Jesus is the most important figure in all of humankind. If somebody doesn’t believe in Him, they at least have an opinion (and it’s usually skepticism) of Him. It’s important to note that Christianity is not the only religion that believes in Jesus.
In this blog post, I seek to show that, though other religions use the name Jesus, we all mean different things. It’s of eternal importance that we get the identity of Jesus correct.
The Jesus of Islam
There’s been much debate about whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The answer is explicit when you begin talking about Jesus. Who do Muslims say Jesus is?
Muslims believe in Jesus, sure, but they do not believe He is the Messiah. They do not believe He resurrected; they don’t even believe He actually died on the cross. Muslims simply believe Jesus was a prophet; nothing more, nothing less.
Now, tell me: does that sound like what Christians believe about Jesus? No, since Christians believe Jesus is God–the second Person of the Trinity–we don’t worship the same Jesus and definitely don’t worship the same God.
Here’s RC Sproul Jr’s take on this question:
[Do we worship the same God?] “No. The god Muslims worship is, in reality, an idol. In terms of their own theology, however, he is a single person, transcendent. The God Christians worship, on the other hand, is the maker of heaven and earth. He is one being and transcendent, who exists in three persons, which are also immanent. Neither the one-ness nor the three-ness of God are tangential attributes. They are instead essential attributes; they define who He is. Move away from that definition and you move away from the true and living God.” (Source)
Christians and Muslims are both monotheistic religions, in that we both worship one God; however, Christians worship the Trinity–the three-in-one God, the maker of heaven and earth. Muslims worship one god, that is one person.
Muslims do believe in Jesus, but it’s not the Jesus of the Bible. It’s not a Jesus that saves.
The Jesus of Mormonism
There’s always been much fuss about if Mormons are Christians and that if we’re really the same. I will respectfully and firmly say no, we are not the same. Because, the second we begin to define who Jesus is, we will begin to see that Christians and Mormons don’t believe in the same Jesus.
A few years back I was hanging out with my now-wife Shale, and we heard a knock on her apartment door. I opened the door to see two LDS sisters standing in front of me (her apartment is very close to the LDS ward in Ada). I knew this was going to be an interesting conversation.
We began to talk and what I wanted to do was get to Jesus. Who is Jesus? Is He God? Was He created? These are questions that must be asked when dialoguing with Mormons. Christians andMormons use the same terms (Jesus, Heavenly Father, Heaven, etc.) but mean polar opposite things. Words have meaning.
I asked them if they believe Jesus and Satan are brothers. They said yes. I then asked if they believe Jesus was created. They said yes.
There was much more to the conversation but I did tell them this, in so many words: the Jesus Mormons believe in is not the Jesus Christians believe in. Christians believe Jesus is Almighty God, creator of everything, including Satan (Jn. 1: 1-5). Christians believe Jesus has always existed; there was never a time when Jesus did not exist and wasn’t God. This is absolutely contrary to LDS teaching.
These two examples clearly show the eternal chasm between Christianity and Mormonism. I will go on record to say that Mormons are the nicest people in the world, and they put us to shame in evangelism (even though it’s a false message). But I will say exactly what I told those LDS sisters: Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church, was a false prophet, and they are leading millions astray when they evangelize. They believe in a false gospel. They are not Christians.
I will leave you with these words by Dr. James White:
“…in orthodox Mormon belief, God is not eternal. Matter is eternal; the Mormon God is one god amongst an infinite pantheon of gods existing in unlimited universes. In fact, Mormonism may well be the most polytheistic religion ever devised by man…” (Source)
The Biblical Jesus: the One that Saves
Jesus Christ is the eternal God of the universe, the second Person of the Trinity. He is “from everlasting to everlasting…” (Ps. 90:2). He is the only Jesus that save, because, in reality, He’s the only Jesus that exists. All other Jesus’s sprung out of the idolization of man’s sinful mind and heart, and are dumb idols that do nothing but damn.
God descended to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. God became man (Jn. 1:14). He was born in a manger (Mtt. 1:18-25) as a baby and did not begin His ministry until around the age of 30. During his entire life, He never sinned once (1 Pt. 2:22) and was fully obedience to the Father unto death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8). The Jesus of the Bible took our shame, took our sin and fully absorbed the righteous wrath of God in the place of those who believe. In that exchange, He gave us His perfect life, his full obedience to God. And then He rose again on the third day which showed He satisfied God’s righteous requirements, and He now stands at the right hand of God, always interceding for His church (Heb. 7:25). He will come back one day to make everything right.
Now, tell me: which Jesus do you want to serve?
Soli Deo Gloria