Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?5
I am constantly amazed that this question is still being asked, and even more amazed that some Christians respond by saying, Yes.
May I remind you of a few important things that Muslims believe, or conversely, don’t believe?
Muslims deny the truth of the Trinity, that the one eternal God exists in three co-equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Muslims also deny the incarnation. We are told in John 1:14 that the eternal Word or Second Person of the Trinity “became flesh,” a notion that is abhorrent to all Muslims. Yet, Muslims also do their best to speak highly of Jesus. He is given a prominent place in the Qur’an. He is called the Messiah, the virgin born Son of Mary, Messenger, Prophet, and Servant. He is revered by Muslims much in the same way as are Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad. But Jesus, so say all faithful Muslims, is not himself God.
As all of you know, the death of Jesus on the cross as a substitute for sinful men and women, followed by his bodily resurrection from the grave, is the very heart and soul of Christianity. There is no gospel, no good news, indeed no Christianity, apart from the sinless life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. But Muslims deny that Jesus died on the cross. And since he never died physically, he never rose from the dead. Someone disguised as Jesus suffered crucifixion, while Jesus was taken up into heaven by God.
For quite some time there was an interesting billboard on Broadway Extension, just north of Bridgeway Church, here in OKC. On the right side of the sign, in huge letters, is the word ISLAM. On the left side, under the title One Family, are the names of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. No! We are not one family with those who deny that Jesus is God. Abraham and Moses are two of the great saints of the old covenant, but they lived in anticipation of the coming of Jesus. Their words and deeds and prophetic utterances pointed forward to the coming Son of God, the one true Messiah, Jesus. To suggest that Jesus is merely one of a long line of revered prophets that includes Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad, is blasphemous. Worse still, it is damning. To believe this lie is to consign your soul to eternal death.
In John 5, Jesus is making a clear and unmistakable claim not only to being equal with God the Father, but also a claim to being God himself. In fact, he says in John 5:23 that “whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
Consider how this speaks directly to the question of whether people of other religions worship the same God as do Christians. That question is easily answered: Do they honor Jesus Christ. Do they acknowledge who he is? Do they believe and affirm that he is the Word who became flesh and made a sacrifice for the sins of men and women? Do they know and celebrate Jesus as the true Messiah? Do they honor and praise him for being equal with God the Father in deity, glory, and majesty? If they don’t, then they don’t honor the Father either. Clearly, if you don’t honor the Father you don’t worship him, you don’t know him, you have no relationship with him.
So let me speak to the question that constitutes the title to this article: Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? No! Definitively and decisively, No! Muslims do not honor the Son. They deny about Jesus everything he himself claimed to be. They reject his being the Son of God. They reject his atoning sacrificial death on the cross. They repudiate any notion of his bodily resurrection. And any suggestion that only through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ can someone be saved is abhorrent to them. Says John Piper,
“In other words, if you want to know if someone in another religion, or no religion, honors God (has a true worshipful relationship with God), the test that you use to know this is: Do they honor Jesus for who he really is—as the divine Son of God, the Messiah, the crucified and risen Savior of the world, the Lord of the universe and Judge of all human beings? If they don’t, then they don’t honor God” (John Piper).
John the Apostle wrote much the same thing in his first epistle: “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23). The “liar” par excellence, the one who embodies and gives expression to the spirit of the Antichrist himself, is the person, be it male or female, who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who has come in human flesh (see 1 John 4:1-6).
The reason why I expressed my continual shock that knowledgeable Christians would persist in asking the question, Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? is because of the simple yet profound declaration here in 1 John 2. “No one who denies the Son has the Father.” If you do not “have” the Father, you do not know him, you cannot honor or worship him. End of argument. Case closed.
My prayer is that any who are reading this article, be they Muslim or atheist, who deny the Son, may by the grace of God open their eyes to the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Word who became flesh (John 1:14). He is the one whom we must honor and adore with the same passion and conviction with which we honor and adore his Father.