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Christians, Muslims, and God: Wheaton College in the News

I am sure that many of you have heard of the recent incident involving Christianity and Islam at Wheaton College, my alma mater, an evangelical liberal arts college outside of Chicago.   Several readers have asked me about it.  Here is a typical query:

QUERY:

Wheaton College was in the news this past week. Apparently one of the professors was suspended because she claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Also, she wore a hijab to show solidarity with Muslims. You can read more about it at http://thinkprogress.org/education/2015/12/16/3732884/wheaton-suspends-professor-same-god/

I have believed the same, that the Christian God and the Muslim God are one and the same. Could you comment on this?

 

RESPONSE:

Let me start by saying that I deeply enjoyed and highly valued the education I received at Wheaton.  At the time – and still today, I’m sure – it was considered the premier liberal arts college in the evangelical Christian tradition.  Its evangelical credentials were and are completely bona fide.  Students there were all to agree to the evangelical doctrinal position of the college, which included statements not only about God as creator (who, among other things, created Adam and Eve directly, not through evolution), Christ as his unique son, salvation that came only through his death and resurrection, the complete inspiration of Scripture, and so on.  Most students there were committed to Christian evangelism and missions.  Among its famous graduates was Billy Graham.

It’s true, for me going there was a step toward liberalism.  My earlier training at Moody Bible Institute had been a lot more rigorous when it came to fundamentalist theology.  But after Moody I wanted a liberal arts education in an evangelical setting, and Wheaton was the obvious choice.

Its academic record was also impeccable.  At the time I was there it could claim that of all colleges and universities in the country (including the Ivy League schools on down), it was something like third in the percentage of its students that afterward went on to do PhDs.

During my two years there I didn’t take any courses in Bible or theology, or the like.  I had already had three solid years of that.  I majored in English literature, and also took courses in philosophy, history, psychology, and so on – a broad-based liberal arts education.  For me all this was eye-opening, as it began the process of my looking long and hard at my faith in light of all that I was learning, seeing that the world is a very big place with lots of wide-ranging perspectives (philosophies, cultures, religions, and so on) in it.  I very much remained an evangelical during my years there, as was expected; but anyone who has an open mind who reads widely in the great classics of our civilization and who learns about other peoples throughout history who are both sincere and different will have to sit up and take notice.

But I need to stress: even though the liberal arts were taught, the underlying assumption was that the evangelical form of Christianity was true and right and that, at least by implication and more often by flat-out assertion, it was ultimately the only religion that was true and right.  Many of us, in fact, refused even to *call* Christianity a religion.  For us, “religion” was a human effort to get right with God.  That’s what Judaism, and Islam, and Hinduism, and so on did.   Christianity was completely different.  It was a divine initiative to make people right with God.  Big difference in our mind.  All the other religions were religions; ours was a relationship.

And so a lot of readers have asked me if I’m surprised by Wheaton’s decision to suspend (temporarily apparently?) a faculty member (an associate professor of political science) who claims that Muslims worship the same God as the Christians.   My short answer is that no, I’m not surprised at all.

Whatever the faculty (who may be more liberally minded on the whole than the students and administration) might think, and even whatever individual members of the administration might think, the reality is that schools like Wheaton are answerable to boards of trustees and boards of governors and, ultimately, alumni – that is, people who provide the school with funding.   And the reality is that most committed evangelical Christians continue to think that their understandings of God, Christ, salvation, faith, Scripture, the world, and non-Christians are right, and that anyone who does not share these understandings is wrong.  The whole reason to evangelize others is to get them to see that they are wrong and need to come to be right.  You have to convert them.  Christians cannot make common cause with Muslims.

I don’t know precisely what the Wheaton administrators were thinking when they suspended this professor.  But when I was living in that context, we would have agreed that she was flat out wrong to think that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  In our view, at the time, Islam was a demonically-inspired religion that needed to be wiped out – not through violence (not at ALL through violence) – but through love and evangelism.  Out of love for fellow humans doomed to hell, we had to work to convert them to the truth.  For us, Muslims did not worship the true God.  If they did, they would realize that Christ is the only way to salvation.  It’s not that Muslims had gotten a few things wrong.  They were wrong to the core.

