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-Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

by Dr. D ~ January 31st, 2016

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Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? In America it is now ‘politically correct’ to say they do and those who claim otherwise are viewed as bigoted Islamophobes in the main stream secular media. A controversy over this issue recently boiled over in the press when Wheaton College administrators suspended  a professor, Larycia Hawkins who taught Political Science, for asserting that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Well do they really? My answer is:

Yes, No, and Maybe So, depending on the context, but mostly No. 

To put this in perspective, sometimes I wonder if the person sitting next to me in church on Sunday is worshipping the same God and some of those folks might actually prove otherwise on Monday! The fact is, every believing person has their own definition of God or Allah, or Adonai whether they are Christians, Muslims,  Jewish or whatever.

As one who studied Christian theology extensively in seminary and holds an advanced degree my usual conclusion on this subject is in the negative (no) since there is such a wide difference between the Christian and Muslim understanding of God: who he is, what he does, and what he requires of humanity.

 

-Yes: What Christians and Muslims Have in Common

Nevertheless, sometimes we can say yes- there are some things that we do share in common when it comes to our beliefs about God or Allah:

-Monotheism

-The God of Abraham

-Creator of all Things

-Involved in History and Human Affairs

-Judge of Eternal Destiny

 

-No: What Christians and Muslims Differ On

-Jesus

-Holy Spirit

-Trinity

-Fatherhood of God

-Salvation

-The Bible and Quran

Muslims were the first historically to say ‘no’ and to look upon Christians as not only heretical in their understanding of God but as polytheists. Everyday they begin with a prayer that intentionally refutes the Christian Trinitarian understanding of God which includes God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

From a Christian understanding it has to be ‘no’ because Muslims reject the divinity of Jesus and do not really believe in the Holy Spirit. Christians in their Fatherhood understanding of God have a far more personal relationship with the Creator while Muslims substantially see Allah as quite remote.

Also Christians believe that they can have an assurance of eternal salvation through faith in Jesus while Muslims can never be sure of their destiny since Allah as taught in the Quran can be rather arbitrary in his judgment.

 

-Maybe So: How Christian and Muslim Believers View God

Fact is, that where the rubber meets the road, one’s personal understanding of God can be quite different from the theological dissertations of the major religion one is part of. That is why I can say ironically that I am not 100% sure that the person I am sitting next to in church on Sunday has the same understanding of God in their personal life as I may have and in some ways may be worshipping a ‘different’ God.

I can think of two different Muslim families that I had business relationships with in the past that were far more ‘Christian’ in their practical understanding of God and the love that they expressed than some professing Christians that I know. Folks that I obviously had much in common with and found myself praying for quite often.

Christian missionaries in Muslim lands have found lots of Muslims that are predisposed to conversion since they hold a more personal understanding of God that squares more closely to the Fatherhood understanding of God in Christianity than the remote autocratic Allah taught in the Quran. It should be noted that Christian Bibles in Muslim lands use the title of ‘Allah’ for God in their translations and any outreach to Muslims begins with what we share in common.

 

-Conclusion:

This article is not meant to be a definitive theological answer to the question- Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

IF we are talking about the Old Testament God of Abraham who is the one true God and Creator who is involved in history and human affairs and is ultimately the judge of all humanity then: Yes, we are talking about the same God in that case- Jews, Christians, and Muslims. 

If we are talking about the full theological understandings about God in the Bible and Allah in the Quran than the answer must be: No we do not worship the same God. Our definitions about who God is and what he does are quite different.

If we are talking about personal understandings of God or Allah, then: Maybe some Christians might be far closer to some Muslims in their worship than most on either side will want to admit.                 *Top

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-Happy New Year 2016

by Dr. D ~ January 2nd, 2016

May God Bless you and yours during this new year.

With the new year, many want to improve their lives in 2016. One of the best ways to do that is to read the Bible daily in the new year.

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Several polls taken during the last year have unfortunately demonstrated that American Christians are somewhat illiterate when it comes to the Bible and particularly Biblical teachings. One good way to reverse the trend is to set aside time to read the good book everyday. An excellent idea is to read through the whole Bible or at least the New Testament during 2016. There are a number of good programs to help you in the process.

One of the easiest ways to get it done is to get a ‘One Year Bible’ where the whole year is divided up into daily readings usually with a selection from the New Testament, the Old Testament, and from Psalms. You can even get it in your favorite version at the book store or at Amazon.

If you find that reading all of it in one year is maybe too much, then you could read just the New Testament and Psalm offerings for each day and then maybe save the Old Testament or the following year (or visa versa).

There are also a number of good plans available that allow you to use your regular Bible for the reading. Here’s a few online: The One year Bible Online, Bible Year-eSword, Bible Gateway

You could also get the Bible on CD or tape and listen to it on the way to work this year or download it into your iPod, iPhone or MP3: iTunes, Apps me now

There are lots more Bible helps available just search online.

