Yale theologian Miroslav Volf believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. On November 3 he took that argument to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an evangelical hub, and found that few were persuaded by his argument.
Volf drew large crowds of admirers on the campus in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, but audience members challenged the thesis put forward in his 2011 book, Allah: A Christian Response. For many of them, accepting Volf's stance would mean renouncing core beliefs.
"If I believe that Jesus Christ is God, then I can't deny that particular aspect of who God is," said Curt Kenney, an M.Div. student seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church in America. "Muslims deny that Christ was God and that he was resurrected. I don't know how you get around that."
G. Jeffrey MacDonald is a freelance journalist, ordained United Church of Christ minister, and author of Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul (Basic Books, 2010).