Two items of note here. First, the reader who asked this question stopped being my friend because she disagreed with me. That’s why she’s a “former” reader. Second, the question came up because she believes that Rick Warren, a popular minister who is reaching out to Muslims, is not a Christian and is a false teacher because of his attempts at building bridges in this area. I tend to avoid debates involving personalities and prefer to limit discussion to the principles involved, the applicable Scriptures, and the benefit of the doubt.
A (former) GodWords reader asks:
Do you believe that the God of the Bible and Allah is the same?Anonymous Ex-Reader
That’s a complex question. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity come from the faith of Abraham. They’re not the same, as much has been added to Abraham’s faith for all three. From a historical point of view, Islam and Christianity and Judaism worship the same God. How they understand God, and how they live that faith, is a very different story.
Do I believe that Islam will lead one to eternal life with God? Nope. I don’t believe that of Judaism, either…but you’d be hard-pressed to claim that the God of Judaism and Christianity aren’t the same. Christians have a more complete understanding of God, but it’s the same God. Complex.
Paul went to Athens and told the people there that they were ALREADY worshipping the same God. Were they Christians? Absolutely not. Were they saved? Absolutely not. Could their religion lead them to salvation? Not directly…but, indirectly, that’s exactly what happened:
So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. – Acts 17:22-23
It seems logical to me that you could drop Paul in the middle of a Muslim community and see him doing EXACTLY the same thing. He would probably say that they were very religious, but that they worshiped in ignorance…and then proclaim the gospel to them.
It’s important that we approach such matters with a clear view of Scripture, and with some amount of logic. We don’t have a problem with Paul finding common ground with the Athenians…why would we have a problem with any Christian finding common ground with Muslims in an effort to win them to Christ?