The name of God

August 27, 2007 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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What is God’s name? Those who claim to follow Him seem to be forgetting what His name is. A retiring 71 year old Roman Catholic bishop, who has raised other issues that go against his church’s mainstream ideas, has said that Dutch Christians (and others) should be fine calling the God of the Bible Allah. He has suggested that this is whom Christians are actually praying to.

There are some major problems with this, but all of them seem to be ignored by the retiring bishop. The bishop says that “Allah is a beautiful word for God” and that “God doesn’t really care what we call Him”. Oh really? The God of the Bible doesn’t care what we call Him?  God makes very clear throughout the Bible what those who follow Him are to call Him. Not only that, but God made sure that people not only knew His name but He let them know (and us too) who He was to them. He is called Elohim (used over 2300 times to refer to the Lord), El Olam (The Everlasting One, Gen. 21:33),  El Roi (The God who sees me, Gen 16:7),  and Adonai (The Lord). When Moses asked God what His name was at the burning bush, God replied, “I AM”. This is Yahweh in Hebrew (where we get Jehovah from). God also used this name to remind His people who He was. To Israel (and Christians) He is Yahweh Yireh (The Lord who provides, Gen 22:2), Yahweh Nissi (The Lord our banner, Ex 17:8-15), Yahweh Rapha (The Lord who heals you, Ex 15:26), Yahweh Shalom (The Lord our peace, Jdg 6:1-22), Yahweh Tsabbaoth (The Lord of Hosts, many references), and Yahweh Tsidkenu (The Lord our righteousness, Jer 23:5-6). Amazingly, not one of these names(and there are many others) sounds anything like Allah….

Like I said above, there are other problems that come about from trying to call the God of the Bible Allah. According to the Quran, Allah has no son. If this is so, then it conflicts with the very core of Christianity. The Bible says that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16, emphasis mine). It also says that His Son is the Word made flesh (John 1:14) and that that Word was in the beginning (John 1:1).

And, while Muslims believe that Jesus existed, they don’t believe that He was more than just a man and a prophet. The idea of a triune God is blasphemous according to Islamic theology.

The retiring bishop stated that Christians should call the God of the Bible because “it would ease tensions between Muslims and Christians”. How can we even consider compromising the name of God when it so deeply defines who He is? When Jesus walked the earth, He was faced with many opportunities to compromise the truth and He chose not to. Shouldn’t we do the same? If we are going to “ease tensions between Muslims and Christians”, why not tell them the truth and trust that God will turn their hearts to Him? Why not love them the way that Jesus does (even though He doesn’t agree with their theology) and show them that there is more to what Christians believe than just words and feel-goodism?

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how beautiful the name Allah may be to you, or how much you desire to see Muslims and Christians get along. If it means compromising the truth of the Word of God, then it’s not really going to do anything to improve relationships anyway. All it’s going to do is show the world (once again) that Christians are two-faced and really don’t believe their own God and what He says.

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