Wheaton College suspended a professor this week for saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, as well as saying and doing some other pro-Muslimesque things.
The argument is that both Christianity and Islam borrow from the Old Testament, both trace themselves back to Abraham. Both hold Jesus Christ as special. But here is where they veer.
Islam sees Jesus as a prophet, like Muhammad was. Christianity says Jesus Christ is God in the flesh (see John 1).
If Jesus is God in the flesh, and Islam says Jesus is a prophet, then clearly we don’t worship the same God.
The same could be asked of Judaism: Do Jews and Christians worship the same God? Because of our common holding of Old Testament Scriptures, many would conclude that we do. However, Judaism rejects Jesus Christ, and Jesus was God in the flesh. So, in one sense, yes we worship the same God, and yet actually, no we don’t.
The question could also then be asked: Do all Christians worship the same God?!
John’s Epistles tell us plainly that anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is come in the flesh, is not saved. Some who believe they are Christians reject that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, often referred to as Christians because they use some of the Bible, reject the divinity of Christ. Therefore, although some think we worship the same God, we don’t.
You could take it beyond Christ in the flesh as the issue as well. When you examine Calvinist and non-Calvinist opinions of God, it certainly does not appear as though they are worshiping the same God. John Wesley once opined that the God of Calvinism has more in common with the Devil.
Christians who feel they are on earth to tell God what to do, to name it and claim it, clearly have trouble with the revelation of the character of the God of the Bible. Therefore, it seems we do not worship the same God.
Joel Osteen and his ilk don’t think we should talk about sin and that God will honor all attempts, even false attempts, at worshiping Him.
Rob Bell, along with Universalist Christians, don’t think there is a hell and that God will let all comers into heaven. A God who sends some people to hell and a God who doesn’t send anyone to hell seem to be fundamentally different gods.
Many Christians think God exists to help them follow their dreams, to make them self-actualized, and to be a guru leading you to ultimate success, while the God of the Bible tells us to deny self. Clearly these are not the same gods.
A God who needs people to do mindless ritual and repeat prayers to work off sin, and the God of the Bible certainly do not seem to be the same.
Perhaps I shall stop here before stepping on more toes.
All religions worship god in some form. We know there is a God behind it all, it is all an effort to find the One God. In a very loose sense, I suppose it could be maintained that we worship the same God.
But if doctrinal integrity has anything to do with it, which I believe it does, it is very difficult to claim that all Christians worship the same God, let alone Muslims and Christians.