Friday, January 25, 2008

ASK THE PASTOR: Do Jews & Muslims worship the same God as Christians?

ASK THE PASTOR: Christianity is distinct because of it's view of Jesus, but it is also based on the Old Testament. Therefore, isn't it true that God the father is the same God the Jews worship? Also, isn't it true that Allah is simply the God revealed in the Old Testament?

In short, the answer is no. Christians do not worship the same God as the Jews or Muslims, though such concepts are openly being taught in many of our theological schools and Christian universities. Let me explain this further by looking at the two groups separately.

Regarding the Jewish conception of God. Evangelical Christians maintain that the Old Testament is true and authoritative in all that it teaches. It tells the story of God, and his involvement with the affairs of mankind. Most specifically, it tells of His gracious involvement with "His people"--which is identified as the nation of Israel. As God revealed Himself to mankind, He simultaneously drew unto Himself a special people who would worship and serve Him. Throughout the Old Testament, God continued to reveal Himself through the prophets. His people were the ones who continually responded appropriately to this revelation. Thus, even in the Old Testament, to reject a message (or, revelation) from the Lord was regarded as rejecting God Himself. For example, Hosea 4:6 declares,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge [i.e. 'revelation'],
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

Later in chapter 9 the prophet declares "My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him" (v 17). God expected His people to listen to His continued revelation. When they rejected God's revelation, God saw this as a personal rejection of Him. Recognizing this breach in the relationship, God likewise rejected those who rejected Him.

The New Testament follows this theme. In Luke 10:16 Jesus declares "he who rejects me rejects him who sent me". This issue simply isn't that Jews believe in God the Father and Christians also believe in the Son. Jesus is declaring that, by rejecting him as Lord and God, we are also completely rejecting the Father. If we turn our back on the Son, we also turn our back on the Father. God revealed Himself through Jesus 2,000 years ago and from that moment it became impossible to worship the Father apart from the Son.

Regarding the Muslim conception of God. Our response here will be the same as what is contained above, with one addition. Whereas Islam is guilty, as is Judaism, of rejecting the Son (and therefore, also guilty of rejecting God the Father), it is also guilty of adding false knowledge about the Father. Judaism commits only one evil in that it rejects God's revelation. Islam is guilty of two evils. It (1) rejects God's revelation, and (2) it listens to the voice of false prophets.

God does not recognize any worship of His name apart from that which comes through belief on Jesus Christ. Neither should we.

Questions for Pastor Josh can be submitted via Email. "Ask the Pastor" is a feature in the monthly newsletter of Indian River Baptist Church. This blog republishes those Questions, along with others not selected for print publication.

8 comments:

  1. The key to this is one of the verses you pointed out, Luke 10:16. If you reject Christ, you reject the very Son of God and in doing so you reject God Himself. It is as if one says to God, thanks for sending your Son but I prefer to worship you in my own way. Ask the sons of Aaron how that worked out.

    To say we worship the same God as those who reject Christ shows a woeful ignorance of the Biblical witness of the character and person of Jesus Christ. It may sound nice and ecumenical, but it is a false claim nonetheless.

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  2. Are you serious?
    Your audience first think that they are reading an article to inform them about God in the 3 religions you mentioned. However, you are then being VERY biased and claiming that only one religion is true, Christianity. Is it not true that all the monotheistic religions worship God? Is is not true that the Bible mentions both Mosses and Mohammed? You are surely guilty of making facts into your own opinions, in addition you are trying to deceive your audience with false facts... Shame on you.

    - James R.

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  3. Question: He who creates all beings, He who creates all substance, He who knows the unknown, how can He have a son? nor the less, how can He take the shape of a very low being, humans? this comment would probably not show because I am right and you're not.

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  4. James, it is not true that the Bible mentions Mohammed. Where did you here that? Try actually knowing a little about these religions before making silly claims that they "all worship the same God". While your at it, why not claim the bible also mentions Santa Clause and Buddha. The claim that Mohammed is mentioned in the Bible is one of the most biblically ignorant claims I've ever heard.

    The only one "deceiving" people here is you. You give misinformation, whereas the author of this article is simply stating his opinion. The shame is on you, James.

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  5. The Koran says that Allah has a daughter named Fatima but not a son. It is obvious that Allah and Yaweh cannot be the same God. The God that is in the Bible has a son and his name is Jesus, Yeshua, the Christ, the Messiah.

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  6. maybe josh should correct kathie no were in the koran does allah say he has a daughter but thats how christans propigate through lies and half truths if your gona correct the person above who said that muhammed is the bible the you should also correct kathie about allah having a daughter but i guess miss information about islam is ok...i guess its like st paul said we will convert the gentiles by hook or by crook meaning even through lies.

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  7. i dont expect my comment to be approved either

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  8. Anonymous, the truth is I simply didn't notice it. I don't actually read every comment that comes through. In general it seems wisest to leave the defense of Islam to the self-appointed defenders of Islam.

    But, as this has been pointed out, I would suggest that the Koran doesn't make such a claim. Fatima was the daughter of Mohammad, and wife to Ali, who is venerated today almost like the Catholics venerate Mary. She played an important role as she was the child closest to Mohammad and participated in a struggle for power/authority after Mohammad's death that resulted in the division of the Muslim world. Modern day Shi'ites are those who view Fatima and Ali's descendants (the Ahl al-Bayt, "the people of the house") as the rightful rulers of Islam.

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