Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! (Psalm 150)
They’ve got a “Dummies” book for just about everything. But, this takes the cake! Well, not really. This book doesn’t exist, but the “Dummies” theme was used recently by a group promoting a free praise and worship workshop. The sponsors of the workshop want folks to attend “Because God deserves the best Worship!” To that I would simply say, “Amen!”
However, in our pluralistic, post-Christian, post-modern culture, we might ask ourselves, “Who is this God that we are supposed to worship?” For some, especially Christians of the Baptist persuasion, that should be a fairly easy and straightforward question to answer. Sadly, it is not.
At the recent Baptist World Alliance Convocation held in Honolulu, a focus-group discussion on Christian-Muslim relations took place. One of the panelists was Robert Sellers, a missions professor at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon School of Theology in Abilene, Texas. Professor Sellers, who served 25 years as a missionary in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, has been on the faculty of the Baptist General Convention of Texas affiliated theology school since 1998.
Dr. Sellers, who currently serves as the Professor of Missions Ministry and the Connally Chair of Missions, not only believes that Christians and Muslims share a “common belief in the God of Abraham,” but that we worship the same God.
Muslims are our religious siblings, for we are all descendants of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar,” Sellers said. “We worship the same God — the God of Abraham, the Creator God, the God of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
With all due respect to the good professor, Christians and Muslims do not share a common belief in the God of Abraham nor do Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The God of Abraham and the God of the Hebrew Bible (i.e., Old Testament) and the New Testament IS (not was) the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Jesus said that ALL of Scripture spoke of Him. If you fail to see Jesus as God, then you cannot share a common belief in the God of Abraham. And if Abraham were here, I’m quite sure he would tell you the same thing.
For a missions professor at a supposedly Baptist seminary to believe that the God of Christianity and the god of Islam is the same LORD God is not simply wrong, but heretically wrong! And I do not say that lightly. When an entire religion — be that Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Mormons — rejects the Trinitarian understanding of God, including Christ’s eternal pre-existence, then in no reasonably orthodox, Biblical, or Baptist way can one argue that this religion worships the One, True God revealed in Scripture as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The Bible teaches us that we are to praise the LORD! As pastors and professors, we are to teach our people — in the pews and in the classrooms — what it means to praise and worship God. But, before we do, we better make sure that we at least know that the God of the Bible and the god of Islam have never been nor will ever be one and the same. If we don’t know that, maybe its time to stop teaching.