21st Century Evangelicalism

Is Allah God?

God is the creator of the universe. He sent his Son, Jesus, to reveal himself to us. And Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to infuse his life into us. But he is not the only spirit in this world. There are other spirits masquerading as God.

Our world has five types of spirits in it;

  • God’s Holy Spirit,
  • human spirits,
  • angels,
  • demons, and
  • Satan.

The one true almighty God, who created the universe, created us to reflect him. We are spirits who live in bodies for a while here on this earth, but our bodies are not us. We are human spirits who have the capacity to be infused by God’s Holy Spirit and receive his life. Angels are spirits who serve the one true God. They are messengers who do his bidding.

In contrast, our spirits can also be infused by the “god of this world” (see 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1John 5:19) or many other spirits who have evil intent and pollute people with bad ideas, deadly motivations, and darkness.

Evil spirits are commonly referred to as demons. Most Bible scholars believe demons were angels who rebelled against God and are now fallen. They are submitted to Satan, who is the god of this world.

As the god of this world, Satan wants people to believe he is THE all-powerful God. He rebelled against God because he wanted God’s authority, just as he does today. But he is not God, nor is he like him. He is a deceiver and a liar, and gains his power by lying to people and pretending to be light, when in fact, he is not. Paul wrote, Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14b-15a).

John addressed contrasting spiritual influences when he wrote 1 John 4:1-8

Dear Friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.

 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.

 Dear Friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

I define love as “living for the good of the other.” Since God loves us, he lives and cares for our good. If we, in turn, love him, we live our lives caring for his good. When a man and woman love each other, they live for the good of the other. This is one way Jesus (God’s Son) contrasted himself with Satan. He identified Satan as “the thief” and said, The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10).

The world is in a clash of civilizations, which might be the manifestation of a clash between the ideas of people who submit their lives to contrasting spiritual influences. The west is influenced by the ideas of Christendom; the Islamic world wants to please Allah. Some believe that Allah is just a translation of the English word, “God.” But that is not entirely accurate. When a Muslim learns English, they don’t start referring to God instead of Allah, but instead maintain the name, Allah, as the name of God.

Several years ago, political scientist Samuel Huntington published his famous book, The Clash of Civilizations, which gave a gloomy prediction of our future. In contrast, Thomas Friedman gave us a compelling counter-argument in his writings, that the forces within freedom, liberty, prosperity, free-markets and globalization would make the world more prosperous and safer for all. His implication was that Muslims would choose comfort and prosperity instead of adhering to the growing fundamentalist Islamic movement.

During that time I developed a series of talks contrasting these views, and interjected within them the role of the Church, Islam, the necessity of Christian missions and education, and the importance of the Church for the success of western ideals in the future. In addition, I participated in a series of decision-making discussions with major global leaders on what we referred to as the Huntington/Friedman contrast of the global geo-political situation and thus, our futures. Back then, I hoped that Friedman was right, but I also said that it was contingent on the wisdom of our Christian leaders. At that time I was concerned that evangelical leaders were distracted, that they had taken their eyes off of our primary global responsibility. Sadly, that opportunity is now past for the Church, and based on current geo-political indicators, global events indicate that Huntington was right.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the popular author of the best-selling book, Heretic, Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, has hope. She is urging the Islamic world to have a reformation similar to that of Christendom. She wants Islam to:

  1. Amend Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
  2. Amend the supremacy of life after death.
  3. Amend Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
  4. Amend the right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
  5. Amend the imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.

I do not believe this will happen. Christian reformation happened because the practices of the Church had veered away from Scripture and the reformers were demanding a higher view of Scripture in both faith and practice. In other words, our reformation facilitated an emphasis on the Scriptures and thus, the life-giving Spirit of God. The opposite is the case for Islam. When Muslims adopt a higher view of the Koran, they are radicalized, not for representing the love of God, peace, respect for others and forgiveness, but for a harsh demand of obedience to Allah and annihilation of those who don’t comply.

For there to be a reformation of Islam comparable to the Christian reformation, its adherents would need to grow away from the tenets of their faith and adopt a lower view of the Koran’s teachings. In other words, they would need to separate themselves from the spirit of Allah and turn, instead, to the Spirit of life. When Christians become devoted, they increasingly adhere to the teachings of the Bible that encourages them to love, forgive, turn the other cheek, be healing, and be kind. When Muslims become devoted, they tend to go a different direction.

Certainly we’ve seen that not all of those who claim to be Christians are immune to demonic ideas themselves. But our historic mistakes have not been representative of Christ or the New Testament Spirit-filled life he offers, even though some Christians will try to use the Scriptures to defend their own atrocities. President Obama was right when he reminded Christians at The National Prayer Breakfast of what we as Christians do when we are not operating in the life-giving Spirit of God, but are religious ourselves. He said, “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Jesus experienced this when Satan tempted him in the wilderness by using the Scriptures against him. God’s good work within the human heart is a spiritual uplift, an enlightenment, an ascent to a higher way of thinking. It lightens the load of life and provides encouragement. It is not the religious bigotry that some wrongly promote.

