Midwestern pastor (and Wheaton alum) April Fiet has some really good thoughts today about the Wheaton College brouhaha around professor Larycia Hawkins’ comments about Muslims and Christians worshiping the “same God”.
Fiet doesn’t tackle the comments themselves, but rather our approach to them, regardless of our position.
What troubles me the most deeply about what is happening at Wheaton has very little to do with statements of faith, and more to do with a hermeneutic of suspicion. More narrowly, I am troubled by the fear that seems to be driving much of the conversation.
It seems to me that too many conversations within the church are being powered by fear rather than by love for one another.
She talks about some of the fears she sees, and some of the really good things she has seen happen when fear was not so prevalent. And I really like this reminder:
Fear cannot be the motivating factor for the way Christians live, move, and exist in this world. When writing about the Christian life, the author of Hebrews put it this way:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
We run as people motivated by the cloud of witnesses all around us, and we run with our eyes on Jesus. We are not running because we’re afraid. We are not running because there’s something scary chasing us. We’re running as part of a group that has all eyes fixed on Jesus.
I really appreciate her focus here. It dovetails nicely, too, with something one of my pastors has been saying recently on this topic, which is that even if we disagree with Professor Hawkins’ position, we can make good progress in not “othering” our Muslim neighbors simply by remembering and adhering to God’s command to love our neighbor.
Anyhow, Fiet’s piece: recommended reading.