The Protestant way of discussing the issue of God and His nature and worship starts with the Bible as determinative in all matters. Thus biblical theology always trumps philosophical analysis. Said succinctly and simply put, God and Allah are not the same. Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.
Rev. Bassam Madnay
Pioneer of Arabic radio missions over a period from 1958 to 1994
Developer of a Bible-based ministry, which emphasizes the centrality of the Word of God in missions to Muslims.
Author of several books in Arabic for the follow-up ministry that was used in his work for use among Arabic-speaking people.
Wheaton College continues to struggle with what to do with professor Larycia Hawkins who said that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Of course this is all complicated by the racial dynamics as professor Larycia Hawkins is one of only a few African American professors at Wheaton. Doubtless, were Wheaton to fire professor Larycia Hawkins, there would be cries of racism and so it is easy to see how wanting to avoid those potential cries of “racism,” might become part of the decision making matrix in this case. To put it bluntly, Wheaton may well be tempted to not stand by its Christian confession so that it can avoid being seen as intolerant, bigoted, and racist by firing professor Larycia Hawkins.
This debate is muddled up by imprecise thinking.
First, as there is only one God, religions which assert contradictory truths about that one God, as revealed in the OT and NT alone, are therefore not serving any God at all, but a fiction of their imagination. Muslims and Jews do not worship the same God since the “god” Muslims and Jews worship is a no god. The “god” of Jews and Muslims has no being or existence and so cannot be aligned with the the God who has being and existence.
Second, as the essence of Christianity is to affirm, with the Scriptures, that God is plurality in Monotheism, we see contradiction to the false religions of Judaism and Islam, who worship a god without being or existence, who, nonetheless affirm that their no gods are unitary monotheistic gods who have no plurality. How can it be the case that Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all worship the same God when the true God of Christianity and the false no gods of Judaism and Islam can’t even agree on the nature of God?
Third, the Christian faith affirms that there is no worship of God apart from the Son; The Lord Christ (John 14:6). In contrast Judaism denigrates Christ as can be seen by the Talmud’s affirmation that Christ is in hell boiling in hot semen. In contrast Islam, while esteeming Christ as a great prophet, still denigrates him by refusing to identify Christ as being very God of very God. The fact that Christianity affirms the centrality of Christ in order for worship of God to be possible as contrasted with Islam and Judaism which denigrate Christ proves again that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam do not and cannot worship the same God.
Fourth, this muddled headed thinking doesn’t understand that words find their meaning dependent upon the plausibility structure wherein they rest. The word “God,” then, like all words, is filled with meaning only as consistent with the paradigmatic contextual web wherein the word exists. It is true that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all use the word “God,” but when that word and concept is conditioned by all the rest of their respective contradictory worldviews the end results is a shared word with meaning and referent that has nothing in common except the lexical form and auditory pronunciation.
As we explore this idea that “Christians and Muslims,” worship the same God we butt up against some other difficulties.
Ask yourself whether or not if Christians, Mohammedans, and Jews all worship the same God does that mean they all hate the same devil? It would seem to be the case that if the former holds the latter must hold as well. If we all worship the same God then how could we all not hate the same devil since God and the devil are polar opposites. A commitment to worshiping the same God would commit us to agreeing on hating the same devil.
Next we might inquire that if Christians, Mohammedans, and Jews all worship the same God and they all hate the same devil would that not mean that they all believe that the same God delivers men from the same devil via the same salvation? Here we get perilously close to what I believe the real project of this linguistic subterfuge is all about and that is the collapsing of these contradictory faith systems into one ecumenical miasma.
There are those who serve on the mission field who will insist that saying that Jews, Muslims and Christians all worship the same God makes evangelism easier as a place of commonality can be agreed upon so as to facilitate further conversation on the character of this God. However, if we begin in our discussions presupposing a shared God it is hard to envision that we will not end our conversations Islamifying our Christianity or Judaizing our Christianity to one degree or another when all is said and done.
Honestly, this attempt at insisting that Jews, Muslims, and Christians all worship the same God is just another example of the postmodernism worm eating away at all meta-narratives in favor of its own meta-narrative which teaches that all is social construct and is in favor of a kind of tortured monism.
In all this we must keep in mind that God is not a generic and abstracted philosophic construct that can be divorced from a concrete context. To suggest that Muslims, Christians, and Jews all serve the same God completely eviscerates the Christian religion as Scripturally revealed and as Historically practiced by those who have taken God’s revelation seriously through the centuries.
That Wheaton might ignore all this in order to align themselves with the demands of multiculturalism and political correctness in its demand to protect an errant minority professor is a sad testimony to where Christianity has descended. That this has even become a question that needs to be discussed and debated demonstrates the heights from which muscular Christianity has fallen.