A professor at Wheaton College, Larycia Hawkins has been placed on administrative leave because she’s said (quoting Pope Francis) that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Wheaton is an evangelical, Jesus worshiping institution, so just like a church the employees have to share the same faith.
Some are upset because they say that Christians and Muslims really do worship the same God. Some are heralding her as a hero for that declaration. I can only assume that those who say that are either outside of both faiths, or just skimming the surface of their own faith.
To say they both worship the same God is like saying up and down are the same direction. Left and right are the same direction. Black and white are the same color. Because Islam and Christianity are two mutually exclusive religions whose view of God is also mutually exclusive. Those who claim it’s the same God are in many cases simply trying to blur the lines of exclusivity of each.
In one religion (Islam) God says, “I created a man-just a “regular man”-who was just a prophet, named Jesus (and you must reject the idea that he is god with me!). But then I made a really great super prophet, named Mohammed. He’s better than any prophet! Even the prophet Jesus! And he’s my main man. And you better respect him. In fact, don’t draw any funny pictures of him. That could be cause for war.
And the way to me is not through Jesus, but by doing the good works that Mohammed laid out. It’s all about what you ‘do’ to get to heaven. Oh – and you get to have awesome sex with 72 virgins in my heaven.
Unless you’re a woman. Women only get one man. And math apparently doesn’t matter (one woman-one man, one man-72 women-how does that add up??? It doesn’t say the faithful woman has to share one man with 71 other women!).”
In the other religion (Christianity) God says, “No man or woman is good enough to get to Me. All are sinners and can’t ‘do’ enough to undo the sins they’ve committed. So I sent My Son Jesus. Jesus was, is and always will be fully God (John 10:30) and coexists with Me and the Holy Spirit forever – one God in three persons.
My Son Jesus died on a cross to pay for the sins of all who will trust Him as Savior and Lord. All who put their faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross will be saved, their sin wiped away, and they will live with Me in heaven for all eternity.
In addition, anyone who rejects Jesus, rejects Me – God the Father! And anyone who rejects Jesus, doesn’t worship Me (1 John 4:3, 1 John 2:23)! And anyone who rejects Jesus will never ever ever get to heaven (John 3:36). There is no Christianity without Jesus.”
That sounds like two dramatically different Gods and two mutually exclusive Gods to me.
In fact, the only way you can claim these two religions worship the same God:
a. They worship the same God if that God is completely schizophrenic! He’s a little crazy and says nonsensical things like two radically opposing views are both true. And he’s in major need of meds.
b. They worship the same God if one of the two religions just has a confused view of that God. But hey! It’s still the same one.
But where do you draw the line? How skewed can your view of God be before we say you’re worshiping a different God?
Compared to Islam, you’d have a better claim that David Koresh and Branch Davidians (link) worshiped the same God as Christianity because at least they kept Jesus in the mix!
And there are people who claim that every single religion is worshiping the same god as they understand him. The Buddhist, the Muslim, the Christian, the Zoroastrian, the man who worships a rock- all happily worshiping the same god as they understand him (or her).
c. They worship the same God if you personally are superior to and above all religions and so can assert that no one can know the truth about God. And any religion that claims their way is the “right way” is small minded and egocentric. Like you. Because you just asserted your truth is the only valid one and your view is superior to all others.
The Bottom Line:
Christianity is based on a person, Jesus Christ, and the belief that God wrote a book (through men inspired by the Holy Spirit) that tells us who Jesus is. You don’t have to believe it. But then be honest about it and say “I’m making this up as I go along.”
The Bible’s view is that there is one God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is unique among all other “gods.” Islam flatly rejects this God. So don’t say nonsensical things like they worship the same God.
And at Christmas we celebrate Jesus, God’s own Son, fully man and fully divine, born of a virgin. He was crucified for our sins, and rose again on the third day. And it is by faith in this Jesus alone that a person may have sin forgiven and spend eternity in heaven, not hell.
And Jesus, God the Son, is the hope of the world.