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The recent move of Wheaton College to place on administrative leave one of its faculty has sparked debate about whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. This debate recurs because of the culture’s tendency to flatten religious differences into nebulous and impersonal ideas about “God” and because of widespread ignorance of religious faith. As Stephen Prothero points out in God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter, our happily ignorant “pluralism” can in religious matters lead to car bombs exploding, bullets fired through office buildings, hostage situations at abortion clinics, and waves of genocidal violence.

Religions create a lot of problems in the world. Ignorance of religion compounds those problems. Arguing that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is often well-intended. But in a world increasingly filled with clashes between adherents of Islam and the west, this confusion is dangerous. Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God and that matters immensely!

God

Muslims hold that “God is one.” Allah has no partners and assigning partners to him is shirk, the highest blasphemy. Christians believe “God is one in three Persons.” Each Person in the Trinity is fully and eternally God. Yet there is one God. Our Muslim neighbors believe Christians are guilty of the greatest sin–making partners with God. Christians believe their Muslim neighbors are guilty of the greatest sin–idolatry.

The two views of the nature of God are irreconcilable.

Duty

Muslims believe that man’s duty toward Allah is to submit to his will. The goal of Islam is not salvation, but to bring the entire world under the rule of Allah–dar al Islam. The Christian believes that the most fundamental duty toward God–out of which obedience arises–is repentance and faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. No one knows God who does not know the Son who is the only mediator between God and man. The goal of Christianity is the salvation of sinners through the righteousness, substitutionary atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The goals of the two religions could not be more different. And because the goals differ, how we worship and how we act in the world also radically differ.

Enemies

Despite all the debates about who is or is not a “true Muslim,” it cannot be doubted that significant numbers of Muslims believe it’s permissible, even necessary, to strive in the cause of Islam. Some believe that includes violent defense of Islam. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches that Christians are to love our enemies. Christians must turn the other cheek. Christians do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces of evil in high places.

Because Christians and Muslims define their enemies differently and respond to them differently, we cannot be said to worship the same God.

Conclusion

I could go on. Though at many places there is a common history (both groups come from Abraham), a common vocabulary (i.e., faith, worship, etc.) and increasingly a common address in the world, we may be tempted to think there’s more in common than is truly the case. Let us not make that mistake. The differences are radical and they lead to wildly different ethics. Sobriety and charity require us to lovingly state this truth and work out the implications.

 


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57 thoughts on “Muslims and Christians Do NOT Worship the Same God”

  1. Samuel says:

    I’ve had this conversation with multiple friends this week arguing the same thing. But the rebuttal I’ve received is this. “Yes we worship different God’s but Muslim’s, Jews and Christians “intend” to worship the same God. Two groups do it wrongly. The God of Abraham is the “intended person of worship.”. What would be a helpful response to that statement? Thabiti, could you write a blog about that?

    1. Harold says:

      Evangelical Christians believe that Jews and Muslims (and anyone else who is not a born again Christian) have two gods in play at all times (not one). Romans 1:18-23 says that all men know the true God and exchange Him for false gods. Therefore, Jews and Muslims aren’t trying to worship the true God rightly and just making a honest mistake, they know the true God in their hearts and have rejected Him and exchanged Him for a false god. These false gods can sometimes look a lot like the true God (like Judaism and Islam), but they, just like anyone of any other religion, have rejected Christ as the only way of salvation (John 14:6) and substituted something false.

    2. Holly says:

      Can anyone truly worship the Father while rejecting the Son?
      The Christian’s answer to that question must follow the example of Christ. Jesus himself settled the question when he responded to Jewish leaders who confronted him after he had said “I am the light of the world.” When they denied him, Jesus said, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19). Later in that same chapter, Jesus used some of the strongest language of his earthly ministry in stating clearly that to deny him is to deny the Father.

      Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Christians worship the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and no other god. We know the Father through the Son, and it is solely through Christ’s atonement for sin that salvation has come. Salvation comes to those who confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in their hearts that God has raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). The New Testament leaves no margin for misunderstanding. To deny the Son is to deny the Father.
      http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/12/18/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-the-same-god/

  2. Christians, Judaics, and Muslims, can worship different gods, though to the extent that they worship a god they do not worship God. Christians, Judaics, and Muslims, can worship God – not “a god of…” (http://mdtc.eu/wgggodtype.html) – although their concepts of him differ. Some Christians, Judaics, and Muslims, do not worship God.

