. The Apostle John’s gospel opens with a birth account uniquely different from that of any of the other gospels. John’s account is absent of any mention of the historical details of the birth of Christ. It was not that John believed the historical events to be unimportant. In fact, since Jesus entrusted his mother to John’s care in the closing moments of His life while yet on the cross (John 19:26-27), no doubt, John learned the specific details of Jesus’ birth from Jesus’ own mother on more than one occasion.1 We have no way of knowing for certain, but perhaps, John was more interested in what the historical events meant than in retelling what had already been told by others.2 By John’s own account, his gospel is written not to inform of events but to persuade belief in Jesus, Son of God, and thereby, to have life in His name (John 20:30-31).
To that end, John, the beloved disciple, begins His gospel with words divinely inspired, describing the identity of his Lord Jesus:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. … 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, … — John 1:1-3, 14 (NASB)
“In the beginning“– John intends us to understand that before creation was, the “Word” was, and this “Word” was God and was with God, simultaneously. John 17:5, 24; 1 Peter 1:20; Colossians 1:16-17. “Word” translates from the Greek, “λόγος” (“logos”):
“(a) as a general term for speaking, but always with rational content word, speech … (c) of God’s full self-revelation through Jesus Christ the Word (John 1:1); (d) of the content of the gospel word, message (Luke 5:1).”3
“Word,” therefore, is the rational content of speech. Biblically, it is the rational content of God’s “full self-revelation” of Himself, by Himself. We might liken the logos, the Word, to a self-publish autobiography, complete with plot, chapters, word-pictures, characters, and teaching– and profitable only to those the author wills to receive it (Matthew 11:27, John 6:44). The Scriptures describe the Word as “God-breathed” in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV. Clearly, the God-breathed content is rational, each word chosen to be purposeful, logical, profound, and life changing– so that the Word might accomplish its purpose of “equipping for every good work.” This God-breathed content cannot be separated from the God that spoke it into existence (Genesis 1:3). The God-breathed content became flesh, and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). In so doing, God is “explained” to humanity:
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. — John 1:18 (NASB)
Jesus, the only begotten God, has explained Him– not so much because Jesus told us about Him (although He did), but because Jesus, the “only begotten God,” walked among us and ministered among us in human form. Jesus “has made him [God] fully and clearly known.”4 Who better to explain God than the One who is God? (Hebrews 1:2-3, John 8:58, Romans 1:4). It is not just that Jesus is “like” God. The Biblical claim is that Jesus was God. In Christ, the God-content is made personal and made clear. It is as if God’s intent is to make certain His followers are not led astray by the many false Christ’s that will follow (Matthew 24:24); so he doesn’t send a prophet in His name, He comes Himself!
The Qur’an. Allah is revealed in the Qur’an just as God is revealed in the logos. We cannot separate either from the content of their word, or the “God” we construct becomes nothing more than a construct of our own imagination. Ever wonder if Muhammad did that?
The Qur’an (as expounded by the hadith) declares itself to be the uncreated, eternal, and literal speech of Allah existing before the creation of anything, and guarded in heaven where it exists in preserved tablet form in the presence of Allah. (Qur’an 85:21-22)
Since the Qur’an declares itself the pre-existing word (existing in heaven), it logically takes the next step of superseding and abrogating all religious systems, except for the provisions of them that the Qur’an explicitly reconfirms. Mark Durie, in his book, “Which God: Jesus, Holy Spirit, God in Christianity and Islam,” states the following:
It is fundamental to understand that the Qur’an does not regard Islam as a faith subsequent to Judaism and Christianity, but as the primordial religion, the original faith from which Judaism and Christianity are subsequent developments. Indeed these two faiths are regarded as branches, later developments which deviated from the trunk of Islam.5((The issue that Durie raises is called “proto-Islam,” that is, Islam is not a new religion revealed to Muhammad in the 7th century but the true religion that existed before time was. Under this view, Abraham was a Muslim (as were all the prophets)6 practicing the pure religion of submission to Allah before Judaism or Christianity ever existed. One website explains it this way: “Islam is not the name of a religion founded by Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad merely restored Islam to the world. Islam existed before Muhammad. Islam is an Arabic word that means Worship The One God.” Read more. See Raymond Ibrahim’s response to “proto-Islam here, which is a response to the work of Fadel Soliman of the Bridges-Foundation, who advocates a prot0-Islam view in Egypt prior to the advent of Islam there in 640 a.d.))
