By John Edmiston, Special to ASSIST News Service
CARSON, CA (ANS – January 9, 2016) — In the past few weeks there has been intense controversy about a professor at Wheaton college who was disciplined for saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Larycia Hawkins a tenured political science professor at the private evangelical Christian college that once had Billy Graham as a student, proclaimed on social media that Christians and Muslims share the same God and was suspended by the college.
This raises the important question of: Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?
Notice there are two parts to this question: a) worship and b) same God.
The Devil knows God is One but does not worship Him. On the other hand, devotees of Baal indeed worship, but they worship a false God.
First let’s compare the two other faiths with Christianity to see if:
a) the have the same god and
b) if they have the same worship:
Not The Same God
1.Christians worship a Trinity, one God in three Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Muslims and Jews refuse the idea of the Trinity and just worship “one Almighty God”.
2.Christians worship Jesus Christ as Son of God, Lord and Savior. Neither Jews nor Muslims do this. They do not worship Jesus. Therefore, their god is a different deity. (More on this later).
3.Christians worship a God whose primary attribute is love and who calls us to forsake revenge and to love our enemies and to forgive the sins of others. Jews and Muslims worship a god whose primary attribute is power, honor and purity and who does not call upon them to love their enemies or forgive the sins of others and where punitive revenge is a religious duty.
4.Christians worship a God who became incarnate in human flesh and who died for their sins on the Cross. This idea is considered blasphemy (shirk) in Islam and is denied in Judaism. In both religions their god remains in Heaven. Christianity has a down-to-earth God.
Not The Same Worship
5.Christians worship in spirit and truth and not in any particular sacred location (John 4:4) while Judaism and Islam have sacred cities such as Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina.
6.Christians worship according to the Spirit and not according to the letter, we have died to the Law. Judaism and Islam place literal obedience to written religious laws at the very center of their religions.
7.Christian worship is free from the rule of the elemental principles of religion such as New Moons, Sabbaths, matters of food and drink, and categories clean and unclean. Judaism and Islam in their worship place a great deal of emphasis on new moons, Sabbaths, halal or kosher food, and categories of clean and unclean.
8.Christian worship consist of people who are already saved, and who already possess eternal life going from glory to glory through beholding the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:16-18). For Christians worship is not a means to salvation but rather a celebration of a salvation that is already secure. Worship in Judaism and Islam is necessary for salvation, which is partly attained via worship. Neither Jews nor Muslims worship by being transformed by beholding the face of Christ. To repeat, Christian worship is AFTER salvation, while Jewish and Islamic worship is PRIOR TO or PART OF salvation. Thus it is NOT the same worship!
The Jesus Issue
The following article says that the answer is a plain “no” because he who denies the Son does not have the Father:
1 John 2:22-24 ESV 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. (23) No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. (24) Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
If you deny the Son then you do not have the Father, so then obviously you are NOT worshiping the Father (even if you think you are). Now the God of Judaism is the same God as the God of Christianity but the Jews of the current era do not “have the Father”, so they are not truly worshiping the Father, because worship of the Father requires glorifying the Son.
God sent Jesus and He alone is the way to salvation and He alone is the way to eternal life:
1 John 5:9-13 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. (10) Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. (11) And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
Now if you refuse to believe in Jesus, then you are refusing the testimony of God and telling the Holy Spirit that He is a liar. Since the Holy Spirit is God you are “making God a liar”.
What is the Holy Spirit’s message? This testimony is: that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. And it is nowhere else except in the Son. That logically leads to the apostle John’s statement that: Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Since both Judaism and Islam deny the Son, they do not have life. On top of which they are refusing the testimony of God and thus calling God a liar. Now you simply cannot be worshiping “the same God” if you are also calling Him a liar!
Photo captions: 1) The cross and the crescent. 2) Larycia Hawkins addresses the media over her controversial comments. 3) John Edmiston.
About the writer: John Edmiston is the CEO of Cybermissions, which is an Internet mission’s agency. John has also taught Master’s level courses in digital ministry at various seminaries. He lives in Carson, CA with his wife Minda. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net).