In a recent video on social media by the Vice President of Ghana H. E. Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, he made some remarks about Christians and Muslims that has sparked debates.
The Veep, who is a staunch Muslim, said the following in a speech he made on a Christian platform;
"As children of the only one and true God, whether Muslim or Christian, we all believe in the God of Isaac, Jacob and Abraham. We all believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ...We all believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour and He will come back to save the world. So, this is what should bring us together as a people. We must see religion as a force for unity and not a force for division. This is a charge we must keep as children of God.”
In an earlier news report of a speech he gave, he said some things to the same effect when he noted,
"Indeed, there are more mentions of Mary in the Holy Quran than in the whole New Testament… We all believe in the miracles of Jesus Christ. We believe as Muslims he talked when he was in the cradle. We believe the miracles He performed to give sight to the blind and so on. In addition, as Muslims and Christians we all believe that Jesus will come back before the day of judgment, to defeat the false prophet or the anti-Christ. We all share that common belief as Muslims and Christians.”
Let's take our time to deal with the issues Dr. Bawumia raised and interrogate them considering what the Bible teaches. In Berea, the believers measured the teachings of Apostle Paul against what the Bible teaches to know whether they were true. (Acts 17:11)
Before we delve into the main issues, let's consider the major effect of believing Christians and Muslims worship the same God. If a Muslim is a child of God just like a Christian is, then they are part of the redeemed and bride of Christ. It will therefore be unfruitful to reach out to Muslims with the gospel of Christ. But for us Christians, we believe that anyone outside of Christ needs salvation which is by the grace of God alone. (Ephesians 2:8)
Dealing With The Main Issues
Let's proceed to the issues raised and see how they square with the revealed word of God.
In Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, J. Rodman Williams noted that a key function of doing theology is to correct errors which Paul affirms in Ephesians 4:14 that sound teaching avoids people being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
"Theology serves as a corrective to departures from the truth. By articulating as clearly as possible the various truths of the Christian faith, it indirectly seeks to redress imbalances or errors that may have occurred. It is essential for the health of Christian faith to point away from such deviations."
An article on Wikipedia summarised the great gulf of difference between Christianity and Islam,
"Muslims view Christians to be People of the Book, and also regard them as kafirs (unbelievers) committing shirk (polytheism) because of the Trinity, and thus, contend that they must be dhimmis (religious taxpayers) under Sharia law. Christians similarly possess a wide range of views about Islam. The majority of Christians view Islam as a false religion due to the fact that its adherents reject the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.”
There are four (4) issues I want us to clarify:
#1. Are Christians And Muslims Children Of God?
"As children of the only one and true God, whether Muslim or Christian, we all believe in the God of Isaac, Jacob and Abraham.”
It is true that God made all human beings including believers and unbelievers (Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 24). But does the Bible teach that Christians and Muslims are children of the living God? Certainly, to say Muslims are children of God means that we are all cut from the same Source. Yes, Islamic religion has its semblance with the Jewish way of life which can be found in the Old Testament, but does that qualify them to be children of God? It will be erroneous to say yes because not even all Jews are Christians (Romans 9:6-9).
Who is a child of God according to the Bible? The Bible teaches that the children of God are the righteous who have put their trust in His Son Jesus Christ. Both Jews and Gentiles who have repented of their sin and have faith in Christ Jesus are children of God. Have Muslims placed their trust in Jesus Christ?
Writing on Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? Dr. Al Mohler, Christian theologian and President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary noted that,
"Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Christians worship the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and no other god. We know the Father through the Son, and it is solely through Christ's atonement for sin that salvation has come. Salvation comes to those who confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in their hearts that God has raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). The New Testament leaves no margin for misunderstanding. To deny the Son is to deny the Father.”
Let's look at some Scriptures to make this matter clear:
John 1:12-13 (NKJV) says,
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Romans 8:14 (NKJV) notes that,
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
Galatians 3:26 (NKJV) says that,
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Can Muslims confidently boast about the finished work of Christ on the cross they don't believe even happened? Can they say they have received Christ, are led by the Spirit, and have faith in Christ? I doubt it. At best what they will say is that they will go to heaven because of their good deeds. But Christians believe that we are children of God, and we have eternal life because of the word of Christ on the cross. By now, I am sure you have concluded that it is impossible for both Christians and Muslims to be children of God.
#2. Do Christians And Muslims Believe In The Virgin Birth?
“We all believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.”
"Indeed, there are more mentions of Mary in the Holy Quran than in the whole New Testament… We all believe in the miracles of Jesus Christ. We believe as Muslims he talked when he was in the cradle. We believe the miracles He performed to give sight to the blind and so on.”
It is easy for people to say Jesus was born by the virgin Mary but very difficult for Islam to swallow that Jesus is God Almighty. In fact, they go ahead to say that “We believe as Muslims he (Jesus) talked when he was in the cradle”.