  3. These are all arguments that their views about God are false. It doesn’t follow that they’re not even talking about God when they say these false things. Why do people keep confusing those two things? Of course we worship the same God, they just do so wrongly. II Kings 17 makes this distinction. It says the Israelites, in their idolatry, worshiped God and Baal. They were still worshiping God. But then it goes on to say that they didn’t really worship God. Those can’t both be true unless they’re meant in different ways. So there must be a sense in which people aren’t properly worshiping God are still directing their false worship toward him. Something similar is going on in Acts 17 when Paul says the God they worshiped is the God of the Bible, but he never pretends it’s proper worship.

    1. Steve Heath says:

      The Muslim faith declares that Allah has no Son. Christianity declares that he who has the Son has the Father also. To say that Jesus is not divinity is blasphemy in the view of Christianity. The opposite is true of Muslims. Allah is definitely not the Christian God.

      1. How do you blaspheme God if you’re not talking about God but someone else? It doesn’t blaspheme God to say that the Great Pumpkin has no Son. It blasphemes God to say that God has no Son. So if Muslims are blaspheming God, then it’s God that they’re talking about when they use language to refer to him.

  4. Glenn Koons says:

    Thank you for your honest Sir. In this time of liberal PC baloney, this was needed for all types of people to read and digest. We must pray for the conviction and conversion of all Muslims. Then we must demand the protection of the US and our allies from the horrid Islamist enemy that stalks the globe. No more PC excuses.

  5. Thabiti, I respect your opinion on this issue and so would value your opinion on this:

    I was recently at a city-wide pastors meeting and a wonderful Indian woman was there addressing us. She was a former Muslim and now works for evangelism among Muslims. She was desperate for Muslims to be saved by Christ. She did not delve deeply into the philosophical/theological/biblical issues like yourself (and others like Timothy George and Miroslav Volf) has.

    But she did say this about Muslims: “They have zeal for God but lack the knowledge of him” – a paraphrase of Romans 10:2.

    Do you think this is an appropriate thing to say of Muslims? Why or why not?

    I genuinely would value your wisdom.

    1. Harold says:

      Hi Steve, perhaps my response to Samuel (see above) might be helpful.

    2. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your comment and question, bro. It’s a good one. I’m fine with that way of speaking. Many religious people show an evident zeal for “God.” No doubt. But when we say “lack the knowledge of Him,” what are we actually saying? We’re saying, basically, they’re engaged in idolatry. They don’t know God and they are not known by God in a saving way. To say they mean to worship the true God that is is beside the point. They are not worshipping Him in any way He is bound to respect or accept. It doesn’t gain us much to say “they worship the same God” when false worship and false gods both lead to damnation.

      So, I’m fine with the language as far as it affirms genuine zeal and helps us understand such zeal may be misplaced. But if we go further to say, “Therefore it’s the same God,” then I think that’s a bridge too far.

      Just my opinion.
      T

  6. Trina says:

    This is a very good article, but I just have to point out that Wheaton DID NOT “suspend” the teacher. She is on paid leave. There’s a difference. I’m sorry, it’s just that my sister goes to school there and I’m getting tired of people claiming the school suspended the teacher when they didn’t.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Dear Trina,

      Thank you for the clarification. The specification matters. I appreciate the correction and will amend the post.

      Thabiti

  7. Christiane says:

    The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . . Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship Him . . . the One, the Creator, the Merciful . . .

    there are other groups who also acknowledge the One God . . . yes

    do fundamentalists worship this God? look how they treat people, and you know they do not even know Him

  8. It’d be nice for folk to stop lumping Jews with Christians and Muslims. The latter two are beliefs; the former term is ethnicity – a category error. An Arab may be a Judaic, and a Jew may be a Muslim.
    Incidentally, on the term “born again”, see http://mdtc.eu/wgg0303.html. I am a Christian – I have not been born again (a reincarnational term of Nicodemean jest).