Now it is true that at Wheaton was where I was first seriously introduced to the notion of universalism.  That is the idea that ultimately God is sovereign over all things and will restore all things, including all people, to himself, at least those who are sincere in their commitments even if their theology is wrong.  In this view, devout Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, or whatever who devoted themselves to whatever version of truth they held – even if they were flat out wrong – would be saved by the grace of God.  Christ’s death was *that* powerful.  At the time, I didn’t buy this view, and considered it heretical.  But I knew of people who held it, even some who considered themselves evangelical.

Possibly this suspended professor holds some such view.  Possibly she holds an even more sophisticated theological view.  But I’m not surprised that her view did not fly with the administration of Wheaton College.  There is simply too long and strong a history of evangelical exceptionalism to make the view acceptable.  That is to say, for too long and for too much of that history those who stood in the evangelical tradition have insisted that other religious views were wrong and theirs were right, and one needed to convert to the truth in order to be saved.   Anyone on the faculty of the college who suggests something to the contrary does not fit easily into that tradition and has to be publicly chastened, lest they lead others astray.

Most people connected with Wheaton do not see it as “fundamentalist.”  But when it comes to issues of love, and generosity, and respect, and tolerance, it is sometimes hard to see the difference.

 

 


Desmond Tutu, True Christians, and Christmas
Jesus the Suffering Messiah

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Comments

  1. BrianUlrich  December 21, 2015

    Here’s why I was surprised: From a historical standpoint, it seems obvious they are meant to be the same God. Muslims and Christians just have different beliefs about the god in question.

  2. RAhmed  December 21, 2015

    Great post Dr. Ehrman. As a Muslim (who actually grew up Wheaton), I don’t actually find anything wrong with Wheaton College’s decision. If they had made the decision solely on the professor wearing a hijab to show solidarity, that could be viewed as a bit problematic. However, if her theological views conflict with the what the institution requires, I see nothing wrong with their decision.

    As for the question of whether or not Muslims worship the same deity as Christians, as a Muslim I find the question a bit baffling because that’s a very fundamental idea within the Quran. No Muslim I know thinks we worship different Gods as its the same being that created Adam, sent Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, so on. All of them along with others are referred to as “those sent” by God. So unless there are two deities involved, it’s the same being.

    For Muslims there isn’t a question of whether we worship the same God as Christians. The answer is a clear yes. The question is on the nature of this God. Is he a single Unity without any parent, child, partner, or creator? Or is he three beings that are separate but one, who came down as a human and had himself killed? Is he as Deuteronomy says “YHWH Echad” and the Quran says “Allahu Ahad”; God is One. Or is he three? That’s what Muslims see as the difference.

    • willow  December 24, 2015

      RAhmed, Bart, it has long since seemed to me that Muslims and Jews have much more in common than say either Jews and Christians, or Muslims and Christians, for this very same reason: The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob is One God, One Lord, and aside from Him there is no God, no Savior, or so it is written.

      Christianity altars/changes God as He is presented in Old Testament/Torah/Tanakh/Koran not only by making Him three in one, but also declaring Jesus to be God.

      If I am mistaken, in likening Judaism and Islam as more closely related than Christianity and Islam, or Christianity and Judaism, as you would know far better than I, please explain.

      (This is where arguments from those such as Bass drives me nuts: God is God but Jesus is Lord, the Lord part of God, that second person of the trinity. Whenever the term “Lord” is mentioned in Scripture it is referring to Jesus and not God, or something like that.

      • RAhmed  December 24, 2015

        Willow, I suppose the answer to whether Islamic understand of God is closer to the Jewish understanding of God compared with the Christian view is a bit subjective. I’m sure a Christian and a Muslim would never agree on the answer. I think it’s up to every individual to examine the texts and decide for themselves. Certainly both Jews and Muslims agree that God is One and not three. I would say the Quran is much more explicit and clear about this than the Hebrew bible in that there are no semi-divine beings, sons of God, or Sons of God. Humans are never referred to as God’s children figuratively or literally. All that there is is a creation of The Creator and all of His creation is referred to as a slave in that they all do what they are commanded and have no share in authority or power with God.

        Even though the Hebrew Bible has some ambiguity as to whether the god of Israel was the ONLY god, or whether the word Elohim refers to multiple gods, or if Yahweh was originally one of many Caananite gods, I don’t know of any forms of modern Judaism that understand God in any less monotheistic of a way than Muslims do.

