Reviews

Allah: A Christian Response

by Miroslav Volf

March 27, 2011

Miroslav Volf, Allah: A Christian Response (HarperOne, 2011), 336 pp., $25.99.

“Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Does the answer to that question have significant implications for how Christians and Muslims engage each other in the world today?”

It was in answer to those two questions that Miroslav Volf wrote Allah: A Christian Response. It was not written to answer whether or not Muslims are saved; that is, his goal is to discuss a political theology, not soteriology. My review will focus on two areas: (1) stimulating practical points and (2) points of theological and biblical concern.

Stimulating Points

Volf writes as one who has seen the bitter hostilities between Muslims and Christians and wishes to see those hostilities cease. Accordingly, he makes several points that provide excellent stimulation for Christians who are considering how to think about and engage with adherents of Islam.

First, Volf helpfully summarizes key similarities and differences between normative Islam and normative Christianity. This is not to say that the conclusions he draws from them are necessarily correct, but he highlights six areas of formal similarity between the two faiths:

1.     “There is only one God, the one and only divine being.”

2.     “God created everything that is not God.”

3.     “God is radically different from everything that is not God.”

4.     “God is good.”

5.     “God commands that we love God with our whole being.”

6.     “God commands that we love our neighbors as ourselves.” (110)

Citing both Christian and Muslim sources, he makes a clear case for each of these elements within both religions. He goes on to cite four more areas of agreement:

1.     God loves. (158)

2.     God is just. (158)

3.     God’s love encompasses God’s justice. (158)

4.     Human beings should love their neighbors as themselves. (159)

In all 10 areas, Volf acknowledges differences. In particular, on the issue of love, he highlights some significant ones:

1.     Christians affirm that God is love. (182)

2.     “Most Christians say that God’s eternal love includes love of the other, the divine other within the triune godhead and, derivatively, a creaturely other.” (182)

3.     Christians affirm that God loves “the ungodly,” and that this love cannot be earned (182).

4.     Christians must love even their enemies. (183)

Volf’s patient engagement on these issues shows that while he openly desires to focus on the similarities for the sake of the common good, he still recognizes significant differences. Christians ought to listen to how he works through the similarities and differences on these points. I am not yet evaluating the conclusion that he draws from all of this—that Muslims and Christians refer to the same God when they speak of God. Rather, I simply note that his look at each of these areas is helpful, as he does truly attempt to lay out what Muslims and Christians believe on these crucial issues.

Second, Volf presents a careful model of engagement with both Muslim and Christian theology on one of the most contentious issues between the two communities. He puts a great deal of effort into clarifying exactly what the Qur’an affirms about God’s unity and what it denies about the Trinity. He lists five objections to the doctrine of the Trinity in the Qur’an:

1.     God cannot beget a Son. (133)

2.     God cannot have an associate. (134)

3.     God is not one of three divine beings. (134)

4.     God cannot be Christ, because then the sovereign Creator would be contained in a creature. (134)

5.     “Christians worship persons they associate with God in denigration of the one true God” (134).

He explains how each of these denials refers to a misunderstanding of the Trinity, basing his views on classic orthodox formulations of the doctrine (136). Additionally, Volf explains several elements that indicate that Qur’anic teaching on the unity of God does not deny orthodox Trinitarianism. First, he argues that Christians do not divide God’s one essence in the doctrine of the Trinity (136-139), demonstrating this biblical and theologically. Secondly, he argues that the terms we use to describe God, including the numbers one and three, cannot fully express the reality about God (139-142). Volf clearly wants to accurately understand Islam, and he also wants Muslims to accurately understand what Christians believe about the Trinity. Such engagement, contrasted with the prejudice he later criticizes, models how Christians ought to approach Islamic views.

Third, Volf articulates clearly what many Christians (and Muslims) have sadly missed in the history of Christian-Muslim relations: We must apply the Golden Rule to mission. He applies it in several ways. First, we must witness only if we allow others to witness to us (211). Second, we should witness how we wish others would witness to us, that is, without coercion, bribery, seduction, or unfairly comparing the worst of one religion with the best of another (211-212). While the first rule has generally been violated more by Muslims than Christians, the second has been the domain of both parties. Volf strongly urges Christians that if they are to love their neighbors, they must do it in how they witness.

Fourth, Volf provides much food for thought in how we lose our prejudices and exercise our rights concerning issues of blasphemy. He suggests that when we apply love of neighbor to trying to understand those of another religion, we will actively try to compare our self-perception with how others might perceive us. This “double vision,” Volf says, “is a way of coming to know the other truthfully, an application of the command to love the neighbor to how we seek knowledge of the neighbor” (205). Much prejudice, misunderstanding, and conflict can be avoided by following this simple process.

Arising from this concern to see through another’s eyes, we can come to see that having the right to speak in a certain way of another religion does not mean that such a way is a responsible exercise of the right (250). He applies this to the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that sparked riots and uproar among Muslims globally, arguing that while many Muslims responded inappropriately, Christians must consider both the safety of others (250) and civility (251) in how they approach things that they have the right to say. His reminder to express ideas with respect—even on questions of significant difference—is timely in a volatile atmosphere such as we have today.

Points of Concern

Notwithstanding those positive aspects of the book, there are some areas that are at a minimum, a cause for concern, and at a maximum, a cause for serious disagreement.

First, Volf’s entire argument for the God of Muslims and the God of Christians being the same depends on his understanding of “sufficient similarity.” He argues repeatedly that identical sameness is not needed, since even Christians—Calvinists and Arminians, for example—disagree about some aspects of the nature of God (90), though he admits that Muslim and Christian descriptions of God should not be “radically different” (90-91). Accordingly, as noted above, he patiently examines several major areas of agreement and notes a few areas of difference.

What is concerning in this approach though is that crucial word, sufficient. On what basis can sufficient similarity be determined? As Christians, we ought to go to Scripture in order to receive guidance on how to approach establish criteria for the sufficiency of our similarities. Instead of doing this, Volf quickly (pages 97-102) notes four areas of similarity (which are helpful, as noted above), and then claims to have presented a “tight and persuasive” argument that Christians and Muslims refer to the same God (102).

But in order to determine whether there is sufficient similarity, it seems that it would be helpful to develop a set of criteria that would, if not show clearly, at least indicate where one crosses from an inadequate understanding of God to a different God altogether. In other words, what constitutes a “radical difference”? Volf later admits, “If we have misidentified God—say by subscribing to a seriously erroneous description of God—we are talking about the wrong God (which for all monotheists means that we are not talking about God at all)” (113). So, again, I ask, how does one determine a “seriously erroneous description”?

One might rightly object that since we do not have any list for determining sufficient similarity, Volf has done the only thing that can be done: comparing major descriptions about God to see if they are similar or not.  And certainly, Volf makes a clear case for (1) that on the issues he mentions, Christians and Muslims hold similar beliefs, and (2) that the issues he mentions are necessary similarities for claiming that both refer to the same God. Necessary does not equal sufficient, and the following considerations should at least make us pause to consider whether or Volf has proven the former but not the latter.

While he acknowledges the essential Christian teaching of Jesus as the self-revelation of God (147), he does not interact at length with any biblical texts that discuss Jesus’ necessity. One of the only texts that he does mention is John 14:7-9, which says:

“If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

These verses follow on the heels of John 14:6, which famously proclaims that Jesus is the only way to the Father. About them Volf says,

Certainly, John’s Gospel affirms that Jesus is the self-revelation of God. If you know Jesus as the incarnate Word, you know God, and you know God truly (though not exhaustively!). And yet, according to that same Gospel, if you reject Jesus, you can still be worshiping the God whom Jesus truthfully revealed. (92)

The connection between Volf’s last statement and the text in question is not apparent. Particularly given the connection to verse six, it seems more natural to take the text as saying that from then on, because they knew who Jesus was, they would know the Father—not that after they rejected Jesus, they would still know the Father. These verses, on the surface at least, seem to suggest the opposite of what Volf proposes.

More importantly, there is one other thing to note about his use of Scripture. Volf refers to precious few other Scripture passages to determine sufficient similarity. While this does not mean that he is mistaken, as there may very well be no passages that illustrate the error of his view, I find it curious that a book written to convince Christians does not include more biblical interaction. Indeed, one can’t help but wonder about passages such as 1 John 4:2-3 and 5:20:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

I am quite sure that Volf would have a response to these, but nevertheless, given the clarity with which Scripture teaches on the nature of the true God (and the incarnation), and 1 John’s descriptions of those who deny these things (“liar” in chapter 2 and “antichrist” in chapter four), it seems reasonable to expect that Volf should have dealt with the Scriptures in a more coherent fashion on this topic.

Second, even if we grant that Muslims and Christians have the same God as their referent, further questions remain about actual worship of that divine Being. Can we legitimately claim that they both worship, love, and give their allegiance to that same God? Can we say that right actions (love of neighbor, for example) can please God if they exist without right beliefs?

Volf answers these questions in the affirmative; indeed, he bases his vision for joint Muslim-Christian effort for the common good on an affirmative response to these questions. In his own words, “From a Christian standpoint, might it be that some Muslims (and some Christians!) who have a deficient view of God’s nature and God’s commandments nonetheless worship the one true God by means of their godly lives? I think so” (119-120). To clarify, Volf is not arguing that Muslims therefore have salvific standing before God, but rather that they do “everyday acts that honor God” (120). Citing the often-noble example of Saladin during the crusades, he concludes, “To the extent that people love their neighbors, they worship the one true God, even if their understanding of God is inadequate and their worship is seriously lacking in other regards” (122). Indeed, he goes on to suggest that

fear of the one and common God—the God who loves and commands love of neighbor—would make a difference. Fear of that God will nudge Muslims and Christians to emulate God and therefore to pursue the common good, for, by definition, the common God to whom they are accountable is the God of both as well as the one Lord of their common world. (247)

In other words, Volf suggests (without stating it in quite this way):

  1. that Muslims can love, honor, and fear God apart from Christ;
  2. that this love, fear, and honor can form a common basis on which they can work with Christians for the common good.

Biblically and theologically, those statements are concerning, despite their obvious practical pull. The following considerations illustrate my concerns:

First, this is not simply a question of inadequate propositions, but broken relationship. Scripture teaches that sin has broken the relationship between God and man such that man can do nothing to please God. Isaiah 64:6 shows that even the best deeds done by man outside of a state of salvation are as filthy rags before God. This renders suspect Volf’s insistence that one can honor God or please God with inadequate beliefs. Further, given that this book is written to persuade Christians, one wonders how at this point Volf can think that the message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19) is not a central means of loving neighbor for Christians. That is, if we take Scripture’s words about the broken relationship between God and man seriously, it seems patently unloving to encourage Muslims who deny Jesus’ true identity to see their deeds as pleasing to God apart from Christ.

Second, while Muslims and Christians may very well agree that God commands that people love him, Christians cannot be faithful to the Scriptures and to Christ if they accept that Muslims, apart from Christ, do indeed love God. John 5:37-42 shows that those who reject Jesus as Savior do not love God:

And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, this form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.

His words are clear: if one does not accept Jesus for who he actually is, he does not have the love of God in him. Put differently, no amount of right action—of which many first century Jews had plenty—can offset wrong belief about Jesus when it comes to love for God. The painful conclusion is that Muslims do not love God, and that to appeal to them on the basis of their love for God to work for the common good is to deceive them about their true status before God.