    1. Phil H says:

      I suggest you not dismiss “born again” so lightly as Nicodemean jest. Jesus tells us He will not leave us as orphans and will send us a Helper (Holy Spirit) to teach, strengthen and enlighten us. It is discussed throughout the NT and a very real event in the life of a believer. As the late Oswald Chambers pointed out, the gift of the Holy Spirit is our deposit, our assurance that we are one of His.

      I suggest you ask Jesus about this in your prayers.

      1. Phil, perhaps check out the webpage I mentioned: I dismissed “born again” after about 50 years, not “lightly”. As for asking Jesus, my rule of thumb is always to ask the father, never the lord. Moreover, the onus is on Christians (they have the spirit) to study the scriptures, rather than on Q&Aing any member of deity – meditate Scripture with God, fine. Incidentally, Jesus doesn’t “tell us” so much as “told us” – a historical saying: he did not leave his disciples as orphans since he sent the spirit – such promises have become fact, so we do not await. You might find http://mdtc.eu/sggfather1.html useful.

  9. George says:

    God Is God, There is no other Father other than the first Father….. God came to earth as flesh and blood only to save us from ourselves of which humans still to this day have trouble with…. Science has proven that everything on earth is related through DNA and that we are all a big Family, The Family of God …. Science is not trying to disprove God, Religious believers are trying to disprove Science ! God gave us our Church / Mosque / Synagogue and all places of worship to remember God and God’s ways because people forget. It’s Humans who distorted the truth about God to better themselves and yet with such a major sin as to using God to better yourself. God came to earth Born of a Woman and placed in a manger as a helpless child where the animals were kept only to teach our cruel society that was much crueler than it is today. That Gods Love for you is Real and how to recognize Sin through confession Known and Unknown… We are all the family of God and Everyone needs to realize this and that killing our brothers & sisters in the name of God is wrong….. So to sum it all up ; Yes we all worship the same God …. God has not changed since the beginning only our human Books that have been written and rewritten many times over many years and our places of worship that have been built and rebuilt many times over the years….

    1. Denys M says:

      I am having difficulty reconciling your comment, “God gave us our Church / Mosque / Synagogue and all places of worship to remember God and God’s ways because people forget,” with your last sentence which seems to emphasize a distrust in human books, whether it be the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, or the Quran. Why should we trust that we can properly “remember” God and his ways when we are connected (?) with a church, mosque, or synagogue, but not properly remembering God and his ways when we read book associated with those traditions? In other words, what makes whatever you believe goes on in a church, mosque, or synagogue trustworthy, but not the books that those places use when “remembering” God?

  10. Koudjo says:

    I just have two questions. Allah is it an invention of Mohamed the founder of Islam? Before he founded Islam how do Arabs call God? Before Mohamed there is no word for God in Arab language? Now Saul of Tarsus before his conversion, was he worshiping the same God as Peter and the rest of Apostles? Will someone please help me?

    1. Phil H says:

      Saul of Tarsus thought he was worshipping the one true God until Jesus intervened in his life on the road to Damascus. So “no” he was not worshipping the same God but rather persecuting Him. This is true of every human being on earth.

    2. All peoples have had concepts of deity. Even polytheists (Arab, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, etc) could worship God under whatever term. Saul worshipped God, as had Nicodemus. Nicodemus had been in God’s kingdom (Ethnic Israel), yet at a deeper level needed to be born spiritually/anew in order to enter the deeper level of kingdom (Jhn.3:3). Nowadays, many Christians who were Muslims (as Saul had been an Intertestamental Judaic) witness that as Christians they now worship God more deeply than before, and at the level not simply of God but as father (Jhn.1:12).
      Allah is not an invention. What Muhammad did was to define the term Allah along the lines of monopersonal monotheism (one person, one being): Christianity teaches a tripersonal monotheism (three persons, one being – akin to three atoms forming one molecule, or three members of one family, or three dimensions of one cube). He transformed general Arabian society from polytheism to monotheism, so upgraded their theism. He was helped by local Christians & Judaics in formulating his ideas.

