Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God? A Brief Reflection

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?

It seems to me that when the relationship between Islam and Christianity is engaged on this level, theologians of a more liberal bent are provided a delicious opportunity to flatten the antithesis between Christ and Allah.

The question so framed allows for subtleties in metaphysics to rise to the fore.  “Isn’t there only one, real God?” they ask, finger raised.  “And if there is only one, real God, then it follows that worship must be directed, even if somewhat confused, to this one, real God.  Thus, it should be plain, dear friend, that we are worshiping the same God.”

Well, it isn’t all that plain.  But that isn’t the point.  The problem here is the desire to build upon perceived ambiguities so as to construct a viewpoint that downplays key differences between Islam and Christianity.

Those of a more liberal mindset don’t want hard edges.  They want Muslims to go to heaven as Muslims.  This, it seems to me, is the impetus behind the question.

So let’s not start there.  Let’s ask other, more relevant questions; the kind of questions that readily dispel ambiguities:

Did Mohammad communicate to humanity revelations from God?  No.

Is Mohammad a false prophet?  Yes.

Would Christ condemn Mohammad?  Yes.

Did Mohammad preach a false gospel?  Yes.

Did Mohammad have a high enough view of Christ?  No.

Did Mohammad deny the death, burial and resurrection of Christ?  Yes.

Did Mohammad accurately portray God?  No.

Would Paul, Peter, or any of the other apostles have had anything especially good to say about Mohammad if they could have been made aware of his life and teachings?  No way.

If we can attain clarity about these questions, the issue of worship ought to be much easier to navigate.  For even if we grant that Muslims direct their worship to the only true God, we will be compelled to say that it is worship offered in vain.  God is not pleased with it, and it doesn’t help their situation.  They need to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

No amount of placating or theological redefinition can change this fact.  So why muddy the waters?  One might as well get to the nub of the issue.[1]

——–

For a recent dialogue on this subject, I would point you to the following episode of Unbelievable.

[1] Which isn’t to say that one ought to be pugnacious or overbearing in their evangelism to Muslims.  But it does mean that both sides ought to fully acknowledge what is at stake without watering the issue down.

5 Comments

  1. Joanne March 2, 2016 at 8:41 am #

    Could you please reference scripture and their holy book to support this? I love the clarity!!!

    • Austin Brown March 4, 2016 at 12:03 am #

      Hi Joanne! I’m catching this near bedtime, so I can only reply briefly. I hate not replying to comments, so I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t miss your question. I’m not sure how much detail you’re looking for but I would point you to James White over at Alpha and Omega Ministries for careful interaction. Other than that, if I could but only appeal to one text, I would cite Galatians 1:6ff as a foundational concept. God bless!

  2. Claus March 2, 2016 at 9:39 am #

    Do Muslim children miss out on eternity because they have never heard the name of Jesus? I realize my question is slightly off topic. But it’s a question I’m evaluating.

    • Matt Coleman March 2, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

      Muslims (including children) are taught about Christ from an early age, but they are taught that he is (a) only a prophet and not the son of God and (b) Christ, in Muslim teachings, appeared to Mohammed and confirmed Mohammed’s status as the final prophet — which is also not true. So the problem you have is that Muslims, even Muslim children, are told about Christ, but told a lie. The soteriological question is what responsibility do Muslims (or anyone) have regarding the truth. If you are told about Christ, but told a lie, is it your responsibility to seek the truth? The great commandment, given to all humanity, is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and strength …” which means everyone is responsible for seeking the truth. Since all humanity will be judged, and regardless of whether or not Muslim children have heard of Christ, they like all people, will have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (as Paul notes.) So they too will fall under the judgement of the Holy God.

    • Austin Brown March 4, 2016 at 12:05 am #

      As I mentioned to Joanne, I’m catching this at the end of day near bed time 🙂 I don’t think I can give this the attention I need to in a few seconds, as I feel I should round out the answer with some explanation. I will try to get to this tomorrow. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.