        As for which of the two religions (Islam/Christianity) as a whole are closer to Judsaism? I would say the answer is neither. All three religions are very different in practice and I think they should all be understood and respected as such. There are certainly overlaps such as performing prayer, fasting, tzeddekah/zakkat/charity, and a shared understanding of the history of Israel, however all three have major differences too. I think the biggest difference between Judaism and Islam is that in Judaism, God and religion are tied directly with Israel itself. The holidays, temple cult, being the ethnically chosen nation, Zion being the dwelling place of God, etc.. In Islam, all of these things are foreign. There is no sacrificial cult (I don’t use that word in a negative way), no nation is chosen, and God doesn’t dwell in any specific place in the Universe. There is a heavy emphasis in Jusaism that the God is the God of Israel. I think if there is one passage in both the Quran and Bible that demonstrates this well and it’s a question the Pharaoh asks Moses. “Who is your Lord?” to which Moses responds “The God of the Hebrews”. The same incident is captured in the Quran but the the answer here is “the Lord of the heavens and the earth.”

        • willow  December 28, 2015

          Thank you, RAhmed, for responding. 🙂 Based on what you have said regarding the differences between the God of the Jew, Christian and Muslim, (etc) coupled with my own understanding, I am yet left with the (arguable, perhaps) possibility that the God of the Jew, Christian and Muslim, are not one in the same, but three different and distinct entities who but share a common history and some similarities; but then, I tend to believe that none of us fully know or understand God, regardless of eons spent experiencing, contemplating and writing.

          We are, after all, only human, and how is it possible that a fallible human, be he Moses or Mohammed, could ever fully and correctly define and describe, God? I believe that we won’t truly know God until He, as He says He will, reveals Himself to us; at which point every knee shall bow, as well as I believe that we will all be utterly awestruck by His mercy that will, at long last, unite us all.

          That being said, I fully agree: “I think it’s up to every individual to examine the texts and decide for themselves”.
          Indeed.

          Again, thank you for responding.

          • Muhammed  May 3, 2016

            Hi willow , Simply put we do worship the same GOD.

            In the Quran GOD says And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” ( 29:46 )

            Islam has more in common to Christianity then Judaism ( we believe in the virgin birth of christ and his second coming )
            and
            Islam has more in common to Judaism then Christianity

        • Sharon  January 2, 2016

          Thank you for such a great education.

    • kirbyhopper  February 8, 2016

      Rahmed thanks for sharing that. I wished my fellow Christians could see the that it’s not necessary for Christians to be Trinitarians and if they would make it known to Muslims that it’s not a necessary Christian belief then it would be easier for Muslims to receive from what Christianity has to offer.

  3. awgonnerman
    awgonnerman  December 21, 2015

    This is my favorite commentary on the topic. Seems to describe the situation as I see it as well. In my own post on the topic I took the theological route. http://adamgonnerman.net/post/135440899637/which-one-god-one-of-the-news-items-that-pinged

    If I thought there were one (or any) god, I’d possibly argue that someone was mistaken about his/her nature. As it is, it seems to me that the Trinity is not the same deity as that of Judaism or Islam, although they have the same source in the Abrahamic tradition.

  4. talmoore
    talmoore  December 21, 2015

    Dr. Ehrman, from your experience how many evangelical Christians have ever read the Qur’an or learned about Islam in general? Back when you were a fundamentalist, would have read the Qur’an (“to see what the big deal is”)? Would you have been criticized by other fundamentalists for doing so?

    • Bart
      Bart  December 22, 2015

      Very few indeed! And those who have have done so to help them figure out how to convert Muslims.

      • MMahmud  December 23, 2015

        Usually they blatantly lie against the book, attempt to distort parts and when refuted, repeat what they said as if they never heard you, hoping some ignorant Muslim will fall for their weak arguments.

        Evangelical preachers usually demonstrate very deplorable(to say the least) behavior when preaching.

  5. randal  December 21, 2015

    How can they deny that it’s not the same God? Muslims trace their faith back to Abraham through Ishmael. So Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same God just in very different ways. Even when I was a fundamentalist I understood this (although I thought that I was right and they were wrong). My question is on what basis are they arguing that it’s not the same God? I just cannot see how you can argue it’s a different God?

