Monday Musings for July 17, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

Did Jesus call God “Allah?” He spoke in Aramaic, so he probably did sometimes. But does his use of the word give credence to Islam? That’s a fair question — one of two asked by today’s seeker… the other being whether the virgin birth was a legendary add-on to the Gospels. The questioner sounded like a Christian, but these are common challenges from a Muslim perspective, so he might be engaging with them.

People use the name “God” all the time and mean different things by it. That’s how language works. So, I had to tap into some experts this week to sort things out — and I’ll share those findings. But let me ask you this question: If I make the case that Allah is just a common word for God and that there is nothing in the Bible to prevent you from using it, would you — as an American — use the word Allah for God?

I’m guessing no… and that would be wise. The word Allah carries some baggage around here. We associate that word with the Muslim God which many insist is not our God. But is he? Isn’t Allah our God… just missing a few parts?

Those are important parts, to be sure. Muslims deny the Trinity, the virgin birth, the deity and the salvific efficacy of Jesus Christ… and if I might weigh in here, those are definitive Christian doctrines. So, even though the Muslims are monotheistic like us, a god who does not have those Christian particulars cannot be the Christian God… so we’d better not use the word Allah when describing him. We should just stick to “God.”

But wait a minute. The Jews use the term “God” the same way that we do — and they’re not Christians. Shouldn’t that cause the same problem for us? Many people don’t think so. In fact, many Christians use the term “the Judeo-Christian tradition” for a little extra gravitas in discussions about the culture. This tells me that many Christians believe the Jews have the same God we do… and who can blame them! The Jews are monotheists like us, and they share a scriptural tradition like us… although the Jews deny the Trinity, the virgin birth, the deity and salvific efficacy of Jesus Christ… and if I might weigh in here again, those are definitive Christian doctrines.

Why do we fawn over the Jews and beat up the Muslims when Judaism has the same critical deficits as does Islam? Frankly — and especially with Jesus Christ in view — I don’t see a difference between their gods. You see (and, unless I have this part of my theology wrong), no one will be saved in this age without being born again… without resting on Jesus for salvation. If that is true, then there is no difference between unconverted Muslims and unconverted Jews; they are just lost people from different cultures.

But perhaps you think that the Jewish national identity will save them in this age… in spite of Paul’s teaching that such an identity gives them no salvific advantage today (Romans 10:12). But when you think about it, it wasn’t their national identity that saved them in the last age either. If it were, then none would have been lost… but many were lost… like Korah (Numbers 16:32)… despite being a leader in the nation of Israel.

The Gospel divides the entire world into only two categories of people: the saved and the lost… but then it homogenizes us twice by saying that all have sinned… but that all have equal access to salvation. Frankly, I don’t see where the Gospel prefers one people-group over another. The American Christian culture seems to prefer the Jews over Islam, however… and here’s the problem with that: if it is true that there is no longer any difference between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female (Galatians 3:28), then this practice sells Christ short.

To read the article referenced above, visit the link below.

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