Tagged: Koran

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

Several years ago, El Arabiya TV asked President George W. Bush whether he was anti-Islam. He responded: “Well, I believe in an almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God.”

While the president’s comments no doubt were intended to soothe the minds of Muslim viewers, they had just the opposite effect on me. The god of Islam (Allah) and the God of the Bible (Yahweh) clearly are different. We can see this by asking three personal questions:

1. Does God know me?

Allah. The Qur’an teaches that Allah is the transcendent creator. He knows who you are; in fact, he has fatalistically determined your thoughts, words and deeds – and even your eternal destiny, which is why Muslims so often say, “If Allah wills it.” So, Allah does indeed know you.

But Allah is neither knowable nor approachable. The Qur’an depicts him as a singular being with no “partners.” To call Jesus the Son of God is to commit shirk, the unpardonable sin. Of the 99 names for God in the Qur’an, none is intimate. Allah reveals his will, not himself.

Yahweh also is depicted as the transcendent Creator. He knows us; but more than that, He is knowable and approachable. He created us in His image – with personality, thought, and will – for the purpose of enjoying an everlasting, intimate relationship with Him. He exists as a Trinity in eternal relationship as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In fact, God is so knowable, He came in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth. As the apostle John writes, “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Does God know me? Allah and Yahweh are depicted as supreme beings that know everything and everyone. But … only the God of the Bible is truly personal and knowable.

2. Does God love me?

Allah. The Qur’an teaches that Allah loves those he chooses to love and hates those he chooses to hate. “Allah loves not those that do wrong,” says the Qur’an (Surah 3:140), neither does he love “him who is treacherous, sinful” (Surah 4:107). “Those who reject faith and do wrong – Allah will not forgive them nor guide them to any way – Except the way of Hell, to dwell therein for ever. And this to Allah is easy” (4:168-169). Other types of people Allah hates include the arrogant and vainglorious (4:36; 16:23; 31:18; 57:23); those given to excess (5:87); and the ungrateful (22:38).

Yahweh, on the other hand, loves all people (John 3:16). He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). John writes, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sin” (1 John 4:10). Even though God hates sin, He loves sinners and takes no pleasure in punishing them (Eze. 18:23).

Does God love me? Only the God of the Bible loves all people.

3. Did God die for me?

Allah. The Qur’an teaches that Allah did not and would not die for you, nor would he send anyone to die for you. In fact, Islam claims that Jesus did not die on the cross but was taken up into heaven, and Judas, or someone who looked like Judas, was crucified in His place.

Further, the Qur’an states that there is no need for Allah to provide a sacrifice for sin because ignorance of Islam, not sin, is man’s problem. (The possible exceptions are apostasy from Islam and refusal to convert to Islam.) Staying away from major sins (whatever those are) will automatically result in one’s “small” sins being overlooked by Allah (4:31).

Yahweh, on the other hand, loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us. This was determined in eternity past; Jesus is declared to be the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ not only died for us; He rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. And He offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal life by grace through faith in Him.

Did God die for us? Only the God of the Bible sent His Son to die for us, securing eternal life for those who trust in Him.

So, are Allah and Yahweh just two different names for the same God?

You decide:

  • Allah is distant and unknowable. The God of the Bible is close and personal.
  • Allah does not love every person. Yahweh does.
  • Allah did not and would not die for you, nor would he send anyone to do so. But the God of the Bible loves you so much He sent His one and only Son to die for you. And He stands ready to grant you everlasting life if you will receive Him by faith.

This column appeared July 21, 2012, in The Pathway of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Seven reasons to trust the scriptures

Muslims claim The Koran is the perfect revelation of Allah given to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It corrects corrupted Jewish and Christian scriptures and supersedes all other religious writings.

Members of the Unification Church say Divine Principle is their written authority, coming from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, “the Lord of the Second Advent” who completed the work Jesus left unfinished when Jesus died on the cross rather than marrying and having children.

Mormons profess belief in four standard works: The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the Bible (“as far as it is translated correctly”). The Book of Mormon is especially important, recording Jesus’ appearance in America to the descendants of a Jewish prophet; it is, in Mormon teaching, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”

Adherents to the Church of Scientology study Dianetics, a book by one-time science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who claimed that people are eternal beings who go through a series of rebirths and must shed the negative baggage from past lives in order to become “operating thetans.”

