This blog is devoted to discussing the pursuit of eternal life.
Discussion and participation by readers is desired,
but contributions should correlate to the book,
The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology
of Perseverance & Assurance

Thomas R. Schreiner
& Ardel B. Caneday

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wheaton College Administrators Remove Names From Christian-Muslim Statement

February 8, 2008 12:23PM

Wheaton College Administrators Remove Names From Christian-Muslim Statement

“I signed the statement because I am committed to the business of peace-making and neighbor-love,” Litfin wrote in The Record. “I did not savor the document’s unnuanced apology section, but swallowed that in order to be a part of reaching out a hand to these Muslim leaders who had courageously taken the initiative. Though the statement was not written in the way I would have written it, it seemed to me that I could sign it without compromising any of my Christian convictions.”

“My eagerness to support the statement’s strengths caused me to move too quickly,” president Duane Litfin tells student newspaper.

Litfin goes on to explain that after reading the statement again, he found it was "not carefully enough crafted to avoid encouraging that basic premise of civil religion, i.e., that we are all worshiping the same God, climbing the same mountain, just taking different paths. It appears to me that the statement could have been written so to avoid this problem while still reaching out a gracious hand to these Muslim leaders. . . . To speak unqualifiedly of 'our common love for God,' as if the Quran's Allah and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ are one and the same, and as if what it means to “love God” in these two faiths means the same thing, is to say more than I am willing to grant. I do not criticize others who do not share these qualms. But as for me, I needed to back away."

Read the whole story.

Read Leith Anderson's explanation for why he endorsed the statement.


Why did President Litfin not recognize the problems with the statement before he added his signature? The problems leaped from the statement upon my initial reading of the document.

Is it not troubling that individuals in such prominent leadership roles sign onto such a defective statement and retract their names only after they get caught by others who point out the defects of the statement and the horrible implications of signing onto it? Why do some of us see the problems and refuse to sign while others sign and only after the damage is already done retract their names? Dare I say that it is just as I explained earlier that political correctness seduced them to sign? I wonder to what extent s fear of lost revenue for ministries and institutions may be the reason others did not sign on or for some to retract their signatures.


Jeremiah said...

This is encouraging.

Perhaps you may have already heard, but during the Desiring God Pastor's Conferece, Greg Livingstone was probed in a Q&A time as to why he signed the document. After giving some brief reasoning as to why he did it, he went on to confess he also may have acted hastily. He concluded by saying it "was the first time he had made a mistake."

It sure wasn't a full scale apology and repentance, but it was clear that he felt he had not acted wisely. Perhaps John Piper and Al Mohler's pleas were more effective than we might have thought.

abcaneday said...


I did hear about Livingstone's acknowledgment. I saw it in the Q&A session.

You're right. It was less than what one could have hoped for, but at least he acknowledged committing an error.

As I learn about these retractions and acknowledgments, it seems that I was correct to identify political correctness as the powerful motivator that induced them to sign onto the statement.

abcaneday said...

Now that Greg Livingstone's fuller response to the question posed to him at the recent DG Pastors Conference has been released, see my entry "Greg Livingstone's Tepid Acknowledgment of Wrongdoing." It expresses my deep disappointment.

What has happened to our evangelical leaders? Where is leadership? Where is spiritual leadership?

Greg Livingstone says, in his response, "I'm sorry that my own mission is probably losing some donors over this." I confess that I have never made any direct contributions to Frontiers, though BBC, to which we give, supports missionaries with Frontiers. I also confess that I will not be giving any money directly to Frontiers, given Greg's lack of leadership on the issue under discussion. How sad that he failed so badly to own his error, to repudiate his error, to retract his signature publicly, to refuse to divert the public gaze from himself to others, and to refuse to diminish the transforming grace of God by appealing to the fallacious moral equivalency argument. How sad! How very sad!