Christians believe in one God
Do Christians and Muslims Believe in the Same God?
The question of God is a core question of theology, believes Prof. Dr. Martin Hein, Bishop of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck.
By Christof Voigt (kur)
"Yes, but ..." was Bishop Martin Hein's answer during his general studies in Reutlingen. A lecture at the THR is a topic of conversation.
As part of the Studium Generale of the three Reutlingen universities, Martin Hein was a guest on July 4th for a lecture at the Theological University of Reutlingen (THR) of the Evangelical Methodist Church (UMC). The topic was »Do we believe in the same God? - On the conception of God in Christianity and Islam «. When asked whether Muslims and Christians and also Jews believe in the same God, the bishop of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck replied: "Yes, but". According to the bishop, the question of God is a core question of theology. Since answering the question can contribute to social pacification, it is also a highly political question. “Yes,” said Bishop Hein, “we believe in the same God. We pray to the same God. But we do it in different and, as far as Christians and Muslims are concerned, in mutually exclusive ways. "
Faith as a connecting element
Hein first emphasized the important role of theology, which is indispensable for a social debate about religion. In monotheistic religions, the question of God could be pursued through abstract philosophical considerations. Hein, however, proceeded entirely in the spirit of Christian faith from religious experience, which is shown above all in prayer and is developed in confessions. The evangelical theologian, who specializes in church history, pointed to the understanding of theologians during the Reformation in the 16th century. Although they saw a competition between the Koran and the Bible, monotheism - the belief in the one God - was seen as a connecting element between the religions. Thus the question of whether Christians and Muslims believe in the same God is a relatively young question from a Christian perspective.
Reluctance to pray
Bishop Hein sees the limit of togetherness indicated by the "but" when praying together. He cultivates restraint. Interreligious prayer marks a limit that should only be exceeded in exceptional cases, for example when it comes to coping with disasters suffered together. One bridge could be the "invocation of God as the most merciful", but one must not give up one's own identity.
Shared responsibility for social peace
At the end of the lecture, Hein also urged the religions to practice theology. The Christian concept of God could create the space for interreligious conversation precisely through the demanding idea of the dynamic trinity. Theology is committed to distinction and openness in the interpretation of the sacred texts and called to public accountability. That is why they also bear a share of the responsibility for social pacification.
Hein, who has been bishop of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck since 2000 and was appointed honorary professor at the University of Kassel in 2005, showed in the context of the event how much he knows and understands Methodism. He sees the United Methodist Church primarily not as a free church, but as a universal church. From this worldview, the UMC can see local tasks in a global context and is ecumenically highly effective on a world level. - A robust and stimulating theological lecture and a most enjoyable encounter!
Photo credit: Susanne Meister, THR
Professor Christof Voigt teaches philosophy and biblical languages at the Reutlingen Theological University of the Evangelical Methodist Church. Contact: oeffentlichkeitsarbeit (at) emk.de.
The Studium Generale is a series of events organized by the Reutlingen universities, which include the Reutlingen Theological University of the Evangelical Methodist Church, the Reutlingen University and the Ludwigsburg Evangelical University with its Reutlingen campus. The audience for the public offer is made up of the academic and ecclesiastical environment and the Reutlingen public. The last lecture of the 2018 summer semester took place on July 4th. Information about similar events: www.th-reutlingen.de
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