Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

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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