A few years ago, a Southern Baptist leader said he could not pray with Jews because they worshiped a different God. The response of most Christians was one of disbelief: Who was Jesus worshiping if not the God of the Jews?
The question becomes thornier in relation to Muslims, who are adamant that God is one, while Christians are adamant that God is one in three—to note just one remarkable difference between the two faiths. But are these differences as stark as they seem at first blush? Some theologians think they are even starker, and have argued such in Christianity Today's pages.
But Miroslav Volf, professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, is not one of them. Volf, formerly of Fuller Theological Seminary, is the author of many moving and thoughtful books, including Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Abingdon Press) and Against the Tide: Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities (Eerdmans). He tackles what he believes is one of the most important questions facing Christians and Muslims in Allah: A Christian Response (HarperOne). Mark Galli, senior managing editor of CT, spoke with Volf about the book.
You argue that Muslims and Christians worship the same god. Why is it important to determine whether they do?
They make up two of the largest religious groups worldwide, comprising more than half of humanity. They are at each other's throats, if not literally, then in their imaginations. And we need to find ways we can believe peacefully together.
Both groups are monotheists. They believe in one God, one God who is a sovereign Lord and to whom they are to be obedient. For both faiths, God embodies what's ultimately important ...