Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship the same God? The question is the latest rage in Christian theological discussion. It is not a new discussion, but came to the forefront last month when Wheaton College suspended an Associate Professor who said that we Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
So do we? Beliefs among Christian theologians and scholars differ widely—even among what we might call more conservative, orthodox Christians. Ed Stetzer says no. Miroslav Volf says yes. Scot McKnight goes a step further, writing that Christians worship a different God than both Muslims and Jews (our spiritual forebears).
Among the general population, views are no less divergent: Americans are almost evenly divided (46% say yes, 47% say no, and a wise 8% admit uncertainty); evangelical Christians aren’t much more united: 35% yes, 60% no, and 6% unsure. (Poll from Lifeway Research.)
The question is not unimportant. How we answer will impact our evangelism and our missiology, of course, but also our politics and community living. Wise, thoughtful disciples (also known as followers, students, or learners) will want to seek the Biblical, Holy Spirit-given truth.
My present concern, though, is less with the question and more with the discussion.
In this flat-earth, internet-connected world, more and more of our “family meetings” are happening online, in full view of a watching public that often wants nothing more than to see Christians discredit themselves—and their Lord—through debate and division.
My question is, how can we have a Biblically-based discussion of this topic in a way that does not cause unnecessary division within the church, and does not present the world with more evidence of the divisions that already exist?
I am particularly interested in responses to this from Dr. Scot McKnight, Dr. Ed Stetzer, and Dr. Miroslav Volf. These are certainly not the only three in the conversation; they just happen to be three whose scholarship and theologies I highly respect and whose online writings I follow.
Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship the same God? As Christians, we must find our answers first in the pages of Scripture, as illumined by the light of the Holy Spirit.