Third, Volf’s claim that one can be a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian lightly dances around a crucial issue separating the two communities: the person of Muhammad. As the front cover and publisher’s blurb note, Volf believes, “A person can be both a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian without denying core convictions of belief and practice.” Volf cites two examples of this, an Episcopal priest who claimed to also have become a Muslim (195) and a Muslim-background believer who claimed his new faith in Jesus was compatible with valid interpretations of Islam (196).

This is not the place to fully enter into the debate over C-5 contextualization and other related issues. Nevertheless, in all of Volf’s discussion over this “hybrid religiosity” (200), he only once mentions in passing the question of the person of Muhammad (with relevance to this particular issue). He argues that if people are baptized, confess that Jesus is Lord, and receive the divine gift of new life through Christ, “and believe that Muhammad was a prophet (not ‘the Seal of the Prophets,’ but a prophet in the way in which we might designate Martin Luther King Jr. ‘a prophet’),” then they “would still be 100 percent Christian” (199).

The problem is that the shahada, the Islamic confession, does not mean that Muhammad was simply a prophetic voice like Martin Luther King, and the rest of the Qur’an does not allow for such an interpretation. Christians can certainly approach Muhammad respectfully. But ultimately, the question of his prophethood is far more central than Volf makes it seem to be. Any proposed union between two faiths that so lightly jumps over such an integral question makes the conclusion, at least in my mind, ring hollow.

Fourth, Volf’s claim that having a common God is necessary to avoiding conflict seems unproven. Given that this is a book for Christians, the simple command to love God and neighbor ought to be enough for Christians to approach Muslims with love. Certainly, Christians will fail, but Christians do not need for Muslims to look to or worship the same God for Christians to treat them as they would wish to be treated. If indeed unconditional love is a hallmark of Christian teaching, then whether one is Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, or atheist, Christians ought to follow Volf’s helpful material on how to view life from the perspective of others, participate in dialogue, and love their neighbors as themselves.

Joel S is a student at Reformed Theological Seminary and is under care in the Presbyterian Church of America. His ministry focus is the Arabic-speaking world, and he writes at http://joelws.com.
113 Comments
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  1. Really interesting.
    But I can’t understand how he concluded that they both can be the same God.
    I believe for a counterfeit to exist, an original must be there, and reading this makes me clearly see the original and the counterfeit.

  2. This is a very well-written review, thanks a lot!

  3. Thank you. Very good review. I am very interested in this.
    I can see from certain point of view where indeed they are the same God-though probably more in a sense that is useful polemically and as a conceptual point of contact. Ontologically, of course they are not the same God.
    Like Judaism, Christianity and Islam assert the basic understanding via the historical Abrahamic/Mosaic line. You can then say we are talking about the “same God” in a way you could not if one were speaking of Thor or Zeus. One can have a measure of understanding and agreement with historical orthodoxy that is not sufficient. Consider the Samaritans and Sadducees. Even Paul at Mars Hill commended their “Unknown God” as the God revealed in Christ.
    Just some initial thoughts that I might discount momentarily! Thanks for the stimulating article!

  4. ..”Volf writes as one who has seen the bitter hostilities between Muslims and Christians and wishes to see those hostilities cease.”

    My problem with his premise starts from this. Although these are your words, if they accurately represent his view, is it not ignoring the eternal, if not earthy enmity of Ishmael and Israel and their descendants? Does it not ignore the impact that an unsaved life and society has on the ceasing of any hostilities?

    Further, the “one can worship God outside of salvific faith in Jesus Christ” concept is not new. In fact, his writings would just lend credence to the knowledge that this false idea is rampant and widespread in Christian circles in our time.

    Much as the return of many to spurious teachings of Catholic mystics of the middle ages and new age practices by Christians, his ideas show that when Christians attempt to harmonize what truly cannot be harmonized with another faith or religion, it is Christians who bend and concede, never the pagan or false beliefs.

    Lastly, and I ask this without having read the book, does “neighbor” mean the same to a Muslim as it would to a Christian? Is neighbor everyone or fellow believers? A Christian has to deal honestly and lovingly to all, and the neighbor, if it is a believer, has additional requirements. A Muslim is to treat an infidel as an enemy, always. How does he reconcile these I wonder?

    Thanks for a great review.

    • Peace be unto you. To a Muslim, a Christian is a believer as it is stated in the Qur’an:

      [2:62] Surely, those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

      Also we are to act kind to everyone whether they are a believer or not.

      [42:23] that [bounty] whereof God gives the glad tiding to such of His servants as attain to faith and do righteous deeds. Say [O Prophet]: “No reward do I ask of you for this [message] other than [that you should] Love your fellow-men.” …

      Peace be unto you.

  5. I think a helpful way of answering the question of whether Muslims worship the same God is to ask whether Judaism worships the same God as us.

    In one sense it may be the same God, but as some of the verses quoted in the review show, one cannot truly worship God if one has rejected Jesus for who he truly is.

    • It seems to me that rather than Judaism which follows the teachings about God in the Old Testament a better comparison for Islam (which follows a new revelation and rejects the earlier revelations as being corrupt) would be Mormonism. Do Mormons believe in the same God as us? There might be similarities, but there are vast differences.

      • I also find it helpful in trying to answer this question to look at the differences between pure 1st Century Judaism and the Samaritans. Consider the syncretism of the Samaritans who absorbed the false worship and idolatry of their Assyrian conquerors into their worship of YHWH. A critical look at the origins of Islam and the Qur’an will reveal similarities. Although most scholars will lose their jobs for saying it, the Qur’an has obvious sources (Targum, Midrash, and “Christian” legends among others) as well as misconstrued Bible accounts. Islam has absorbed all this material, embellished upon it in places, subtracted from it in others, and formulated new highly situational “prophesies”. We as Christians stand before our Muslim neighbors in a similar way (but not exactly the same)as the Jews (the originals) before their Samaritan neighbors (the syncretists)who also found themselves in a tense co-existence. Did they worship the same God? The Samaritans apparently thought they were, but just on different mountains (John 4). I find that Muslims I interact with daily are much more willing to concede to this idea than I am. It’s hard say what the Jews thought except that there was bitter hatred among them for the Samaritans. At least according to God’s dealings with the sons of Aaron when they offered “strange fire” and according to the very reason for the Exile, we should conclude that God did not accept the Samaritan worship as true. The Judaism/Samaritan model also helps us understand how to interact with our Muslim neighbors. Jesus broke through all the religio-political tensions by addressing the woman’s heart, exposing sin, and prophesied of the “…hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”(John 4:23) Jesus preached even the hard parts of the gospel to her. And this encounter in John 4 also points to the issue mentioned above that is just as important in the discussion (maybe more important) which is not only “are we worshiping the same God,” but “what worship is acceptable to God”? This perhaps, is related to the issue of whether worshiping God apart from Christ discussed above is true and acceptable worship at all. Joel, thanks for the thorough review.

        • Your reply is right on target! Excellent.

          • Good point here. Although in fairness, its the samaritan who acts like a neighbor, and over and over again Christ shows his anger toward the Jews who thought that the promise was for themselves, and not for the nations. It seems to me that this at least honors Volf’s point about about being able to see through other’s eyes (while not granting that we “love” the same God. That is a little problematic terminologically.)

  6. Perhaps we should be as vocal about this book as we have been about Love Wins. It seems the “push” to have relationship with God apart from Jesus with Muslims could then be extended to others who love “God” and neighbor.

  7. Fantastic review, thanks so much for sharing!

  8. [...] reviews Allah: A Christian Response by Miroslav Volf. Posted in Islam, Religion, Theology | No Comments [...]

  9. I also think the comment on the “shahada” or confession is right on. You can’t be a true Muslim without this confession that there is one God, Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” And you can’t follow a crucified and risen savior if you believe the prophet of Islam who says that Jesus never died on the cross.

  10. Volf, while claiming to not write about soteriology, is indeed articulating his stance on the matter. In short, he conceives of faith as a merely human decision and thus overlooks the reality of regeneration. Out of this comes his claim that a Muslim can have a godly life because he fears and loves God. (Clearly he is not thinking in terms of a merely civil righteousness which fallen man can have through common grace and conscience.) Scripture says “Whatever does not come from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23 think Augustine here and cf. Heb 11:6). Perhaps it would just be better to hold up Jn 14:6 – “No man comes to the Father but through Me” and Rom 3 “No one seeks for God… no one does good.”

  11. I don’t really understand how the question can be “does x worship the same God as y?”

    Surely the question is “to what extent is x’s and y’s understanding of God correct or incorrect?”

    Who has got it more right and who has got it dangerously wrong?

    • Beat Attitude,

      the things is, if you make it a continuum like that, then you can’t deny Muslims to the table unless you are willing to deny, say, Arminians to the table who also have an incorrect understanding of God (no offence to any Arminians here). Why shut out one and not the other? In fact, on the continuum view all of us should be shut out as none of us have a perfect conception of God.

      There has to be, and is, a litmus test – and the main part of that is what they do with Jesus.

      • henrybish – I think you force Beat’s suggestion to imply something it doesn’t necessarily. Certainly Arminians would have a less Biblical understanding of who God is, and what pleases Him, but most do meet any Calvinists/Reformed criteria for having a Biblical understanding of God to some extent or another. No one who still takes the Bible into consideration when evaluating someone’s orthodoxy is going to place the Muslim understanding of God as equal in worth to an Arminian’s understanding of God.
        I think Beat’s question is a helpful way to think about it, because any time any of us views God as different than how he really is, we are in some way creating another god. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to worship the same Being that actually is.
        That’s not to say that I think Muslims get a pass because they are trying. They will face judgment, because they have sinned like all humans, and their efforts to reach God apart from Christ will never get them to Him.

        • Jon – I think we might be agreeing with eachother, you say:

          No one who still takes the Bible into consideration when evaluating someone’s orthodoxy is going to place the Muslim understanding of God as equal in worth to an Arminian’s understanding of God.

          And the question is: on what basis is that judgement made?

          I answer (and think you agree) that fundamentally we don’t measure people up along a continuum, how many of the boxes they tick etc, rather we find out how they view Jesus.

          My point is that the continuum approach is not especially relevant because what you really need is a cut off line (what they do with Jesus) and whatever else they have apart from that is irrelevant as to whether they are a Christian.

          E.g. Judaism’s concept of God is very much shaped by the OT God, as is ours, but even though it matches very closely (perhaps more closely in many respects than Arminians) that is irrelevant, since it is what they do with Jesus – their God’s self-revelation – that counts. A conception of God may tick every single box of orthodoxy – except for Jesus – and so flunk the whole test. Hence all those boxes are actually irrelevant, Jesus is the defining criteria.

          What do you say?

          • In fact, I notice that your criteria for your own statement:

            No one who still takes the Bible into consideration when evaluating someone’s orthodoxy is going to place the Muslim understanding of God as equal in worth to an Arminian’s understanding of God.

            …. is exactly the same as mine – not the continuum, but:

            They will face judgment, because… their efforts to reach God apart from Christ will never get them to Him.

            So how are we disagreeing?

          • Yes, Henry, you’re right – we’re basically completely agreeing. The point that I was making (with lots of clarification lest I sound Unitarian or something) is that Beat’s point that the question “Are they worshiping the same God as we are” is not as helpful as thinking about it as “How badly are they misunderstanding who God is.”
            Because 1) there is only one God. So however you’re trying to get to Him, there’s only one actual being (and we know, of course, that the only way to Him is through Christ)
            and 2) I think we can actually be encouraged by the fact that Muslims who are genuine in their faith are actually trying to know God. The problem is not in the being they are pursuing – the problem is in their man-made method which cannot reach him. This helps our interactions with Muslims be less antagonistic and more compassionate.
            Anyways, that’s my two cents worth. Maybe you’re still in complete agreement with me, in which case this was brought up over semantics. If that’s the case, my apologies, but I hope this is edifying anyways. Peace.

      • Peace be unto you all. Are you at all open-minded to the idea that maybe you have the wrong approach to God?

        God does say:

        Isaiah 43:11
        11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.

        Isaiah 45:22
         ”Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.

        Isaiah 42:8
        “I am the lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.

        Isaiah 45:5 
        I am the lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.

        Numbers 23:19
        God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

        Malachi 3:6
        “I the lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

        Despite this many people believe Jesus (peace be upon him) to be God. How can that be if God does not change and He never told us to believe in Jesus (pbuh) before but the He alone was God and apart from Him there is no God.

        I do not mean to offend anyone with my comments I am only hoping to open your eyes to another perspective. Peace be unto you all.

        Luke 4:8 
        And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him ONLY shalt thou serve.

        [2:139]  Say [to the Jews and the Christians]: “Do you argue with us about God? But He is our Sustainer as well as your Sustainer – and unto us shall be accounted our deeds, and unto you, your deeds; and it- is unto Him alone that we devote ourselves.

        • Dear Isa ibn Yahya,

          Can I offer a point of reflection for your quoting of Luke 4:8?

          It may be worth comparing the context of Jesus’ statement about worshiping God alone, with the way in which Luke’s Gospel closes in Luke 24:52. (see also the end of Matthew’s Gospel 28:16-20). Hear the worship of Jesus seems to be referred to positively.

          Luke and Matthew both seem to affirm that worship of anyone other than God is to be condemned (Luke 4:8), and that Worship of Jesus is the appropriate response to Him (Luke 24:52).

          Steve Frederick

  12. [...] Insightful review of Miroslav Volf’s Allah: A Christian Response: “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Does the answer to that question have significant implications for how Christians and Muslims engage each other in the world today?” /* [...]

  13. I think we waste our time debating over whether or not Muslims worship the wrong god…

    The only way to know God is through Jesus. A genuine personal relationship with God can only be Christological and Trinitarian. All other worship of God outside of Christ is “in vain” (Mk. 7:7). So whether or not Muslims believe in a different God is somewhat of a irrelevant issue, because in fact no one knows God apart from Jesus. All conceptions of God, whether they are American, Muslim, Asian, Agnostic, Pagan, Mormon, or even “Christian,” all of them are incomplete and inaccurate without the gospel revelation of the Son (Heb. 1:2).

    See my post, “Is Allah God? A Relevant Issue?”
    http://muslimministry.blogspot.com/2010/09/is-allah-god-relevant-issue.html

    • Hi Warrick,

      I actually agree with you for the most part. Thus I think my second point of concern (do they actually love God?) is of far more significance than the first. But given that he spent a lot of time discussing the same God question, I did feel that I needed to mention why I did not find it compelling.

  14. more people need to know these differences.
    Allah does not save. Only Jesus Christ can.

    • Peace be unto you. I believe your statement is false even according to the Holy Bible.

      Allah means God in Arabic. God is the only one who can save according to Him.

      Isaiah 43:11
      11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.

      Jesus (peace be upon him) himself says that you must believe in God to be saved.

      John 5:24
      Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

      Jesus (pbuh) says that he who believes on the One who sent him shall have eternal life and not be condemned. In other words if you believe in God you shall be saved.

      He even says that knowing God is eternal life.

      John 17:3
      Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the ONLY true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

      Jesus (pbuh) calls God the only (without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively) TRUE God. Therefore, God is alone, solely and exclusively God, because with others or anyone further, it is not the TRUE God. Knowing this is salvation.

      Furthermore, how can Jesus (pbuh) save anyone if he can do nothing on his own?

      John 5:30
      I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

      Peace be unto you.

      • Isa ibn yahya, it’s great that you are reading the Old and New Testament – I have many questions for you but I’ll start with these – First off, don’t you believe that the old and new testament scriptures have been corrupted and if so then why would you refer to them as authoritative? Second, you mentioned John 17:3 and I’m wondering if you as a Muslim believe it’s possible to know God in a personal way.

        • Peace be unto you. I believe in the Torah and the Gospel as being from God. Here is one verse where they are mentioned in the Qur’an. 

          (3:3) Step by step has He bestowed upon thee from on high this divine writ, setting forth the truth which confirms whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations]:  for it is He who has bestowed from on high the Torah and the gospel –    

          Here it says that the Qur’an confirms what truth remains in the Torah and Gospel. Since I have an understanding of Allah from the Qur’an, I can then read the Old and New Testament and I accept everything that agrees with what is established in the Qur’an and reject what disagrees. My father was born Christian and then converted to Islam because he did not agree with the Christian concept of our Almighty Creator. I study the Bible to find out why and also because I believe it is from God. 

          In my extensive study of the Bible, I notice that much of what God says and what Jesus (pbuh) says agrees with the Qur’an, yet much of the narration disagrees. 

          To me it does not seem unreasonable that scribes would have changed parts of the scriptures to agree with their beliefs, as there are many known instances of alterations. For example 1 John 5:7 has been thrown out of the RSV Bible as an interpolation of the scribes. This translation, done by 33 imminent Christian scholars using the oldest available manuscripts and backed by over 50 denominational churches, also uses the translation servant when referring to Jesus (pbuh) instead of son, which is the same exact word in both Hebrew and Greek. When used with other people such as David (pbuh) it was translated as servant but only with Jesus (pbuh) was it Son with a capital S. There aren’t even capital letters in the original Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. 

          http://www.answering-christianity.com/son_translation.htm

          To me it does not logically follow that all of the prophets would say that God is one, even Jesus (pbuh) does (Mark 12:29), and to worship Him alone; and for God to say that He does not change (Malachi 3:6) and will not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8) and then all of a sudden He changes and has a son who He gives His glory to?

          The idea of the trinity and God having a son is very prevalent in many of the pagan belief systems that all the prophets testified against. The Roman Catholic Church had control of the scriptures in the early days and they controlled what went into the bible and the core beliefs of Christianity (such as the divinity of Jesus (pbuh) at the council of Nicea.)  They had a pagan belief system before Christianity so what would stop them from hiding the truth and blending their pagan beliefs into what Jesus (pbuh) taught? 

          http://aloha.net/~mikesch/wheel

          • Sorry I kind of got off track. This verse also illustrates my view on the Torah and Bible.

            [5:48] And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. –    

            I do believe, as all Muslims should, that you can know God personally. As I feel that I do myself. You can know Him through studying His scriptures and understanding what He wants from you and what pleases Him. I am in constant thought of what I am saying and doing as I want to be sure to do the Lord’s good pleasure. I love God with all my heart and I constantly talk to Him and thank Him besides my formal prayers. I have a strong relationship with God and my allegiance is to Him and not necessarily to any particular religion.

            However, to be Muslim means to submit your will to God’s will (which Jesus (pbuh) says you must do to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21)). Although I do not agree completely with many of the current practices of mainstream Islam, such as including the prophet in the shahada the way they make prayer, and Muhammad (pbuh) being the final prophet, I do identify myself as a Muslim because of this.

      • Isa Ibn Yahya, as for Scott’s statement above that “Allah does not save, only Jesus Christ can,” The New Testament, speaking of Jesus, teaches that there is no other name under heaven or earth by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12)” John 3:16 tells us that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall have eternal life. Romans 5:8 tells us that God demonstrated his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Salvation according to the scriptures comes through the substitionary death of Jesus for the sins of men. This atonement was provided by the God of the Bible. The Qur’an itself denies the crucifixion and resurrection and so the statement that Allah does not save is accurate according to our scriptures.

        • Peace be unto you. The reason I do not agree with what the New Testament says about Jesus (pbuh) saving us, is because it does not agree with what God says in the Old Testament, nor what Jesus (pbuh) says himself in the New Testament. God says He is the only Savior (Isa 43:11) and turn to Him to be saved (Isa 45:22). Jesus (pbuh) himself says believe in God for eternal life (John 17:3), believe on the one who sent Him to be saved (John 5:24), do the will of God to enter heaven (Matt 7:21), obey the commandments to gain eternal life (Matt 19:16-17). All of these is are the same requirements and beliefs of Islam. The words of Jesus (pbuh) and God I accept but not anything that is said by someone else that contradicts what they said.

          Even Jesus (pbuh) tells us by way of parable that he will not die on the cross.

          Matthew 12:38-40
          38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

          Here Jesus clearly says what the only sign these people are going to be given. So as Jonah (pbuh) is in the belly of the whale, so to shall Jesus be in the heart of the earth. If we look at the story of Jonah we see that while Jonah was in the belly of the whale he was alive. When he was vomited back on to land he was still alive. So for Jesus to fulfill this prophecy, he too would also have to be alive while he was in the tomb for three days. If he was dead, it would not be like Jonah because Jonah was alive! Therefore Jesus would not have died on the cross. 

          http://www.haribird.com/news2C1a.htm

          • Mr Isa,

            With all respect (truly), you misread the parable about Jonah (and all parables)if you look for precise parallels between the story and the real thing being described. That’s not the purpose of the parable – but to show a similitude. This parable actually does teach of Jesus’ death. Also, you would also have to discount and overlook vast portions of Gospel material to suggest that Jesus (may he be forever glorified), did not speak of his own death or seek worship in his glorified resurrected state after his death (see all the passages below – there’s more but here are just a few).

            Furthermore, there is only a contradiction between God as Savior in the Old Testament and Jesus (may he forever be praised)as Savior in the New Testament if your assumption is that Jesus is not Divine. If that were the case then you would be right. But you seem to suggest that we believe that we have taken a man and made him out to be God. This is not our view, nor is it the view of the Gospels. The view of the Gospels is that God in all his unlimited power and ability, in his compassion and his mercy, made himself out to be a man to come and take the punishment that our sins deserved – the greatest act of love, grace, and mercy ever. And if Jesus is Divine (and the New Testament testifies that he is)then there is no contradiction at all between Old Testament and New. Consider these verses (there are many but please read them all – you cannot read just a couple verses from the Bible to build your theology – you must read the whole thing):

            In the following verses Jesus referred to himself as the “Son of Man” which is an apocolyptic term taken from the Old Testament book of Daniel. See how Jesus predicts his death:

            Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
            22 And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”
            23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
            24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

            Matthew 17:22-23 ¶ And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” And they were deeply grieved.

            Mark 8:31-34 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” 34 ¶ And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

            Mark 9:31-32 31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” 32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.

            Mark 10:32-34  ¶ And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33 saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles. 34 “And they will mock Him and spit upon Him, and scourge Him, and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.”

            Luke 18:31-34 And He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 “For He will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” 34 And they understood none of these things, and this saying was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.

            Luke 24:6-9 6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 8 And they remembered His words, 9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

            Luke 24:45-47 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

            John 11:25-26 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

            In the Old Testament passages like the following predict the Suffering and death of the Christ for the sins of the world…

            Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? 9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

            Jesus asked God the Father to Glorify him (Jesus)Only if he was God would he be able to do this:

            John 17:1-5 These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, 2 even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. 4 “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. 5 “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”

          • Mr. Swift, Peace be unto you. 

            If you read my earlier posts I mentioned that I believe and accept the Qur’an’s definition of God, and read the Bible with that understanding. I suspect that there have been many alterations in the scripture and I laid out my reasoning for this as well as providing sources that substantiate my reasoning. That being said, I understand that certain scripture points to the idea of Jesus (peace be upon him) being god, but in my understanding this was placed there by the scribes to mislead people. 

            For example it does not make logical sense for Jesus (pbuh) to ask God to glorify him and Have that be proof that Jesus (pbuh) is god. If he were, then he would not need to ask himself for that. It would be as if you asked yourself to borrow a pair of your own socks. Would you ask yourself this? How does that make sense?

            God said He does not change (Malachi 3:6). Why would He then have people call Him Jesus when He was never before known as that? That is change and it contradicts what God said. 

            Furthermore, not one time does Jesus (pbuh) call himself God nor ask to be worshipped. But he does however call himself a man (John 8:40) and say to worship and serve only God (Luke 4:8). The old testament says that God is not a man nor the son of man (num 23:19). If God does not change, how then would he become a man or the son of man? It even says that anyone born of a woman is not pure (Job 25:4) so how can Jesus (pbuh) be pure if he was born of a woman. 

            I am all for truth and worshipping God in truth. To me believing God was a man and the trinity Is far from the truth. Jesus (pbuh) even says that the most important commandment is that God is one (Mark 12:29). He doesn’t say 3 in 1 he says 1. Please keep that in mind. 

            Peace be unto you and the blessings of God.

            Mike-

            I do not believe that  ”Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” should be included in the declaration of faith. There is no God except Allah (There is no God except God) is sufficient for salvation. You are declaring your faith to God. Attatching someone else’s name along with that as a requirement of salvation is as if you are attributing a partner to God which is the gravest sin. It even tells us in the Qur’an not to make a distinction among any of the prophets yet by saying “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” they are putting a distinction on Muhammad (pbuh) because they do not mention all of the other prophets.

            [2:136]  Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.

            Peace be unto you and the blessings of God.

      • Isa Ibn Yahya, honestly though, I appreciate your desire to discuss this. Thanks for posting!

        • Thank you for taking the time to discuss this. It is great to see people desiring to know and understand God. Hopefully we will all do so with an open mind and hold on to what we recognize as truth and reject what we find to be falsehood. Please feel free to email me if you would like to have further discussions.

          isaibnyahya@yahoo.com

          Peace be unto you all and the blessings of God.

          • Isa Ibn Yahya, I’m interested in your thoughts to Mr. Swift’s comments (well stated) and I’m puzzled by some of your statements – you don’t believe Muhammad should be included in the Shahada?

          • Isa Ibn Yahya, I think we’re getting to a point where this dialogue no longer fits in the context of this blog post and so I’ll send you a personal email if you don’t mind.

          • I agree. Please do isaibnyahya@yahoo.com

          • Isa Ibn Yahya, I have read some of your comments in relation to the Torah and Gospel, that they have been changed by scholars over the years to conform to their beliefs. If this is so, how can you be sure that what you read in the Qur’an is true and hasn’t been changed by scholars? I expect that you will tell me that it is the word of Allah and has not been changed. The Bible claims that it is the word of God and I believe in a sovereign God who is powerful enough to maintain the truth of His word. Additionally, according to your religion, Mohammed received the Qur’an direct from Allah. Where as, according to Christian religion, the Christian Bible is the inspired word of God. Given the differences between the two religions how can we possibly believe in the same God? Either God is not sovereign and all powerful or he has lied to one or both of us.
            On another subject. Is it a teaching of Islam for it to be permissible for Muslims to lie if it furthers their religion? I don’t ask this to undermine you or accuse you of this, but simply out of curiosity having heard this from other non-muslims.

          • Matt, peace be unto you. About lying in Islam, I have only ever heard this from non-Muslims and I am always bewildered when I hear this. I have never read anywhere in the Qur’an where it says it is ok to lie. In fact it says you should never lie when it is pertaining to God. 

            [6:21] And who could be more wicked than he who attributes his own lying inventions to God or gives the lie to His messages? Verily, such evildoers will never attain to a happy state.

            Also it would not make sense to lie to further Islam as it is up to each individual to accept Islam or not. If they do not accept it then they do not accept it and a Muslim should be content on that. Here are several verses that illustrate that point. 

            [2:256] Let there be no Compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

            [18:29] Say, ‘The truth is from your Lord’: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it):……

            [10:99]“If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then COMPEL mankind, against their will, to believe! (The Noble Quran, 10:99)”

            [24:54]“Say: ‘Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to preach the clear (Message). 

            [109:1-6]“Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine.

            You are incorrect in thinking that I believe that the Qur’an is uncorrupted. I believe, just as the Torah and Gospel have been corrupted by the scribes, so too has the Qur’an. 

            It is true that God’s word cannot be changed, but what we have in these Holy scriptures is what was written down and presented as God’s word and not the unadulterated truth that He spoke through His Holy Prophets (peace be upon them). Those are the words that cannot be changed and will come to pass. And those are the words that will be restored when the true Messiah comes, whose duty it is to restore God’s word and who is the last of the prophets. The altering of God’s word and it’s restoration is spoken of by way of parable in the Bible. 

            Matt 13:24-30–24) Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25) but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26) But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27) So the servants of the owner came and said to him, `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28) He said to them, `An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, `Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29) But he said, `No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30) Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

            The owner of the field is God. The servants of the field are God’s messengers who all put forth good seed or truthful words. Our enemy, the devil, put the tares in the field, or the false words of the scribes. Now is the time of harvest when the wheat or good words are separated from the tares and then put together to form the Book, The Sacred Treasury.

            Every word of the Book comes from all the other books that contain actual revelation. Whether it be the Torah, the Bible, the Qur’an, Book of Mormon, Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hamadi Library, Rig Vedas, Buddha Text, Gnostic Gospels, and many more. Many of these books have the true words of God that He spoke through His prophets but they are mixed in with the words of man. God planned on this to happen and it is His Messiah or Christ which both mean Anointed or Chosen One’s duty, to recognize these words, by the power of God and bring them together so that we may all see the truth.

            Both Muslims and the Christians believe Jesus (peace be upon him) is the Messiah or Christ. They believe him to be because the scribes wrote him down as the Christ. He is not the true Christ but that title has only been given to him so that we would not know the true Messiah who is the prophet John. 

            We all think of John to have come and gone in the person of John the Baptist, but this was also written so that we would not look forward to him. The scribes even boasted of this, by claiming he was beheaded, but in reality he is the head of prophecy. 

            Matt 11:13
            For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 

            Luke 16:16
             “The law and the prophets WERE until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. 

            Here John is set as a distinct barrier, but the words are changed so we think that the time has already come and gone so that we do not look forward to it. It really means that the law and the prophets ARE until John who is here today and will come forward in the due time of the Lord. 

            His purpose is to restore truth to the world by bringing the true words of God back to it’s original form. Much has already been revealed to him and very shortly he will share this with the world and it will be up to each individual to accept it or reject it. 

            Peace be unto you and the blessings of Allah. May He guide us all to the straight path. 

          • Isa ibn Yahya,
            Jesus is not “part of creation”: he is the creator.

            From John 1: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made: without him nothing was made that has been made.. He was in the world and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him…..The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” This is speaking of Jesus.

            In Genesis 1 God repeatedly spoke and the universe and all in it was brought into existence. Jesus is identified in scripture as the Word. The Old Testament tells us that God honors his Word above his name. Hebrews 1:1-3 identifies Jesus as the one “through whom [God] made the universe” and that “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” Jesus never denies that he is God: he equates himself with God. The Jews understood him perfectly and, because they did not believe he was the Son of God, they tried to stone him for (supposed) blasphemy. Jesus accepted the worship of the apostle Thomas in John 20: 24ff. If he was not God, that would have been blasphemy. Angels whose appearances prompted those who saw them to fall down in worship were told NOT to do that. Jesus did not rebuke Thomas: our only choice is to say that Jesus was a blasphemer and a fraud, or he was God.

            Philippians 2:6-11 speaks of Jesus, “who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped [ held onto], but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of JEsus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Chris is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

            It was necessary for God to come in human likeness (Jesus) so that he could be the necessary propitiation for sin. This is because God, being eternal, cannot die, but God’s justice requires death for sin: “in fact, the Law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Heb. 9:22. Only God could live a sinless life – and thus be the necessary (and thus the) only acceptable unblemished sacrifice for man’s sin, and only a man could die to pay “..once for all by his own blood..” Heb. 9. II Corinthians 5:21 tells us “God made him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This is why John 1:12-13 says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision of a husband’s will, but born of God.”

            Consider also I Cor. 15:22-28.

            Pray to God for His Holy Spirit to give you understanding of His truth. May God give you eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to believe.

  15. In terms of whether it’s possible for non-Christians to worship God, though they do not know (ya’da) Him, I would suggest that the New Testament allows this:

    In John 4, when Jesus interacts with the Samaritan woman, he tells her that the Samaritans worship One they do not know, but that the Jews worship One that they know “because salvation is from the Jews.” Samaritan religious beliefs are somewhere along the scale between Judaism and Islam if you want to talk doctrine, not history. They accepted only a Torah that had been adapted in the early days of Samaritanism. They accepted none of the the Prophets, and revered Moses more than the vast majority of Jewish sects (comparable to Islamic reverence of Mohammad). Yet Jesus does not tell her that they do not worship the One God, but that she does not know Him…and that’s His invitation to her.

    That should be a point we learn in mission, I think.

  16. Joel,
    Thank you for the review. I’ve also been reading Volf’s book and working on a review. One of the things I’ve found so far is that Volf deemphasizes the work of Jesus as it relates to the worship of God in this age (Hebrews 1:1-3). Islam’s Prophet, Muhammad, did not acknowledge Christ’s person and work (e.g. death, resurrection [1 Cor.15:1-4]). Muslims worship in the direction of the earthly city of Mecca with their faces decidedly turned away from Christ’s person and work.

    I’d be interested to know what you think about Volf’s discussion of Martin Luther’s Large Catechism (p.62).

    • Hi Aaron,

      Volf does address the Qur’an’s view of Jesus’ death and so on. There are varying views of it within the Islamic tradition.

      I found it interesting that Luther came out and said it so equivocally. Calvin, on the other hand, said the opposite in the Institutes. But as Warrick mentioned, I think the more significant point is that they don’t love him or truly know him, regardless of what object they point to.

      • What did Luther and Calvin say?

        • Luther: “All who are outside this Christian people, whether heathens, Turks, Jews, or false Christians and hypocrites–even though they believe in and worship only the one, true God–nevertheless they do not know what his attitude is toward them. They cannot be confident of his love and blessing, and therefore they remain in eternal wrath and condemnation.”

          Calvin: “So today the Turks, although they proclaim at the top of their lungs that the Creator of heaven and earth is God, still, while repudiating Christ, substitute an idol in place of the true God.” (Institutes II.6.4) He does elsewhere (Commentary on Deuteronomy) mention that they “intended” to worship the true God, but ended up not doing so, so he may not have a fully developed view.

          • Interesting. I would argue that I Kings 17 teaches that they are both right, although in different senses. It speaks of the imported people into Samaria fearing YHWH though not doing so properly, because they also served other gods. But it then also says pretty immediately that they did not fear YHWH or follow his statutes. Either the author or final editor was a completely moron, or there’s got to be some sense in which you can fear YWHW and yet not fear him, and the context of worship that involves very wrong ideas about God and how to follow him seems to be parallel to the case of Islam in enough ways that you might think Calvin and Luther were both right. They proclaim God, and it is God that they proclaim, but they do so in such a wrong way that they’re worshiping an idol.

          • Peace be unto you. If you would like, here is a Muslim perspective on what you are discussing.

            [2:139]  Say [to the Jews and the Christians]: “Do you argue with us about God? But He is our Sustainer as well as your Sustainer – and unto us shall be accounted our deeds, and unto you, your deeds; and it is unto Him alone that we devote ourselves.

            To worship an idol is to worship something other than God. We believe that we are from idolatry, because we worship God alone and depend only on Him. From a Muslim perspective, some Christians may be considered idol worshippers because they may worship and devote themselves to Jesus (peace be upon him). Any way you look at it, Jesus (pbuh) had a beginning, he came into the world. He ate, drank, slept, felt pain, was a part of creation. Anyone who worships the creation, rather than the Creator is committing idolatry.

            Peace be unto you and the blessings of God.

          • *far from idolatry

          • I think you meant 2 Kings 17

          • Yes, II Kings 17.

  17. Galations 1 says: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

    Mohammed met with an “angel” preaching a different gospel (as did Joseph Smith)…I simply don’t understand why there is even a question about whether or not the god of Islam is the God of Christianity.

    Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Islam gives the wrong answer.

    Jesus said. “It is finished” Islam showed up 700 years later with a “new” revelation.

    Christianity is unique in that it is about GRACE. Nothing you can do on your own will make you “good enough” for a holy God, you NEED a saviour. It isn’t about YOU going up to God, it’s about Him coming down to rescue you. Islam is just like every single other false religion in that it’s all about “earning” your way to heaven through works. There is no saviour.

    We can even look a the fruits of Islam. Almost every single terrorist attack in the entire world is a direct result of radical Islamist ideology. Name one country in the world operating under Islamic law in which the people are free. Go ask the Coptic Christians how their neighbours treat them.

    Islam is actually a totalitarian political ideology wrapped in the banner of “religion” to give it some semblance of “divine influence”…it may be supernaturally influenced, but it certainly isn’t by our God.

    It’s time for Christians to stop being ashamed of the distinct gospel we’ve been given when faced with demonstrably demonic counterfeits.

    Islam is

    • “Almost every single terrorist attack in the entire world is a direct result of radical Islamist ideology.”

      Please be careful with sweeping statements like that. As a Brit having lived under the shadow of the Northern Ireland conflict for many years, I know that this is simply not true. Although there is much less violence now than there used to be, terrorist atrocities are still being carried out by paramilitary groups claiming to represent both Catholic Republicans and Protestant Loyalists. Only this week, a Catholic Policeman was murdered in a car bomb attack in Northern Ireland town of Omagh.

      I could cite countless other examples of violence committed in the name of Christianity, both past and present, but I’ve made my point. It does well to retain a degree of humility in our inter-religious discourse lest we fall into the trap of missing the logs in our own eyes.

  18. I understand that some Christians believe Allah is the God of the Bible…but do Muslims believe Allah is the God of Christians and Jews? An Islamic nation recently objected to the word Allah in an Arabic translation of the New Testament. Abraham may unite the three religions, but I suspect their “circle” doesn’t include us.

    • Rev Dr Leroe, peace be unto you. Muslims do believe that Christians worship the same God as us, only we believe that pagan influences have altered your scriptures to mislead you, and cause you to make unjust associations to God. But we do believe you worship the same God as us if you worship the Father alone and not the son. Please read from the Qur’an:

      [5:82]… nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.

      [2:62] Surely, those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

      [2:277]  Verily, those who have attained to faith and do good works, and are constant in prayer, and dispense Charity – they shall have their reward with their Sustainer, and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.

      [5:48] And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. –    

      Also please read from http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/charter1.html :

      In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (s) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

      An English translation of that document is presented below.

      This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
      Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
      No compulsion is to be on them.
      Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
      No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
      Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
      No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
      The Muslims are to fight for them.
      If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
      Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
      No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

      I hope this helped to clarify for you. Peace be unto you and the blessings of Allah.

  19. Last Sunday, after church, some friends and I were talking about this same issue. Thanks for the careful and wonderful review.

  20. I share concerns 2 and following, but I think what’s wrong with Volf on point 1 is not his view but his poor argument for it. Any argument based on sufficient similarity is going to fail pretty quickly once we look to the essential Trinitarian nature of God. That’s a pretty core element if we’re basing the reference of terms on actual metaphysics.

    But of course language doesn’t work that way. When people starting talking about water, they weren’t doing so with full understanding of its chemical structure. If two groups with competing scientific theories about what water really is still referred to the same stuff and called it water, it would be nothing short of obstuse to claim that they referred to different stuff. Their historical and causal connection with that stuff is what grounds their reference to it with their terms, even though they had conflicting theories about what it is in its nature.

    Similarly, the general Abrahamic tradition, confused as it is at some historical points, grounds the Islamic reference to God when they use the word ‘Allah’. They refer to the being who interacted with human beings in the patriarchal period, through the human king they call the prophet David, and (and this is key) through that guy that they call the prophet Jesus. Surely they believe false things about Jesus, by any Christian standard. But it’s the historic Jesus whom they claim to be a prophet, whom they claim to be returning someday, whom they claim did not die on the cross but was replaced by Jesus. They get Jesus’ nature very wrong, but they refer to him when they do so, just as scientists got the nature of heat wrong when they thought it a substance but still referred to it (the kinetic energy) when they talked about it.

    So if the question of whether Muslims worship the same God means whether the being they call Allah is the same being we call God, then the answer is obviously yes. But Volf is wrong to base it on similarity. He doesn’t seem aware of causal theories of reference or any such thing.

    If the question of whether Muslims worship the same God means whether their worship is legitimate worship, then that’s another question entirely, and I’d say that Volf does go too far on that one.

  21. To me it appears clear that, by definition, the being Muslims call Allah is not the God of the Bible.

    The Qur’an is explicit, repeatedly, that Allah does NOT have a son. The Bible is clear that the God who reveals Himself there DOES have a son, whom the New Testament repeatedly identifies as Jesus Christ. The Old Testament, while not naming God’s son, specifically references Him in Psalm 2:12 and in Proverbs 30:4.

    The God of the Bible has many names by which He has described Himself – names which show His attributes. Allah is probably a contraction of Al-Illyah, the name of the moon god in the ancient Arab pantheon of gods worshipped at the Kaabah in Mecca, which was the god of the tribe from which Mohammed came. Note the crescent moon on the flags of most Islamic countries. It is the only name by which Muslims reference the one they worship.

    • Kathy,

      It would probably serve you well to read the book in question. Volf deals with both of your objections: (1) that in the Qur’an, God does not have a son (Volf argues that it is referring to a misunderstanding of traditional Christian doctrine, and is thus not exclusive), and (2) that “allah” is related to the “moon god.”

      You may not agree with him, but he does make a case for both, and it would be best not to simply repeat arguments that have been made before by many others and instead engage with what Volf actually has to say about these issues.

      Blessings.

      • Joel,

        Perhaps I was not clear. I was trying to get at the heart of a constant error I see. How many people have said or written that Jews, Christians and Muslims “all worship the same God”?

        The index in the Qur’an translation that I have (by M.H. Shakir) lists 16 separate references for “has no son” under the entry “Allah”.

        It is not my contention that “God” in the Qur’an does not have a son, but that “Allah” does not have a son. Muslims worship “Allah”. “Allah”, according to the Qur’an, does NOT have a son. On the other hand, the Bible is clear that the God who reveals Himself in the Old and New Testaments HAS a son. While I have not read Volf, I am not sure how reading him will change this fact?

        Let me use an analogy. If “David’ is my auto mechanic and says he is the father of one son, and a friend engages a mechanic named “Dave”, how can we tell if it is the same man? If Dave specifically told my friend he has NO son, he is not MY mechanic. My understanding of whether “David’s” son is living or dead, natural, adopted or a step-son will be irrelevant: our mechanics are not the same individual.

        Surah IV:171 says, in part, “..Allah is only one God: far be it from His glory that He should have a son…” Yet in the Bible, God says of Jesus on several occasions, “This is my Son….” Therefore, “Allah” and the God of the Bible cannot be not the same.

        [As a side note, I had thought I had deleted the last paragraph in my original post, having decided that it was a rabbit-trail that needn't be explored here. The issue of a son is the key. As others have pointed out here, salvation is in Jesus, not in nebulously "loving 'God' ". ]

        • Kathy, your assumption is that the Qur’an speaks the truth about God. If it does not, then your argument does not succeed. If someone wrote a newspaper article about my wife that said she has no children, I would immediately conclude that they have the wrong information, not that they’re talking about someone else.

          I’m not sure how the salvation issue is connected here. You seem to think the fact that salvation is in Jesus (not in nebulously loving God) means something about the issue of whether their language about God actually refers to God or whether it refers to a fictional entity. But that’s an issue of whether they have a genuine relationship of a salvific sort. The issue in front of us is not that issue but whether, when they say they pray to Allah, they’re talking about God or about a fictional being. Volf is claiming that it’s God they’re talking about, even if they have the facts wrong about God. Even if his argument for that is a bad one (as I think it is), I think his conclusion is correct. But that’s not the same issue as whether Muslims are genuinely loving God or whether they’re saved.

          • You wrote, “your assumption is that the Qur’an speaks the truth about God.” Au contraire! I do NOT assume that the Qur’an speaks truth about God! I see that it does NOT! It is not a matter of language “issues”. It is a matter of factual identity.

            While numerous prominent people, including Christians (ie. George W. Bush), have said that “we all worship the same God”, my contention is that that is demonstrably false.

            The only true God is the God of the Bible, ie. Old and New Testaments. Although some Muslims may in certain contexts refer to the being they worship – identified in the Qur’an as “Allah” – as “God”, that does not mean that “Allah” as portrayed in the Qur’an = “God” as revealed in the Bible.

            The salvation issue for everyone rests in the Son of the God of the Bible. The Muslims worship a being w/o a son and relegate Jesus of Nazareth to the position of ONLY a “prophet”. There is only one name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. His name is Jesus and He is the SON of God. Since the Qur’an’s Allah does not have a son, those who worship him worship a false god, whether in sincerity or mere form or simple ignorance.

            How can one have a “genuine relationship of a salvific sort” with the one true savior while denying that he is that necessary and all sufficient savior made known to us in the Bible?

        • Kathy,

          “Allah” simply means God, as Arab Christians will attest.

          Regarding having no son, I do understand your point. All I’m saying is that what you are saying is not new, so even if you are not convinced by what Volf says, it would probably be best to read his book rather than criticize without having done so. Right or wrong, he has tried to think through the issues very carefully.

          • Thank you. I have not read Volf. But please note that I made no reference to Volf or his writings. My intent was not to criticize something I have not read but to take the opportunity of this discussion to address what I have long believed to be an all too common error among even professing Christians – accepting/repeating the falsehood that the “Allah” of the Qur’an is the same (as the) God who reveals Himself in the Old and New Testaments.

            My concern is not whether I agree with Volf but whether I agree with God. Have I misunderstood God’s clear Word?

          • Hi Kathy,

            I agree that your desire should be to agree with God. But that is Dr. Volf’s desire too, and given that this is a book review of his book, his approach to these topics is the discussion at hand. He addresses the topics you bring up, so on a discussion about his review, it is difficult to hold it if you don’t interact with his views on it. Blessings, Joel.

    • Kathy:

      I can’t speak for the book, as I’ve not read it (though I am definitely interested in doing so), but from the vantage point of studying Semitic languages (two of which I know well, and others I have cursory understanding of) and sociolinguistics, the Al-illya to Allah contraction is highly unlikely. For what it’s worth, I can’t even find any evidence of such a term existing.

      Allah is a cognate with Eloha (Hebrew) and Elah (Aramaic). This is the same word you find throughout the Old Testament, and appears in Jesus’ quotation of Psalm 22 on the cross (Elahi, Elahi, lamah sebachtani?). As a term, it’s ancient, very much so. It’s simplicity would be evidence of that (same with El/Eloha in Hebrew).

      It’s definite application to the God of Abraham would not be until Mohammad (although it’s possible that happened before this time…perhaps among groups of Arabs who accepted Christ, beginning with Pentecost).

  22. If so, then keep in mind that El was the supreme god of the Canaanite pantheon. But the Bible appropriates that term for God.

    I should point out that many people think Halloween is a satanic celebration, while many others think it’s purely innocent fun. They must be referring to different days of the year, since they disagree on the very nature of what the day is. But wait … it’s the very nature of that day that they disagree on, much like the disagreement between Christians and Muslims about what the nature of God is. (That last bit would be meaningless if they were talking about different beings.)

  23. Well-marketed, culturally appropriate for a nervous evangelicalism, scholastic (on the surface) and sophistic, but ultimately, gravely misleading and deprived of a serious commitment to God’s finally and sufficient revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ. Christians must engage with Islam, and Muslims, intelligently and respectfully. But giving away our core commitment to Jesus Christ as the only Son of God, in order to appease the unbending demands of the Shahada is the all too common default setting of our weaker brothers (and sisters!) in the C of E whose great achievement is that having set the spiritual future of their church into the hands of the Mulahs of Finchley Park and consigning themselves to pluralism’s ever expanding warehouse of discarded ideas. Perhaps Volf’s longing for embrace with the other would have been less flawed had he not excluded the Mediator from the encounter.

  24. [...] released about this very topic entitled “Allah: A Christian Response” by Mirosalv Volf. Here is a review that includes significant points about the differences between Christianity and [...]

  25. [...] Here [HT: Justin Taylor] [...]

  26. Joel,

    Yours is a very good review. You read me well and carefully. I disagree with you on number of points. It would take too long to respond to all your comments, but here is a beginning. I wrote this just yesterday to Scot McNight, and it concerns only one central argument in my book which builds on the relation between Christians and the Jews, most specifically in the New Testament, including John’s Gospel. If Jews worship a different God than we, they are idolaters, and this is heresy from a Christian standpoint. So here is what I wrote to Scot, in two different emails.

    Are we really prepared to say that the Jews are idolaters, as Jews say of Christians that they are (such as Maimonides and others because Christians believe in a different God than they)? That flies against the whole witness of the New Testament. If Jews think that we don’t worship the same God as they, that does not mean that we think that they don’t worship the same God as we do. If grounds why we reject the thesis that Christians and Muslims have the same (though partly differently understood) One in view when they speak of God, leads you conclude that Christians must claim that Jewish worship a different God than they, this, in my judgment, invalidates those arguments.

    If grant that the Jews are not idolaters, then the following is relevant:

    I don’t see how you can say that (1) God is One and that (2) we worship their God but they don’t worship ours. That’s where different understandings of that one God come in. We all worship the one whom we partly do not know, and, before we see God face to face, we’ll identify God in inadequate (but still sufficiently truthful) ways. That’s where the difference comes in. I say that Christians have a more adequate understanding of God (revealed in Jesus Christ who is a self-revelation of God), a fuller understanding of God, which Jews do not have, but that Jews worship the same God as we. Don’t you think that this is exactly what John’s Gospel assumes? The alternative is to say that the Jews are idolaters–they worship a non-God, a figment of their imagination. That is the most serious of all sins, for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

    Again, this is only comment on one small aspect of what you wrote in your reviews. I am delighted that you take the question seriously rather than, as many, reacting emotionally either in positive or negative ways.

    • Miroslav,

      I’d like to ask why you say this is the only alternative:

      The alternative is to say that the Jews are idolaters–they worship a non-God, a figment of their imagination.

      Surely a much better alternative is that although they are conceiving the same God as us they don’t really worship Him at all since they have rejected Him in the form of Jesus Christ.

      Thus, while they may have a very accurate conception of God in many regards, similar to Christians, the problem is not so much their conception of God but rather it is their rebellion against Him by rejecting Christ.

      That, to me, seems a much clearer alternative, and one that we see expressed in numerous passages in Acts (some of Paul’s and Stephen’s speeches).

    • Dr. Volf,

      Thank you for your kind and careful response. I certainly have much to think about with regards to the “same God” question. I have just a few thoughts by way of reply:

      (1) As Warrick Farah noted above, I am unsure as to whether the question of reference is the more significant one. That is, even if I admit that in terms of historical reference, we are speaking of the same Being, I do not agree that Muslims love, fear, or honor God. That, to me, is the more significant question biblically, because I don’t believe that I can truly appeal to Muslims based on their actual love of God to live in a certain way, since I believe that their beliefs and actions, no matter how much they might contribute to the civic good, are actually manifestations of repression and rebellion against the Lordship of Christ.

      (2) I’m not sure that 1st-century Jews and Muslims (at least of the normative variety) are a completely fair parallel. On the one hand, you have Jews that God did reveal himself to, both in actions and speech, but who have come to reject the fulfillment of that revelation. They accept God’s OT revelation, and they do not accept new revelation. Muslims on the other hand reject God’s revelation in the past (both the OT and the NT, though I understand that some do interpret the “tahrif” question differently when it comes to the Scriptures), and they have added other revelation as being from God, even though Scripture is fairly clear that Jesus is the final revelation of God. So I’m not entirely convinced that the two are in the same boat.

      (3) Having said that, I am currently leaning more towards the understanding that Jews, Muslims, and Christians refer to the same historical Being, but that Muslims and Jews neither love, honor, nor serve that Being, because they do not do so in Christ. Accordingly, it’s not that I entirely disagreed entirely with your view on the same referent question, but rather I did not find the the criteria for sufficient similarity to be compelling, given the presence of some of the other Scriptures I mentioned.

      I do think your book was clear that you do not advocate religious pluralism. The only question I have is basically the same as above: it seems that talk of “shared love and fear for God,” does not take into account the broken relationship between God and man outside of Christ and the Spirit. It is not merely that Muslims have an inadequate view of God when they deny the things you mention below (Trinity, God’s love), but that they do not have a relationship with God through Christ, and they have unregenerate hearts that cannot please God. So to appeal to shared love and fear for God—even when motivated not soteriologically but for the common social and political good—seems to deceive them about their true status before God.

      Again, thank you for your gracious reply and for helping all of us to continue to wrestle with thinking about and relating to our Muslim friends with clarity and integrity.

      • This is probably not the forum to have a deep discussion needed on such a sensitive topic; moreover, it is very much uncharted territory. I cannot respond adequately even to this one strand, let alone to your whole review. But maybe a thought for consideration, to you and to the other person who responded to me. If Jews do not worship the same God as we, then notwithstanding their belief in one God they are idolaters. For whatever they worship is not God, and therefore is an idol. From the perspective of the New Testament, this is simply false. Worship itself is a complex practice. While I think (and say in the book) that the proper worship of God requires that we worship through Christ, still one can love, honor, worship God partly and inadequately even apart from consciously embracing Christ. But keep in mind: my primary focus in the book is not salvation, but political theology. The two are related, but distinct.

        • For sure, this is not the place for the discussion ultimately to take place. Nevertheless, I do appreciate you taking the time to offer a few thoughts on it.

          I will think through the issues you, and I will look forward to reading anything you write in the future that further explores these topics. Blessings.

        • Truth Unites... and Divides

          But keep in mind: my primary focus in the book is not salvation, but political theology. The two are related, but distinct.

          Dr. Volf, what is political theology? For the purposes and focus of your book, how do you define “Political Theology”?

  27. One more comment, lest I be understood as advocating pluralist understanding of religions (also written to Scot):

    I am most manifestly not a pluralist. And the key difference is this: my emphasis on overlaps is derived not from some belief that at the bottom all religions are the same and connect equally well with a divine reality which is a common between them all, but on concrete comparisons of what two (or three) religious traditions say in their sacred texts and in their normative traditions (respect for particularity!) about the God they worship. And I do not think that (1) there is parity between religions and that (2) God is really equally unlike and equally like what each religion says God is like. Instead, I believe that Jesus Christ is the self-revelation of God so that Christ is the truest window into God we have and therefore that the Trinitarian account of God is more true to who God truly is than a unitarian account. I think God revealed God’s own self in Jesus Christ; I don’t think that all religions, including Christianity, are human ways of accessing the ineffable mystery of God who is beyond personal and impersonal, good or evil, etc. So if and when Muslims deny the Trinity properly understood (not a bastardized version of it that all should deny), then they are wrong about God in this regard. If and when Muslims deny that God’s love is utterly unconditional (in a carefully specified sense), they are wrong about God in this regard.

  28. I was wondering: are there books marketed to Muslims telling them how people can fully practice Christianity (baptized, take Communion, etc) and still be “100 percent” Muslim? If so, I’d like to read them.

    Another question would be: where is the effort being directed in accepting the ‘same God’ hypothesis – toward Muslims, or Christians? The answer to this question will reveal the intent and direction of Volf’s argument. His view that a shared praxis (independent of Christ) equals a shared eschaton (with God’s full blessing) is not new, nor is he the only contemporary voice. I will be interested to see if Volf can (or is willing to) cite as much Q’uran to assure Muslims of Christians’ Islamism as there is Bible cited to assure Christians of Muslims’ Christianity.

    • Much to respond to. But my basic attitude is this: I must be faithful to Christ and do what Christ calls us to do. What you writes reminds me of those who said to me: “We should not apologize to Muslims for what we did to them because Muslims are not apologizing to us.” To which I respond: Christ is your Lord, who determines what you should or should not do. And he says, when you sin, repent–quite irrespective of whether that other person who has also sinned against you repents or not. Don’t let your behavior be determined by the law of reciprocity, but by the command of Christ.

    • Salaam Corniche

      Mr. Mike.
      What you have identified as the Christianizing of Islam and the Islamiziing of Christianity in many ways goes to the heart of the matter. For those who would like to clean up the image of Allah of Islam, due to his bad publicity by former Muslims like Wafa Sultan “The God who hates” and Mosab Hassan Yousef “Son of Hamas” both who categorically declare Allah of Islam to be an abusive despot of Arabic origin created in the mind of Muhammad, then logically some papering and wallpapering of Allah of Islam’s image is necessary these days.
      As to books on the subject, you will find more information in seminars like those done by Common Ground Consultants, Jesus in the Qur’an and the like. Essentially a lot of cross pollinating is being done between such groups and the Common Word initiative all to Christianize Islam, or to adopt a dimmi (those who are humiliated under the threat of death or confiscation of property or excessive taxes–all in the name of the Arabic depot Allah of Islam–conveniently) attitude of we need to grovel at these injustices and continually apologize like a battered wife for her abusive husband. If you do a search for the key words “Muslim follower of Jesus” you will find a number of articles either pro or against.

  29. Good day and peace to you brother Joel.
    Thank you for your hard work to tease apart what is the difference between Same, Similar and Different. Like you I am very disturbed at Dr. Volf/or the publisher’s assertion that ““A person can be both a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian without denying core convictions of belief and practice.” This is sheer nonsense and an unBiblical view of other religions, which will be defended with more fog. But it is no theory, as on the mission field where I work, some fellow workers are getting endeared to that statement, and producing what one ex-Muslim friend of mine calls “people who are no good for Christianity and no good for Islam either.” You might want to check out an article in the St. Francis Magazine of December 2009 called “Is the Allah of Islam the same as God in the Bible?”
    Shalom, Salaam.

    Dr. Volf, very,very narrow is the gate to life and very very wide is the path to destruction.

    • You may want to read what I actually wrote in the book and then tell me whether you disagree. Let’s not judge on the basis of soundbites.

      • Salaam Corniche

        Thank you Dr. Volf for clarifying the soundbite of your editor as per your conversation with Mark Durie.
        As you affirm that you meant to say, “In holding many Muslim convictions and engaging in many Muslim practices, you can still be 100% Christian.”
        One must assume that this is a statement directed to Christians. But why on earth do I need to hold Muslim convictions or engage in Muslim practices? Which Bible does this come from? Shouldn’t I engage in Christian convictions and Christian practices? To me this sounds like “a little adultery can’t be all bad.” This was the cause of the downfall of the Israelites. A little flirting with Baal, a little time with Ashteroth, and before you know it, full blown serial adultery. No wonder YHWH was crazy jealous for the love of his blood-bought people, and why He expressly forbade any kind of dilly-dallying with other gods—who He referred to as “nothings” and “human fabrications.” Idolatry is and was serious business.
        Ah, but you respond, “I only said ‘many’ and not all.” Yes, there is something slippery about the statement. I can be read however one likes. But how would Daniel of the Hebrew Testament have read it? I think with horror, just as my ex-Muslim brother did, his Islamic name, notwithstanding, and Daniel’s Babylonian name notwithstanding. Daniel’s categorical refusal to accept one of the “many” of the Bablylonian practices, namely prostrating to the symbol of the king as divinity showed that he knew that physical actions, intention, and the place of the heart are all interconnected. He refused to cave in to the fear of death and say, “Oh I am not bowing in the heart, it is only with my body.”
        Intention is critical here. In one context if I raise my hand, I may be showing gratitude to King Jesus for his rulership. In another context I would be giving a Nazi salute. To give the Nazi salute and to say, I mean in my heart that his is for King Jesus is duplicity, and I would suggest treason.
        Again, this is no theoretical stuff where I live, and sadly, Dr. Volf, you are influencing–as you do–a new crop of largely a-historical and a-theological missionaries with more zeal than knowledge, to continue to sow confusion in an already difficult enough milieu. I know I sound harsh,but frankly I am exacerbated at what seems to never give an inch to Christians who might call something to task, but appearing to be willing to accommodate Muslims all too often. Any Muslim would be delighted with the above statement as they see yet again, that Christians do not have to hold uniquely Christian convictions and practices. This pains me to the core.
        Could it be that there is a subtle, or not so subtle agenda of trying to be all things to all people in this statement? Jesus the final revelation of God came to bring a divide. This is crystal clear in the book of John, where the polarity between unbelief and belief, light and dark, condemnation and non-condemnation is stark.
        Shalom, Salaam

        • Amen, Salaam!

          What did God tell the Israelites after God had given them the land He had promised to them? “you shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God…” Joshua 23: 7, 8.

          The Qur’an calls Jesus “naught but a servant” (43:59)and “only an apostle” (4:171). and calls Muhammad THE “Apostle (capitalized in the text) of Allah” (33:40). The Qur’an says Allah has no son.

          However, the God of the Bible calls Jesus “My Son”. Mt. 3:17, Mt. 17:5, Mk. 1:11. “God, who at various times and in various way spoke in time PAST to the fathers by way of the PROPHETS, has in these last days spoken to us by HIS SON, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholdig all things by the world of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high..Hebrews 1: 1-3. Therefore, “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…?” Heb. 2:3.

          Can a genuine Christian, having read Hebrews and Revelation 22:18, 19, actually call (acknowledge) Muhammad a prophet? THE Apostle of God? I think not. As Salaam points out, Jesus is “the final revelation of God” and he came to bring a divide.

          Jesus warned that “in that day” many will say to Him, ‘Lord,Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And he will say to them “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Mt. 7:23) The context is Jesus’ warning of FALSE PROPHETS. Therefore, beware.

  30. Dear Joel – congratulations on a thoughtful review. I’m reading Allah myself – slowly and carefully.
    Yes, you are right to question Miroslav’s suggestion – which I noted too – that a follower of Christ can say the shahada and believe that Muhammad was a prophet, just like people might say that Martin Luther King was a ‘prophet’.

    This was not a high point in the book. Three reasons:

    1. MLK may have been a ‘prophet’ as Miroslav puts it, meaning someone with moral insight into the issues of his day and possessing gifts of expression. For this meaning the scare quotes around ‘prophet’ are entirely appropriate. But MLK was surely not a prophet in the Biblical sense of someone who spoke under the divine inspiration of God, for example to reveal the future by supernatural means or to communicate God’s literal word-for-word comman. It seems disrespectful to say the shahada with the ‘Martin Luther King’ meaning. One could perhaps call a Christ-follower who does this a scare-quotes Muslim.

    2. In any case, the shahada does not say that Muhammad is a prophet (nabi – the word implies divine utterance). The word used in the Islamic confession of faith means ‘messenger’ or ‘envoy’ (rasul – the word means the one bringing a message). Muslims believe Muhammad WAS a nabi, but this is not part of the shahada.
    Since the shahada does not use the Arabic equivalent of the English word ‘prophet’, Miroslav’s play on the polysemy of the English word ‘prophet’ seems even more inapposite.

    3.More importantly, the Qur’an defines quite specifically – and repeatedly – what is meant by Muhammad’s title as the Rasul of Allah. Muhammad is put forward with very great insistence by the Qur’an as THE messenger of Allah, as his sole and unique spokesperson for future generations, and also as the perfect example for all humanity to follow. This is a core message of the Qur’an. To toy with the shahada by reciting it with such a heterodox meaning of “Rasul Allah” (e.g. thinking of Muhammad as a kind of 7th century Martin Luther King) is surely more than problematic. It feels like mockery.

    • Mark,

      I tried to express myself as precisely as I could. I made no claims to what kind of prophet Muhammad was or even whether he was a prophet. I talked about what is possible. And I used the word “prophet” very clearly. I know that Muslims are committed to thinking of Muhammad as “the” prophet, even the Seal of Prophets. I do not think that a Christian can accept that. For Christians, the final revelation of God is the person of Jesus Christ, God come in flesh.

  31. Thanks Miroslav – thanks, that is helpful and clear. You were also clear in ‘Allah’. Does this mean you believe a Christian cannot also at the same time be a Muslim, in the sense of the word ‘Muslim’ as understood by the vast majority of Muslims, which is someone who accepts Muhammad as the ‘Seal of the Prophets’.

    • As I see it, to be a Christian (spiritually an not merely culturally), means to accept that Jesus Christ is the final revelation of God. A Christian cannot accept therefore that Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets. Vast majority of Muslim do not believe that in Jesus Christ God dwelled in human flesh, for me an essential Christian belief. In the book I state explicitly and precisely how what the publisher put on the book jacket (namely that you can be a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian) should be understood. I say: “In holding many Muslim convictions and engaging in many Muslim practices, you can still be 100 Christian.”

      • Miroslav – what you say is indeed clear, but special care is needed to understand it, and it is easily misunderstood. Perhaps too easily. There are a few interconnected issues

        One is that, as far as I can tell, you don’t actually use the phrase ‘practising Muslim’, which was the publisher’s gloss on the cover blurb. What you spoke of in the book was someone who fasts during Ramadan, and participates in daily worship rituals, but thinks of Muhammad’s prophethood in metaphorical terms (my gloss of what you said).

        Second, I would not be too comfortable calling such a person a ‘practicing Muslim’. Technically, under Islamic law they could be found guilty of apostasy for rejecting Muhammad’s status as the Messenger of Allah, which is a capital offense.

        Third, isn’t there an integrity issue for the 100% Christian who recites the shahada daily but who adheres to a heterodox, non-standard interpretation of rasul Allah ‘messenger of Allah’ which contradicts the plain message of the Qur’an itself? THEY might not feel there is an integrity issue, of course, but the meaning of ‘rasul Allah’ is not just something which means, postmodern fashion, whatever the reciter wants it to mean.

        Fourth, isn’t your presentation of this somewhat misleading? In one paragraph (p.199) you refer to the person who believes Muhammad is a ‘prophet’ in the way someone might call MLK a prophet, but in the next you speak of someone who holds ‘many Muslim convictions’, as if to imply that such a belief is a Muslim conviction, which it is not. (You don’t actually say that this is a Muslim conviction – it is just implied by the parallelism of the paragraphs). This was not very clear.

        Let me be clear. I myself adhere to many Muslim convictions. I believe in the sovereignty of God, that there is only one God, in divine creation, prophets, the sending of the law of Moses, the virgin birth of Jesus etc etc. And I follow some Muslim practices such as fasting (though not in Ramadan) and alms giving. And I aspire to be 100% Christian. But I could never describe myself as a ‘practicing Muslim’ because I do not accept that Muhammad is the rasul Allah (Messenger of Allah), and thus could not, with conviction, recite the shahada or the daily prayers which incorporate the shahada.

        You explain that blurring of boundaries between religions is not the most pressing problem of our day. However, just because other issues are more ‘pressing’ doesn’t make syncretism unimportant.

        In my eyes at least, the blurring of boundaries out of love for the other can be a form of disrespect. An unhealthy human love can lead to blurred boundaries, and the colonizing of another to meet one’s own needs. An an unhealthy spiritual love for another faith can do the same. Surely there is a better way.

        • You don’t contest my test for being 100% Christian, and that’s really the only thing that matters in regard to syncretism issue. I say that one can be a 100% Christian, and engage in some specifically Muslim practices. I explicitly state that I leave open the question whether such person can be described as 100% Muslim. That’s not on me to decide; Muslims must decided that. Hence no issue of integrity arises. And bear in mind: I am not advocating that Christians engage in such Muslim practices; I am just analyzing what is possible for Christians to do while still being 100% Christians. Whether what is possible is also desirable/advisable will be a matter of prudential decision, which will depend on many factors in a given situation. You yourself would not contest that in some situations it may be wise for Christians to fast a Ramadan-like fast, would you?

          • I am happy with your test for being 100% Christian. I agree that one can be 100% Christian and engage in some specifically Muslim practices.

            I am unhappy with the term ‘practicing Muslim’ to refer to this phenomenon. But is my argument with your publisher’s decision to highlight this phrase in the publicity materials rather than with you yourself?

            Of course Muslims differ on what 100% Muslim would mean, but the vast majority do include as part of the non-negotiable core of Islam the belief that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. This is not a matter which Muslims or their canonical texts have left open even for Muslims to decide, so I don’t understand what it means to say this is not for a Christian theologian to decide.

            In any case, the Qur’an and Hadiths are public texts – it is open to a Christian theologian to have an opinion about what they mean, and to express it, and to form an opinion about Muslims say about these texts and the Islamic faith, just as it is open for Muslim scholars to have and express opinions about what the Bible says, or what the creeds say, or what Christians say. It might not be polite, and some might object and say, ‘it is not open for X to express an opinion about that because X is not a Muslim/Christian’. But what has such prohibition got to do with truth or love? I really have trouble understanding this and it troubles me because I feel I must be missing something.

            In a mission context I agree with the practice of even quite heavy contextualization. But some limits exist, which have profound spiritual ramifications, and one is the confession that Muhammad is the Rasul Allah, because of the inescapable consequences which flow from this simple declaration, including adherence to the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad, as taught so clearly and insistently by the Qur’an. I don’t think it is possible to be 100% Christian and also confess the shahada.

            As for what is WISE for Christians to do in general, as you say, this is a complex issue. What is expedient is not always what is wise. And the short term answer is not always the same as the long term answer.

            A case in point is the phenomenon of dipistis (Serbian dvovjerstvo) in the Balkans, where Christian populations adopted Islamic practices to save themselves, but maintained secret Christian devotion, sometimes for generations. Was this ‘wise’?

            In the ninth century, Arabic speaking Christian writers critiqued the increasing trend for some Christians in the Levant to adopt Muslim customs (such as saying la ilaha illa Allah “There is no god but Allah”). They lamented that the dissimulating Christians, who adopted a public Muslim practice to ease their lives, were drifting away from Christian faith.

            What began with some practices and beliefs, moved inexorably towards a rejection of Christ as Lord and God. Over time the communities of the Levant and the Balkans who made the choice to adopt Muslim ways outwardly were dissolved without trace into the body of
            the Umma. (I would be glad to be corrected if exceptions are known – perhaps sometimes the accommodation was only temporary, as occurred with the Jews from Andalusia like Maimonides who were permitted to reconvert to Judaism).

            What counts as wisdom in such contexts? Was it ‘wise’ to save your life, prosperity, wife and children by adopting Islamic practices and beliefs? For so many communities it led inexorably to the extinction of faith in Christ as you and I understand it. If we consider the surviving Christian communities in the Middle East today, has their cultural and sometimes linguistic separation been wise? Is it wise for Copts to tattoo the cross on their wrists as a rejection of assimilation into the Umma?

            You are right, Christology is the key. But other things are important too, and the context makes a difference. It is a hard and complex question to answer. I think we can both agree on this.

            But to answer your direct question: yes, there are circumstances were I might consider it wise to do a Ramadan fast. However, it is a very context-specific decision, with diverse potential ramifications. A key question for me would be: is this being done as an act of spiritual submission to the Sunna of Muhammad or would it be regarded in that light? If I was living in a Muslim home in a 100% Muslim context, I could join the family in the fast out of respect for them as my hosts. When I was in such a context for long periods of time, I dressed as Muslims dressed, and refrained from eating foods which Muslims would have found offensive, such as pork or drinking alcohol (no whiskey under the bed!). This was good neighorliness and politeness, not a matter of theological submission to Muhammad’s example or teaching. Confessing the shahada is quite another matter altogether.

            I would have been a lot happier if your publisher has reported you as saying that a person could follow some Muslim practices and Muslim beliefs, and still be 100% Christian.

  32. Mari,

    If I read this well, you don’t disagree with what I wrote, but with how the publisher interpreted it. I suspected that we would be closer that it appeared at the beginning. Thank you for your thoughtful engagement with the issue.

    • Sorry for the typos: It should read “Mark” instead of “Mari” and (in the second line) “than” instead of “that.”

    • Yes, and No. The publisher made things worse, regrettably.

      We disagree on what it is appropriate to call a ‘Muslim practice’. To my mind, reciting the shahada while disbelieving its plain meaning cannot be called a ‘Muslim practice’, and it is misleading for you to do so.

      Linguistic practices are not just sound-sequences. They have conventional meanings which are integral to the practice itself.

      I do not accept the defense that it is not for a Christian to have view on whether such a practice is compatible with being 100% Muslim.

      I also have a problem with Christians reciting Al-Fatihah, one of your other examples, but that is another story, best left to another thread, another day.

      Let us then agree to agree on some the most important important things, while agreeing to disagree on others.

      • Mark, Agreed. Just for the record: I do not think that I mention shahada as one of the Muslim practices in that context, just as I do not mention “practicing Muslims.”

      • Miroslav. Agreed – and I was wrong to say you referred to were referring to reciting the shadada. Thanks for setting that straight.

  33. [...] of the love of God and the holiness of God are held simultaneously in the scriptures.”Allah – Here’s another book review of a book that may prove to have a very significant impact: [...]

  34. [...] 3/28/11: This review has been published by the Gospel Coalition at http://tgcreviews.com/reviews/allah-a-christian-response/ Share [...]

  35. [...] The Same God 1 – McKnight has more than posts about Allah: A Christian Response.Joel S, “Allah: A Christian Response” – TGC Reviews.Carl Trueman, 14 lectures on the person and work of Christ.Miroslav Volf, Do Christians and [...]

  36. [...] Can someone be both a practicing Muslim and also 100 percent Christian? Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Yes and yes, says Yale Divinity School theologian Miroslav Volf in his new book Allah: A Christian Response (see The Gospel Coalition’s review). [...]

  37. [...] Muslims worship the same God taken from the The Gospel Coalition.  This is a brief response to a recent book making the claim that the answer to the question is: yes, they worship the same [...]

  38. The best way to understand the Muslim referent, imo, is based on Paul’s epistle to the Romans, chapters 1 and 2. He describes what all men (and women) know by the light of nature and because of being created in God’s image about the general revelation of God and His law. This is “sufficient” to convict us of our sin, but not to save. Saving knowledge of God comes only from His Word, and we know that Jesus is the Word; that Jesus is God.

    I don’t see any reason why simply acknowledging that Muslims or Jews or people in 12 step programs who acknowledge a “god” of their understanding working in their lives are just agreeing with what Paul told us in Romans 1-2.

    We still need to preach the gospel to them, but they are at least more aware of our sovereign Creator than a total atheist. And we can appreciate them and love them and befriend them because of the image of God in them as human beings. That’s my $.02.

  39. [...] Other Things Worth a Look Read TGC’s review of Volf’s book [...]

  40. [...] Can someone be both a practicing Muslim and also 100 percent Christian? Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Yes and yes, says Yale Divinity School theologian Miroslav Volf in his new book Allah: A Christian Response (see The Gospel Coalition’s review). [...]

  41. prophet of the Lord

    Greetings in the Name of the Lord,
    I have been listening and seeing and
    hearing on the subject of God.
    God is not a subject but a SPIRIT
    you will find this in st. John 4:24
    now if we would go back to the beginning
    INthe first book of Gen 1:1 says in the Beginning
    God (Spirit) you see we as humans try to diesect
    the Godhead and we cant why because we are not all knowing
    now it say down though the Gen chapter 1 the Spirit of God
    moved upon the face of the deep. if we would go to the book of st. john chapter 1:1 is it not strange that Gen 1:1 and st. john 1:1 are the same it say in the Beginning there are no 2 beginnings just one people. lets get in the Word of God (SPIRIT) john says in the Beginning was the WORD did not say person but WORD the WORD Spoke things into being and the WORD was with God now we already know that God is a Spirit John 4:24 Spirit was with Spirit then it says and the Word was God the same now the word same is talking about the WORD that was in the beginning. you see God never had a son it says the WORD OR GOD was made flesh.he didnt send God juinor what kind of love is it if you send your son and not come your self but the God of Gen and the God of st. john came himself he wrap up himself in blood and flesh and the flesh was the SON the Father was in that flesh
    jesus didnt pray to a human in heaven but it was flesh praying to spirit like we do when we pray we pray God who is Spirit this knowedge comes from the Holyghost which i have when i repented of my sins and followed the the book of acts in chapter 2 verse 38 says Repent and be batized in the Name of Jesus christ and ye shall recieve the gift… of the holyghost even the mother of jesus was baptized in the Name of Jesus christ for the remmision of sins you will also find many were baptized in jesus Name you will find in matthew 28:19 jesus is doing the speaking here he said to be batized in the Name not names but name of the father jesus said I come in my Fathers Name so if he came in his Fathers Name his Fathers Name is Jesus he said the Father would send the conforter (the Holyghost) in my Name so the conforter Name was jesus not 3 jesus but one name , one Spirit amen satan has everyone believing in 3 when he belives in one God we have been lied to a enemy has done this as God opperates though man satan also has been operateing though man if you have any more questions i would love to answer them though the gift of the Holyghost
    jesus didnt not come to bring peace but a sword man wants peace not the Lord. if you are hungry for the Word of God you can email me and i would love to pray for you.

    in his Service,

    prophet of the Lord.

    email me at prophetofdeliverance@gmail.com

  42. prophet of the Lord

    also Im not good at typing please forgiveme email me
    at prophetofdeliverance@gmail.com

  43. Dr. Volf’s book engages the brain and provokes the heart to think and feel through the challenges we face in a global religious environment. I appreciate the ideas and premises outlined in the book, and we as Christ followers in America need to seriously analyze and think through how we are loving our Muslim neighbors, because we do in fact have Muslim neighbors. We should ask, “is the aroma of Christ in our household drifting over to their household”? Do we worship and serve the same God in concept, that could be argued as a yes, but do we worship and serve the same God as revealed in OT and NT, the answer is no. The Triune God of OT culminated the revelation of His love and salvific work in Christ, there is no further revelation of His love via scripture, that is the completed work revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. The writings of Muhammed came later, and by tradition came to the man via an angel (angel of light). The Holy Spirit has not provided additional revelation of God’s truths at a later date to ammend His completed word. By this alone we have to dismiss the Islamic tradition that they believe in the God who sent Jesus the prophet, the basis of their faith is based on errant writings, the product of an anti-Christ belief structure.

    I agree w/ Dr. Volf’s approach to loving our neighbors and seeking a political peace, but peace that man seeks will be fleeting, Peace that Christ brings is everlasting and will not be fully realized until the end of ages at His second coming.

    Thank you Dr. Volf for your integrity and effort in producing a book that causes the Chrisitan community to realize our resonsibility to love and honor all of God’s children whom He loves and sent His only Son to redeem.

  44. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really loved surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

  45. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  46. [...] of this post because much of the traffic on my home page comes from this review which was also posted on The Gospel Coalition Reviews site. But it has generated a lot of link and Google traffic as many [...]

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