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Monday, December 21, 2015

The Same God

Recently a professor at Wheaton College was suspended. Now, don't get mixed up by unreasonable media. She was not suspended for wearing a hijab in solidarity with her Muslim neighbors. She was suspended when she put out on Facebook the theological claim that Christians and Muslims "worship the same God" in direct violation of Wheaton's statement of faith.

So well is this statement of faith inculcated in students at Wheaton (yes, Virginia, that is sarcasm) that they're protesting her suspension and demanding her reinstatement. Their petition reads in part, "In the midst of a toxic socio-political environment where Muslims are the target of stigmatization, acts of aggression, and proposed policy which targets and alienates them, Dr. Hawkins acted in love and in solidarity to be an example of how Christ would respond. We believe there is nothing in Dr. Hawkins' public statements that goes against the belief in the power and nature of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit that the Statement of Faith deems as a necessary requirement for affiliation with Wheaton College."

Which begs the question, does it not? If she is right -- Christians and Muslims worship the same God -- then the students have a valid point. If she is wrong, then the students are just as blind as the teacher ... and the bulk of the rest of the world. So is the statement true?

The answer, of course, would depend on how you define "God". In Christian terms, God is uniquely defined as a Trinity, a one-of-a-kind triune Being consisting of Father, Son, and Spirit, three persons of the one essence. This is a Christian definition, occurring nowhere else in any other religion. The Bible portrays God as God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit as core definition. That is, if God is not the Triune God, Christianity is false.

Do Muslims worship the same God? They reject the deity of Christ. He's really nice prophet and all, but not God. They ignore the Holy Spirit. Their deity, Allah, is not a Trinity. Simply put, Christian God = Trinity, Muslim God = Not. This isn't even about characteristics of God. It is about definition.

This is just another one of those "bait-and-switch approaches. "Okay, so you say 'God' and they say 'Allah', but what we're all really talking about is 'God'. So we'll pull out the word 'God', redefine it to mean something different than you do, then plug it back in and demonstrate that we all mean the same thing. You agree, right?" And they do ... by the thousands -- inattentive pastors and professors and unknowing students and vague "believers" and blinded unbelievers. The Bible isn't unclear. They are. Only in a world blinded by God's enemy can anyone conclude that "God, defined as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the very same as Allah who rejects Son and Holy Spirit."

It's not about "solidarity with Muslim neighbors". It's not about wearing a hijab. It is not, as some have argued, about anti-Muslim sentiment. Nor is it a failure of love on the part of Wheaton or an attempt to silence those who believe something different than they do. It's not even about whether or not there are similarities (Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, for instance). It's about the Christian faith at its core. One cannot both deny the deity of Christ and not speak against the power and nature of God or Christ. It is manifest nonsense. Jesus said, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." (John 8:19) The fact that the professor argued and the student body is buying the "same God" argument illustrates the very sad fact that they don't know Jesus. And that, for their sakes, is a very bad thing.


Bob said...

i don't believe that there has ever been a time since the crusades, that Christ and Mohammad have waged open war for the hearts and minds of the people. Christianity and Islam are diametrically opposed to each other. one day i walked into a Sunday school class and they were watching a video. the movie was about how christian churches should learn to embrace their Muslim brothers, in conclusion of the film, christian children were taught to bow to mecca, and learn the first pillar of the Muslim faith. "there is only one God, his name is Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." what the hxxx is going on here?????
Maybe we need to forget trying to make the world a happy place, and start focusing on teaching our children the truth.

Stan said...

I am baffled by America's attempt to embrace Islam. "We're not at war with Islam!" Looking down the list of terrorist activities over the past 20 years, we may not be at war with Islam, but they are sure at war with us. But when we see churches trying to do the same thing, I am completely stunned.

For the unclear, the God of the Jews is YHWH, who is and was the triune God. They didn't recognize Him as such, but He is that God. The stupid argument that "Allah" is the same as the God of Abraham is proven false with their claim, "Mohammed is His prophet." That is, from square one they're offering a different God. When Christians don't see it, it makes me wonder if they're Christians.

bob said...

is it not apparent that many, maybe hundreds of Christians have been killed this year in name of Islam. what are we to say about that? We american Christians should be ashamed that we would diminish the value of their suffering for the sake of appeasement. we need to give the enemy a name "ISLAM". the ideology of the Antichrist. but some would say " we only need to fear the radical Muslim" really? again this just a play on words. Muslims that kill Christians and Jews are not radical, they are observant. they are simply doing what is expected of them according to the Koran. if we want to see the real face of the enemy of Christ, just read about the period of the crusades, and see for yourself what happened when Mohammed moved across the middle east and Europe. we have dismissed this history at great we may be reaping the benefits our ignorance.

Stan said...

No one seemed to notice that one of the people killed in San Bernardino was an Iraqi woman who fled Iraq because she was a Christian facing persecution. Among those fleeing ISIS are many who are Christians fleeing persecution for their faith from Muslims. The fact that some Muslims deny their Scriptures and prefer a peaceful coexistence with others not of the faith doesn't change the fact that Islam as it is written includes jihad. Ironic, then, that the professor at the Christian college argued that we are both "people of the book". If she's talking about Muslims "of the book", they'll necessarily be hostile to Christ.

But we show an uncanny ability to fail to learn from history.

bob said...

it begs the question "what are we to do?" should we take up arms and fight. should we stand and watch? the danger is that we may become no different than the enemy if we use the same ideology. the position of the Muslim, is that they must kill the infidel. the use of violence apart from protecting the innocent, would reduce the Christian to the same blood lust as our enemy's. i believe that we are to stand and profess the truth, at the risk of death. but this is not our fight, this one belongs to our father God. like the Christians of the past we may have to prepare our selves for the arena. this is such a crazy conversation, i for one am prone to fight, but i know that the best defense is our Savior, besides this is not our home, we are behind enemy lines. let us put on the full armor of God, the helmet of salvation, the breast plate of Righteousness. the Sword of the word of God. the book of revelation tells that the enemy must be victorious for a little while over the saints, than Comes our salvation.

Stan said...

Well, of course, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood." So fighting Islam with human weapons isn't the Christian way. On the other hand, embracing a religion opposed to Christ isn't, either. If we use the methods of the first church, our approach would be 1) share the gospel and 2) die. I don't know too many Christians in America that might consider dying for Christ a good thing.

Naum said...

One thing is plainly evident from this brouhaha: we seem to be more concerned about maintaining ideological purity than following the way of Jesus.

Stan said...

So, Naum, Bill worships Jesus and Jerry worships Jesus. Bill's Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, the Creator of all that is, the Savior. Jerry's Jesus is his gardener. Would it be a concern of "maintaining ideological purity" to point out that Jerry's Jesus is not the same Jesus as Bill's, and that Jerry's Jesus isn't going to save him? Or would you recommend we just be happy that Jerry is worshiping Jesus?

David said...

Naum, how can we know who to truly follow if we don't hold to our ideology? How can we know we are following Jesus' way if we aren't clear on who He is and what He teaches? If Allah and YHWH are the same, how can He be considered a reasonable God to follow if He is going to tell people that different things are right out wrong? Without knowing what we believe, we can't practice what we believe. Orthodoxy produces orthopraxy.

Stan said...

"Orthodoxy produces orthopraxy."

Nice phrase. How many do you think will know the terms? (Rhetorical question.)