Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Statement from 1/6 Press Conference
While Wheaton College can signify that employees sign a statement of faith and adhere to it (and I do), they did not give me Jesus and they can’t take him away.
Wheaton College cannot hold me to a different standard, a higher standard, than they hold every other employee to.
Wheaton College cannot scare me into walking away from the truth that all humans, Muslims, the vulnerable, the oppressed, are all my sisters and brothers.
Wheaton College cannot intimidate me into cowering in fear of the enemy of the month as defined by real estate moguls, senators from Texas, Christians from this country, bigots, and fundamentalists of all stripes.
Wheaton College will never induce me to kowtow to their doublespeak concerning the Statement of Faith, so as to appease an imaginary constituency that clearly knows little about what academic freedom or Christian love mean; or to placate platinum donors to their coffers.
David Gushee, “Wheaton College, Doc Hawk, and a whole heap of trouble”
In this process Wheaton College has managed to especially offend women, African-Americans, Muslims, Christians who do not agree with a narrow and questionable interpretation of the college’s statement of faith, Wheaton students who have been positively served by Dr. Hawkins’ work, and every academic who thinks tenure protections and academic freedom exist precisely for these situations.
… Conservative evangelical institutions such as Wheaton are governed and supported, overwhelmingly, by people who are not just theologically conservative but also politically conservative. I would wager that the boards, top administrators, and biggest donors of most self-identified evangelical schools would vote Republican at around 95 percent. …
Evangelical Christian universities walk a tightrope. They are precariously balanced between the need to build a faculty that is academically respected and the need to satisfy the demands of very conservative donors, trustees, and parents. They have to pluck graduates from mainly liberal research universities and find or develop enough of them who can toe an explicit conservative theological line and an implicit conservative political line. This is no mean feat.
… What Professor Hawkins really violated were the implicit but very real political preferences of Wheaton’s constituency, not the school’s explicit theological standards.… So Wheaton is essentially saying this: Tenure will not protect you if you too visibly offend the conservative political views of our constituency. Whatever conservative politics looks like right now, that also is mandatory for faculty.
J.R. Daniel Kirk, “The Same God? Larycia Hawkins’ Statement for Wheaton”
Dr. Hawkins has posted a concise (3.5 page) letter outlining her theological position. You can read it here.
After reading the letter it is patently obvious that there is nothing she believes that is in the least out of step with Wheaton’s Statement of Faith.
… What we are seeing at Wheaton right now is that the things we say we believe on paper are actually just placeholders for a sociologically defined in-group. When someone says something that sounds out of step with what “We” should say, we scurry to find some reason why what was just said is a contradiction to what one MUST deduce from the words on the page.
… These battles we see are not battles for theological integrity. They are battles for sociological homogeneity. They are battles for assumptions, not for statements of faith.
If anything becomes clear from Dr. Hawkins’ letter it is that she is in full agreement with Wheaton’s statement of faith and that they have no grounds for firing her.