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Last year 138 Muslim leaders released A Common Word Between Us and You, a promising statement to the Christian world stressing common ground between the two great missionary faiths. Christians responded publicly by gathering with Muslims and Jews at Yale University this past July for dialogue, a good part of which was devoted to affirming the similarities between the great Abrahamic faiths.

Despite a strong Trinitarian statement at Yale from pastor Leith Anderson, and the realization of many of the Christian participants how wide the gulf is between Christianity and Islam on a host of issues, some evangelical leaders, including John Piper and Al Mohler, worry that in such conversations vital Christian doctrines about God can become blurred. Rick Love of Frontiers, for example, says Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Really?

Despite undeniable similarities, all monotheisms are not alike. Love notes that many Muslims who later become followers of Christ say that they worshiped the true God all along, but only with partial knowledge. Certainly God can reveal himself to Muslims however he chooses, but Islam does not lead lost sinners to God. Only Jesus does.

Yes, we should speak gently and respectfully, but if we truly love Muslims, we must tell them the truth as God has revealed it. Scholar of Islam Kenneth Cragg noted, "As long as Christ is Christ, and the church knows both itself and him, there will be a mission to Islam." I agree.

How can we engage in conversation and still stick to our theological guns? I propose employing the Apostles' Creed—a time-tested and easily digestible template of basic Christianity—to remind ourselves how much our beliefs differ from Muslims'.

• I believe in God, the Father ...

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Foolish Things
Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today and author of Missions in the Third Millennium and All That Jesus Asks. His column, "Foolish Things," ran from 2006 to 2007.
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November 2008

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