  11. Jason says:

    Another Major Difference:
    “One of the prerogatives of the Quran is abrogation, a legal term referring to the “destruction or annulling of a former law by an act of the legislative power, by constitutional authority, or by usage.” This is something taught in three separate places in the Quran. Sura 2:100/106 says, “And for whatever verse we abrogate or cast into oblivion, we bring one better or like it”…
    (Kingdom Of The Cults pg 620)

    Contrast this with Christ’s words “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Matt 5:17-18

    The God of Islam can abrogate this own revelation. Making the Quran’s ‘divine revelation’ much less then divine.
    The God of Christianity does not change.

    1. Besides squirming at the concept “god of Christianity” – Christianity has no god: it has God – I think Jesus’ meaning was that he didn’t come as a hostile to destroy, but as the one prophesied by Sinai his mission would terminate it as one friend takes the baton from another – see http://mdtc.eu/publications.html. Richard France & Don Carson have also good exegesis of Mt.5:17-9. Sinai has ended, leaving ethnic Israel (as all other peoples) outside of covenant: all people may enter the Yeshuic covenant and worship God the tripersonal as father, brother, and helper.

  12. Marque J Kabbaz says:

    I agree with some of your points here. But your sweeping declarations about the differences between Christianity (which I think it’s worth noting, cannot agree within its many denominations as to the correct and only way to worship ‘God’) and Islam are erroneous. Not misinformed opinion, but statistically wrong.

    Leaving aside for the moment the obvious undercurrent of demonisation (I cannot even fathom WHY an all-loving, all-accepting Christian would feel the need to make a point of the fact that your belief systems worship a different god), it seems to me that your argument serves no real good. It does not serve Christians, and it certainly does not help to sway incorrect bias toward a religion that, as of 2010 was hot on your heels as far as worshipers worldwide.
    Unlike Christianity, Islam does not monetise their belief system, so intention here must be brought into question.

    But the point that upsets me most, are your factually erroneous assumptions under the heading ‘Enemies’.
    You claim that ‘it’s permissible, even necessary, to strive in the cause of Islam.’ What then, is evangelism? What were the crusades? What is broadcast on every station, nationwide each Sunday morning? This is hypocrisy at best.
    But moving on.
    Onto ‘The Lord Jesus Christ teaches that Christians are to love our enemies. Christians must turn the other cheek. Christians do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces of evil in high places.’ Ahem. This is not an honest argument, surely? Did George Bush Snr not claim that ‘God is on our side’ as the Christian nation of America went to war with Saddam Hussein in Kuwait? The George W claimed the same in Iraq. Christians are statistically more bloodthirsty on a grander scale than any other religion on the planet.

    1. Phil H says:

      This is ridiculous, shallow and ignorant nonsense, no different than the relativistic and pluralistic junk you see written all over the Internet these days.

      Rather than concern yourself with what George W said, why don’t you seek Jesus yourself. Look up rather than sideways.

      1. Denys M says:

        You said, “I cannot even fathom WHY an all-loving, all-accepting Christian would feel the need to make a point of the fact that your belief systems worship a different god.”

        Perhaps we should rephrase that question to give us a little bit of perspective: I cannot even fathom WHY an all-loving, all-accepting Muslim would feel the need to make a point of the fact that your belief systems worship a different god.

        I can only think of one reason really: that both belief systems worship a different god. Although I am not sure your point in trying to fathom this question, it should be pointed out that noting differences is not the same as being unloving or causing strife.

        1. Denys M says:

          “You said,” as in Marque, not Phil H.

