So… Larycia Hawkins is being dismissed by Wheaton College. Perhaps you’ve been following this story.

There are various perspectives on why this is happening, but I’d simply like to comment on the question that Wheaton has framed as the defining issue:

Is it true that Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

For Wheaton, the answer is ‘no’. They say (and I’d agree) that “while Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation, and the life of prayer.”

Yes – clearly we believe different things about God. But the question remains, do we worship the same God?

Here are my concerns:

First, while it is true that a) most Christians believe in the Trinity and the unique role of Jesus for salvation and that b) these beliefs distinguish us from Muslims, they also distinguish us from Jews. And I don’t hear any Christians trying to claim that we worship a different God from the Jews.

Second, I’m not even sure that I worship the same God as other Christians sometimes. This is what I mean: my belief is that God looks like Jesus. And I believe that Jesus was anti-empire and non-violent (among other things). To me, that doesn’t look much like “American Christianity”.

And finally, this is my big problem: When you say that what you believe about God equates with the way God is, then you’ve got an idol that you’re worshiping. You’ve created god in your image. Sure—worship God as best you can. But when you insist that you’ve got God figured out, then it’s time to reconsider the God you believe in.