In the last few years, there have been quite a few attempts made to answer this question. Broadly speaking, there are four views regarding this question.
- All Worship the same God (The Religious Pluralist View).
- All Worship the same God (The Same God View).
- Jews and Christians Worship the same God (The Shared revelation View).
- None Worship the same God (Different conceptions View).
For the sake of time, let’s look at the second and fourth views (The Same God View and the Different conceptions View).
The Same God View.
It is important to also note that the “same God view” is inherently affirmed by the Qur’an in Surah (Al- ‘Ankabut) 29 (46) [Abdul Haleem Translation];
“[Believers], argue only in the best way with the People of the Book, except with those of them who act unjustly. Say, ‘We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you; our God and your God are one [and the same]; we are devoted to Him.’”
Well, there is also a clear contradiction in that the Qur’an states in a later Surah (Al-Kafirun) 109 (1-6) that Christians and Muslims do not Worship the same God.
“Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.” [Pickthall]
It is also the Roman Catholic perception that what cojoin all different faiths traditions are the fact that they are all monotheistic, and Abrahamic. Father Kerper of the Roman Catholic Church sums what he describes to be an “essential monotheistic kinship” between Christians, Muslims, and Jews. He writes:
“The fact that we worship a common God provides a crucial foundation for eventual unity in the midst of much fear, suspicion, and misunderstanding. In the end, all monotheists turn their gaze to the same One. And by looking together toward “Allah” or God, perhaps we will gradually rediscover our common status as children of the God of Abraham, our father in faith.”
Are there some merits to the “same God View”? Well, if you look, broadly speaking, it seems like there is an inherent unity amongst the Abrahamic Faiths until you look at the essential differences. Now let’s look at the “different conceptions view.”
Different conceptions View.
Amy Plantinga Pauw, a professor of Christian theology at Louisville Seminary, says Christians can have their own definition of God while still seeing commonality with Muslims and Jews. She insists:
“To say that we worship the same God is not the same as insisting that we have an agreed and shared understanding of God,”
Now, this view is problematic for various reasons, but essentially the different conceptions view hold emphatically that there is no agreed and understanding of Muslims and Christians conception of God at all! And this is important. Dr. Mark Durie writes in his book, “The Quran and its Biblical Reflexes”;
“Some features of the theology of Biblical monotheism, such as particular attributes of God, are shared by the Qur’an. However, in other respects the theological emphasis of the Bible and the Quran in guiding faith in the One God pull in quite different directions.”
There are two points to consider when we hold to the different conceptions view, one is Theological, and the other is Christological. Let’s look at the Theological first. Dr. Andy Bannister shows the Theological predicaments between Christian and Islamic Monotheism when he describes the following essential differences that are essential when considered:
- The God of the Bible is relational.
- The God of the Bible can be known.
- The God of the Bible is Holy.
- The God of the Bible is love.
- The God of the Bible has suffered.
The second point to consider when we hold to the different conceptions view is Christological. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary also mentions another point to consider;
“The question basically comes down to whether one can reject Jesus Christ as the Son and truly know God the Father… And it’s Christ himself who answered that question, most classically in the Gospel of John, and he said that to reject the Son means that one does not know the Father.”
Those that insist upon a “same God View” have to agree that in some form or another they have to downplay the full Biblical reality of Jesus Christ. But Jesus insists upon His supremacy when we articulate anything about the Father. In Matthew’s Gospel (11:27) he insists upon the unique revelation of the Father when He says;
“All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”
In the Gospel of John (8:24) He makes it emphatic that He is the sole object necessary for salvation when He says;
“For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
In the same Gospel (John 14:6) He insists upon His uniqueness as the catalyst for salvation;
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Jesus is the consummation of the law and the giver of the new Covenant (John 1:17)
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
Jesus is the only way (John 10:9)
“I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.”
These are but a few passages that have huge implications when we insist upon the synonymous revelation of God in both Christianity and Islam. This question is therefore huge when we plummet into a desire for an inadequate unity and is simply one, we as the Church in good conscience cannot affirm! The only Biblical imperative is therefore a “different conceptions view” when pondering this question.
 Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God, Pg. 48-70.