Then, of course, there’s the Bible, which most Christians agree is the Word of God.

Add to these the sacred writings of countless other belief systems – from Buddhism to Baha’ism – and the claims to truth are astounding in their number and variety.

But which of these books is really true? Is it possible that all of them contain some truth – or that all of them are true for the people who choose to believe them? Is it narrow-minded, arrogant, or even bigoted to say that any of these writings is false? Why do Christians insist that the Bible is the Word of God? Can’t we all just get along?

Most Christians believe in the veracity of Scripture. That is, we trust the Bible to be the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God and the authoritative source of all we believe and practice. By inerrant, we mean the original autographs are without error. By infallible, we mean the Bible is incapable of error because God, as its author, does not lie or make mistakes. By inspired, we mean the Bible is “God breathed.” And by authoritative, we mean that the Bible, as God’s Word, is His written revelation to us and must therefore guide our thoughts, words and deeds.

But are there sound reasons to trust the scriptures? Indeed, there are.

Listen. Read. Learn more.

Reflections on 9/11 – Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

Are Yahweh (the God of the Bible) and Allah (the deity of Islam) the same? Are the differences between them inconsequential  — so small, in fact, that they negate any grounds for debate?

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, many, in the spirit of tolerance, will conclude that we all worship the same God. The only differences are in styles of worship, sacred scriptures, doctrines and traditions.

Former President George W. Bush said as much in a 2007 interview with Al Aribaya Television: “Well, first of all, I believe in an almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That’s what I believe.”

The Qur’an seems to support the former president’s view:

Do not argue with the people of the scripture (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) except in the nicest possible manner-unless they transgress-and say, “We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you, and our god and your god is one and the same; to Him we are submitters.” (29:46).

The words of Rodney King echo in our ears: “Can’t we all just get along?”

It’s personal

But insisting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God dishonors both religions and disrespects the people who hold dearly to their teachings. In other words, both Christians and Muslims should respond with a resounding “no” to any suggestion that the God of the Bible and the God of the Qur’an are the same.

But let’s make the issue more personal. Every person can know the difference between Yahweh and Allah by asking three personal questions:

1. Does God know me?

Allah. The Qur’an teaches that Allah is the transcendent creator, all-powerful and all-knowing. He knows who you are; in fact, he has fatalistically determined your thoughts, words and deeds – good and evil – and even your eternal destiny, which is why Muslims so often say, “If Allah wills it.” So, Allah does indeed know you.

But Allah is not truly personal, knowable, or approachable. The Qur’an depicts him more judgmental than gracious. He exists as a singular unity who has no “partners.” In fact, to call Jesus the Son of God is to commit the unpardonable sin, or shirk. Of the 99 names for God in the Qur’an, Father is not one of them. In Islam, it is considered blasphemous to “presume” that one can know God or claim any sort of close, personal fellowship with Allah. He reveals his will, not himself.

Yahweh, the God of the Bible, also is depicted as the transcendent Creator. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present. He knows us; but more than that, He is knowable and approachable to us. He created us in His image – with personality, thought, and will – for the purpose of enjoying an everlasting, unbreakable, intimate relationship with Him. He exists as a Trinity in eternal relationship as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In fact, God is so knowable, He came in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth. Consider just a few of the abundant evidences in scripture:

  • John 1:1-3, 14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created….The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • John 15:14-15 – You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.
  • John 17:3 — This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent-Jesus Christ.

Does God know me? Allah and Yahweh are depicted as supreme beings who know everything and everyone. But … only the God of the Bible is truly personal and knowable.

2. Does God love me?

Allah.The Qur’an teaches that Allah loves those he chooses to love and hates those he chooses to hate. “Allah loves not those that do wrong,” says the Qur’an (Surah 3:140), neither does he love “him who is treacherous, sinful” (Surah 4:107). “Those who reject faith and do wrong – Allah will not forgive them nor guide them to any way – Except the way of Hell, to dwell therein for ever. And this to Allah is easy (4:168-169).

