Dr. Tim’s Encouraging Word

In recent months, there have been a lot of opinions and beliefs shared about God. A professor in a Christian university was disciplined for some remarks she said and wrote about Muslims. It is not uncommon for me to hear this as a conversation, “We all worship the same God—don’t we?” Usually, neither of us expects a theological discussion, but I do want to be polite and respectful. Besides, I really don’t know how deep they were thinking or what to talk about. 


It seems that we may be less certain about our faith than some are about their respective religions.  Long ago, I preached a sermon in which I explored some of the values in all religion, but ended up pointing to Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.  I did not know a few folks would take me on, but we were all nice and calm about it.  Another way to address it is around the question, “Do All Religions Lead to God?”  I think my sermon said yes, BUT Christianity teaches that one religion leads to God—and that’s Christianity.  This doesn’t mean I need to be mean or hostile to followers of other religions, but it does mean that my faith is anchored in the belief in the God of Christianity.

I was glad to read this by William H. Willimon, an author, and now a retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church.

When I was a college chaplain, whenever the topic of religious differences on campus came up, there was always someone to say, “Well, I’m Methodist, you’re Muslim, she’s Jewish, but after all, we all worship God, don’t we?”  Eventually I found it necessary to answer, “No. As Christians we do not believe in some monistic, generic, vague, easily managed, and inoffensive god, we believe that God is Trinity. I suspect that some say, “Christians and Muslims worship the same God,” or some scholars speak of Jews, Muslims, and Christians as members of the “Abrahamic faiths,” transforming Jews and Christians into less offensive “Judeo-Christians” because they are desperate to unite a country with deep divisions. Long ago our government found that if you make God generic, private, and personal (in other words, the antithesis of Trinity) you are free to run the state as you please. Christians are those who believe that we haven’t said “God” until we’ve said “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” As John Wesley put it in his sermon on the Trinity, “these three are one.”

I’m not out to attack anyone for their different belief, but I am out to build confidence in those of us who follow Christ and often come up with nothing to say when the subject comes up.  I am not a specialist in other religions, but have found more than enough instruction in the scriptures to believe this way.


This Sunday, we’ll be worshipping “the three in one.”  It will be a rich experience.

And, it’s Valentine Day—how could you miss?

For Christ,