Saturday, January 9, 2016

Proposed Wording for a New Doctrinal Requirement for Employment at Wheaton College

We now have available to us Larycia Hawkins' response to the Wheaton Administration's request for "clarification" about her remarks concerning Christians and Muslims worshiping the same God. It has been posted on Scribd.

In this statement, Hawkins clearly articulates her agreement with Wheaton's statement of faith, and she eloquently explains her broader philosophical/theological perspective, in terms of which that statement of faith is fully harmonious with her brief social media remarks about Christians and Muslims. In other words, it is now clear that Hawkins continues to endorse Wheaton's statement of faith, and that given her broader philosophical and theological perspective, her doing so is entirely consistent with her claim that Christians and Muslims are people of the book who worship the same God.

Of course, one needn't accept her broader philosophical and theological perspective. Although it seems quite plausible to me, Wheaton officials may ascribe to a different perspective, one which does not permit the reconciliation between the faith statement and Hawkins' remarks that Hawkins' own perspective permits. But if Wheaton is trying to fire her because they find her broader philosophical/theological perspective unacceptable despite its harmony with Wheaton's faith statement, then in fairness they ought to clearly announce that they have adopted a new doctrinal requirement for employment at Wheaton.

I thought I'd help them out with some proposed wording for the new doctrinal requirement. I suggest the following:

Wheaton College has traditionally maintained, as a doctrinal requirement for employment at Wheaton, that all employees accept Wheaton's historic statement of faith. We have now determined that this is insufficient as a doctrinal requirement. Additionally, we now require that Wheaton employees accept the current leadership's idiosyncratic philosophical and theological perspective and the interpretation of Wheaton's statement of faith (including purported implications) that follows from that perspective. Current employees, including tenured faculty, should be aware that even if they presently embrace the leadership's broader perspective in addition to the statement of faith, their employment may be jeopardized should the leadership's perspective evolve and change. However, there is little danger of such change, since perspectives typically evolve in the light of thoughtful conversations among persons with differing perspectives, and this is something we no longer permit.  

1 comment:

  1. Eric, don't you think you should add a line that says something like: If you are black, a democrat or possibly someone we might find a political difference with, we reserve the right to fire you under the grounds that we have nothing else to talk about.