Listed below are some of the claims of the Qur’an, specifically, those at variance with Judaism and/or Christianity:
1- The only true religion is Islam. Qur’an 3:19, “True Religion, in God’s [Allah] eyes, is Islam [devotion to Him alone].” (Haleem translation). Qur’an 3:84-85.
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah who received the literal speech of Allah from Gabriel while enduring a spiritual crisis in 610 a.d. Muhammad then “recited” the literal speech of Allah that had been given him by Gabriel over the remainder of his life until his unexpected death in 632 a.d.7
2- Allah and God (of the Bible, Yahweh) are one God. Qur’an 29:46, “[Believers], argue only in the best way with the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], except with those of them who act unjustly. Say, ‘We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you; our God and your God are one [and the same]; we are devoted to Him.”
3- Allah is the best of schemers (Qur’an 3:54). Allah can change (“abrogate”) something he has earlier revealed, “for Allah knows best” (Qur’an 16:101, 17:86). Deception in Islam (“taqiyya”) is permissible (if Allah is a schemer, why would it not be?). The Quran (16:106 and 3:28) allows Muslims to lie in order to protect themselves or to protect the Muslim community. Video here.
4- Abraham was not a Jew or a Christian, but a Muslim,8 that is, a follower of the “primordial Biblical monotheism, that avoids the historical corruptions that occurred in the Jewish and Christian traditions” (Qurʿān 2:130, 135; 3:95; 4:125; 6:161; and 16:121, 123). (3.67-68, 3:84-85).”9
5- Jesus (“Isa”) was a prophet (Qur’an 3.84-85), not the Son of God. Qur’an 6:101, “The Creator of the heavens and the earth— how should He have a son, seeing that He has no consort [wife], and He created all things, and He has knowledge of everything?” (Arberry translation) See also Qur’an 4:171, 112:1.
– Jesus was a Muslim. Qur’an 3:50, “I [Jesus] have come to confirm the truth of the Torah which preceded me, and to make some things lawful to you which used to be forbidden. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. Be mindful of God [Allah], obey me: God [Allah] is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him—that is a straight path.” ’ ”
6- Jesus’ disciples were Muslims. Qur’an 5:109-111, “On the Day when God assembles all the messengers and asks, ‘What response did you receive?’ they will say, ‘We do not have that knowledge: You alone know things that cannot be seen.’ … 111 and how I inspired the disciples to believe in Me and My messengers—they said, “We believe and bear witness that we devote ourselves [to God].”
Qur’an 3:52 “When Jesus realized they [still] did not believe, he said, ‘Who will help me in God’s [Allah’s] cause?’ The disciples said, ‘We will be God’s [Allah’s] helpers; we believe in God [Allah]—witness our devotion to Him. 53 Lord, we believe in what You have revealed and we follow the messenger: record us among those who bear witness [to the Truth].’”
7- Jesus did not die on the cross but someone who looked like him took his place.(Qur’an 4:157)10 The Qur’an views Jesus as a prophet, a designation the New Testament does not give Him. The gospels (“Ingil” in Islam) define Jesus as the “only begotten God” (John 1:18), not as a prophet. In the Qur’an’s designation of Jesus as prophet (and “messenger”), Jesus is one among equals, and since Muhammad is the last Messenger, he is the last and supreme messenger, and none is greater than Muhammad.
8- Christians will be condemned to Hell eternally as the worst of creation (Qur’an 98.6). Qur’an 5:72, “Those who say, ‘God is the Messiah, son of Mary,’ have defied God. The Messiah himself said, ‘Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.’ If anyone associates others with God, God will forbid him from the Garden, and Hell will be his home. No one will help such evildoers.”
9- Jews and Christians corrupted the Bible. The revelation to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel is the uncorrupted version brought down from heaven. Only those parts of the Bible that are confirmed in the Qur’an are accepted by Muslims. Qur’an 3:78, 6:91, 3:187.
10- Jesus will one day return to earth whereupon he will destroy Christianity by proclaiming Islam to be the one, true religion.11) What this means is that in Jesus’ return, He will return as a Muslim to destroy everything and everyone who refuses to submit to Allah and renounce their belief in Jesus as Son of God. As we have witnessed ISIS remove crosses from churches in Iraq and Syria, so will Jesus lead that effort according to Muslim eschatology. Jesus will follow Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Muslim end-of-days “savior” and Christians will either convert to Islam or be killed. There will be no option to pay the jizya and continue to practice Christianity. Qur’an 9:29 will no longer be followed by Islam in the end-of-days which allows the payment of the jizya humiliation tax for “protection.”
