2018-09-06 / Opinions

Different names. Same god?

Guest VIEWpoint
By Pastor Steve Neuman
St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, Pigeon

Steve Neuman Steve Neuman While attending seminary, I participated in a jail ministry program at the Ozaukee County Jail in Port Washington, Wisconsin. As part of that program, I regularly led chapel services at the jail. I also had the opportunity to lead a month long Bible study with 10 inmates.

I can’t remember what topic we studied, but I do remember the final discussion. The final day, after we had finished our study, we were waiting for the jailer to come and return the men to their cells. One of the inmates, who was very new to the Christian faith, asked a question. I don’t remember his question. But I do remember the discussion that followed. Muhammed, one of the other participants, responded before I could. Muhammed answered this man’s question by telling him, “We all believe in the same god. You might call him ‘God,’ I call him ‘Allah,’ but, no matter what name you use, we worship the same god.”

Is that true? Many people think so. But, knowing that the Bible disagrees with that statement, I responded to Muhammed and asked him, “What do you believe about Jesus?” Muhammed responded that Jesus was a great teacher and a great preacher and he set a great example to follow.

I then asked Muhammed, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world?” When he said, “No,” I had to tell him that we don’t worship the same God.

Consider what Jesus tells us about himself. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

Although it sounds nice to say: ‘even though we use different names, we all worship the same God’ - it’s not true. Anyone who rejects Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world is worshiping a different god. Jesus also said, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

Later on, as the apostle Peter continued to witness about Jesus, he said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) The only way to heaven is through faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. May God grant us such a faith!

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