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I'm not really sure where to go with this question, since it is a question regarding Christianity. Also, I'm seeking a Christian perspective on this rather than a Muslim one. So, I thought that this site would be the best place for this question.

Muslims claim that they worship the same god as Christians do. (Similarly, Christians claim to worship the same God as the Jews do.)

Are there any Christian doctrines that accept this claim? If so, what is the biblical basis for this claim?

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+1 a very good question. Reminds me of a (not completely related) Christianity Today article about translating the Bible to Muslims. –  dancek Aug 29 '11 at 13:09
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Muslims are taught that Allah sent the angel Gabriel (Jibril) with the revelation to Muhammad. Muslims are also taught that Allah sent specific angels to both Abraham and Lot in order to warn them about the destruction of Lot’s people due to their gross immorality. Muslims worship the God of Abraham and believe Jesus is the Messiah, although they don't believe the divinity of Jesus. –  pferor Feb 4 '12 at 14:41
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There is a group of people called Chris-Islam; people who claim that Allah and the God are the same; I disagree. –  Sȱɳɨȼ Ʈħe ǶḝÐɠḝħȱɠ Jun 4 '13 at 20:04
    
ARe you implying that there might be more than One God, or just that different religions have a different idea of what God is? In this case could you address the question to a particular religious group? It would be interesting to hear Church doctrine on this. I see that the Vatican has been quoted below. Do you want to hear from others? –  Waeshael Jul 1 '13 at 13:31
    
@Waeshael The answer to your question is also the answer to mine. If there are more than one god, then the answer to my question is "No". If there is a single god, then the answer is "Maybe". Are there any groups that claim that the God of Christianity is the same as that of Islam? –  Richard Jul 1 '13 at 14:45

10 Answers 10

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The correct answer to this question is clearly … <err, not so fast>

You see that's just the problem. Christianity doesn't have a clear unequivocal answer to this question that is broadly agreed on across traditions. Islam has now been around for about 1400 years promoting its ideas about the nature of God – who they usually claim is the same God as worshiped by Jews and Christians in times past now rightly understood with his proper name Allah. In all those 1400 years Christianity has not posited a definitive answer to this question.

There are no shortages of answers given. Some say "yes". Others chant "no". You'll various groups take a stand on an answer – even rant and rave about it. Mind you all these groups profess to be Christian but end up arguing both sides.

  • The argument for "yes" generally boils down to some variant of "if there really is only one God as monotheistic religions claim, whether known by a wrong name or through corrupted scriptures it must be the same being". This position and it's many variations is generally held by more liberal traditions, the far extreme end of which would be something like, "Muslims are our brothers in faith, call God whatever you like as long as you only profess one".

  • The argument for "no" generally boils down to some variant of "given a contradictory set of attributes ascribed to God, they must logically be describing different beings". This position and it's many variations is historically more mainstream and is generally held by more conservative traditions, the far extreme of which would be very fundamentalist groups that would go so far as to say things like, "Muslims are the enemy, the god they worship is actually the devil in disguise".

Does this mean there is not a definitive answer?

No, actually it doesn't. There is a definitive answer but you have to ask the right question.

Interestingly, most major Christian traditions do not try to pronounce certain judgment on this issue. The notable exception are Catholics, who issued a statement in 1965 in the affirmative1. While identifying Islam as a non-Christian religion they go out of their way with wording to claim common ground in the person of God. Meanwhile most Protestant traditions and even many major Christian cults steer away from any official doctrine stating "The being worshiped by Muslims is/isn't the same being we worship."

However, the history of cross-tradition disagreement here is not to say that their position on the real issue isn't quite clear. The reason there isn't unanimity on whether to answer this question with "yes" or "no" is that it's the wrong question to be asking. Frankly the answer isn't meaningful. What all major Christian traditions do give us in spades are descriptions of who the true God is and how he is to be worshiped.

The core theological problem lurking here is not whether the beliefs and practices of the God of the Muslims is a different being altogether or just a bunch of misunderstandings about the same being. The question that matters to Christianity is: How has the true God made himself known and how is he to be worshiped? To this question, Christianity has definitive answers. This question, if asked and answered early, provides solid ground for not even needing to ask much less answer the question asked here. With the answers to the right question in hand, we can in fact outright condemn all other beliefs and systems of worship without even resolving the origins or natures of those other systems.

Now for a clear answer to the right question.

Regardless of the nature of any "other" religion—whether they have the wrong God or whether they have the right God but worship him wrongly—the end result is the same. Blasphemy.

For further study, I highly recommend carefully reading a blog post from my friend Kevin Bywater entitled Do Muslims, Mormons, and Christians Worship the Same God? In it he makes the observation that "Worshiping God wrongly is tantamount to worshiping the wrong god(s)."2 Christianity doesn't concern itself so much with what beings other religions do or don't worship, but it does concern itself with correctly identifying the true God's character and with following his commands. Even inside of Christianity, presumably with the true God in mind, one can be guilty of blasphemy by misidentifying his character.

The most salient point to make in reference to any other religion is, I think, well summarized by this quote from the same article:

Blasphemy is found in ascribing to the true God what is false and in falsely denying of God what is true.

1. Thanks to Peter Turner for pointing this out. I was previously unaware of this statement. (And am personally outraged by it as it is not an accurate representation of either Islam or historic Christianity, but my personal view isn't what this question is about.)

2. Ironically this is a concept that my Muslim friends usually don't usually have a problem accepting.

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Given the concept that we (limited beings) are attempting to comprehend an unlimited God, I think this may be the only true answer. We just don't know for sure! That Bywater post (and the quote you pulled from it) put into words something that has been bouncing around my head for decades and intrinsically knew: unless we worship the true God correctly, we're worshiping a false god. Also from that post, "Blasphemy is found in ascribing to the true God what is false and in falsely denying of God what is true." I think all we can do is do the best we can to worship God with everything we have. –  Richard Jun 7 '13 at 12:32
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I disagree with the notion "Worshiping God wrongly and worshiping the wrong God is same thing". Worship is mostly about formal action. But God is not just to be worshiped. Rather we should believe in God, put our trusts in Him and pray for our needs to Him. All these are informal things not regulated by laws. If someone put his trust on right God, though not worshiping correctly, God can listen to his prayers. Beliefs and Practices are two distinct things, though closely related. Is not it? –  Gulshan Jun 7 '13 at 13:53
    
@Richard I think, we should pray to God for guidance to recognize Him and do our best for that. Actions come after beliefs in priority. –  Gulshan Jun 7 '13 at 13:58
    
@Gulshan Did you read the Bywater post? For its purpose, belief and worship are too intertwined to tease apart like that. Also, for the purpose of this question, the same applies. Technically, you are right, worship and belief are different. But that's an entirely different topic. –  Richard Jun 7 '13 at 14:40
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@Gulshan Jesus said that if we believe in him, we will OBEY his commandments. This is one of many direct links between our actions (how you just rightly defined worship) and our beliefs. They are not separable. