Do Christians & Muslims Worship the Same God?
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. How can we reach out to Muslim friends in our community with the hope of the Gospel? Guest: Laura Powell
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Interview with Laura Powell
It's our last show of the 2021 season!
Did you know: Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.
Many of us have increasing numbers of Muslim neighbors, co-workers, friends, and classmates. We invited our friend, Laura Powell, to share with us and help us dive into the question, "Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?"
Laura is an Islam Ministry Specialist with Women in Apologetics. She previously worked as a Training and Member Care Consultant with Engineering Ministries International where she traveled all over the world, interacting with Muslim women.
To begin the conversation, we started out with some important definitions:
Islam: The name of the religion itself
Muslim: A person who follows Islam
Koran (Quran): The holy book of Muslims; believed to have been revealed by God through an angel to Muhammad; Muhammad gave the revelations to followers/converts
Muhammad: the messenger; believed to have brought the words of God; Muhammad is not seen as comparable to Jesus, rather he is more comparable to the Bible; the Koran is seen as more comparable to Jesus, both being considered the eternal Word of God.
Hadith: traditions of Muhammad; collections of things Muhammad said and did (in many volumes)
There are many variations of what Muslims believe; the differences among what Muslims believe are far more significant than the differences we see among Christians.
What is the historical relationship between Christianity and Islam?
Originally, Muhammad claimed to be the greatest and final prophet of Judaism and Christianity. He claimed he was fulfilling Biblical prophecies, that he was the awaited one prophesied in the Torah and the Gospels. It was only after the Jews and Christians rejected him as a prophet, that he began to oppose them and teach very antagonistic teachings toward Jews and Christians.
The Koran itself actually affirms the Scriptures--the Torah, the Gospels, and the Psalms--as the revelation of God. The Koran affirms perfect preservation of our Scriptures! Many Muslims are not aware of this!
Many Muslims believe our Scriptures have been changed/corrupted, but usually cannot cite a time or place where this occurred. (Side note: This is why textual criticism of the Bible is so important!!).
Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
The answer is unequivocally: NO, we do not worship the same God!
When we look at the nature of God in the Bible and when we look at the nature of God/Allah described in the Koran, we see that we cannot possibly be talking about the same being. They are far too different in every significant way.
Major difference: The Nature of God's Character
RELATIONAL: The God of the Bible is relational, the god of the Koran is not. For example, the relational aspect of the Trinity; God wanted people to know him personally and intimately. In Islam, Allah is not a trinity; he was alone until he created Adam. Allah's people are his slaves; they are not his children and cannot become his children.
WANTS TO BE KNOWN: In the Bible, Yahweh resides with His people; God's commands are a reflection of His character and who He is. By learning and obeying God's commands, His people come to know Him better. Allah's commands can be known, but they are not reflections of his character and he cannot be known.
LOVES HIS CREATION: The God of the Bible loves the people He has created. Furthermore, the Bible tells us to love our enemies and even while we were sinners, Christ died for us. In contrast, Allah has no love for the disobedient; Allah only loves those who are first obedient to him.
SUFFERED FOR HIS PEOPLE: Jesus took the wrath of God and suffered for our sin; Allah has not suffered in any way; suffering is beneath him and he would not suffer even to rescue souls from hell.
REVEALS HIMSELF AS FATHER: God adopts us into His family when we make the decision to follow Him. Allah despises any association with fatherhood at all; his followers are slaves to him.
How does free will play into this?
There is no concept of free will within Islam. Islam teaches that Allah determines everything. Muslims do not have a sense of free will at all, but they do have responsibility for whatever Allah has determined for them...this leads to inaction, passivity, fear, dread.
What other significant differences are there between Christianity and Islam?
Another major difference: The Nature of Humanity
IMAGE BEARERS: In Christianity, ALL people are created in the image of God; in Islam, people are not created in God's image and thus, people have no inherent dignity, value, or worth. In particular, women are seen as deficient in intelligence, common sense, and morality; there is no basis for treating women with any dignity, value, worth, or rights. Basically, women exist to have sex whenever and however a man wants. In a Biblical worldview, humans have inherent dignity, value, and worth, no matter if you are a Christian or not. This is a very important worldview issue, with significant ramifications for how we live our lives!
SIN: Within Islam, there is no concept of "The Fall", no imputed sin, no brokenness/no sinful nature; therefore, there is no need for a savior.
JESUS: Islam does not teach that Jesus was a Deity; he was just a prophet; he did not die by crucifixion, nor did he die in any way, and therefore, he did not rise from the dead.
How do we engage with our Muslim friends, especially on some of these deeper issues?
Muslims are usually very willing to engage in spiritual conversations!
What are some common mistakes when Christians engage with their Muslim friends?
Creating unnecessary barriers--Christians can create unnecessary barriers...for example, drinking alcohol around Muslim friends, watching sexual movies or even movies with kissing, dressing in a way that shows a lot of skin. When a Christian participates in these activities, they are not taken seriously in their spiritual beliefs.
Lack of preparation--not knowing basic tenets of Islam and a few basic arguments against Islam; need to know why Christianity IS TRUE (Apologetics!)
Too nice--Avoiding being bold and passionate can create a barrier; for example, trying to be "nice" and love people into the Kingdom. Muslims see this as weakness if we're scared/hesitant to talk about our faith; shows we don't actually believe what we're saying.
Important to remember: When encountering a Muslim, don't assume they understand all the finer details of the Koran. They may not read Arabic and may not even be aware of everything that is in the Koran.
Why is Islam the fastest growing religion?
--Very few opportunities for women to do anything except having babies; very high birth rates for Muslim women
--The penalty for leaving Islam is death; or you will lose your family, community, and identity
Check out a previous show we did regarding The Gospel and Women:
Is Christianity Good News for Women?:
Be sure to subscribe to Women in Apologetics to stay in touch with Laura Powell's upcoming class: Islam Foundations.
More from Laura Powell:
Laura's website: https://laurazpowell.org/
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