Culture At Large

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

Andy Rau

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? It's not uncommon to hear appeals for inter-religious tolerance claiming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God in different ways. There's a spirited discussion going on between some Christian bloggers about whether this is the case.

Keep in mind that the question isn't "Are both Islam and Christianity equally valid ways to worship God?"—obviously, Christians don't believe that Islam correctly describes the relationship between God and humanity. So does that mean that Muslims are worshiping a false god? Or are they worshiping the one true God, but in an erroneous way?

Between Two Worlds has a nice roundup of the discussion. Here's the quote that sparked the debate; it's by Rick Love, a Christian who does evangelistic work among Muslims:

Christian and Muslim views of God are similar in that we both worship the one true God, creator of the heavens and the earth. We both believe this God will judge all peoples at the end of history. We both believe this God has sent His prophets into the world to guide His people. Christian and Muslim views of God differ primarily regarding the Fatherhood of God, the Trinity, and especially regarding the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I believe that Muslims worship the true God. But I also believe that their view of God falls short of His perfections and beauty as described in the Bible. Thus, I try to model my approach to Muslims after the apostle Paul who said to the Athenians: "What you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:23).

Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds disagrees; read the full blog post for his response to Love—among other things, Taylor points to Jesus' interactions with the Jewish religious leaders as evidence that the "we all worship the same God" claim doesn't fly. However, Jeremy Pierce of the Parableman blog has a post defending Love's views, arguing from a linguistic standpoint that Muslims are certainly worshiping the God of the Bible, albeit it in a false and errant way.

What do you think? Is this important, or is this a silly theological debate? Love's quote suggests that the answer to this question has a big impact on the ways that Christians go about sharing the Gospel with Muslims. What are your thoughts?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Theology