J.D. Greear says Christians & Muslims Worship the Same God

Are Southern Baptists ready for a Progressive President?

 

J.D. Greear claims Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The stunning claims were made in his book and in an interview with The Gospel Coalition’s Trevin Wax.

From Greear’s interview with Trevin Wax:

“Trevin Wax: It’s helpful to lay these misconceptions on the table and to talk honestly about our differences. You make the case that Muslims do worship the same God as Christians, although with obvious errors in understanding. Can you elaborate on how you came to this conclusion and how you would maintain major distinctions between Muslim and Christian understandings of God?

“J.D. Greear: This is a tough question that has a considerable amount of complexity to it. But at the end of the day, I think the question of whether or not you use the Arabic name for God – Allah – is more of a practical question than a theological one.”

From Greear’s book Breaking the Islam Code: “Believing wrong things about God and worshiping him incorrectly doesn’t mean one is worshipping a different God” (p.59).

These statements commit fundamental philosophical and theological errors. Fortunately, there are many evangelical theologians and philosophers who have commented on this very issue and hold that Christians and Muslims worship a different God. It comes down to how we both conceive of God. Philosopher and Theologian William Lane Craig answered this question in a podcast that highlights the philosophical issues and play and the importance of God’s characteristics in settling the question.  Dr. Craig said, “What I’ve argued is that the differences between the Muslim concept of God and the Christian concept of God are so stark that Frank hasn’t given us any reason to think, in view of their non-identical properties, that they are worshiping the same God.” These properties would include God’s loving nature and the trinity among many others.

Nabeel Qureshi rejected this type of thinking promoted by SBC presidential candidate J.D. Greear. The late Christian convert from Islam said,

“Christians worship Yahweh, the Trinity, whereas Muslims worship Allah, a monad. This is not an incidental difference; Islam makes every effort to condemn the Trinity as blasphemy (4.171). The Quran rejects the relational aspects of God, saying that he’s not a father (5.18) and he’s not a son (112.3). It establishes its own doctrine of God, Tawhid, in diametric opposition to the Trinity, and that doctrine becomes the central doctrine of Islamic theology.

“Most people who say Christians and Muslims worship the same God are aware of this difference, but they treat it as relatively inconsequential. This is not a trivial difference, though; it has major implications…Ultimately, when we understand the Trinity, we realize that the doctrine is not just a theological curiosity. It has far-reaching implications for how we ought to live and how we see the world, and it makes the Christian God categorically different from the Muslim God.”

From a Reformed perspective, Dr. James White offered a practical and theological reason for rejecting the view that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. White said, “So the real question is: Do we worship the same God? Not that we are identifying the same historical deity back in the history of Abraham. In worship, we are talking about truly engaging with God as he has revealed himself. There is no way that any honest Muslim who believes in Tawhid and rejects the doctrine of the Trinity can say, Yes, we are worshiping the same God. Certainly from a Christian perspective that is what we have to say as well.”   Video available here.

Are Southern Baptists ready for a president who holds the progressive view that Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Are Southern Baptists ready for a president who rejects the theological importance of a clear understanding of God’s character to pursue a practical policy of engagement with Islam? Is that fair to either the Christian or Muslim conceptions of God?

J.D. Greear’s open acceptance of Progressives raises the question that the Southern Baptist Convention is drifting toward theological error on a range of issues. Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas this summer must reject the leftward drift of the SBC and vote against Greear.

11 Comments

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  1. 3
    Chris Evans

    As a non-seminarian, how we technically decide whether Muslims worship a different God than Christians or are misinformed about the same God is out of my league, but it seems unfair to make the argument that Muslims must be worshipping a different God because they deny the Trinity while remaining silent about the Jewish faith, who also declare that The Lord is One as part of the Shema.

    • 4
      Capstone Report

      The Trinity would be part of it, but I highly recommend Dr. Craig’s podcast. There are key properties of God’s very nature such as God being all-loving that differentiate between Christianity and Islam but not Judaism.

      From Dr. Craig’s podcast linked above, “What about the Jew and Christian? Do Jews and Christians worship the same God? How can we say that we worship the same God that Abraham and Moses did when they didn’t believe that God was a Trinity, but we do? Here is what I would say in response to that question. The Christian does not reject the Jewish concept of God as the Muslim explicitly rejects the Christian concept of God. The Christian finds the same God of the Old Testament more fully revealed in the New Testament. He doesn’t repudiate the God of the Old Testament. He believes that the God of the Old Testament reveals himself more fully in the New Testament. By contrast, the Muslim repudiates the concept of God found in the New Testament.[9] He says this is the result of corruption and legend. He rejects the concept of God found in the New Testament. That is very different than the Christian attitude toward the God of the Jewish Old Testament.”

      I think this is part of the difference.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. 5
    Robert

    Jesus said, “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” Anyone rejecting the Son, does not have the Father. As such, the people calling themselves “Jews” do not have the Father, anymore than moslems. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses would have fallen to their knees and worshiped Jesus Christ as their Lord and God. The OT points to Jesus. By rejecting Jesus, those who claim to be Jacob’s descendants have also rejected the witness of the OT, and are left with nothing.

    Only those who honor, revere, and worship the Lord Jesus Christ have God. Neither moslems nor those calling themselves Jews worship the true God.

    Christianity is radically different from both islam and judaism. Christianity is all about God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ. Christianity demands that we follow the example of Christ by loving and forgiving. Islam presents a distant, non-loving god, a war demon. Today’s religion of judaism, which is an outgrowth of phariseeism and the Babylonian occult, is a religion of self-worship as the self-identified “chosen”.

    Christ is the Light. There is no light outside of Jesus Christ. In both islam and judaism, there is nothing but darkness.

  3. 6
    John Hubers

    Nothing stunning at all about this. Christians who have interacted with Muslims stretching back to the 8th century have always acknowledged this, including Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards and every evangelical missionary to the Muslim world going back to the early 19th century.

    The astonishing thing is how many American evangelicals are so clueless about Islam that they don’t know this.

    • 7
      Capstone Report

      I don’t think you can call theologians like Dr. William Lane Craig “clueless.” He has interacted and debated Muslims. So has Dr. White. These men are far more accurate and faithful in presenting and defending a Christian conception of God than syncretists like Greear who admit Islam has a fundamentally different view of God and then try to nuance their way into saying it is the same.

  4. 10
    Mark

    That is out and out paganism. That is like Israel worshiping Baal in the high places. It is blasphemy. There is no correlation between Allah (whom I personally believe is Satan of one of his princes) and Yahweh God.

  5. 11
    Alex Campbell

    Mr. Greear,

    I believe you have missed the boat and should lose your chance at having the presidential seat in the SBC. If chosen, he would introduce new policies and sermon material that’ll promote the Muslim faith most likely.
    There’s NO way at all, that Christians and Muslims worship the same God! My God has a Son, who is known as our Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, that’s our God! No one can get to God except through Him, Christ Jesus!

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