Are Allah and God the same God? Nabeel Qureshi is a New York Times best-selling author and speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Since completing his medical degree in 2009, he has dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating. Qureshi is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. On the question before us, Dr. Qureshi states:
The similarities between the God of Islam and the God of Christianity are fairly superficial, and at times simply semantic. … These minor overlaps are far less essential to the reality of who God is than the fundamental differences of his nature and persons. What God has done or whom He has sent is far less of a defining characteristic than what He is and who He is; though Islam and Christianity overlap at points on the former, they differ fundamentally on the latter. …
There is much more to be said about the differences between the Christian God and the Muslim God, but this much can already be said with confidence: the Christian God, both in terms of what he is (Triune) and who he is (Father, Son, and Spirit) is not just different from the Muslim God; He is fundamentally incompatible. According to Islam, worshiping the Christian God is not just wrong; it sends you to Hell. They are not the same God. Read more.
When I was growing up, a popular TV game show was “To Tell the Truth.” The weekly program presented three individuals to a panel of celebrities, all three claiming to be the same person (by having the same name). The object of the game was for the panel of celebrities to identify the real person based on a signed affidavit provided in advance to the celebrity panel, including the person’s unique accomplishment that caused them to be chosen for the game show. Of course, only one of the three people was the “real [name of the person].” The other two were imposters. The rules allowed the two imposters to lie but the real person was sworn to tell the truth. The panel of celebrities then asked questions of the three, attempting to determine who the real person was. Prize money was awarded to the three candidates based on the number of incorrect votes the celebrities cast in trying to identify the real person from the two imposters.
Suppose we play “To Tell the Truth” with God and Allah? The signed affidavit describing each of the two is the holy book that reveals each. For God (and God-incarnate, Jesus), the Scripture is the Old and New Testaments. For Allah, it is the Qur’an and hadith. However, the question before us is slightly different. We are not trying to determine which of the two is the “real” God, but rather, are they so disparate that it cannot rightly be claimed that they are the same even though one of them [Allah] claims they are. If their disparity is so great that they are incompatible as Nabeel Qureshi states above, then the claim of the Qur’an is a false claim, a deception, and a lie (since the Qur’an reveals Allah to be the “best of schemers” this would be Allah’s greatest scheme of all time (2 Corinthians 11:14). A second option is that the Qur’an claim that Christians have corrupted the Qur’an by claiming Jesus to be the son of God might also need to be considered. Then the question becomes which of the two, Jesus or Allah is most like God. If Jesus is most like God then Allah is not only a liar but an imposter, one who desires the worship rightly belonging to the only true God (Matthew 4:9, Revelation 13:4).
The Qur’an denies Jesus to be Son of God, the truth that literally is the corner-stone upon which God builds the Church (Isaiah 28:16, Zechariah 10:4, Psalm 118:22-23, 1 Peter 2:6-7). Take away Jesus as Son of God and the atoning death of Christ on the cross has lost its meaning. If the crucifixion has no meaning then the resurrection would not have occurred because the sole purpose of the resurrection is to declare Jesus to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4). What’s more, if we remove the divine nature of Jesus as Son of God then we have made God a liar because God said Jesus was His beloved Son (Matthew 3:17, 2 Peter 1:17). This is critical because Scripture says God cannot lie (Titus 1:2 NASB). In fact, the one who denies what God has said about Jesus makes God a liar!
The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. –1 John 5:10 (NASB)
The Qur’an has failed to refute what the Bible claims about God, that is, that God cannot lie. On the other hand, as we have stated, the Qur’an states that “Allah is the best of schemers,” and Allah has also revealed the doctrine of “taqiyya,” the doctrine which allows a Muslim to lie to protect themselves or Islam. That means that Allah schemes and practices “taqiyya” by his own admission. He can declare himself to be the same God as God (when he is not) and still declare himself to be merciful, just, and righteous.
The Qur’an not only denies Jesus to be the Son of God it also claims through the traditions that Jesus will one day return to declare Islam to be the true religion, to destroy the church, break all crosses, and kill all pigs,12 and kill all Christians who do not convert to Islam. The reason why it is essential for Islam to destroy Christ and Christianity is all about Muhammad. If Jesus is the Son of God then Muhammad is no longer the latest and greatest! He may still claim to be the greatest prophet, but he is no longer superior to Jesus Christ because Jesus is the Son of God. Muhammad would be a false Christ since he has pretended to be greater than Christ. The Qur’an has lied. Again.