  6. Mhamed Errifi  December 21, 2015

    hello bart
    Before I asked my question I would like to make comment . You have to know only christians and jews who live in the western world think that Allah is not God of Abraham , but those who live in Arab world see no problem calling God Allah .Dont be fooled by anybody , if they tell you that Allah is the arabic word for God No it is not . This is my proof for that . when an Arab wants to say in Arabic my God or my god or he wants to say zeus was god of ancient Greek he cant use the word Allah he has to use another word ( Elah ) therefore the word Elah = God and also Elah = god unlike English we have one word Elah to refer to true god as well as to false god just like dieu in French .if you watched the movie passion of christ when jesus was on the cross he cried out my god why have you forsaken me in Aramic he said Elahi for my God and thats exactly how I would say it in Arabic the ( i ) in arabic is my . Allah is the personal name of God of Abraham and no other god can be called Allah this is like the name Yahweh in the bible

    Now my question : Being an expert in Arrmaic Jesus language is it true that the word for God in Armaic is Allaha ?

    Thanks

    • Bart
      Bart  December 23, 2015

      I decided to ask my colleague Joseph Lam, an expert on Semitic languages, to make sure I got the details right. Here is what he says:

      In Biblical Aramaic, it’s [‘ĕlāhā’]. Technically, this is the “emphatic” or “definite” form–the Aramaic definite article is a suffix [-ā’] instead of a prefix as in Hebrew. So the absolute form is [‘ĕlāh] “god” and the emphatic form is [‘ĕlāhā’] “the god”–but absolute forms mostly drop out of use in later forms of Aramaic. (Note, all of the single-quotation marks in the transliterations above represent ‘alephs.)

  7. toejam  December 21, 2015

    Ehrman said: “Many of us, in fact, refused even to *call* Christianity a religion. For us, “religion” was a human effort to get right with God. That’s what Judaism, and Islam, and Hinduism, and so on did. Christianity was completely different. It was a divine initiative to make people right with God. Big difference in our mind. All the other religions were religions; ours was a relationship.”

    As someone who talks very regularly with evangelicals and fundamentalists, this is a common apologetic I hear. In Australia where I live there is a national census every four years. I always remind them that if what they state is true – that Christianity is *not* a “religion” – then they should be consistent and not tick the “Christianity” box on the next census question that asks them “What religion are you?”.

  8. Sharif  December 22, 2015

    I don’t understand their logic. Don’t they believe they worship the same god as Jews? Do they think Christians who may have a different understanding of God from their own are in fact worshiping a different god? Why does the case seem to be different with Muslims?

    • Bart
      Bart  December 22, 2015

      Yes, it’s a great question: how many different gods are worshiped by Christians? (!)

      • MMahmud  December 23, 2015

        It is a little strange when some Muslims start claiming we and Christians worship the same God. What one takes as a god depends on ones beliefs-Christians worship Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ worshipped the God of Abraham who Muslims worship. Even Jews in Medina called God Allah before Muhammad sallahualayhiwasalam was born.

        I don’t see the need to get into these conundrums and fallacies. We are obviously different religions and don’t agree on the most core creed. The college had every right to suspend her. Right now evangelicals are facing what they may observe to be an onslaught on their faith. It is possible they see what she did as a major betrayal.

      • Sharon  January 2, 2016

        If you have already expanded on this subject, which I find very interesting, please let me know where I can find it. Thanks!
        Sharon

        • Bart
          Bart  January 3, 2016

          I”m not sure which point you’re referring to! It’s possible to use the search function on the blog to find topics you’re interested in.

  9. Jana  December 22, 2015

    To play “Webster’s advocate” by allowing the professor to wear Muslim garb are we not on a slippery slope? Next professors at a Christian College could wear saris to show respect for Hindus and purple and yellow robes for Buddhists and long black cloaks for Greek Orthodox?

    • kirbyhopper  February 8, 2016

      At the bottom of that slope Evangelicals might find rest for their souls 🙂

  10. prairieian  December 22, 2015

    There is no war more bitter than civil.

    The common links between Judaism, Christianity and Islam are self-evident. Naturally their mutual hatred exceeds that of any other competing ‘religion’ to use your inverted commas.

    The pity of it all is equally self-evident. Hitchens’ had a point.

  11. Lawyerskeptic  December 22, 2015

    Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet. Do evangelicals think that Muslims have a different Jesus or do they think that Muslims misunderstand the same Jesus? I ask because it seems to me the same logic should apply to God and Jesus. They’re both in the Trinity.
    When you debated the resurrection with William Lane Craig or Michael Licona, seems to me you were talking about the same Jesus, but you disagreed whether he rose from the dead. To the best of my memory, not once did Craig or Licona say you were talking about a different man. There’s probably a fancy philosophical term for this point, but I don’t know it.
    Jesus existed here on earth. He had a objective existence. That may be why we don’t think about more than one Jesus, but don’t evangelicals believe that God has an objective existence?

