Q Since Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all call upon the God of Abraham, we don’t need to evangelize Jews and Muslims—or do we?
A Followers of all three religions believe that there is only one God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. However, both Judaism and Islam starkly contradict Christianity in their view of the nature and character of God, sin and salvation, and the person and work of Jesus Christ.
First, the nature and character of God: Jews and Muslims believe that God is the Transcendent One. No one can enter into God’s presence because of God’s holiness. One implication of this doctrine is that God is distant from us and our affairs. Christians, who profess God as a Trinity, believe this Creator God has broken into our world and became personal and approachable to us. In Jesus Christ, God has dwelt among us in the flesh; he knows our pain and suffering.
Second, sin and salvation: Jews believe we are born good but become sinners by choosing evil; we can atone for our sins through prayer and repentance. Muslims believe we are sinners because Allah has willed it; salvation is based on purification by good deeds such as prayer and fasting (Quran 7:6-9). Christians believe we are sinners and salvation is by grace alone, exclusively based on the works of Christ.
Third, the person of Christ: Jesus claims that there is only one way to God, through him (John 14:6-7). He is the ultimate revelation of God. If we want to know what God is like, we need to look at Jesus (14:9-11).
Do we need to reach Jews and Muslims? Let one expert in Judaism answer that for you. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? . . . ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Rom. 10:14-15).
—Victor Ko is a church planter with mosaicHouse in Edmonton, Alta.