CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Christian college announced Tuesday it would fire a professor who claimed, in contradiction to the college's statement of faith, that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
On December 15, Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts school, placed Dr. Larcia Hawkins on administrative leave while they inquired into a controversial Facebook comment in which she declared 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," Larkins wrote. She went on to claim that "we worship the same God."
She also added,"As part of my Advent Worship, I will wear the hijab to work at Wheaton College ... ."
Wheaton took issue with the Facebook post, claiming Hawkins' comment contradicts the college's statement of faith. The college states that it reserves "the right to hire to mission, and it is the responsibility of each staff, faculty member and student to support and advance the integrity of that mission." It goes on to state there are "fundamental differences" between Islam and Christianity and that "salvation is through Christ alone."
Wheaton College worked vigorously and in good faith to pursue the possibility of reconciliation with Dr. Hawkins. Extremely frank conversation and communication took place in recent days toward that end. On the part of the College, further theological clarification is necessary before such reconciliation can take place, and unfortunately Dr. Hawkins has stated clearly her unwillingness to participate in such further clarifying conversations. This represents an impasse on our efforts toward reconciliation.
In the coming days, Hawkins' case will be heard before a faculty personnel committee, which will then make a recommendation to college president Philip Ryken. Ryken will then offer his conclusions to the college's board of trustees, with final decisionmaking authority on the matter.
In a 2013 exclusive interview with ChurchMilitant.com, Bp. Athanasius Schneider clarified that Vatican II's teaching on the relation between Christianity and Islam must be clarified because the two are "substantially different" and that Islam does not offer a real "supernatural faith" in God.
Bishop Schneider's words echo that of a number of Catholic saints and popes, who have denied that Islam is a real religion. The 15th-century pope Callixtus III said Islam was a "diabolical sect" and that Muhammed was a "reprobate and faithless" man.
Saint Thomas Aquinas compared Muhammed to a "robber and a tyrant" who "seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasures." He called Muhammed's followers "brutal men and desert wanderers utterly ignorant of all divine teaching" who forced converts through violence.
Aquinas also said Muhammed's perversions of the Old Testament books were so obvious it was necessary for Muhammed to forbid Muslims from ever reading them, lest they discover his falsity.
Modern commentators like Robert Spencer have clarified that the wording in the Vatican II document "Lumen Gentium," which states that Muslims "along with us adore the one and merciful God," does not imply both religious groups worship the same God, but simply that both religions are monotheistic.
The passage "is clearly affirming that Muslims, like Christians, are monotheists," Spencer asserts, "which is a rather commonplace observation that has been noted numerous times over the 14 centuries of Islam's existence."
He continues: "[T]here can be no doubt about one thing it certainly doesn't mean: that Muslims and Catholics adore the same God in every particular, for Catholics do not believe that Muhammad was a prophet or the Qur'an is God's Word, and Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God or the Savior of the world, or that God is Triune."
To learn more about the true nature of Islam, watch our show "Mic'd Up—ISIS Crisis."