    2. Christians should not be all-accepting – ought we accept evil, error, illogic? But indeed they ought be all-loving within the human sphere.
      The history of Muslim/Christian conflict has included many factors, such as misunderstandings and genuine concern for defense. The First Crusade may have had justification against an aggressor Muslim empire, although human greed among many who knew not Christ but claimed his banner, certainly caused its share of justified resentment – even Constantinople, ostensibly Eastern Christianity, was attacked by ostensibly Roman Christianity. Likewise Sunni-Shia wars have long existed, not always between spiritual believers. We are fallen creatures, and even Christians sin.
      Christians broadcast much encouragement to bless Muslims, even as they broadcast much about Hindu-Muslim persecution of innocent Christians. Yet as humanism counsels, back to source! Judge not by Christians, nor by nominal Christians or simply Westerners, but rather judge them by Christ – a good reading of the New Testament will help.
      Ed Husain’s The Islamist is worth reading by Christians & Muslims: he moved from nominal Islam, to Radical Islamist (Hizb ut-Tahrir), to Sufism. He even considered Christianity, but couldn’t understand (among other things) trinitarianism, wrongly blamed it on Paul (though Paul got it from Jesus), and elected not to become a Christian. Though I’d wish deeper blessing for him, I rejoice that he at least found Islam to offer much help in worshipping God. To that extent I can uphold that Muhammad was a prophet of God to Arabia.
      PS: America (like the UK) is far from a Christian nation. As Barry McGuire sang, “don’t blame God for the sins of America, living by the dollar she’ll be dying by the sword”. She was once Christianised, ie culturally Christian swayed.

  13. Christiane says:

    There is one Creator. But religions have different ideas about that Creator.

    Even within a ‘denomination’ there can be different views of God . . . looking at Southern Baptists, you see this where some believe in the Holy Trinity as One God in Three Persons. Others believe in an arrangement where the second Person of the Holy Trinity is subordinate to the first Person of the Holy Trinity from all eternity to all eternity. The difference invites examination and questions, principally because it is used to shore up doctrine within the denomination on the subordination of wives to their husbands.

  14. Nita says:

    Ah, Satan, you cunning devil; creating religions was your most infamous deed. Religion is the deadliest, most divisive, invention on earth. Then lo and behold you inserted Islam which in’t even a religion into the mix.

  15. James Findlayson says:

    In my experience, as a Catholic, many Protestants have just as warped Christologies, so I’m not sure where this gets us. I’m not defending Islam at all, just that you’re in a bit of a glass house.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Funny that. Seems to me rank and file Catholics are as all over the place as Protestants. And appeals to Catholic tradition muddies things even more. It’s Catholic teaching about Mary that leads many Muslims to think that the Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and Mary!!! Talk about stones and glass houses!

      1. Muhammad picked up some deviant Christian teaching, more along the lines of tritheism (three gods) than trinitarian (one god, three ‘persons’). Trinitarians officially reject tritheism and side with Muhammad. In early church centuries, devotion to Mary reflected on her pattern of godly submission, and the term ‘mother of God’ (theotokos) developed as a way to affirm her firstborn’s deity. It did not suggest that she was co-eternal; co-deity. A good warning was flagged up by Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople (428–31), who suggested the tweak to Christotokos (mother of messiah): ie Mary was mother to the incarnate mode of God’s ontological son, his physicality, not his deity. But public devotion had become too strong, and Nestorius was shouted down.
        Roman Catholicism holds to trinitarianism, arguably over-venerates Mary, but strongly rejects both tritheism and the deification of Mary. Confused Muslims have not understood RC’s context – one should read the text before knocking the book. Moreover, Muslims tend to misunderstand talk of ‘sonship’ – there are several biblical layers of meaning, including the First Adam, covenantal monarchs of the Davidic line, and Christians, though the Greek term huioi may be translated ‘sons and daughters’ – Christian women don’t need a sex change (http://mdtc.eu/wgggender.html). Ch.15 of Chawkat Moucarry’s Faith to Faith, is helpful.

  16. Alf Schenk says:

    Muhammad’s Koran had Allah with daughters el-lat,el-Uzza and Manat so Local Arabs were included and eatin with the right hand only followed the dictates of the southern continent and the food taboos of the Jews were also included in his new religion and the harshness was put in at a later date as his power increased.

