In December 2015, Dr. Larycia Hawkins a tenured professor at Wheaton college began wearing the traditional Islamic headscarf. She explained her actions in a Facebook post:
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” – see Christianity Today: Wheaton College Suspends Hijab-Wearing Professor After ‘Same God’ Comment and Joint Statement by Wheaton College and Dr. Larycia Hawkins Announcing a Resolution.
Not surprisingly, her explanation sparked some debate in the Christian community. While I can’t pretend to settle that debate, I think Colossians 1:13-23 speaks to the questions her explanation raised.
In this section, Paul argues that Jesus Christ is absolutely central to the gospel. Essentially, Paul claims you can not seek God and avoid Christ.
The Colossian church was in danger of believing a false gospel and Paul is writing to correct them.
In Paul’s opening prayer, he emphasized the life-changing hope believers have in the gospel. Continuing that theme, Paul claims that we have this hope only because of Jesus Christ. All that we can know of God is know through Jesus and all of creation falls under Jesus’ authority.
We ought to take Paul’s claims seriously because idolatry is not just worshiping a false God; idolatry is also worshiping a false idea of the true God (Exodus 32).
- “image of the invisible God” – When I look at the visible man Jesus, I can see and learn what I need to know about the invisible God.
- Compare with John 14:8-10
- “firstborn of all creation” – The first-born had the authority to speak for the father in the father’s absence. In all of creation idea there is no one higher than Jesus.
- Jesus Christ has priority in every way. Everything in creation — every throne, every power, every authority both visible and invisible — falls under the authority given to Jesus.
- Jesus is the visible manifestation of everything I need to know about God. You cannot seek God and avoid Christ.
- The Colossians were trying to define the gospel without Christ. But, you can not seek God and avoid Christ.
- Search creation high and low for the meaning of life and you will find it only in Jesus. All this reconciliation and life-changing hope is yours IF you continue believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
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Study: Colossians Resources
Scripture quotes are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.