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Do Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same God?

In an article written by Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, associate General Secretary—Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations for National Council of Churches USA (www.ncccusa.org/news/100909tklament.html), with the title “Religious Ignorance, Bigotry and Ill Will: A Lamentation for 9/11,” and written in response “to threats by the pastor a small church in Florida to burn the Qur-an on September 11,” he writes in part that should Rev. Jones burn the stack of Korans, “It would not be simply an attack on a book, albeit a book considered sacred by 1 billion people, but an affront to the very God that is worshiped by those 1 billion people (not to mention the 2 billion Christians, and Jews, too, that worship the same God).”

Thankfully, Rev. Jones of Dove World Outreach Center did not publicly burn the Koran as he said that he would.  All might be said and done over the fiasco caused by such threats, but misconceptions and “religious ignorance” still linger, and will remain among us.

Take for example the belief of Dr. Kireopoulos, as noted above, that Chrisians, Muslims, and Jews all “worship the same God.”  Though it is true that Muslims, Jews, and Christians claim to all worship God, in reality, they do not.  Only one of the three worship the true God—and it is not Islam nor Judaism.

Some might immediately reply, “bigot,” or “ignorant,” or worse.  But a look at the Bible settles the issue.

Islam does not teach that Jesus Christ is God.  Neither does Judaism.  Both do not teach that the Jesus revealed in the Bible, who was crucified on the cross and “rose again from the dead”) is the only Savior of the World.  Judaism would have you look for another Messiah, and Islam, too, would leave you in doubt about God’s (Allah’s) mercy towards you.

Only Christianity teaches confidence in God’s mercy—through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-24; Romans 5:1ff; Romans 6:23; Galatians 3:13-14; Ephesians 2:8-9–Romans 14:23; Hebrews 11:6).  Islam and Judaism do not, nor does any other religion.

It was Jesus who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through (by means of) me” (John 14:6).

In another place, Jesus says, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40)

Just a bit later, Jesus continues, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life (John 6:47).

And concerning the falsity of such statements as Dr. Kireopoulos (and others who share his opinion) that Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same God, Jesus Himself to the Jews of His day says, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.”   In the same chapter, Jesus also says, “Because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me,” and “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:42, 45, 47).

These words of Jesus highly contrast those who worship the true God from those who do not.  What is said of Jesus and His Word?  What is believed about Jesus and His Word?  What is believed concerning the Bible and the words therein and concerning the Christ revealed in them? Further investigation would demonstrate that the three religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are “miles apart.”

In addition to these words of our Lord (and so many others like them), St. John in his first letter (epistle) wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:1-6).

St. John also wrote these words, “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:10-13).

If these words from the Bible are not clear enough, I don’t know which are.  Judaism and the Koran do not say these kind of things, nor can they.  A closer look at their respective doctrines (teachings) will reveal, not similarity, but great difference; not how close they are to one another, but how far apart.

And this is as much true for Christianity, Islam, and Judaism as it is for the various Christian denominations.  Not all say the same thing.  And not all are truly Christian.

Though all denominations claim to have and use the same Scripture and Christ, in reality, they do not.  Not all teach the same thing concerning Christ and His Word.

This demonstrates, not unity, but disunity; not sameness, but difference.

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Dove World Outreach and the Koran

It’s in the news that a group in Florida, Dove World Outreach, (But try to look at their site, http://www.doveworld.org.  When I just tried to access their page, it came up blank) is planning to burn the Koran on Sept 11.  A firestorm is ensuing.  Many are saying that this will create greater problems for our military in Iraq, Afghanistan and various other places.  This is a very real concern, and one that Dove World Outreach should strongly consider, for the sake of those who are serving this country.

In the midst of all this, at least in the media and among various ‘Christian’ groups (http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4628), a louder call for “tolerance” and “understanding” resounds all the more.  ‘Christians,’ Jews, and Muslims are ‘praying together’ about the conflict.  What’s lacking, however, is the truth of Islam (and the truth of Christianity).  Is Islam a peaceful religion, as so many presume?  Just observe the reaction of Muslims around the world to the planned burning of the Koran.  Reason will tell you if Islam is truly  peaceful or not (See http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/245877/burning-koran-nina-shea for some information about Law in Islamic countries).  One also notes that the Christians (and the Muslims and others) who join together in prayer and worship are truly demonstrating dishonesty with reference to the tenets of their respective faiths.  Of course, this further demonstrates how unchristian many ‘Christians’ and church bodies have become and how deceptive Satan is in destroying true unity among His people, basing that unity on tolerance and diversity rather than on the teachings/doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The people at Dove World Outreach may have a constitutional right to burn the Koran, but it is not in the best interest of our American neighbors who are on active duty, nor for our country.  Should the Koran be burned, this would demonstrates not only a lovelessness  and disrespect to the people which are Muslims, but also to our own people, and putting them in greater danger.  Respect is to be given to others, to be sure.  But for the Christian, respect does not imply acceptance.

The publicity is getting worldly attention, to be sure.  Rev. Jones believes that God is calling him to burn the Koran.  But what does Scripture say?  Nothing of the sort.  Rev. Jones, like so many who call themselves Christian today (including televangelists, preachers, etc.), claim a calling to do this or to do that, or to say this or to say that.  But they do so without Scriptural support.  They do so without God’s backing.  They truly are acting outside of Christianity without God’s authority, as are others who compromise the faith for acceptance in the world and a place among the nonbelievers.

Sadly, Rev. Jones’ action (even if he doesn’t burn the Koran) only feeds the flames against genuine Christianity (of which Jones is not), extremists as some call them, simply because they hold to the Bible and proclaim Jesus to be the only Savior.  Therefore does genuine (and not false) Christianity also teach that all other religious are rightly false, based on Holy Scripture and not because of ‘the voice of God in my head,’ majority, or any other rule.

This would be a good time for Christians to reflect on what God truly does say about Jesus in the Word and about other ‘religions,’ and to compare the Bible with the Koran, and how the Christian is to live in such a hostile world–by faith, holding to God’s promises and loving ALL people (which also means speaking the truth).

It’s also a time to reflect on the state of Christendom in America and the world.  Few are being true and honest to the Lord Christ, compromising the Lord’s teaching and forsaking His Word.  Repentance is in order.

Greater antagonism against the true Christian faith are we seeing, and greater acceptance of that which is not true.  Lord, have mercy.

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