  17. Anna says:

    I would like to say that I believe public Internet debates on this topic by Christians are actually quite myopic when we should be considering the bigger picture of the Kingdom of God. The fact is that Muslims do regard the Old and New Testaments as holy books and the Quran includes many of the same ideas and references to the same people and stories (I believe Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and others are considered prophets, for example). It is not wrong to carefully think through the similarities and differences in what the Quran teaches and what the Bible teaches, particularly if a Christian takes time to read the Quran first (or a Muslim takes the time to read the Bible through, for that matter). I think it would be very beneficial to do this for myself, and I would love to be able to talk intelligently (and I hope sincerely and lovingly) from both the Bible and the Quran about who Jesus is, or about anything else that is relevant. To me, it seems that publicly drawing lines in the sand between Christians and Christians or Christians and Muslims might actually hinder God’s bigger purpose, might in effect be building higher walls between people when Jesus came to “destroy the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). Put it this way: if a Muslim (never mind any other non-Christian) happened to read something like this (which is not unlikely and has probably already happened), would he or she be more or less open to talking with a Christian friend about what the Scriptures say about God’s revelation of himself, or about what he calls his people to do?

  18. Anna says:

    And I say the above as an evangelical Christian who fully follows Jesus as my Lord, and who loves talking about him with others, including in cross-cultural situations.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Anna,

      Thank you for stopping by the blog and leaving a thoughtful comment. I’ve had the privilege of speaking with many, many Muslims over dinner, over tea, during public dialogues, at churches, and so on. There are two things that strike me about those discussions. First, very few Muslims are in any way confused about the differences between Christianity and Islam when it comes to our respective understandings of God. From the cradle a faithful Muslim family tells their child “There is no God but Allah” and “Allah is one.” If a Muslim has been taught anything, they’ve been taught that Christians do seriously err and blaspheme when they say God is Trinitarian. The second thing that strikes me about these many wonderful conversations is that no Muslim feels themselves offensive or takes offense when we make these distinctions clear. Not once have I had a Muslim be offended, leave a conversation or anything of the like when we acknowledge what they already assume to be true. They take it as honest conversation and we each work to win the other.

      So, I suppose if a Muslim read the post, they’d think I was wrong about how a person finds paradise and they’d reject the Christian theology here. But I do not think this would be a stumbling block to most Muslims.

      The barrier that Jesus destroys in Ephesians 2 is first a barrier (the Law) that God himself erects between Israel and Gentiles, and He destroys by revealing that He is the Son of God come to save people from their sins on the cross. There’s no way for us to live in that barrier-destroyed cross-shaped reality without speaking the plain truth about the deity and work of Christ–which our Muslim friends sincerely but wrongly reject. If being clear about these things offends or separates, it’s the offense or separation of the cross, which we have no liberty to avoid.

      Hope that helps.

      Thabiti

      1. Anna says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful response to me as well! I particularly rejoice to hear about those conversations with Muslims that you have had, and I apologize for the implied critique of you in my comment, which is only the second I’ve left on this topic in any internet forum. I was trying to express a concern that I’ve developed while “listening in” to many conversations–that a lot of Christians may concentrate only on the theology and forget that God calls us to be part of building his kingdom, whether by prayer or dialogue or acts of compassion and service. There are indeed fundamental differences between Muslim and Christian beliefs about God (or between Christian and Jewish beliefs, or Christian and JW beliefs, for that matter), but our common identity as “people of the book” is a natural bridge to start talking about Jesus, and I think it’s important that Christians not lose sight of the Great Commission in their zeal for theology. We need both!

        1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          Amen to that! Thanks again for joining the conversation!

      2. I think the line “God himself erects between Israel and Gentiles, and He destroys by revealing that He is the Son of God…” isn’t well put. Condensed to “God reveals that he is the Son of God” makes my point. Compare “the queen reveals herself as the daughter of the queen”. At one level “God” can be trinitarian; at another level “God” often pinpoints the father (1 Cor.8:5f.). Better to say that God the son revealed himself by a human mode, or that God revealed himself through his son (Heb.1:3). Thus, God the son as a human being died on the cross, but God didn’t die on the cross – God is intrinsically immortal. Sadly Wesley encouraged the latter heresy “‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!”

  19. Paul says:

    In view of the fact that many sincere Allah-seeking Muslims are experiencing visions of Jesus directing them to Christian counsel, it would seem God responds according to the intents of hearts rather than the definition of our god. “Seek and ye shall find.”

    1. Anna says:

      And like Mary, “my soul magnifies the Lord” for his kindness in saving all those who earnestly seek him, and in turning our hearts to earnestly seek him in the first place!