An open hearted reading of the New Testament offers God’s solution to wickedness in the human heart and removes the opportunity for outside evil influence, if and only if we submit to the Lordship of Christ and are filled with the Holy Spirit. If not, we’ll find ourselves hating and warring just like all who follow the “god of this world.”

Bottom line, any time we human beings depart from the Spirit of the one true God who is loving, redemptive, forgiving, healing, and kind, we find ourselves manifesting our own fallen natures influenced by the deadly god of this world. But this is the opposite of our Christian faith. Christian reformers had only to point to the Scriptures to teach us this. To what do Islamic reformers have to point their followers?

By tedhaggardblog

Ted Haggard is the Sr. Pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO and founding pastor of New Life Church and past president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the husband of Gayle, and the father of Christy, Marcus, Jonathan, Alex and Elliott.

28 replies on “Is Allah God?”

It’s a misnomer to treat “Allah” as the false god of Islam. Jews and Christians have been calling upon God translated “Allah” in the Arabic language since long before Mohammed was born. All Arabic Bible translations use the term “Allah” meaning God.

While that is a valid subject, it creates confusion to use the term “Allah” in contrast to the English “God,” and promotes ignorance vis-à-vis brothers and sisters in Christ who are Arabic-speaking. Mohammed misappropriated the Arabic word for God to his false god. It would be like if you would allow the Mormons to appropriate the English “God” and only use it in a strict Mormon sense even though orthodox Christians have always used, and continue to use the term. That is all I wanted to say about it.

True, it is confusing because of the translation issue. It’s a constant struggle for anyone who works with multiple languages. I think the most common is that we talk about the powerful name of Jesus. We pray in the name of Jesus, etc. But the hispanic community names their kids Jesus, and when Mom calls Jesus to dinner, demons probably don’t flee. lol. However, that is not what I’m addressing. I’m addressing the fact that there are lots of spiritual influences in the world and want people to consider whether or not there are various spirits at work here, or one spirit going by various names by virtue of language. Thank you for raising the point, but it’s not my point.

There are a variety of answers, some of which are different from generation to generation. And some are, as you say, just imaginary. The Scriptures t each a lot about this. I do wish more of our churches would teach the Bible so people could have a better understanding of the spiritual world. But, maybe that’s my role.

So whats the name of God in arabic is it not Allah? Just like we call God in swahili “Mungu”…….. I think you are trying to confuse people here. I dont agree with you on these one…. I have Christian friends who are Arabic and they refer to God as Allah..

No doubt, God in Arabic is “Allah,” but that does not mean that everyone who prays to and wants to obey and serve “Allah” is serving the same spiritual entity that Christian Arabs are serving. That is the question I’m posing.

And by the way you have not explained to us why Allah is not God. You just wrote things i couldnt understand. Would you mind explaining to us why Allah is not God.

Paul, I said what I said for a reason, and didn’t say more for a reason. I am watching the comments closely because others are giving some very good insight. I play on taking that, digesting it, and expanding this blog into a 16 page booklet for our congregation and our sister churches around the world. You observe correctly, but I’ve chosen not to comment further for a few more weeks.

Well, the title to this post is, “Is Allah God?” So to be unable to explain why Allah is not God (your wavering conclusion), perhaps you shouldn’t have tackled a subject that you are unwilling – or unable – to answer. Confusing the subject so as not to offend people who already have their mind made up, is to, in the end, divide and confuse (under the guise of “discourse”) rather than to unite and strengthen your message and doctrine instead.

I agree with your point about a Muslim reformation not being possible, in that it would require Muslims to move away from the Koran, not toward it. I have been saying this for many years. What our culture likes to call “Radical Islam,” is simply authentic, Koranic, Islam. Very few people acknowledge this because it is so politically incorrect, and don’t make that statement with any hatred in my heart toward Muslims, it’s simply a fact.

We all understand that there are many Muslims that are not “radical.” But there are also many Christians that don’t hold a high view of the Scripture. I see the non-radical Muslim in the same light as a luke-warm Christian. I get rather frustrated with the pundits that can’t seem to, or maybe just don’t want to, grasp this idea, but it requires a spiritual view of the world, and an understanding of what you are addressing in this article. Thank you Ted.

