Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Wheaton Graduate Asks His Alma Mater to Consider Its Muslim Neighbors

John Schmalzbauer is not your average Wheaton College alumnus. He is the Blanche Gorman Strong Chair of Protestant Studies at Missouri State University.  

In his recent piece at Religion and Politics, Schmalzbauer puts the entire Larycia Hawkins affair in the larger context of Wheaton's history with non-Christian religions and the history of Midwestern fundamentalism.  It's a great piece--the best thing I have read so far on this controversy.

Here is a taste:

In November 2007 Wheaton’s president, provost, and chaplain signed a major statement on Christian-Muslim understanding that appeared in The New York Times. Calling for peace between the two religions, the document affirmed “our common love for God and for one another.” The 300 signatories included megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, Fuller Seminary President Richard Mouw, and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. In January 2008, the statement drew strong rebukes from Minnesota Pastor John Piper and Southern Baptist educator Albert Mohler. Though Wheaton’s leaders later retracted their signatures, they continued to embrace the goal of peacemaking. 

Schmalzbauer's appeal to the administration of his alma mater may be too late.  The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Wheaton and Hawkins have been unable to reconcile.  Hawkins may be terminated if she does not agree to give up her tenure.