    2. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      God is sovereign in salvation and there is none who seek after God (Rom. 3:10-11). It is not a matter of the sinner’s heart in seeking God, but of God’s heart in seeking sinners. He may do that with dreams, visions, preaching or evangelism. But He is the Great Seeker–and Finder. I stress this because while God can work contrary to the teaching and practices of human religions (say, Islam), the fact that He does is no justification for the religion or reason to affirm people in false worship. God saves despite us.

  20. Angie says:

    Perhaps it would be helpful to look at this from another angle. Does God receive the worship of Muslims? I would think that He does not. Only a person filled with the Holy Spirit can truly worship God. But Muslims ascribe their worship to someone and someone is indeed receiving it.
    So who is this being receiving the worship of Muslims? It must be a false god– perhaps a servant of the evil one impersonating and mocking the Most High God or even just an idea that’s become very real to them. I’m not sure. But it can’t be our God.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      1 Cor. 8:4-6
      1 Cor. 10:19-20

    2. As there is good evidence both that “filled” should primarily carry a Pentecostal definition, and that cessationist Christians worship God, truly, I am unhappy with affirming true worship only to the spirit-filled. Moreover, I argue (Israel’s Gone Global) that while only Christians (the spirit-indwelt) can worship God as father, non-Christians can worship God as God, truly. Their concept will be partly in false direction and partly merely substandard, but this does not preclude God from their worship (Ac.17:23). If we affirm that Muslim worship qua Muslim worship must be to Satan, must we ipso facto affirm that Judaic worship, qua worship, must be to Satan? Before his conversion, did Saul worship Satan? Or at least both delusional? The monotheism of Islam has more affinity to Judaism’s that it has with Christianity’s, and is thus substandard, but is not per se satanic. As C S Lewis said, in arithmetic, there’s only one correct answer, but some wrong answers are more right than others. Monotheism insists that God is not a god, so any god I have is not God, but I seek to worship the father in spirit & reality (Jhn.4:21). Judaics & Muslims should not worship “my god”, but can with me worship God (http://mdtc.eu/wgggodtype.html).

  21. The “Muslims and Christians worship the same God” lie is so transparently false you can refute it in a single Tweet: Denying Jesus’ deity is a heresy in Christianity. Affirming it is a blasphemy in Islam. #notthesame

    You can also tighten it up and do it twice in a single Tweet: Denying Jesus’ deity=Christian heresy affirming it=Islamic blasphemy.

  22. Lisa says:

    Dear Dr Anyabwile,
    Thank you for posting this! I am an evangelical Christian, born to a Muslim father and Christian mother. Your post was so accurate and describes the very heart of my journey to find Christ. It is true that Allah is not the God of Christianity. Muslims do not see Allah as a father but more of like an encompassing presence that decrees laws and punishes the disobedient. To be a Muslim is to be one who submits to Allah’s laws and no one can know the will of Allah, not even Muslims. Allah has no separate personality to get to know just 99 traits which can be contradicted if that is his will. That fact frightened me so much because I felt no love from Allah and had no assurance that the empty rituals that I was doing would count enough to balance out on the Day of Judgment. I believe this is why many Muslims become fanatical because they want to something drastic to tip the scales toward Paradise. I found so much love, forgiveness and grace in following Christ, what a difference! I wish other Christians who minimize the differences could experience that. I think they would change their minds.
    I agree that many have zeal and are good people like my father and paternal family. Islam has a way of encompassing lives because it came as an expansionary force, mixing with culture. But you can also see zeal and good, devoted people in other cults like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It doesn’t make it true. I think that it would be a mistake to minimize the differences as Christians because then it just becomes about options for religion and rituals vs new life in Christ with the Good News. That’s what was different to me between Islam and Christianity–saving grace! To your readers out there, don’t give up on Muslims and don’t soften the Gospel. I found Christ and am growing in Him because a Christian pastor wasn’t afraid to preach the Gospel and point me to Jesus. Praise God!

  23. Dr John S. Ross says:

    I haven’t the time to trawl through all these comments, and so if others have covered the same ground, I apologise.

    If Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God then neither do Jews. The Jewish conception of God is almost identical to the unitarianism of Islam.

