Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? (repost with update)

(which has interesting comments on the post)

Question:  Why do Christians say that Allah is not the same god that Christians and Jews believe in?  Muslims refer to the god of Abraham not to a different entity. They just say Christians and Jews interpret God's teaching wrongly, and Christians and Jews say the same about Muslims. But, after all, isn’t it the same God everybody is talking about?

My Reply:
Why do Christians say that Allah and Yahweh are not the same God? Here are some differences in their characters and promises that stand out. For example (in brief):

  1. The Jewish/Christian God loves His creation, even to the point of coming to us in human form and dying so that we may be with Him in all eternity, and commands us to love others as He loves us. Salvation from Yahweh is not something we can earn, but is a free gift to all who accept His Son, Jesus Christ, through faith.
    But the Islamic god, "Allah", is said to hate creation and only grants heaven as a reward to those who either follow their rules perfectly (which is impossible), or kills others in an act of war and hatred (even if those they take with them are Muslims, also).

  2. The Islamic god promises 70 virgins to the man who kills a whole bunch of people in the name of Jihad (which makes me wonder what women who do the same will receive, or children).
    But the Christian/Jewish God believes in marriage to one, and considers even the desire of 70 virgins, a sin. See, the Bible tells us that when a man and a woman marry, the 2 become 1. Jesus referred back to this and included that if you even think of another woman with lust, then you've already committed adultery with her in your heart. Also, in a conversation with some Sadducees, Jesus said that in Heaven, people who have been resurrected are like the angels in that none are married or given in marriage, but that doesn't mean that people are having sex with everybody, for such is sin (and evil in God's sight). And since neither sin nor marriage are in heaven, then promising 70 virgins to somebody who dies killing others can only be a vain, sinful, and invalid promise by somebody who's neither God nor a real prophet of God.

    On that note, nowhere in the Bible does Yahweh or any of His prophets promise, or even suggest that if they die in battle, God will reward them in Heaven with more wives, more money, children, etc. Yes, God said that if they wipe out the people in Canaan, they'll get their land, homes, farms,etc., but the promise was for when they're still alive, not dead. And God gave them the glory - He fought for them and gave them victory. The Islamic Allah would never do such a thing for his people.

    Basically, if your goal in this life is to get into Heaven, wealth, lust, or any sort of reward, then you're not serving God with your full heart. See, as Christians, we do have the comfort of knowing that there's more in the next life for us, but our inheritance isn't material - our inheritance (or reward, if you must use that word) is God. If you have Christ and live for God today, then you'll spend eternity with Him. If you die for Him today, then you'll see Him face to face today. That's reward enough for me, but it's not a reward, it's by God's costly grace through faith in Christ that God freely gives it.
  3. The Catholic Church has done many bad things throughout history, and to this day, people continue to point to such monstrosities and compare them to Christianity and Christians' actions or behaviors. Though this part is a whole-nother topic, it is safe to say that nowhere in the Bible does God (nor any of His prophets) tell His people to kidnap innocent people and chop their heads off in His name. But we do continue to hear of this a lot from Muslims around the world, don't we?

  4. Christianity’s God promises peace (Matthew 11:28-30 = “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”) while Islam’s god promises heavier burdens, hatred, and violence.

    So you see, Yahweh and Allah have completely opposite agendas and characters. Yahweh's is love for His creation and desires for them to be reconciled with Him, while also hating sin. Allah's is about world domination and encouraging the same sin that God righteously hates (and as Christians, we are well aware of a previous angel whose agenda matches that of Allah's).

As for Abraham:

Muslims base their roots on the fact that Ishmael was the beloved son of Abraham. Our Scriptures acknowledge this, also, but ours also tell that Ishmael was not the son through whom God's blessing would pass - that was reserved for Isaac. And so to back their claims and try to discredit the Hebrew Scriptures' account, Muslims claim that they were altered to favor Isaac and the Jews, which is ridiculous.

