President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, Albert Mohler, has shot down a claim by controversial Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins that Christians and Muslims worship the "same God."
"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," wrote Mohler in a post on his website about the controversy.
Hawkins, a tenured associate professor of political science at the Evangelical college caused a stir in Christian circles when she asserted on social media on Dec. 10 that Christians and Muslims worship the "same God." She is now on paid administrative leave for violating Wheaton's statement of faith but continues to stand by her comments.
Christians and Muslims, she explained to Chicago's WTTW on Monday, worship the same God "albeit, differently."
"In no way did I make a moral equivalency between Jesus and Muhammad and Islam and Christianity. That would be offensive to my Muslim friends and it would be offensive to my Christian friends to pretend that the religions are the same or they are not different, either in practice or theology," she said.
Mohler argues, however, that Hawkins went a bit too far in trying to defend her reason for wearing a traditional Muslim hijab over the holiday season to show solidarity with her Muslim neighbors with the "same God" comment, because while there are similarities between Islam and Christianity, they do not reflect the same idea of God.
"Historically, Jews and Christians and Muslims have affirmed many points of agreement on moral teachings. All three theological worldviews hold to a linear view of history, unlike many Asian worldviews that believe in a circular view of history.
And yet, when we look more closely, even these points of agreement begin to break down," he noted.
"Christian trinitarianism is rejected by both Judaism and Islam. Muslims deny that Jesus Christ is the incarnate and eternal Son of God and go further to deny that God has a son. Any reader of the New Testament knows that this was the major point of division between Christianity and Judaism. The central Christian claim that Jesus is Israel's promised Messiah and the divine Son become flesh led to the separation of the church and the synagogue as is revealed in the Book of Acts," explained Mohler.
"In making her claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, the professor claimed the authority of Pope Francis, and since Vatican II the Roman Catholic Church has become ever more explicit in its teaching that salvation can come without a conscious and explicit faith in Christ. This is simply not an option for Evangelical Christians committed to the authority of Scripture alone and to the Gospel as defined in the New Testament," he added.
Mohler further noted that while Judaism and Christianity share a genetic link, there is no such connection between Christianity and Islam.
"Evangelical Christians understand that, theologically, there is a genetic link between Judaism and Christianity. That is why Christians must always be humbled by the fact that we have been grafted onto the promises first made to Israel. In terms of both history and theology, there is no genetic link between Christianity and Islam. The Quran claims that to confess Jesus Christ as the divine Son and the second person of the Trinity is to commit blasphemy against Allah," he wrote.
"We must also understand that the most basic issue is the one Jesus answered with absolute clarity. One cannot deny the Son and truly worship the Father. There is no question that the Muslim is our neighbor, but there is no way to remain faithful to Scripture and the Gospel and then claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God," Mohler noted.