Making Jesus Accessible

Allah is God. Round 2.

We got so much response from the last blog called “Is Allah God”, that I thought it was worth a second go-round. So here it is….

I was talking with a fairly well known Christian leader this week about this topic. His point was that there is NO WAY that the god of the Qur’an and the God of the Bible are the same. Muslims do not pray to or worship the same god.

Here’s the actually conversation:

Carl: So do you agree that all Arab Christians, for as long as we’ve known, have used the word “Allah” when speaking Arabic for the name of God?

Christian Leader: Yes.

Carl: And you agree that all Muslims also use the word “Allah” when they refer to god, but he’s a different god, correct?

Christian Leader: Yes

Carl: When an Arab Muslim comes to Christ – in a real and fully biblical sense of that – and he still uses the word “Allah” when he prays in Arabic….then it’s the real god? Is that right?

Christian Leader: Hmmm, yes. But only because he’s now seen the real God correctly because of Jesus.

Carl: Fair enough. So let’s say this Muslim who came to know Jesus, and thus now prays to the “correct God”, was praying the day before he got saved. Was he praying to the right god then? What about one minute before he came to Christ and he was calling out to Allah (the incorrect god) and then something happened? A dream or vision or a person sharing their faith with him…  Something happened and then god heard and the REAL God answered. Could that be?

Christian Leader: Never thought of it like that.

Here’s the point – all of us, before we have a real relationship with the real God, have some form of a “fake god” in our heads. But because the real God hears the sincere prayers of sinners (thankfully), He hears us when we call out to him.

So here’s what I say – it’s a moot point to claim that Muslims believe in the wrong god. Since whenever they call out to god (whatever and whoever that is in their minds) with a sincere heart – the real God hears. Just like he did with us!

There is really no good reason for us to insist that Muslims believe in a different God! There’s only One. And when we call out to Him, he comes running!

Comments

  1. David Higginbotham says:

    I’m curious to know…do the Muslims believe they are calling on the same God as the Jews?

    Christians believe the Jews are calling on the same God as them, but with out complete understanding.

    Could it be that Muslims are calling on the same God as Christians, but with out complete understanding as well?

    1. Vicki says:

      yes, they do. the Qu’ran calls Christians and Jews “people of the book” and separates them from the “infidels” who do not believe in God

  2. Mike Todd says:

    Great posts Carl. I think C.S. Lewis thought along the same lines.

  3. David
    Good point. Do Jews or nominal/historical Christians believe in the same God? Of course. We have to simply agree that some see through a dark glass that’s a bit darker than our dark glasses. 🙂
    carl

  4. Lukas Fukumoto says:

    Carl,

    I read a book that talks about this a bit. It’s called “The Camel: How Muslims are Coming to Faith in Christ!” by Kevin Greeson. Have you read it? Do you have any comment on this method?

  5. Lukas. I don’t use the Camel approach but it’s great.

  6. Wesley says:

    I’m sorry but this just seems silly. “There is really no good reason for us to insist that Muslims believe in a different God! There’s only One.” That is not even coherent! Of course there is onyl one but that doesn’t (all by its lonesome) make the point that He is who Muslims believe in! And sure the real God hears their prayers b/c He’s omnipresent but that doesn’t mean they’re praying to Him – if i’m talking to you and asking for help and a cop hears our conversation and helps me, that doesn’t mean i was talking to him!?!
    I dunno Carl – i love your heart for Muslim people and your desire to see them know and be known by Jesus, but i think your pushing too hard and building a house that’s gonna collapse on itself. Rememeber, “unless the Lord builds the house …” Finally, remember too, we learn from Rom. 8 (amounf many other places) we don’t call out to God, He calls out to us! As Augustine put it, “the grace of God does not find, it makes persons fit to be chosen.” God’s peace and blessing be on your ministry.

  7. Wesley, taking the last sentence alone leaves all sorts of room for interpretation that does not exist when you take the last sentence in context with the entire post. Carl’s point is clearly that those who do not intimately know the one true God, by nature, can only pray or acknowledge a false god. And yet, the omniscient one true God hears and knows their prayers. If He is earnestly desiring his prodigal children to return, that He hears them and loves them while they are yet still sinners.

    Looking back on your own conversion (I assume) can you see that Jesus pursued you even when you did not know Him? If He loved you when you were an unrepentant sinner, does He not love Muslims too?

  8. Remember – my point in most of these blogs is to get us to think. Secondly it’s to help us see how we come across to people who don’t know God in a personal way. Thirdly it’s to help us clear up our fuzzy and confusing language. We have to be saying what is true but doing so in a way that people can hear. Actually hear. We have GOOD NEWS for sinners and people who are lost. If it doesn’t come across as good news, then it may be the way we’re presenting it.

    This is NOT an academic exercise. It’s life and death. It’s about our attitudes. When we engage another person from outside our tradition and we begin with the thought – they’re wrong and I’m right – it then leads everything we say. So…we might, in fact, be right – but a humble attitude and loving spirit that points to Jesus as the One who was/is right – will win the day. 100% of the time. Not my clever arguments.

    1. Wesley says:

      Carl –
      i’m with you on what you’re saying here for the most part. We are not seeking to win an argument or indoctrinate a particular ideology, but to reveal Jesus through our lives and words. The language issue is, for sure, a complex one and one we need to address in how we contextualize a timeless message. But i think that also must be considered in the light of what the Bible says about our message viz. it is “foolishness to those who are perishing”, the stench of death”, etc. Many will simply not accept the message b/c their eyes and ears have not been opened to hear it so that even the clearest presentation of the gospel will not be accepted. The danger i see then, is that we change the message so people accept it (which in my view includes telling Muslims we all follow the same God and believe Jesus is the same thing). God doesn’t need our help to convince people – Pauls letter to Timothy reminds us that “the Lord knows who are His own”, Our job is simply to proclaim and live the truth of God’s word (surely in a compassionate, winsome way) and leave the results up to the Holy Spirit.

  9. Another great post Carl! Thanks!!!

  10. Wolfgang Fernandez says:

    Carl, I think that this issue is a problem to those who do not speak a second language and thus can only think mono-linguistically and to those who are have a very small view of the creator of the universe. Thanks for your clear and yet simple response!

  11. Rasengan.3k says:

    Ok people really need to hear this. I would say that the translation from one language to another on the name of Jesus (God) doesnt matter. Now on to the good part. there are three books. the holy bible (includes Jesus as Lord). The quran. and the old tesistiment (jews) (does not accept Jesus as Lord). Ok each religion follows a book, and each book is following a different God. I follow the holy bible. when i call out to a God i call out to the God of the bible. When a muslim call out to God he calls out to the God of the quran and when a Jew calls out to God he calls out to …. well that one is complicated… the jew thinks hes calling out to the father of Jesus but he doesnt accept Jesus so hes not calling out to the father of Jesus because he does not know him nor believes in him…kinda sad. anyway when you hear someone call out to God ask him from which book that will tell you which God….. now thats pretty simple…lol

  12. Rasengan.3k says:

    i challange this carl. “So here’s what I say – it’s a moot point to claim that Muslims believe in the wrong god. Since whenever they call out to god (whatever and whoever that is in their minds) with a sincere heart – the real God hears. Just like he did with” us!………………………..
    It does matter. The muslims are sinnning by praying specifically to the god of the quran. God wants them to stop worshiping their idols. They need to know that there god is a fake so they can repent to the real god. Jesus Christ.