A luke warm Muslim is a Muslim who may be more open to Jesus and that is a good thing. I pray for more luke warm Muslim’s. See my story below

It is used mainly by Muslims to refer to God in Islam,[7] but it has also been used by Arab Christians since pre-Islamic times.[8] It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used by Bábists, Bahá’ís, Indonesian and Maltese Christians, and Mizrahi Jews.[5][9][10] Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia also use and have used the word to refer to God. This has caused political and legal controversies there as the law in West Malaysia prohibits non-Islamic uses of the word.[11][12][13][14]

Allah historically predates Muhammad. Aalah was/is a pagan moon god. A little history research may be appropriate…

Very good. I’ll look into that. I do have hesitation, though, with those types of historical studies in that we Christians do christianize pagan practices all the time. But I will take a look. Thank you.

Of course Ted, though I like your message, this is just your perspective coming from your indoctrination at the over priced and academically lacking Oral Robert’s University in Tulsa Oklahoma which is the capital of cheesy Christianity.

I am quite sure there are many Muslims Hindus, Buddhists that would take the same stance concerning their god.

Scripture alone us not enough to support such a theory. The Living a word will but Scripture alone is always a circular argument. Thus my indoctrination statement. Anyone at anytime can make any religious writing conform to their own view point without much effort.

This comment is not personal but rather a challenge to people proclaiming Biblical authority as universal truth.

lol. James, your comments are true but not news. Note that my blogs are “The Pastor’s Pen,” meaning that it is, in part, Bible teaching. Secondly, I am a Bible believing Christian who identifies as a “Rational Charismatic,” meaning I believe in the power of God and do not believe there is a conflict with that position and science, etc. So, guilty as charged, and it’s my role.

Pastor Ted, I believe some commenters have miss the main point of this enlightening discourse. Your comparison to the Bible and the Koran and what happens when we “reform” and really live out the literal text is spot on. But mainly, how does living out your “faith”, whether Islam or Christianity, cause you to respond to what you perceive to be evil? Romans 12:21 says “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good”. This includes how I individually treat others and how we live in committed Christian community as an example of Christ’s love and Lordship (the context of Romans 12 and John 13:35). Many, even professed Christians, speak and act as if its “overcome evil with evil”.

Linguistics surrounding the question, “Is Allah God?”

The short answer is yes. The name Allah is God in Arabic or Aramaic (the latter a language also spoken by Jesus), is a name that PREDATES the existence of the Islamic religion; in the same way Adonai as a name of God, predates the existence of Judaism, which is the root of Christianity. Muhammad may have coopted the name Allah for use in Islam, just as Christianity coopted all of the Hebrew names for God.

The posted article uses Biblical etymology; with which we learn that the roots of Christian faith are Hebraic and Judaic. That includes Abraham, the father of Ishmael and Isaac. The latter son’s descendants thru Jacob are the 12 tribes of Israel. God said, in Genesis 17:18-21, “I will surely bless him”, referring to Abraham’s request to also bless his first born son, Ishmael. His 12 tribes used the Arabic & Aramaic name Allah for God; BEFORE Islam was formed.

Per scripture, Christians, Jews, and Muslims share the same God of Abraham, The differences between those religions begin with who is Jesus, not with who is God.

As of 2010, there were 2.2B Christians and 1.6B Muslims in the world. We need to learn to live together in peace and harmony under the God that our father Abraham served.

Christians may need to focus less on justifying their religion or judging others religions; and instead look in the mirror, and ask why according to Pew research; by 2050, two thirds of the world will have not chosen Christianity.

If Christians, as many of them believe of themselves, are better equipped or have a higher calling to serve God in Jesus name; that means they have to reach out and offer hope and help, using the gifts of humility, mercy, grace, compassion, charity, and love; to those of other or no faith. Might that change the predictions for 2050?

You know I would have agreed with you about 7 years ago as my beliefs in the Islamic world had not been challenged by real life and meeting them in person. A little background: I worked in mortgage business in 2007 when as you probably know the economy tanked and along with it my mortgage business began to falter. At the same time I had a daughter that was born with cerebral palsy that same year and later in 2008 our health insurance quit covering her care. These three events put a strain on my finances and so my wife and I decided to take in foreign college students from around the world. We first started with Japanese students but then one day we got a call from one of the agencies we dealt with and they asked if we would take in a Saudi husband and wife, Ahmed and Basma.

Although we were a little apprehensive we did not want to turn down the money they were offering. They came a few days before the 10th anniversary of September 11th which had put a little fear in us and them as we found out later. Immediately we were surprised at the similarities in their relationship dynamic to my wife and I. A genuine love for each other and they negotiated on different decisions they would make together kind of like my wife and I. Kind of like a team.

