A common Word

My church included in the bulletin this week an article on the document, a Common Word between us and you…  I have posted about this before… 

Piper this past week put up a youtube video response to the document, and asked some of his friends, who had signed the document, to comment on why they had chosen to sign it.  Rick Love had the following to say…  There is more, if you click the link, but what I have quoted is what jumped out at me.  What are your thoughts on it? 

Q: The Yale Response seems to imply that Allah is the same God that Christians worship. Is this true?

A: I do not hesitate to refer to the God of the Bible as Allah, since Arab Christians before and after the birth of Islam use the term Allah to describe the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christian and Muslim views of God are similar in that we both worship the one true God, creator of the heavens and the earth. We both believe this God will judge all peoples at the end of history. We both believe this God has sent His prophets into the world to guide His people. Christian and Muslim views of God differ primarily regarding the Fatherhood of God, the Trinity, and especially regarding the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I believe that Muslims worship the true God. But I also believe that their view of God falls short of His perfections and beauty as described in the Bible. Thus, I try to model my approach to Muslims after the apostle Paul who said to the Athenians: “What you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23).

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. raquelamisto
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 15:11:37

    ahhh the irony is undeniable. I’m reading “Unveiling Islam” right now (which is FABULOUS by the way). Here’s a direct quote. Sorry it’s long.

    “Acts 17 records that in Athens Paul used a false god of Mars Hill to proclaim Christ (see Acts 17:16-31).
    For those who hold to this missiological principle, the essential argument can be expressed thusly:

    *Paul shows that these philosophers were ignorantly worshiping the true God of Christianity. (Acts 17:23)

    *He used their false gods to preach the true God to them.

    *In their worship, they had established a place in their hearts for the true Creator.

    *Therefor, we can, on the mission field, speak of Allah as God, because Muslims simply do not know His nature.

    But there are flaws in this argument:
    First, Paul did not confuse the false gods that Athenians worshiped with the one true God of Christ. He pointed to an idol that the Athenians had built to “cover their tracks.” This “unknown God,” whom Paul took to be our Lord, was different in nature and name than the other idols. The argument we cited above would only be true if Paul had pointed to Zeus or another God in the Greek pantheon and said, “This god I shall proclaim to you. You do not know this god’s true nature.” Rather, he differenciated the one true God from the false ones, which he clearly viewed as idols.
    Whether or not the Athenians “ignorantly worshiped” the True God, Paul was not saying that they were believers, or else he would have had no need to proclaim Christ to them. Instead of condemning their syncretism in combining all of the gods to worship into one, Paul included a possibility of an unknown god, one that they did not know, and it was this God -Jesus Christ- whom he was now going to preach. He was not simply filling in the blank of the idol with Jesus’ name. Christ was not the god they had. Even the philosophers saw that Paul’s “strange God” was not one they knew.
    Making a close connection between Yahweh and Allah, if fact, only damages the proclamation of Christ in Arabic speaking countries. When one asks Muslims if they know “Allah,” their response is affirmative. But the suggestion that Allah is triune and personal then becomes a personal attack on their god and on their religion, rather than the proclamation of Christ. Many Arabic speaking Christians use the Persian term khudu for God, rather than cause confusion by calling Allah by the name of God.
    The Allah we worshiped as Muslims was a remote judge. When Christians speak of the intimacy and grace of God, it confuses a Muslim who has no concept of the God-man in their religion, except by negation.”

    Again, sorry for the length.


  2. Nicole
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 15:34:00

    awesome. timely reading Raquel – thanks for sharing!!! never apologise for the length – it’s always worth sharing!


  3. Jenn
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 17:45:41

    I just heard a message on Acts 17 about a week ago- interesting that this verse comes up again! Here are some points that are interesting to me- Paul went to the marketplace, where anyone who was anyone would go and debate religion and philosophy all day long. Before he went there, though, he walked around the city and closely inspected their idols. He was close enough to read the inscription “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD”. He then goes to the idol worshippers and speaks to them in terms they can understand. He is able to take what they are experiencing on a small scale, gives Him a name and basically tells them that they don’t need to use their hands to make a god because God is already “here”. He even uses terms from their poetry.
    How do we do this with Muslims, I do not know. Jesus is so much more than a prophet that was. I do know a lovely woman in missions who bridged the gap between God and women practicing the Muslim religion. She saw Jesus in their life and the way they cared for her in a terrible time of her life so it is possible.


  4. laurelesser
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 22:58:55

    I’ll reply a little more later but for now just one verse come to mind, “Jesus said, I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through me.” If God the Father has some similarities to the god of islam, any connection that may be seen means nothing if they do not have God the Son, Jesus, coming to earth as a human, dieing on the cross for our sins and rising from the dead in three days; Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Unless they say that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ, then there is no significant common ground.


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