    • Bart
      Bart  December 22, 2015

      Yes, it’s really confusing; obviously my Jesus is different from their Jesus, but they probably wouldn’t put it that way. But most evangelicals are reluctant to admit that other religions are simply different routes to the same god.

  12. oakspear  December 22, 2015

    I wasn’t surprised when Wheaton’s administration took this action. You mentioned the opinion that Islam is demonically inspired, heck, a lot of biblical literalists believe that other CHRISTIAN denominations are demonically inspired! I once saw a history book from Bob Jones University that described Catholicism as a false religion. That being said, there are Christians who are of the opinion that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same god, but that bthe Jews and Muslims are doing it wrong!

  13. teg51  December 22, 2015

    Ok, this is unrelated to this post, but i have been pondering this issue for awhile and it may sound like a softball question, but i’ve heard it from a few scholars including Robert Eissenman; here it is: Did Paul invent Christianity as we have it today, and if so, what did Jesus disciples actually believe? Ive thought about this, because i believe there is something to it. For example, Paul didn’t actually meet Jesus, yet a great majority of christian theology comes from his ideas. How many writings do we have coming from the people that actually knew Jesus? Zero! The incident that Paul claims he had with Peter where they seem to disagree fervently further strengthens my opinion that maybe we only got Paul’s version of what Jesus actually thought. Also, we hear from Josephus that James was an esteemed leader in Jerusalem and that his execution aggravated a lot of the jews, but it seems kind of at odds with paul’s own ministry in palestine where he is persecuted and rejected. Could it be that James was actually viewed differently from Paul because he had a different theology that came straight from Jesus, while Paul may have made up his own. Could it be that James and the rest of the disciples(including Jesus) were actually more like the sacari rebel groups; and paul came with his own pacifist agenda as Eissenman points out. Do you find any validity to this, and what are your thoughts?

    • teg51  December 22, 2015

      Correction, instead of sicarii i meant Essenes

    • Bart
      Bart  December 22, 2015

      I’ve talked about these issues on occasion on the blog. You might look at the blogs (for members versions) on April 24, 2014 and May 6, 2014, e.g.

  14. Macavity  December 22, 2015

    Wheaton College students are not required to believe the college Statement of Faith. However, the Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff are required to reaffirm annually the doctrinal statement of Wheaton College as a precondition for employment. The college recognizes that students are there to learn. As a student at Wheaton, I found that the faculty strongly encouraged students to think critically and form their own opinions rather than blindly accept decrees of authority figures of the past or even regurgitate faculty lecture notes.

    • Bart
      Bart  December 22, 2015

      Yes, thanks. I didn’t mean that students had to sign a statement (as we did at Moody, e.g.), but that there was a general expectation that we held evangelical views. Maybe that’s different now. When I was there, my professors were sometimes much more liberal than the students.

  15. Helmut  December 22, 2015

    Thank you for your response, Professor Ehrman.
    A few years ago, at a family gathering, I was sitting across from a relative who wanted to become a missionary in Poland to convert, I suppose, the heathen Catholics. I don’t remember how we got on the subject but I mentioned that I was surprised at the number of references to Jesus in the Quran. He replied that he had learned all about that and that it was just plagiarism. A few minutes later he stated how wonderfully the prophets predicted the coming of Jesus. To this day I don’t think I could respond to him.

  16. JSTMaria  December 22, 2015

    Hi Dr. Ehrman. Two quick questions… the first regarding Islam. I recently saw a post on Facebook about this issue and a fundamentalist was basically claiming that Islam was about “submission” and Christianity was about “choice.” I found this funny because when you think about the meaning of “take up your cross and follow me” like those who chose to leave EVERYTHING to follow Jesus, they were actually in total ‘submission’ to their God– by choice, sure, but total submission nevertheless. Is that not Christianity at its core? Are they really that different? I didn’t see them as being so different in this regard–just that few people follow Christianity in this manner other than monastics.

    Second question–totally unrelated topic. I recently saw a Mormon adaptation of the opening of John’s gospel where Joseph Smith appears to have taken out the word “logos” and changed it to “gospel,” obviously two totally different Greek words. I’m guessing that in all of your experience with the various manuscripts of John that you have never seen this??? Please advise. Have you ever looked into Mormon theology at all or spoken about it anywhere on the blog? (Okay, I guess that was a third question!). Thanks!

