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Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A Muslim pilgrim prays atop Mount Al-Noor during the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca November 9, 2010 (Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently visited a Muslim mosque in New York City.  There he met with Muslims and other faith leaders.  He told them, “I thank God that this day has arrived.  I thank you for your welcome, I thank you for making me feel like a friend and a member of a family.”

Then he made this statement: “You love God, we love God and he is the same God.”

Muslims would certainly agree.  They believe that the one true God revealed himself in the Old Testament, but the Jewish people corrupted his revelation.  He revealed himself again in the New Testament, but the Christians corrupted that revelation.  So he revealed himself a third time in the Qur’an.  They hold Jesus (“Isa” in Arabic) to be one of their six most important prophets.  But they reject as heresy all claims that he is divine.

The Qur’an is explicit: “They do blaspheme who say: ‘God is Christ the son of Mary.’  They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a trinity: for there is no God except one God Allah.  If they do not desist from their word of blasphemy, verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.  Christ the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger” (Qur’an 5:72-73, 75).  It adds: “Jesus was no more than a mortal whom Allah favored and made an example to the Israelites.  They are unbelievers who say God is Messiah, Mary’s son” (Qur’an 43:59).

Why is Islam’s reject of Jesus’ divinity relevant to our question?  Because the Bible explicitly says that rejecting the Son is rejecting the Father.  Jesus warned, “he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).  He told the religious authorities, “the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29).  He said of himself, “Whoever believes in him does not stand condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).  1 John 2:23 is clear: “No one who denies the Son has the Father.”

Here’s the bottom line: When Muslims reject Jesus’ divinity, they reject his Father as well.

How can you and I respond?  Ramadan, a month-long time of prayer and fasting for Muslims, will be July 9 to August 7 this year.  During these days you can pray specifically for Jesus to reveal his divinity to Muslims as they pray.  Such visions are occurring around the Muslim world today.  You can also use this time to pray for persecuted Christians in Muslim nations, asking God to protect them and empower their witness.  What are other ways we can offer God’s love to Muslims?

Let’s begin today.  Would you join me in praying right now for 100 million Muslims to come to Christ this year?