May God Bless us all in 2016.               *Top

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-Merry Christmas 2015

by Dr. D ~ December 24th, 2015

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                                                                                          (Image via Wikipedia)

Merry Christmas to you and yours and may God truly bless you this Christmas Day.

The Real Christmas Story

When our children were growing up it was a family tradition to read about the ‘real’ Christmas story in the Bible on Christmas Eve.

You’ve probably seen a dozen or so ‘Christmas stories’ on TV in the last couple of weeks but the real Christmas story is found in Matthew (Matt. 1:18-2:18) and in Luke (Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-40). However, Isaiah should never be ignored:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Matthew gives us the story largely from the perspective of Joseph, including the dreams that he had and his family genealogy. In this gospel the ‘Kingship’ of Jesus is the major topic. Starting with the Davidic Kingly genealogy through Joseph and the coming of the Magi (Wisemen) who are looking for the new king. Also King Herod’s reaction is in Matthew.

The events in Luke are given to us from Mary’s view. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces the coming of the child. Mary’s genealogy is also given in Luke (Luke 3:23-38), she was also a descendant of David, but not in the ‘Kingly’ line. Chapter 2 begins with the Christmas story that everyone is familiar with:

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

However, nothing explains the real reason for the season better than John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  -KJV

*Top

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-Muslims ‘Have Nothing Whatsoever To Do With Terrorism’?

by Dr. D ~ November 28th, 2015

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On November 19, Hillary Clinton made the following statement:

"Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

Is her observation based upon fact or is Mrs. Clinton painting a picture of what the world should be like from her rosy PC gilded perspective? An article by Guy Benson blows at least a few hole in Hillary’s dictum:

…  Some Muslims have quite a lot to do with terrorism, actually.  Like the ones who were led by their hardcore theology to kill 3,000 people on 9/11.  Or blow up trains in Spain.  Or target London’s public transit system with bombs.  Or slaughter students at a Kenyan university.  Or Devastate a nightclub in Indonesia.  Or shoot up a shopping mall in Nairobi.  Or lay siege to a hotel in Mumbai.  Or terrorize Nigerian schoolgirls. Or, you know, take hostages in Mali. I could go on for some time.  But those aren’t real Muslims, our Thought Leaders inform us.  Islamists loudly beg to differ — and wouldn’t they know a lot more about their motives and religious teachings than Western purveyors of bumper sticker feel-goodery?

<Read the whole article>

Response: Let us be clear, the first part of Hillary’s statement is true. We are not at ‘war’ with Islam and the majority of Muslims are peaceful and tolerant. However there are teachings within that religion that do drive the radicals toward violence and terrorism. Also there is a sizable minority of Muslims even in this country that do support the actions of the terrorists and hold a number of illiberal anti-Western ideals.

Lets take a closer look at even the parts of Mrs. Clinton’s Statement that we do agree with for further clarification along with a dose of reality:

‘Islam is not our adversary’

Islam is not our adversary but in reality Islam is in a perpetual and an historical state of opposition to the West or any other culture and religion or form of government not based upon the Quran and sharia law. It is a stated goal of Islam to rule the world and force Islam and sharia law upon every nation and people. Fact is, Islam is not just a religion but also contains a prescribed a form of government called sharia which includes laws and regulations for everyday life and culture.

Even among those ‘peaceful and tolerant’ American Muslims, a poll taken several years ago shows that a sizable minority (40%) would rather live under sharia law than U.S. Constitutional jurisprudence.

‘Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people’

The majority of American Muslims are peaceful and tolerant. But even in America 46% of the Muslims here would like to see blasphemy against Islam criminalized and a shocking 11.5% believe that the death penalty would be appropriate for offenders.

Then there is the recent survey by Al Jazeera that shows 81% of the Muslims in the Middle East support ISIS. This kind of statistic should put the lie to the liberal dictum that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. Who better would understand Islam and its teachings? Muslims in the Middle East or liberal PC supporters in the West?

In reality, a large number of Muslims around the world are not peaceful or tolerant. If only 1% of the Billion plus Muslims support terrorism around the world that would be 10 million. A more realistic number would be 10% or 100 million Muslims. But the Al Jazeera poll makes us wonder just how many Muslims are actually supporters of peace and toleration?

Conclusion: The first part of Hillary’s statement may be substantially true but even that needs a dose of reality. Mrs. Clinton’s claim that Muslims ‘have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism’ is completely false. Some Muslims have quite a lot to do with terrorism, actually, and tens of millions of others philosophically support their actions.               *Top

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-Happy Thanksgiving 2015

by Dr. D ~ November 26th, 2015

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("The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth": Wikipedia)


Happy Thanksgiving 2015 to you and yours. Our traditional Thanksgiving message follows:

Thanksgiving is an uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and friends and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was on that very first occasion.

For my family and I, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation during this holiday season and in the year to come.           *Top

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