Don't be confused. Saying Jesus was born of virgin Mary is one part of the truth. It is historically undeniable that the virgin birth of Christ happened. Here is another part which makes it whole: ‘do Muslims believe Jesus Christ is God?’ Here is where all hell breaks loose because they don't. If they do, that will amount in their logic as having multiple gods to worship. They deny the Holy Trinity which the Apostles’ Creed affirms. The Trinity teaches that there is one God who exists in three equally divine “Persons”, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The virgin birth is not just a human birth but also a supernatural birth. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary to conceive the Child Jesus. Thus, the Bible teaches that Jesus is God incarnate. He is 100% God and 100% man.
Pastor-Teacher John MacArthur wrote in The Gospel According to Islam that,
"Islam rejects the Trinity and the God of the Bible, insisting instead that Allah alone is the one true deity. It denies that Jesus is God, that He died on the cross, and that He was raised from the dead. Instead, say Muslims, Jesus was but one of thousands of prophets sent by Allah, the greatest of them being Mohammed. In other words, Jesus was merely a man.”
Here are what Scriptures say about this:
"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV)
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 NKJV)
Long before Jesus was born, Isaiah 9:6 said,
“6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Alright, let’s read the Quran’s own testimony on this:
It is written in Surah 112:0-4 that,
“In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Proclaim, “He is the One and only God. The Absolute God. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him.”
Again, Surah 25:2 says,
“He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and who has not taken a son and has not had a partner in dominion and has created each thing and determined it with (precise) determination.”
Therefore, if you only pitch Jesus at human level, you are likely to put Him at par with Mohammed or any other worldly leaders. But that will be half-truth which is no truth. For Jesus to be 100% God and 100% man means that He is perfectly qualified to atone for man’s sins. Thus, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
#3. Do Christians and Muslims Believe Jesus Is The Saviour?
“We all believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour and He will come back to save the world.”
“In addition, as Muslims and Christians we all believe that Jesus will come back before the day of judgment, to defeat the false prophet or the anti-Christ. We all share that common belief as Muslims and Christians.”
This is another statement that needs to be unpacked. If Jesus is the Saviour, does He save people to become Christians, Muslims and other religious sects? If so, then we are headed for confusion because every religion will claim to have their own way to heaven. But this can be easily settled by the word of God.
Jesus is our Saviour in the sense that He delivers us from the wrath of God and the powers of sins. He came to save that which was lost. Galatians 1:1-5 says Jesus is the Son of God who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from evil.
Writing on Is Allah of Islam the same as Yahweh of Christianity? Daniel Janosik, Adjunct Faculty (Apologetics), Columbia International University stated that,
"…Muslims deny that Jesus died on the cross and they reject the belief in his resurrection from the dead. Only a triune God, defined as one essence and three persons, could become incarnate and still remain God of the universe, and yet this is the God that Muslims reject. For them, Jesus cannot be God nor can God be a Father, for he cannot have a son. Therefore, if Muslims reject God as the Father of Jesus, then Allah cannot be the same as the God of the Bible.”
Let's look at some Scriptures about Jesus as Saviour:
1 Timothy 1:15 says,
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
John 14:6 says,
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
1 Timothy 2:5 states,
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
Acts 4:12 notes,
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
If Jesus is the Saviour of both Christians and Muslims, why do we have two separate ways of worshiping God and Allah? If Jesus is their Saviour, is He also their God because Christians submit to Jesus as their Lord (Philippians 2:9-11)? These are important questions that expose the notion that Muslims believe Jesus is Saviour.
#4. Must Muslims And Christians Unite?
“So this is what should bring us together as a people. We must see religion as a force for unity and not a force for division. This is a charge we must keep as children of God.”
I knew when the Vice President was making the above assertions, he would finally end where he says we must all unite. Unity on what basis and for what? If Muslims are truly regenerated, the call for unity is pointless because truly born-again people are already united in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-6).
1 Peter 1:22 says,
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,.”
John 17:21-23 states,
“21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
Christian unity is driven by love and anchored on sound biblical doctrine. If Islam does not believe that Jesus is God, that He died on the cross, that salvation is in Him alone, then on what basis are we equally yoked together? How can two walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3). We unite because we are children of God who are washed by the blood of Christ and continually being worked on until our final salvation.
I would plead with the Vice President to call the unsaved to the cross for the mercy of God. No amount of religious talk and struggling to show similarities will bring unity of any spiritual value.
Let the unsaved heed the example of the tax collector in Luke 18:13-14.
“13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I (Jesus) tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
It is important to reiterate our main points which Pastor John MacArthur aptly reechoes in Understanding Islam when he wrote,
"Islam is fundamentally and irreconcilably opposed to biblical Christianity. Islam teaches that Jesus Christ was a mere man–a prophet, and not God incarnate. Islam also denies that Jesus died on a cross. Obviously, if Christ did not die on the cross, He did not have to rise from the dead; so Islam denies the resurrection, too.
Islam further teaches that no one can have salvation but a Muslim. Even though a Muslim can never know whether he has salvation, only Muslims can have it in the end.”
It is imperative for Christians to know our doctrinal values in order to properly preach to the dying world. If we don't draw the dividing lines, we will water down our cherished doctrines that will offer no eternal value to the world.
May the Lord help us to understand what we believe and live them before the world.
Share what you have learnt with me. I will be glad to read them.