I see that the oft-rehearsed question of whether Christians and Moslems worship the same God has surfaced again. Quite a few years ago I got into hot water by saying things about Islam that implied that a Moslem could be said, on a certain occasion, to worship the same God as us Christians.
It is possible to approach this problem of worshipping the same God from another angle, from needs that men and women may have which only God can meet; supremely the need for mercy and forgiveness. It was in recommending such a course that I got into hot water.
Some years ago, before many of you were born, I was at a conference in Canada on missions. I cannot now remember whether it was in the paper I gave, or in discussion later, that I ventured the view that if, in Auschwitz, say, a Jew sincerely prayed ‘Lord have mercy upon me’, that prayer would be heard. And similarly if a Muslim prayed, Most merciful Allah, have mercy on me, then similarly. Why may we not believe that a cry for mercy may find its way through the fog of error and misapprehension to the one and only merciful God? Do we have an interest in narrowing the wideness of God’s mercy? Are we entitled to take this line?
It is interesting to see a Calvinist as conservative as Paul Helm taking the view that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Nobody is going to be able to accuse Helm of being liberal. I like the approach that Helm is taking here.