Today in the Wall Street Journal Boston University professor of religion Stephen Prothero has a helpful op-ed on the Wheaton College poli sci prof who says Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Prothero says the true God hears the prayers of both Muslims and Christians, but Muslims and Christians envision God very differently.
I think he gets it right.
Much turns of course on what we mean when we say that the true God hears the prayers of Muslims. When I say it, I mean that God is omniscient and hears the prayers of every person praying, whether those prayers are efficacious or not. And whether those persons are in his Kingdom or not.
But making contact is not the same as being in God’s Kingdom forever. Judas had direct contact with the Son of God but apparently not His Kingdom forever. Paul wrote in Romans 1 that nature can show human beings that God exists as Creator and has power. But, as Calvin argued, knowing God as Creator is not the same as knowing him as Redeemer. Muslims might know God as Creator but not as Redeemer.
Therefore when they worship, they envision a god who lacks the redeeming character and ways of the Father of Jesus Christ.
Bottom line: Muslim and Christian worship can be heard by the true God, but the two camps of worshipers envision him as different gods.
So do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Yes and No.