Me not being one to shy away from the big topics started a conversation about September 11th and told them that we had a friend who was on the killed on the second plane to hit the world trade center, showed them a picture of him from our wedding album. Then we asked them if they wanted to go to church with us, City Bible Church in Portland, OR FYI: I saw you preach there once. Anyway they went with us for the 5 Sundays they were here, you should have seen the heads turning when people saw them walk in that first time. Basma had her head covering on and it was quite clear they were Muslim. On the third Sunday it was a church service were they do extended worship and no real specific preaching just let the spirit lead. It was wall to wall Jesus and I was nervous as I believed they hated Jesus. But then I could see that Ahmed was visibly moved by the spirit and about halfway through the service he turns to me and says with no warning “I love Jesus”. I didn’t know what to say except “oh that’s good”. We came home and had more conversation about Jesus and found out that they think he is a pretty good guy, not the son of God but a good prophet! Not the hate I expected to see and feel at the mention of Jesus or Christianity based on what I had seen on the Television news! My wife was able to pray in the name of Jesus for Basma, who had not been able to conceive for a while and had fear that she would not be able to, she had a son about 10 months later, they sent us a picture. After they left our home my wife and I realized that yes, there are cultural differences no doubt and Islam does not accept Jesus as the Son of God, but the average Muslim is not hell bent on America’s or the western world’s destruction. They want peace!

They more than westerner’s are the target of the extremist groups like ISIS, who only make up a fraction of a percent of the two billion Muslims around the world. We have since had more than 25 Muslim students come through our home, many men in there younger 20’s and the only thing they wanted to terrorize was my basement bathroom, which they did. We have had many conversations with them and have even talked about how the average Muslim feels about the Muslim terrorist and they have said that 99.9% do not support them and that groups like this distort the teachings of the Koran but that their opinions are never shared by the western middle or eastern media.

I guess I am not ready to say the Muslim world is going to bring the destruction of the western world quite yet! The scary and heinous actions of a few can’t speak for a much much much larger people. See them as friends first and friends of Jesus. This could help change perceptions and who knows help them to see Jesus as the Son of God/Allah! It could happen they are not that far away!

I feel grace in your post, Michael. I think being Muslim is not just about belief but also about heritage, and I don’t think we need to tear down Islam to build up Christ.
I think we can honor the idea of “submission” and agree that there is one “Creator”. We can point to the same prophets that Islam and Christianity agree on, have a healthy and respectful conversation about Jesus, and love people of all religious backgrounds (those mountains).
I would not infer that Islam is a central belief under the control of Satan and the fallen angles, and I wouldn’t do it even if it was true. Without a doubt, it would send Muslim followers into the fight-or-flight mode. What would we expect when demonizing a worldview that is so powerfully associated with every second of a person’s life? I would expect fear, hardening, and rage.
If we are going to criticize Islam, we should criticize our own belief as well. We could point to the Christian Westboro fundamentalism problem, and consider that their are also people who call themselves Islamic followers of Christ. We should not pretend that we truly understand the forces of darkness and focus on putting on the armor; we should remember John 5:39 and stop believing that it is the Bible that saves people (without denying the inspiration of scripture of course); we should remember that Paul and Peter didn’t tear down the Greek gods when they built an argument for Christ off of the “unknown god.”
I remember learning about a missionary who just walked up to a Muslim who had a bad knee, and he healed the man. This person, who was an Islamic teacher, turned to Christ without a single argument being made.

One of the foundational verses in the Koran says that if “anyone says that Allah has a son, let him be accursed”. Comparing that to the God of the Bible who “so loved the world, and sent his only begotten Son (Jesus)…” They are not the same!

Also, we recently met a sincere, young, Christian missionary that told us that in their outreach to the Muslims, they choose to use the word Allah in order to keep an open door for preaching the Gospel. I think it’s a big mistake. It would be like using the Baal to Baal worshippers in order to keep the “door open”. Totally different Gods (gods)! Totally different characteristics, mindsets, etc.)

Pastor Ted: you certainly have a gift for writing. Thanks for this post. There is so much confusion among Christians today as well as others. Even the replies to your post are confusing and argumentative. Thanks for clarifying what the scriptures have to say to us during these critical times. I appreciate your stand.

Allah is just another name for god in the bible god said i have many different name’s. So why argue with what god says about his name like the Jovie Witness call god Jovie and the real Jovie is from an Egyptian god of dreams. As an atheist I’ve learned to live and let live to try to understand others and not judge other’s for their beliefs it was what i was taught to do. I am rather lucky i was raised in a open loving family of a rainbow of colors and sizes shapes tall short fat skinny black white red olive yellow brown we are a sea of straight lgbt taught love respect forgiveness we also was taught not to judge anyone ever that is not a human beings job our job is to love each other see the good from the bad and always have respect for whatever others believe. I still Allah is another name for god i have many muslim friends who i am willing to die for so much hate is in this world and we need to put love into it instead!

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