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Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?
by Timothy George
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Reviewed by: John L. Hoh, Jr.

This book answers a question, and many related questions, Americans have about Islam in the wake of September 11, 2001. What is Islam? Who are Muslims? What do they believe? Is Islam similar to Christianity?

In the first chapters I had the sense that this book might be a book saying "Christians and Muslims are kissing cousins and share similar values." But about halfway through the book I realized Professor George was setting me up like St. Paul set up the Athenians when he observed the alter to "the unknown god."

You see, Professor George takes a very evangelical approach to Islam and how Christians can witness to Muslim neighbors. And first he sets out to explain to the reader what Islam is, how it developed, how it co-opted from Judaism and Christianity. It is in the common ground--and in the built-in belief of one God--that we can share the Gospel in love to our Muslim friends.

Along the way Professor George has profound yet comprehensible looks into the Trinity, the unity of God, the deity of Christ, and our salvation. He compares those unique differences between the two faiths: Is the Islam concept of "God is loving" similar to or different from the Christian concept of "God is love?" If different, how do the two approaches affect how we view salvation? If God is loving, is the action dependent upon what we do? If God is love, does he love us no matter what?

The purpose of this book is to share Christ crucified with Muslims. This itself is a major roadblock because Islam does not believe Jesus actually was crucified and died (which by definition leaves out the resurrection, which is the bedrock of the Christian faith). (There are some in Islam who believe Judas died in Jesus' place.) In explaining the reality of Christ's crucifixion, Professor George explains how the views of Islam and Christianity differ. In Islam, sin is forgetting how to submit to God. Thus, the prophets are sent to remind the people to submit. By submitting, one is saved, in Islam theology. Sin is an action, not a condition, and a passive action at that. In Christianity, sin is active rebellion against God. As such, we cannot obey God's will or even come to faith on our own. Thus the Trinity sends God in flesh to die to pay for sin and the Holy Spirit to create faith and work lives of sanctification in our hearts.

This is an excellent book for all Christians to learn how to evangelically witness to Muslim neighbors. It is also a great book for Muslims to learn about the history of their faith. Christians will find there is a great deal of similarity between the faiths; Muslims will learn that Jesus is more than a great prophet; he is the Son of God who took on human flesh and died for us and will gather us to live with him for all eternity.

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