By Dr. Tom Smiley
We are living in some very confusing times. Every day seems to bring challenges to God’s Word and to His Holy Church. It is hard to believe, but even the very nature of God is being called into question by some who call themselves ‘Christ followers.’ Most recently, there seems to be a lot in the news about God and Allah being thesame.
A very good pastor friend first brought to my attention an article regarding the Presbyterian Church USA about this very question. According to the article, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA offered prayers to the Islamic deity, Allah. The prayer was led by a representative of the Muslim community on behalf of the Presbyterian assembly. The Islamic prayer was the first order of business for the assembly. The prayer was arranged by the Ecumenical and Interfaith ministry staff for the PCUSA.
Once again, it becomes apparent that some media, politicians and pastors make a critical mistake in assuming that God and Allah are the same when actually they are not! Because of crucial differences between the Christian and Muslim concepts of God, the two faiths and their views of God cannot both be true. The biblical God alone addresses and solves the problem of sin by giving His Son. It does matter what you believe and teach about this issue. While the Muslim and Christian views of God have some similarities, they most certainly do not worship the same God.
In addition to how Jesus—God in the flesh—answers man’s sin problem, a vital difference between the Islamic and Christian views of God is the biblical concept of the Trinity. (This doctrine also is what distinguishes Christianity from all other world religions and cultic groups likes Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, New Ageism and etc.) In the Bible, God has revealed Himself as one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. While each person of the Trinity is fully God, God is not three gods but three in one. The Trinity is essential to the Christian faith. Without the Trinity, there would be no incarnation of God’s Son in the Person of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation from sin. Without salvation, sin would condemn all to an eternal hell.
Another very critical component of this the question, “Are God and Allah the same?” is seen when one considers the mission of God. God’s mission is stated as follows: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).
The god of Islam did not have such a mission.
Dr. Douglas Groothuis—Ph.D. Professor at Denver Theological Seminary— writes, “Islam claims to be a fulfillment of Christianity, yet it denies many essential Christian teachings.”1 A Christian can never retreat from the clear doctrinal position that Jesus is God, yet, “Muhammad the prophet of Allah, rejected the idea that Jesus, a human being, could in any sense be God.”2 When one thinks critically and logically it becomes clear, the god of Islam and the God of Christianity cannot be same because God cannot possess contradictory attributes.
The New Testament writer, Jude, says it plainly, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord” (Jude 1:3-4).
The Church will continually be challenged to incorporate a more “politically correct” speech—don’t fall for it. Let’s be bold and loving enough to tell thetruth and to tell the truth in love about the person, nature and attributes of the one true God.
1. Douglas Groothuis, Are All Religions One? (Downer Grove, IL: IVP Books, 1996), 13.