St. John of Damascus, or the Damascene, would be my patron saint, if, as a Protestant in the Anglo-Catholic tradition was allowed to have one. Otherwise, we can just say he is my…wait for it…. homeboy.
There has been a recent discussion on whether or not Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Many, mainly, evangelicals disagree. However, others (usually the theologically bereft, unitarians, liberals, progressives and atheists who still pretend to believe…oh, and the Pope) say “yes.”
I admit I am torn. I point to the nature of God Christians hold to. We believe God is a Trinity, that there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This nature is one of Love. I can point to other things as well, but each of them are a direct counter to the Islamic Allah. I can draw a line pointing to the Truth of Christian doctrine and the falseness of Islamic thought.
However, to be honest, I struggle with saying I worship the same God as people like Westboro, John Calvin, and the modalists.
But, if I turn to my patron saint, I learn how the Pope could suggest we worship the same deity. It is not moral relativism. It is not some theory of relativity. It is not the same as saying that all deities are essentially the same. Rather, we can affirm we worship the same God as Islam but do so in such a way as to stand with our forefathers in the faith while acknowledging the truthfulness and absoluteness of the Christianity creeds, and the more so, those who had to live under Islamic rule.
St. John, in his chapter on the “superstition of the Ishmaelites” doesn’t treat Islam as a separate and new religion, but as a heresy descending from Arianism and Nestorianism. It is a corruption upon corruption. Yet, Islam still holds to the same God, even if wrongly — even if in grave error. While he mocks their errors, he plainly sees the Muslims as a sect of Christian heretics.
There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites… From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.
So I guess I have to agree with St. John. We do worship the same God. They just get it wrong. Islam is a Christianity heresy.
Also, let me recommend to those who know everything there is that Google can provide on Islam but still appear rather silly on Facebook this book.
Check out this post by Dr. T. Marshall.