Jeffress: Wheaton debacle indicative of larger problem

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Steve Jordahl (

Wheaton prof Larycia HawkinsA well-known Southern Baptist pastor is concerned about the message Wheaton College is sending by settling with a professor whose theology wasn't in line with the college – or with scripture.

Wheaton professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins made waves at the college and around the county recently when she wore an Islamic head covering to a press conference and said Christians and Muslims "worship the same God." After some wrangling and noise among Wheaton students, the college agreed to part with Hawkins on good terms and establish a scholarship in her name.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church-Dallas, has some concern about Wheaton's decision – but mostly about the influence it might have elsewhere in the Christian community.

Jeffress, Rev. Robert (FBC Dallas)"I'm afraid they may have created a martyr in this scholarship fund, but that's their business," he tells OneNewsNow. "I just hope that Wheaton and all ... Christian institutions – and mostly Christian churches, for sure – will not waffle and waiver on this foundational issue of the Christian faith."

The dustup at Wheaton is symptomatic of a larger problem within the Christian community, according to Jeffress. "We are not articulating in a clear way why we believe what Jesus said, that he's the only way to heaven," says the pastor.

And while critics argue that when Christians make that statement they are deliberately excluding people of other faiths from heaven, Jeffress says the exact opposite is true.

"The reason we tell Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, everyone that there's only one way to God is not to try to keep them out of heaven, but it's because we want to invite them into heaven," he shares.

Jeffress' new book Not All Roads Lead to Heaven releases today.

Who's to blame?

About 30 of Hawkins' supporters at the school announced on Ash Wednesday a 40-day fast in protest of what they see as the school's racism, sexism, and Islamaphobia. Cultural analyst Laurie Higgins says the controversy has exposed the pernicious influence of liberal faculty members at Wheaton who want to shape the social and political views of students.

"The ones who are chanting in front of Edman Chapel and are asserting that the administration is racist and sexist ... have been influenced by liberal professors on campus," says Higgins, who lives in the city of Wheaton and has had two children graduate from the college.

"I hope moving forward that they're very careful with their ... hiring practices and they really scrutinize the beliefs of their new faculty hires," she adds, "so we can avoid these kinds of problems in the future."

2-17-2016 - Higgins' comments added.


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