The importance of this can be seen in one of Islam’s doctrines, “shirk.” Whatever is “shirk” is an unforgivable sin, the worst of sins. To believe that God has a son is considered “shirk” in Islam, an unforgivable sin. Islam reinforces this sin by proclaiming that anyone who apostasizes from Islam is subject to the death penalty. If a Muslim converts to Christianity, he or she is likely to be stoned for their crime. Why does Islam find it so necessary to protect itself from losing followers? Is it because Allah is afraid his lie will not be sufficient to hold Muslims under his dominion? Is it because he knows that Jesus is truly who He says He is; so He must protect His ummah or they will no longer be his?
God is the one that declares Jesus to be His Son. When the Qur’an denies what God has stated, it blasphemes God, making God a liar. It also reveals the real motive of Allah and his Islam — to deceive the world into submission and worship, and to take what is not his but God’s, and appropriate it to himself. Anyone who believes that Allah and God are the same are ignorant of the whole of truth, and the whole of what God has stated about Himself and about His only Begotten God, Jesus Christ.
Conclusion. When Wheaton College suspended Dr. Hawkins for failure to comply with their Statement of Beliefs what they were saying is that the Scriptures do not reveal Allah and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the same. To affirm Allah and his Qur’an is to deny Jesus Christ and Christianity. God and His only begotten Son are inseparable.
Before the Qur’an was ever revealed to Muhammad, the Apostle Paul almost 600 years earlier quoted an Old Testament prophecy as below:
But what does the Scripture say? “CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON, FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.” –Gal. 4:30 (NASB)
The bondwoman was Hagar, Abraham’s wife, and the mother of Ishmael. Muhammad claims himself to be a descendant of Ishmael and a worshipper of the God of Abraham. If God says to cast out the bondwoman, Hagar, the mother of Ishmael (along with her descendants), how is it possible that Allah and God can be the same God since God would have cast out the one who claims to be his prophet, Muhammad?
God has already answered this question for us.
Jesus come quickly.
Blessings and Happy New Year.Jack
Footnotes to post:
- Church fathers Irenaeus and Eusebius of Caesarea wrote in their histories that John later went to Ephesus, which may provide the basis for the early belief that Mary also lived in Ephesus with John. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_(mother_of_Jesus)#Later_Christian_writings_and_traditions, notes 54 and 55. [↩]
- We do know that John’s gospel was one of the last writings of the New Testament, even after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos, perhaps 85 – 90 a.d. [↩]
- See Friberg Greek Lexicon under logos, electronic edition. [↩]
- Louw-Nida Greek English Lexicon, under “explanation” [↩]
- Mark Durie, Which God: Jesus, Holy Spirit, God in Christianity and Islam, location 127 of digital version [↩]
- http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/first_muslim.htm [↩]
- In order to be a Muslim, a person must state in the presence of witnesses the “shahada,” the Islamic credal statement: “There is no god but God [Allah] and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” The statement has two components that must be testified to: (1) there is no god but Allah and (2) Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. [↩]
- http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/first_muslim.htm [↩]
- Stewart, Devin J. . “Abraham.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e1119 (accessed 31-Dec-2015). [↩]
- Since Jesus did not die, the Qur’an ignores Jesus’ resurrection since Jesus was not crucified. To Christians, Jesus is the lamb of God that atones for the sins of the world. 1 John 2:2. Atonement in Islam is only possible when an individual makes amends for his own sins through repentance and penance (Qur’an 2:160). No person (or deity) may atone for the sins of another. A person may “fall short” of Allah’s standards, but it is because he has failed to do good deeds; or, the good deeds that he has done are diminished by his bad deeds and rendered, the “scales” out-of-balance (Qur’an 11.111). Read more. [↩]
- Reliance of the Traveller, a classic manual of sacred literature in Islam states: “He [Jesus] will descend in the Holy Land at a place called Afiq with a spear in his hand; he will kill with it al-Dajjal [the Antichrist of Islamic eschatology] and go to Jerusalem at the time of the morning prayer. The Imam [the Mahdi] will seek to yield his place to him, but Jesus will refuse and will worship behind him according to the Shari’a of Muhammad. Thereafter he [Jesus] will kill the swine, break the cross, and kill all the Christians who do not believe in him [the Mahdi]. Once al-Dajjal is killed, all the Peoples of the Book [i.e. Jews and Christians] will believe in him [the Mahdi] and will form one single umma of those who submit to the will of God. Jesus will establish the rule of justice and will remain for forty years, after which he will die. His funeral will take place in Medina, where he will be buried beside Muhammad, in a place between Abu Bakr and Umar.” (As quoted from Islam the Cloak of Antichrist by Jack Smith, page 206. [↩]
- Christians can eat pigs so this is another way to state Christianity will be destroyed [↩]