So as you see, Islam does not in fact worship the same god as the Jews and Christians, but one whom they'd made up in their opposition to Isaac's descendants...an ongoing battle between Abraham's 2 sons. Granted, they may not believe he's made up, but my point is that he's not the Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, the God of Abraham who was, is, and ever shall be the one and only True God. And if their god is not He, then the only other explanation is that it's a false god made up of their preferences to their beliefs.



Now, as for the idea that they're both one in the same God, I've come to understand that this comes from Islamic teachings (as well as the Pope's, recently), but as you can see from my examples above, this can in no shape or form be the case.

What About Jesus?

I think you also have to look at Muslims' theology and understanding about Jesus, though. For even though Muslims and many followers of Judaism continue to reject Jesus (Yeshua) as the Messiah, Mohammad did at least recognize Jesus as a great prophet of God. And if Jesus was a prophet of God, then all Muslims should read and obey His words spoken, for such would have to have been spoken through Him from God - but they don't, for such would show them that Jesus was more than a mere prophet, for Jesus Himself said "If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7), and "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father"(John 14:9), and Jesus even said himself in these 2 verses, "The words I say to you, I don't speak on my own authority. Rather, it's the Father, living in my, who is doing His work." and even "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). No prophet has ever said, nor even been able to say these things - not even Mohammad! So if Muslims were to believe that Jesus is the great prophet that Mo pronounced Him to be, then they'd have to read and obey Jesus' commands, which He made in the Gospels (and there are 4), for He was indeed a prophet, then His words were from God Himself. But now, if Muslims choose not to believe that Jesus' words are worth obeying, then they're disobeying God, as well as their great prophet Mohammad, for he said that Jesus was a great prophet of God.

What if Muslims Reject Jesus, Even as a Prophet?

Something popular among Muslims in the press lately (2016 update) is their rejection of Jesus. But again, if Muslims reject Jesus, then they're also rejecting Mohammad as a true prophet of God, because he said that Jesus was a great prophet of God. So if Jesus wasn't a great prophet of God, then Mohammad couldn't be a true prophet of God either, for saying such about Jesus, assuming Jesus wasn't who he said He was, would disqualify Mohammad as a prophet of God because he was wrong! And if Mohammad wasn't a prophet of God, then all of Islam would be void and a big fraud, based on hatred towards opposing religious groups, people, and nations, and centered around a false god that rejects Jesus and opposes Yahweh.

What is the Muslim's take on Jesus' resurrection? 

Another point worth mentioning is Jesus' resurrection, which Muslims reject. Instead, they claim that Jesus put up a buddy to take the fall. Then 3 days later, Jesus walked around telling everybody that He'd died and was resurrected. The problem with that though is that if Jesus was really a prophet of God, but then set up His look-alike buddy to die on the cross for Him, then walk around 3 days later claiming to have risen from the dead, the Jesus would've been a liar and a murderer - neither the characters of a prophet of the One True God (Christianity also wouldn't have spread like it did, since everybody involved would've recognized it as a fraud). But Muslims reject His death so that they could reject His resurrection, because if they accepted His resurrection, then they'd have to recognize Jesus as the promised Messiah that He claimed to be, and they can't have that because Mohammad rejected Jesus as such, claimed himself to be higher than Jesus, and never himself resurrected from the dead. And so again, it would void Mohammad's claims to who he said he was, proving Jesus to be the Messiah after all.

The Sonship of God

And finally, Yahweh claims that Jesus is His Son (Matthew 3:17, 17:5), where Allah, on the other hand, says that he has no son.

Conclusion

So when you look at it, Islam's beliefs are nowhere even similar to the known works of Yahweh. And many (or most) of what Yahweh did through others, they reject anyway to stake claim on their beliefs. So if they claim their god approves of such behavior and rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, the Truth of the Scriptures, the blessings through Isaac, and the salvation that God offers through grace to those who accept His Son through faith, then clearly, Allah and Yahweh are NOT the same, and Allah is NOT God.


Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues

Hey Andy, what are your views on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in reference to Acts chapters 1 and 2?  Do you believe that the fullness of God's Spirit (power) is given upon receiving Christ in salvation (John's Baptism of Repentance) or do you believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience to receiving salvation and comes with the evidence of speaking in tongues?

My Reply:
Somebody actually asked me a similar question to the first part about receiving the Holy Spirit, but he used Acts 8.

After you've read that, read Paul's reference to the gifts of tongues in 1 Corinthians12:4-11, 28-31.


Then read how Paul tells his readers to USE these gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14.  For example, in the sense of speaking in tongues, if you're at church, in public, or among others, and you begin to speak in tongues, then there should be somebody else there who (doesn't speak in them, but who) can interpret them before everybody else.  But if there's nobody there who can interpret them, then Paul basically says to "shut the hell up" (emphasis is in the Greek), since otherwise you're just bringing attention to yourself, and such is supposed to be on Jesus.

So what about the incident in Acts 1 and 2 when everybody came running out speaking in other languages?  That's because that was the gift that was needed at that moment to glorify Christ and His Kingdom.  For example, missionaries don't have all the gifts at once, but the gift that's needed for the place they're called to.  If they're in a place where healing is needed, then the Lord will often equip them with healing (though not always).  Some prophesy, some have visions, some understand and can interpret other languages (which they'd never known before), some suddenly speak those languages, some perform miracles, and there are many more, also.  But if everybody had the same gift, then how messed up would that be?  It'd be like a car with only 1 wheel, or that always pulled to the right.

Keep in mind also, Peter and the 11 (Acts 2:14) already had the Holy Spirit, previous to Pentecost (John 20:22). So to say that one must speak in tongues as proof of having the Holy Spirit is not supported here, especially since we know that Peter had Him (the Holy Spirit) in him, yet he was not speaking in any tongues when he addressed the crowd. We know THIS because: 
  1. Peter only addressed the Jews who lived in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14
  2. Everybody recognized Peter as the sober one (Acts 2:15).

---Pastor Andy

Trying to Live for God in an Un-Godly Environment

Question: 

I try really hard 2 live a life for God, and I am in an environment with a lot of negativity. I have been living there for 4 months and am looking at it as a test or opportunity for spiritual growth. 
The reason I live in a place like that is because I just moved from the east coast 2 the west to go 2 school, and felt like this is where God has led me.
My question is, how far should I let my values and boundaries be crossed before walking away?  Sometimes I wonder if sticking around is worth it anymore.  I’ve been praying and talking about it…there is the positive that I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and that I’m going to school.  The negative is that I live in a rooming house, and it’s full of drama. So I wonder if it’s worth it to stay.  I try and stay optimistic and make the most out of it, but I don’t know.
If anyone has ever been in an environment where it was hard on there faith, but persevered, please help…any good verses or just life tips, I would love hear.

My Reply:
You're preachin' to the choir, brother.
Have you prayed for Christian friends in your area? One person can't be an army against a whole battalion...you need others to help you stay focused, pick you up when you fall (and for whom you may do the same), people with whom you can pray, opportunities for Bible studies (iron sharpening iron), etc...
Most campus' have Christian ministries (InterVarsity, Wesley Foundation, Baptists, Alpha Xi). Check around for them. Also, maybe put up a post on the school network for other Christians who'd like to gather weekly for prayer, Bible Study, and fellowship.

Another suggestion is to check in with a church in the area, see if they have any small groups for your age group (or if not your age group, maybe they'd be alright with you joining in).  Meetup.com is also a good place to look for like-minded/spirited people.
Basically, if the Lord sent you there, then He also provided resources to help you out while there, so you're not alone. But you need to remember that in this battleground, you can't allow yourself to be alone (in the sense of being a solo-Christian), either.
---Pastor Andy G.