I hope Wheaton College resists . . . 

 

. . . the threat by alumni to withhold donations in the hijab-wearing-professor case. I think college officials are stubborn enough to withstand it.

The professor and supporters

The problem:

. . . the college has said this action [moving to fire the professor] was not taken because of her decision to wear a hijab but because she failed to clarify what makes Christianity distinct from Islam, a conflict with Wheaton’s statement of faith signed by faculty members.

It leads one to look into the broader question, what’s the difference between Islam and Christianity?

Most item of difference, theologically speaking, is nicely stated here, in the online publication, Christianity in View, namely, who do these religions, Christianity and Islam, think God is?

One God, who exists in three distinct persons (The Trinity): Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). One God (Arabic:Allah), who is not a trinity. The Islamic view of God is called strict Monotheism (Quran 112:1).

So for starters, we have a crucial difference, trinitarian or unitarian?

And while we’re at it, apart from the professor’s improbably using Pope Francis as an authority in an Evangelical context, as she did, what did Francis mean when he said the same thing?

His was not a doctrinal statement, explained Todd Aglialoro at the Catholic Answers blog, in March of 2013. Speaking at a major inter-faith gathering, he made the Muslim-God reference — among other “diplomatic niceties and specific expressions of good will aimed at Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims” which characterizes such a gathering.

His remarks to the latter recognized that Muslims “worship the one living and merciful God, and call upon him in prayer.”

In this he echoed the 1964 [Vatican II] dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium, which gave a nod to “the Mohammedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”

Both the Vatican council and Pope Francis spoke with “a pastoral rather than doctrinal purpose,” however, which can be risky coming from one who historically has spoken as one with authority. Gets confusing sometimes.

The Catholic Answers writer has a lot more to say here, including that in an age of increasing “secularism and moral relativism,” Christians

. . .  look across creedal lines for friends and allies—comrades-in-arms in the fight for unborn life, traditional marriage and morality, religious rights, and a continued place for believers in the cultural conversation.

It can be an encouragement and a temptation, then, to look at Islam and see not warriors of jihad against Arab Christians and a decadent West, but fellow-soldiers of an “ecumenical jihad” against an anti-theist culture.

It’s a sort of an any-port-in-the-storm approach, gathering allies where we may.  In this regard the writer asks whether Islam can be a reliable ally and recommends

the newest book from Catholic Answers Press: Not Peace but a Sword by Robert Spencer [who is no love-a-Muslim patsy]. The evidence he presents will help us understand Islam’s God more clearly, and make us examine more shrewdly the prospects for any future alliance with followers of the Prophet.

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