Q. In spite of your usually tolerant attitude, I assume you cannot tolerate the new cult of Chrislam, arising in Protestant churches. Many Christians think that Allah is the same as Yahweh. What is your view?
A. My tolerance goes as far as the Bible goes, hopefully no more and no less. Chrislam is an attempt to merge Christianity with Islam (syncretism), assuming they only call the same God by different names. My view is that those who try to blend the two do not know the God of the Bible at all.
Christians believe in the Triune God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – Three Persons in One God. We believe that Jesus is God incarnate, and that salvation is available only through Him:
• Jn 1:1, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
• Jn 10:30 I and the Father are one.
• Jn 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
• Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name (Jesus Christ) under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Islam, on the other hand, believes that Allah has no sons, that Jesus was only a prophet lower than Mohammad, and certainly not God. To Muslims calling Jesus God is blasphemy. It is not a matter of calling the same God by different names because of different culture, but fundamentally different. They are poles apart. How anyone can reconcile the two is beyond me. The two are irreconcilable and can never be. It is simply Satan blinding the minds of the unbelieving so that they can’t see (2 Co 4:4).
Recently we had occasion to evaluate a potential coworker’s beliefs to see whether they are compatible to ours. Since he had not written out his “statement of faith” or “philosophy of ministry“, we had to ask his position on various “fundamentals of the faith” and what his practice would be under different scenarios. Some tools we had found useful in situations like these are the five fundamentals, plus the three main historical creeds:
1. Apostles’ Creed – AD 390, based on the Roman Symbol (Creed) of the first to second century. It was not written by the apostles but contained a summary of their teachings.
2. Nicene Creed – AD 325, which emphasized the divinity of Jesus.
3. Chalcedonian Creed – AD 451, which stressed the two natures (divine and human) of Christ unified in one person.
There are others, such as Athanasian Creed (AD 500) which defended the Trinity, and subsequent confessions of faith during the Reformation, but these were the main one we referred to as a checklist to quickly assess whether a person’s beliefs are orthodox.
Q. You Christians believe in three Gods: the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet you say there is only one God. You are contradicting yourself and totally confusing! How can anyone believe you?
A. Christians believe in one God who exists in three persons, not three Gods. There is no contradiction. The answer involves classical logic, the law of non-contradiction, which states that something cannot be both true and not true at the same time when dealing with the same context.
Those who say that the Trinity is a contradiction misunderstand what the doctrine actually said. They think that it said:
* God is one being and God is three beings, or
* God is one person and God is three persons
at the same time and in the same respect, in which case it would indeed be a contradiction. However, that’s not what the doctrine states.
The doctrine actually says that God is one being in three persons. Being is the essence or nature. It is who you are. God’s essence is that He is deity, that which makes Him God. Persons means independent individuals, distinct from each other. The Bible teaches that there are three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are distinct from but equal to each other. Rightly understood, the doctrine of the Trinity states that there is one God, one essence, and this one essence exists in three Persons. God is one in one sense (being), and three in another sense (persons). It does not state that God is one and God is three in the same sense at the same time. There is no violation of the law of non-contradiction once you define everything clearly.