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Allah: A Christian Response Paperback – February 7, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
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From the Back Cover
Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
Yale University religion scholar Miroslav Volf—widely known for the much-publicized course on faith and globalization he coteaches with Tony Blair—places this question at the root of the twenty-first century’s most sensitive, and critical, geopolitical concerns. Volf reveals how the prevalent belief that these traditions worship different gods is directly linked to increased hostility and violence around the globe. Theological wars fuel real wars.
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Top Customer Reviews
The most surprising part of the book was his analysis of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity in the light of Islamic monotheism. By his accounting, and he relies on traditional orthodox accounts of the Trinity, the affirmations and denials that make up the doctrine are well in line with Muslim teachings on the nature of God. Particularly interesting was his use of Nicholas of Cusa, a Christian theologian and philosopher who wrote eirenically toward Islam in the medieval era.
If you are looking for a thoroughly biblical and deeply Christian rationale for engagement with Muslims, you need to consider this book and its arguments. Volf's style is clear and accessible, with plenty of scholarly substance, yet written in a way accessible to non-scholars. If you take up Volf's arguments, you will find ways to maintain a deep commitment to Christ (even be an exclusivist committed to witness to Muslims) while loving Muslims in a way they will very likely perceive to be loving.
When it comes to the issue of the Trinity (Muslims believe that Christians worship three gods instead of one), Volf brings in the masterful argument set forth by theologian Nicholas of Cusa (1401 - 1464) and that of Reformer Martin Luther. Volf gave a good summary of the explanation of Nicholas of Cusa of the Trinity to the Muslim so that there is "no dispute between Christians and Muslim about God's unity" (51). One part of his explanation is that "[n]umbers are for creatures. God is not a creature. Therefore God is beyond number - beyond the number one as much as beyond the number three" (52). It must be noted that Nicholas of Cusa came up with this ingenious explanation of the Trinity after the fall and rape of Constantinople in 1453 by the Muslim armies of Sultan Mehmed II and the Christians were trying to sue for peace. The argument by Martin Luther as explained by Volf was a bit confusing except that "the main emphasis of Luther's theology: God's unconditional love" (73). However it must also be noted that Luther's thinking was in the context of Sulaimen the Magnificent capturing Hungary and laying siege to Vienna. If Vienna falls, then the whole of Europe will follow. The Christians were again trying to find common grounds.Read more ›
Three influences and one agenda
Volf comes to this question with three formative influences, and an agenda.
His first influence is a long-standing engagement with the theology of reconciliation and conflict resolution, out of which he wrote his acclaimed Exclusion and Embrace. This engagement was shaped by growing up as a Pentecostal Croatian Christian in communist Yugoslavia, and through reflection on the Yugoslav wars of 1990-1995.
Volf's second formative influence is his intensive dialogue with Muslims in recent years, particularly through the Common Word initiative.
Volf's third influence is his admired father, to whom his book is dedicated, and who taught Volf from his earliest years that Christians and Muslims do indeed worship the same God.
The agenda Volf pursues is one of political theology. He asks, "Can religious exclusivists, adherents of different religions, [i.e. most Muslims and Christians] live comfortably with one another under the same political roof?" (p.220). Volf's answer to this question is `yes': on the basis of a shared belief in the one God.
The `Commonalities Approach'
To fully appreciate Volf's argument - and its limitations - we must take careful note of his `commonalities approach'. His rules of engagement with the other are:
1.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Muslim belief and practice have much in common with Christianity is the positive message about Islam that Miroslav Volf wants every Christian to hear. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Michael from SCZ
It is absolutely clear in the Quran and Sharia that Allah is not Almighty God.
In Arabic, the Qur'an and Sharia, Almighty God is Ilah and Allah is ‘the god’ in English. Read more
An excellent theological analysis by a world class Christian scholar who grew up in Croatia among Muslim friends and neighbors. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert Lynn Anderson
A fine response to the dialogue initiated by Islamic scholars and published as A Common Word between Us and You. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Graeme Ferguson
Don't agree with all Volf had to say, but very thoughtful, well informed, challenging presentation. He held my attention to the end.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
A thought provoking book. It presents very nuanced arguments and more people need to deeply consider how to apply the arguments. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Norman A Andresen
Miroslov Volf has done a masterful job of showing how Islam and Christianity do in fact share a common God while not sharing the same faith. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer