Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

July 5th, 2013 Post by

islam-christian-symbolsOn occasion I am asked by people who have heard things in the news whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. I am asked this question by people who believe Christians and Muslims have much in common for we are allegedly Abrahamic faiths. Perhaps such individuals have heard Roman Catholic teaching on this subject which mistakenly reasons that Christians and Muslims are Abrahamic faiths. The Roman Catechism confesses the following.

 § 841. The Church’s relationship with the Muslims.

“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”[1]

For some reason or other people mix-up what the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod teaches with what Rome teaches. In this article we will see what Jesus teaches from his Word for Scripture alone is the source and font of Biblical authority. This is what Lutheranism teaches:

 … the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the pure, clear fountain of Israel. They are the only true standard or norm by which all teachers and doctrines are to be judged.[2]

For various reasons there are Christians who do not accept the authority of Scripture. This is tragic. So, this article will first present what the Koran teaches to learn if Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Maybe such individuals will accept what the Koran teaches and see that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. Then I will quote from the Athanasian Creed. “Why this Creed?” you ask. It is because the Athanasian Creed has been an accepted form of “short hand” received by the Church for the last sixteen-hundred years summarizing Biblical teaching.

A cardinal teaching of the Christian doctrine / Faith is that Mary’s Son is God in the flesh, i.e., the Messiah. This is called the “Incarnation.” Rejecting the Incarnation which was first promised to Adam and Eve (Gen 3:15) logically necessitates a denial of the Trinity as well. The Koran teaches:

They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah—Allah will forbid him the Garden and the Fire will be his abode. … They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. … Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger; ….[3]

Muslims have every right to believe what they want. But love of Muslims would move us to speak the truth and kindly say we Christians do not worship the same God. The following quotes from the Athanasian Creed summarize what the Christian Faith reveals regarding the Holy Trinity.

 1 Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith.

2 Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally.

3 And the catholic faith is this,

4 that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons

nor dividing the substance.

5 For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.

6 But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory

equal, the majesty coeternal.[4]

A little later the Athanasian Creed then proceeds to confess the necessity of believing the Incarnation for salvation with the following words:

 27 But it is also necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the

incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

28 Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man.[5]

Crucial to the Christian doctrine is the Atonement. The Atonement teaches that Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross was sufficient to forgive humanity of all their sins and that on the third day Jesus rose from the dead. Islam rejects the teaching that Jesus was crucified, much less to forgive our sins. And, if there was no crucifixion this logically entails there was no resurrection. The Koran says:

 That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the Son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not—.”[6]

The Christian doctrine / Faith confesses the Biblical truth of the atonement as follows:

 35 For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ,

36 who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the

dead …

40 This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be

saved.[7]

For those who do not receive the authority of sacred Scripture the Koran teaches the same thing—that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Hopefully these two concise examples on the Virgin Birth and Atonement will be sufficient to help people understand this truth. This is a spiritual issue that has eternal consequences. Martin Luther in his “Appeal For Prayer Against The Turks” provides a model prayer that Christians may pray in any circumstance.

“…Our sin against [the Turk] is that we preach, confess, and put our faith in You, O Father, the true and only God, and in Your dear Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, one God from everlasting to everlasting. Yes, this is the sin we commit against them. On the other hand, if we would deny You, then the devil, the world, the pope, and the Turk would spare us, just as Your dear Son has said, ‘If you were of the world, the world would love its own [Jn 15:19].’

“When [the Turks] persecute and oppress us, they persecute and oppress You. For the word which we preach, confess and teach is Yours, not ours, and is the work of Your Holy Spirit in us. Satan cannot stand that. He wants to be god in Your stead. He wants to make us believe lies rather than Your word. The Turk wants to put Mohammed in the place of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, for the Turk blasphemes Him and asserts that Jesus Christ is no true Son of God and that Mohammed is a greater prophet than He. If it is a sin to confess and praise You, the Father, and Your Son and the Holy Spirit as the one true God, then You Yourself are the sinner, for You did create and command this faith in us. Therefore, when the enemy hates and attacks us because of our faith, he hates and attacks You.”[8]

We love Muslims by correctly speaking the truth that we do not worship the same God. Love does not embrace falsehoods. Our enemy is not any human being much less Muslims. They are blood-bought souls of Jesus Christ. They need to hear the Gospel and come to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins while it is still day. As St. Paul puts it so well, our enemy, or, our “… struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12).

In Christ,

- Pastor Weber

 

 



[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: Image Doubleday, 1995), 242, §841.

[2] “Solid Declaration, Summary,” in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd edition, gen. ed., Paul T. McCain (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005): 508:3. [SD, Summary, 3.]

[3] ‘Addullah Y­usuf ‘Ali, The Meaning of The Holy Qur’an, eleventh edition (Beltsville, MD: Amana Pub., 2004), 271-272, §72–75.

[4] Commission on Worship of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Lutheran Service Book (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 319, “Athanasian Creed.”

[5] Commission on Worship of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Lutheran Service Book (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 319, “Athanasian Creed.”

[6] ‘Addullah Y­usuf ‘Ali, The Meaning of The Holy Qur’an, eleventh edition (Beltsville, MD: Amana Pub., 2004), 235-236, §157.

[7] Commission on Worship of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Lutheran Service Book (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 319, “Athanasian Creed.”

[8] Martin Luther, “Appeal for Prayer Against the Turk,” Luther’s Works, 55 vol., ed., Jeroslav Pelican and Helmut Lehmann, (St. Louis, MO.: Concordia and Philadelphia: Fortress, 1955-1986), 43:232-233.


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  1. John
    July 5th, 2013 at 12:36 | #1

    CPH has a very good book “The American Muhammad: Joseph Smith Founder of Mormonism”. In it, the author draws many parallels (70 if I remember correctly) between Smith and Muhammad. In the process, the origins of Muhammad and Islam and their beliefs are discussed, along with the origins of Smith and Mormonism and their beliefs. Interesting read.

  2. RK
    July 5th, 2013 at 15:03 | #2

    Agent of Antichrist reassures Muslims:

    “You love God, we love God and he is the same God,” the cardinal said of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths.

    From: http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/06/cardinal_dolan_visits_first_mo.html#/0

    Photos, video: Cardinal Dolan makes first visit to NYC mosque, meets with Staten Island Muslim leaders

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, made his first visit to a mosque in New York City and it was the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Tompkinsville where he met with Muslim and other faith leaders.

    The cardinal spent more than two hours touring the mosque and the Miraj Islamic School and having lunch with about 40 clergy and laity.

    “I thank God that this day has arrived,” the cardinal said. “I thank you for your welcome, I thank you for making me feel like a friend and a member of a family.”

    The cardinal asked questions about the Muslim faith and emphasized throughout his visit how much the two religions and their members have in common.

    “You love God, we love God and he is the same God,” the cardinal said of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths.

    Cardinal Dolan stressed that Catholics and Muslims have a mutual love of the United States and of the religious freedom that this country affords, especially the ability to meet with people of different beliefs that would not be possible in some other nations.

    “Your love of marriage and family, your love of children and babies, your love of freedom — religious freedom particularly– your defense of life, your desire for harmony and unity and your care for others, your care for God’s creation and your care for those who are in need,” the cardinal said, were Islamic values also shared by Catholics and areas where there could be mutual cooperation.

    He likened Muslims to earlier waves of Roman Catholic immigrants who some 150 years ago faced the same challenge of “how to become loyal, responsible, patriotic Americans without losing their faith.”

    As those Catholic immigrants did, Muslims have learned the value of religious schools, he said. “Education without faith is missing something dramatic,” the cardinal said.

    The cardinal’s trip to the mosque was in response to an invitation by leaders of the center who visited the archbishop in Manhattan in January.