Other types of people Allah hates:

  • Transgressors (2:190).
  • Ungrateful and wicked creatures (2:276).
  • Those who reject faith (3:32; 30:45).
  • Those who do wrong (3:57, 140; 42:40).
  • The arrogant, the vainglorious (4:36; 16:23; 31:18; 57:23).
  • Those given to excess (5:87).
  • Wasters (6:141; 7:31).
  • Treacherous (8:58).
  • Ungrateful (22:38).

Yahweh, the God of the Bible, on the other hand, loves all people (John 3:16). He proved His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). John writes, “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Even though God hates sin, He loves the sinner and takes no pleasure in punishing him (Eze. 18:23).

Does God love me? Only the God of the Bible loves all people.

3. Did God die for me?

The Qur’an teaches that Allah did not, would not, and will not die for you, nor would he send anyone to die for you. In fact, the Qur’an insists that Jesus did not die on the cross, but was taken up into heaven, and Judas, or someone who looked like Jesus, was crucified in His place.

Further, the Qur’an teaches that there is no need for God to provide a sacrifice for sin because ignorance of Islam, not sin, is man’s problem. (The possible exceptions are apostasy from Islam and refusal to convert to Islam.) Staying away from major sins (whatever those are) will automatically result in one’s “small” sins being overlooked by Allah (4:31).

Yahweh, the God of the Bible, on the other hand, loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us. This was determined in eternity past, before you and I were ever born and before any of mankind had fallen into sin; Jesus is declared to be the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

But even more than dying for us, God the Son rose from the dead, conquering sin and death, and He offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal life by His grace through faith in Him.

Did God die for me? Only the God of the Bible sent His Son to die for sinners, securing eternal life for those who trust in Him.

So, are Allah and Yahweh just two different names for the same God?

No. Allah is distant and unknowable; Yahweh is close and personal. Allah does not love every person; Yahweh does. Allah did not, would not, and will not die for you, nor would he ever send anyone to do so; but the God of the Bible loves you so much He sent His one and only Son to die for you. And He stands ready to grant you everlasting life if you will receive Him by faith.

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

Are Yahweh (the God of the Bible) and Allah (the deity of Islam) the same? Are the differences between them inconsequential  — so small, in fact, that they negate any grounds for debate? In the spirit of tolerance, political correctness, ignorance or even fear, many  have concluded that we all worship the same God. The only differences are in styles of worship, sacred scriptures, doctrines and traditions. Former President George W. Bush said as much in a 2007 interview with Al Aribaya Television. The words of Rodney King echo in our ears: “Can’t we all just get along?”

But insisting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God dishonors both religions and disrespects the people who hold dearly to their teachings. In other words, both Christians and Muslims would respond with a resounding “no” to any suggestion that the God of the Bible and the God of the Koran are the same.

But let’s make the issue more personal, as I did in this article, which continues to be the most-read post in this blog. Basically, the issue may be boiled down to three personal questions:

  1. Does God know me?
  2. Does God love me?
  3. Did God die for me?

Read the full story here.

Christian Apologetics 101: Download free workbook

Click here to download the free workbook

Newsweek magazine recently reported that “the Christian God … is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory.” Perhaps one reason is that Christianity holds to absolute truths in a society that is increasingly relativistic. When Christians hold fast to their convictions they may come under withering attacks from proponents of other faiths, secularists, or even the new breed of “angry atheists” who insist that our nation – indeed our world – would be better off with no religion at all.

Even more troubling is the realization that the church faces greater threats from within – for example, from those who relish “arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:4-5); “deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1); false teachers who tickle our ears (2 Tim. 4:3); and false prophets who come to us with “cleverly contrived myths” (2 Peter 1:16).

For followers of Jesus there has never been a more important time to know what we believe, why we believe, and how to share our faith with an increasingly skeptical – and lost – world. The apostle Peter urges us to “set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Apologetics 101 is designed for laypersons who want to be better equipped to share their faith over the back fence, across the lunch counter, or in the next cubicle. This workshop lays the groundwork for defending the Christian faith by addressing a number of key questions:

• What is Christian apologetics and why should it matter to me?
• How do I know the Bible is true?
• Who’s the real Jesus?
• What do Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe?
• How can I identify false teachers?
• And what are some tactics for sharing my faith with people who don’t share my faith?

These free downloadable resources may be reproduced and used in whole or in part without charge as long as they are not altered or sold.