This was the title of an article written by Gerald McDermott of Beeson Divinity school on 6-4-13, published in First Things. Continue reading . . .
This was the title of an article written by Gerald McDermott of Beeson Divinity school on 6-4-13, published in First Things.
McDermott responds to some of the arguments put forth by Yale theologian Miroslav Volf in his recent book: Allah: A Christian Response. Volf, says McDermott, answers the question with a nuanced but insistent Yes: Christians and Muslims do indeed worship the same God. In a review of Volf’s book, Baylor historian Thomas Kidd faults Volf for sidestepping the question of salvation “and therefore the question of true worship” and for not being critical enough in his evaluation of the identity of the God or gods of these two religions.
Kidd is quite right; indeed, there are deeper problems with Volf’s thesis. His argument for the identity of the Muslim and Christian Gods collapses under its own weight. Volf’s own logic underscores what the Qur’an itself suggests “that the God of the Qur’an is radically different from the God Christians worship.”
Volf argues that if Christians are to determine whether “the God whose final self-expression is found in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ [is] the same God as the God of the Qur’an,” they should compare “specific but overlapping convictions about God found in the holy books of Christians and Muslims.” If they find that descriptions of the object of worship are “sufficiently similar,” Christians can assume that “the object of worship is the same.” Most telling, he avers, are commands in the holy books: “If what God is said to command in the Bible were similar t