    “Thank God that we are a country that welcomes everybody and, as you mentioned, your eminence, only in America, and we want this example to be spread because we can do many more things when we eat together as brothers than when we stay against one another,” said Imam Tahir Kukiqi of the Albanian Center.

    Imam Kukiqi praised attendee Sarah Sayeed of the Interfaith Center of New York for “working tirelessly with Muslim communities and Catholic communities, especially to bring them together.”

    Imam Ghulam Rasul of the predominately Pakistani Masjid al-Noor in Concord led a prayer “to bring peace, harmony and understanding between the communities … guide us so that we may be the souls of goodness, peace and harmony and understanding for the people of this country and for the community of this Island.”

    The cardinal is following on a local level the example of Pope Francis who has begun efforts to deepen and strengthen the relationship between the Islamic and Christian communities in Italy and other parts of Europe, said Monsignor James Dorney, a co-vicar of Staten Island. His co-vicar, Monsignor Peter Finn, announced that Wednesday was the 37th anniversary of Cardinal Dolan’s ordination.

    The Rev. Liam O’Doherty, pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church in Tompkinsville, was instrumental in arranging the visit and brought along many members of his parish council. Leaders of the Albanian Center and Masjid al-Noor invited the cardinal to visit their mosques during the month of Ramadan.

  3. July 5th, 2013 at 15:19 | #3

    That was a lot of words to say “No”. Good job Pastor Weber!

  4. Carl Vehse
    July 5th, 2013 at 16:43 | #4

    On February 20, 2003, David Benke claimed:

    “The Muslim God is also the true God (there IS only ONE TRUE GOD, right?) but worshipping [worshipped] in an inadequate way. In other words, the Muslim is worshipping God but understanding God’s LAW (and there is really no religion like Islam when it comes to the Law.)”

    On October 10, 2008, a short five and half years later, David Benke “claimed, “I retract the statement ‘The Muslim God is Also the True God,’ because it is theologically imprecise.”

    Four hours after retracting 28.5% of his heretical… er, uh… “theologically imprecise” statement, Benke posts on the website some caveats to his previous retraction.

  5. July 5th, 2013 at 16:43 | #5

    Very good article.

    The difference was once portrayed this way: if one person describes the woman you are to meet on a blind date as a 5′ 5″ blonde with blue eyes, and somebody else describes the woman as a 6′ 2″ brunette with green eyes, they’re obviously not talking about the same woman, and if you pick the wrong woman, you’ll be in trouble!

    Muslims and Christians, as Pastor Weber illustrated, are not worshipping the same God. All one has to do is read about the sin of Shirk in order to understand this.

  6. Ben Johnson
    July 5th, 2013 at 17:08 | #6

    I understand the necessity of drawing a sharp dividing line between an orthodox view of God, and the hot-mess of novelty in the Islamic world.

    But I find it hard to condemn entirely their imperfect understanding. For my children suffer from similar (or at least analogous) poor understudying. And yet they come to Christ as best they are able, and I have no doubt about their salvation.

    Frankly, my own understand is poor – for though I can mouth the Athanasian creed, I doubt I will fully understand from my own intellect till God grants me that knowledge directly.

    It’s a fascinating topic, with no easy answers – for if we proscribe that a perfect description of God is required for us to receive the Gospel, that proscription would put me (and I suspect my children) in great danger.

  7. July 5th, 2013 at 20:58 | #7

    @Ben Johnson #6

    This isn’t just an “imperfect” or “incomplete” understanding. This is an outright denial of clear Christian doctrine. It’s one thing to confess truthfully that we do not know everything about God; it’s quite another to deny what God clearly DOES reveal concerning Himself and construct a different god by our own imaginations.