    • Bart
      Bart  December 22, 2015

      1. Yes, strains of Christianity have *always* been about submission. And Muslims can choose to believe as much as Christians can.
      2. I’m not familiar with this, but no, there are no Gospel manuscripts that read Gospel instead of Word.

  17. RonaldTaska  December 22, 2015

    As always, your more personal blogs are your best ones.

    Does Wheaton College still require students to sign doctrinal statements?

    I read the Koran and, to me, a lot of it, including some of its “history” of Old Testament characters, some of its emphasis on there being only one god, and some of its emphasis on divine ordered killing, seems to have been derived from the Old Testament. Is this a view shared by most scholars?

  18. dragonfly  December 22, 2015

    I’m not sure what to make of this. I suppose her intentions were to promote tolerance and understanding, but I think she was destined to fail on that count. I don’t think wearing a hijab would have been seen by anyone as being in solidarity with muslims.

    I thought the muslim god and the christian god was the same god, but i’m an outsider to both, and neither muslims or christians would see it that way. If you asked christians, jews and muslims, they would all say theirs is the one true god, who created everything, including adam and eve who started the human race. That sounds like the same god to me. But the path to righteousness is different for each, so in their minds that makes it a different god. It would have been interesting if islam had been around in marcion’s day i reckon!

    • RAhmed  December 22, 2015

      Muslims actually take it for granted that we worship the same deity as Christians (and Jews). Muslims don’t agree with Christians about the nature of God, but the Quran itself is explicit in saying that the God behind both religions is one and the same.

      • MMahmud  December 23, 2015

        Frankly this interfaith hoopla is a bunch of dishonesty. We also worship the same god pagan Arabs did however they, like Christians worship what we consider to be OTHER than Allah and therefore are polytheists as literally every Muslim in the past believed.

        As for “God behind the religions” that simply isn’t precise. Muslims affirm that Moses and Jesus were both Muslims and ethnically Israeli and that before Muhammad, whoever believed in one God and the messengers he had heard of are considered Muslims however we also affirm that Jews and Christians are nonbelievers, if not for polytheism then for disbelief in the faith.

        Islam is one of the most explicitly salvistically exclusive religions on earth. It is literally every in the Quran and earliest texts and agreement of Muslims for more than a millenia since inception.

        It is irrelevant to a Muslim whether a Jew if Christian affirms they believe in the same God or not. For one reason or another we believe they are all astray. Evangelicals may take an exlusive view of Christianity but Muslims historically ALWAYS have.

        • RAhmed  December 24, 2015

          MMahmud, I think you are mixing up two (or three) very different questions. The question being discussed was whether the God of the Quran and the God of the Bible are one and the same being. I think you, as any Muslim familiar with the Quran, would agree that the Being spoken about in Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible is the same Being that is the speaker in the Quran. The Quran itself is adamant about this.

          The second and third question you bring up are of which religion is “true” or whether Christianity is really a monotheistic religion. Neither of those pertain to the first question though.

  19. flcombs  December 22, 2015

    It is funny. Muslims claim to follow the god of Abraham, Moses, Noah and Jesus. Who is that god if not the god of the Bible? They just have a different understanding or view of that god due to the message being through Muhammad instead of Jesus or Moses, etc. Who is “right” if any is a theological argument. But based on Christian claims and beliefs, the argument could be made as they make against Muslims that they don’t follow the god of the OT either! If Christians can claim that the Jews just misunderstood or distorted God’s word to them and they’ve “fixed” things, so can the Muslims argue the same.

  20. JB  December 22, 2015

    I’m curious – is it also the case in this worldview that you have to be a Protestant evangelical to be a bonafide Christian? At the end of the day are Catholics/Eastern Orthodox/Mormons also demonically-inspired religions?

    • Bart
      Bart  December 22, 2015

      When I was a fundamentalist, I thought htese other forms of Xty were simply constructed by ignorant men. (I was a sexist then as well…)

      • Sharon  January 2, 2016

        Dr. Erhman, thanks for bringing your humor into this discussion! One one the things I love about your teaching videos.

    • kirbyhopper  February 8, 2016

      Yup, many of us Evangelicals took Catholic/Orthodox/Mormon/JW etc. to be the Devil’s attempt to draw people away from a saving faith. We had this litmus test: when you die and go to heaven and you stand before the gates, and the gatekeeper asks you why he should let you in, if your answer wasn’t “because Jesus died for my sins” then you didn’t have saving faith and out the door ya go.

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