Making Sense of the Muslim/Christian God Controversy

KevinMillerKevin Miller, a pastor at my church, who’s also a Vice President at Christianity Today, gave an outstanding message this Sunday addressing the question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Given that my church is just blocks from Wheaton College, which is currently embroiled in an intense controversy over this issue, speaking on this topic took a great deal of courage. Attending the service were students, professors and administrators with different perspectives on the issue. Yet, I think Kevin’s sermon expressed precisely what people on both sides of this issue need to hear. He clearly explained why maintaining that Muslims and Christians worship the same God is theologically problematic. But, he also fairly explained the reasons why some evangelicals are defending this position and then examined their arguments, offering some valuable takeaways. Here are the three arguments he addressed:

  1. The “only God in town” argument:  If there is only one God, and the Muslim and Christian worship God, then we must ultimately be worshipping the same God. 
  2. The “close enough for me” argument: The Muslim God and Christian God share so many common characteristics that they are similar enough to say they’re the same.
  3. The “but what about the Jews?” argument:  Jews are monotheists who deny the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity, yet Christians don’t say they have a different God.  So why single out Muslims?

I recommend listening to the entire message. But, if you’re pressed for time, listen to 14:45-20:45 where Kevin examines these three arguments. I am truly hoping that as Christians, we can reason together as the Scripture exhorts us to do. And, I am praying for healing and direction for the Wheaton community, which is so seriously fractured at this point. 

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”  (Ephesians 4:3-5)

Audio content © Church of the Resurrection. Used by permission.

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2 thoughts on “Making Sense of the Muslim/Christian God Controversy

  1. Unfortunately, Pastor Miller gives the third argument very short shrift. I liked his first two arguments, “there is no ‘generic’ God”, and “similar” is not “the same”. But this only exacerbates the third argument. He spent a good deal of time establishing that “the same” means “identical”, and not just “similar.” So unless you add a good deal more, you cannot suddenly turn around and say that the Jews and the Christians worship “the same” God, any more than you can say that about Muslims and Christians.

  2. I would also be interested to know what Muslim converts to Christianity have to say about the topic, as well as missionaries and Bible translators to Arab countries. Do they use the name “Allah” in their translations? Why? How do you get around that?

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