  8. Joanne
    July 5th, 2013 at 22:36 | #8

    Get a backbone Ben. Don’t let the little demons of doubt steal your soul over a pip of sophistry. You worship and adore only one God and his name is Jesus Christ. Would that all our Islamic friends and neighbors come to the same faith that God has given to us. God has told us all me need to know about him in order to be saved eternally, and He has commissioned us to take that faith to others so that they may live also. Apart from the Vine, we can do nothing. Apart from the Vine we and all of Islam are eternally lost. This is simple basic truth, and you and your children know it from the simple and clear Word of God. Buck up Ben, you are expected to give a witness here, now.

  9. Ernest Sire
    July 6th, 2013 at 00:17 | #9

    @J. Dean #5
    That’s exactly how I reasoned the question.

  10. Ginny Valleau
    July 6th, 2013 at 11:44 | #10

    Pastor Weber,

    Thanks for a great article! Well written, well-reasoned & well documented. This one is a keeper!

    God’s Blessings,
    Ginny Valleau

  11. Joel A. Dusek
    July 6th, 2013 at 13:14 | #11

    To suggest an additional resource: Northwestern Publishing has a book entitled “Speaking the Truth in Love To Muslims” that is worth a read as well.

  12. Ben Johnson
    July 6th, 2013 at 19:29 | #12

    J. Dean and Joanne, thanks for the encouragement to speak the truth. Perhaps I am letting my diplomacy and appologetics cloud my proclamation of the Gospel.

  13. July 6th, 2013 at 21:18 | #13

    Ben Johnson :
    J. Dean and Joanne, thanks for the encouragement to speak the truth. Perhaps I am letting my diplomacy and appologetics cloud my proclamation of the Gospel.

    That’s part of our culture, and unfortunately it’s seeped into our churches as well, and unfortunately at times into us. We’ve been indoctrinated into the sprit of the age, which says “peace at any price,” and in doing so we’ve made a vice out of a virtue.

    And I’ve been just as guilty of transgression in the name of peace in the past, brother. So you’re in good company. :D

  14. Paul of Alexandria
    July 8th, 2013 at 09:08 | #14

    @Ben Johnson #6
    But never, ever say that the Muslims can find heaven on their own way! There is only one Way, and He is not Mohammed.

  15. Carl H
    July 8th, 2013 at 12:32 | #15

    @Joel A. Dusek #11
    Another useful resource, this one from CPH: How to Respond to Muslims
    http://www.cph.org/c-349-how-to-respond.aspx

  16. Carl Vehse
    July 8th, 2013 at 13:40 | #16

    Here’s another useful book, Two Wars We Must Not Lose: What Christians Need to Know About Radical Islamists, Radical Secularists, and Why We Can’t Leave the Battle Up to Our Divided Government, by Bill Hecht (Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 2012), with the Foreward by President Matthew Harrison, who notes,

    “In his career on Capitol Hill, he [Hecht] has had unparalleled access to and knowledge of every significant political person and event in Washington D.C., over the past 40 years. If I could recommend one book for clergy and laity to read on the crisis of the American experience, how we got here, and what we must do, hands down, this book is it.”

    The Table of Contents for Two Wars We Must Not Lose is listed here:

    Acknowledgements, p. 5
    Foreword, by Matthew Harrison, p. 9
    Foreword, by Tom Coburn, p.11
    Preface, p.13
    Introduction, p. 21
    1. From south Georgia to the Nation’s Capital, p. 52
    2. Polarization in Washington: 41 Years on the Front Lines, p. 85
    3. Living with the Most Secular President in U.S. History, p. 129
    4. Modern-Day Muslims: Two Radically Different Views of Islam, p. 199
    5. The Threat of Islamic Terrorists: A War We Dare Not Lose, p. 255
    6. The Cultural War Being Waged by the Radical Secularists, p. 393
    7. The Cultural War Heats Up, p. 453
    8. The Role Lutherans Can and Should Play in this Life and Death Struggle for the Soul of Our Country, p. 497
    Bibligraphy, p. 535
    About the Author, p. 544

  17. LaMarr Blecker
    July 8th, 2013 at 14:18 | #17

    1John 2:23 says it all, despite what a RC archbishop might muse.

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