The Triune God ≠ A Non-Triune God

A couple of evenings ago I read Rick Love’s response to John Piper’s thoughts on “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You.'” (“A Common Word Between Us and You” is available at http://www.acommonword.com/.)

One portion caught my attention:

Q: The Yale Response seems to imply that Allah is the same God that Christians worship. Is this true?

A: I do not hesitate to refer to the God of the Bible as Allah, since Arab Christians before and after the birth of Islam use the term Allah to describe the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christian and Muslim views of God are similar in that we both worship the one true God, creator of the heavens and the earth. We both believe this God will judge all peoples at the end of history. We both believe this God has sent His prophets into the world to guide His people. Christian and Muslim views of God differ primarily regarding the Fatherhood of God, the Trinity, and especially regarding the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I believe that Muslims worship the true God. But I also believe that their view of God falls short of His perfections and beauty as described in the Bible. Thus, I try to model my approach to Muslims after the apostle Paul who said to the Athenians: “What you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23).

Muslim background believers all over the world testify that they were previously worshiping God in ignorance and now they have come to know him in Jesus Christ.

I struggle to follow Rick’s logic here. How is it that Christians and Muslims both worship the one true God, creator of the heavens and the earth and judge of all peoples? To affirm the true God as creator involves ascribing to the Son His rightful role in creation (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2). Likewise, to affirm the true God as judge necessitates believing that the Father has given authority to the Son to judge the world (John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Cor 5:10; 2 Tim 4:1). The Christian God is intrinsically Triune—Father, Son, and Spirit. A God with no Son or Spirit is no god at all. The Triune God cannot be the same as a non-triune god. Thus, to worship a non-triune god is to worship a different god than the Triune God of the Bible.

John Piper is, in my view, the better guide on these matters. If you haven’t seen Piper’s short video, it’s worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/v/rTY-9FY13kw

Amen.

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3 Responses to The Triune God ≠ A Non-Triune God

  1. Markahuna February 4, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    And yet the Old Testament saints all worshipped the true God while not knowing about the Son and the Spirit. Our belief neither makes nor unmakes God. He is God no matter what I believe or don’t. It would then be possible for the Muslims to hold a faulty understanding of the One True God while they worship Him. My problem with Islam is that the God portrayed in their scripture isn’t just monotheistic, He is angry and vengeful, which isn’t the God portrayed in the Bible.

  2. Phil Gons February 4, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    I’d challenge your assertion that the OT saints didn’t know about the Son and Spirit. There are significant hints all throughout the OT about a plurality in the Godhead. See, e.g., Mike Heiser’s “The Concept of the Godhead in the Old Testament.”

    Regardless, there’s a huge difference between worshiping God as He progressively reveals Himself (i.e., OT believers) and worshiping a god of one’s own making by rejecting the progressive revelation that He has given of Himself (i.e., Muslims). Anytime you reject the revelation that God gives about Himself, you are departing from worshiping the one true God to a false god of your own making. This is, unfortunately, what Islam has done.

  3. Nick Norelli February 5, 2008 at 4:54 pm #

    I have to agree with Phil, Muslims aren’t simply worshipping God in ignorance. They willfully deny the Triune God of Judeo-Christianity.

    Phil, you might be interested in some of my thoughts on this subject that I did a brief little series:

    Muslims, Christians, and the One True God
    What’s in a Name?
    What’s in a Name? Pt. 2: Yahweh
    What’s in a Name? Pt. 3: Allah
    What’s in a Name? Pt. 4: Is Yahweh Allah?

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