J. D. Greear on Whether Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God

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J. D. Greear explains how the Christian and Muslim ideas of God are irreconcilably different; however, Greear suggests that it’s possible to work from some shared assumptions about God in apologetic conversations with Muslims.

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I get asked this question a lot because I served as a missionary among Muslims, and I wrote a book called Breaking the Islam Code. I’m not trying to be evasive, but I do think you need to make sure you’re asking the right question. If the question is, “Are there multiple ways to God and does God receive the worship of Christians and Muslims alike,” then the answer is “Absolutely not,” because Islam is a false way of salvation. Islam presents salvation by works, and it outright denies several key things that Christianity teaches about God, like God being a Trinity and the personal nature of God and more.

Some missionaries point out that Muslims say they worship the God of Abraham, and some have found it helpful to start with that observation and take the approach that Jesus did with the woman at the well in John 4. Jesus essentially said, “Who you think you’re worshiping you’re not actually worshiping.” Jesus confronted a Samaritan woman who was worshiping wrongly and had wrong ideas about God. He didn’t say, “You’re worshiping a different God.” He said, “You’re attempting to worship the One Creator God the wrong way.” And I’ve heard people talk about using this approach to Muslims, and I think it has some merit.

When you’re a missionary on the field, one of the things that you’re trying to do is to tell people that this God that we believe has created the world, has been speaking through the prophets, and has revealed himself fully in Jesus. He is a Trinity. And Muhammad is not an accurate prophet of him. If somebody explains their statement in this way, I have less problems with them saying Christians and Muslims are attempting to worship the same God, but in two entirely different ways.