    On page 135, of his little 1990 Penguin handbook, ‘Judaism’, Isadore Epstein says, “The ‘Trinity in Unity’ of Christianity…remains a direct denial of the only God who, from the beginning, had chosen Israel in His service.”

    What I have noted in my experiences with Christians from both Jewish and Muslim backgrounds is that they generally testify that their Christian faith leads them to know the God they have always worshipped better. An example, outside of my personal acquaintance, is found in the implications behind the tile to Begum Bilquis Sheikh’s 1978 book, “I dared to call him [the God I worshipped] Father.” I have never known a Muslim or Jewish background Christian actually repudiate their former object of worship, though they do repudiate their previous understanding of him.

    1. Ouch, ‘Jews’ is a category error, historically based on the idea that one’s belief should be according to one’s race – but even Luther suffered from that conflict with evangelicalism. ‘Judaic’ better defines a religion: Arabs can be Judaics (but not ethnic Jews); Ethnic Jews can be Muslims (but not ethnic Arabs); only a minority of ethnic English & US Americans are Christians, nominally or ontologically.
      That aside, I substantially side with Dr Ross and J N D Anderson, who claimed that he had “never met a Muslim convert who regards…God [whom] he previously sought to worship, as a wholly false [g]od; instead, he is filled with wonder and gratitude that he has now been brought to know…God as he really is, in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Christianity and Comparative Religion, 1970:110). All in God’s Image sense the numinous (Rudolf Otto), unless they are in the moral void (C S Lewis).

  24. Brenda says:

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Here are two VERY GOOD videos that explain just how wrong it is to compare, much less claim Allah and the Great “I AM” are NOT even close to being the same. The Great “I AM” is THE GOD, THE ONLY GOD!!! Allah is an imposter TRYING to be a god. He’s Satan himself. Mohammad took the people astray! The two shouldn’t even EVER be used in the same sentence as far as I’m concerned! Allah is a NOBODY!!! GOD the Father gave us HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON to save us from death eternal!!! Go to YouTube to see these videos: Walid Shoebat End Times 2015
    The Caliphate and the Next Holocaust – Armageddon News
    You will learn stuff that, if you know your Bible at all and are willing to open your eyes to reality, you will learn A LOT, A LOT, A LOT!!! Jesus Saves your eternal soul ~ Allah Damns your eternal soul!

  25. A Parthian Shot: http://mdtc.eu/blog.html 51# summarizes my input.

  26. Pedro Cheung says:

    In my workplace, at least 30% of my staff are Muslims. Many of my patients are Muslims. When I share that I’m a Christian, they will commonly assure me that we are worshipping the same God, just giving Him different names.

    But when I share the gospel with some of them, they quickly realize that our beliefs of God and salvation are vastly different.

  27. Rusty Turner says:

    My thirty seven year old son has fallen in love with a Muslim from Jordan and is considering switching from
    from Christianity to Islam. What do you suggest he read to get the full scoop regarding his intentions! He is undecided at this time but asking many questions.

    Thanks

    1. I Dared to Call Him Father, by ex-Muslim Bilquis Sheikh, is an insider witness. However, anyone thinking of converting for marriage probably already lacks conviction other than a general theism. In order of personal preference: lowest, a Christian non-disciple, better, a Muslim disciple, best, a Christian disciple. Perhaps it’s time he really considered the revelation of Christ for his life, getting personal with God, a greater gain than even marriage. At a fairly intellectual level, the Syrian Chawkat Moucarry’s Faith to Faith book is useful: at school Moucarry deliberately crossed into the Muslim camp through his genuine desire to understand the inner heart & mind of Islam, and remained a Christian loving Muslims. Ed Hussain’s The Islamist, is also good, in that Hussain moved from passive, to extreme, to devotional, Islam, and charted the rocks of the extreme ISIS style he had sailed through. Hussain looked into Christianity ‘with a view’, but never got (or reported) a true picture. Through Sufism, he at least upgraded his personal life with God, howbeit missing out of Bilquis’ joy. Steve Hakes’ Israel’s Gone Global, covers the whole issue of Christian identity in the story of salvation.

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Thabiti Anyabwile


Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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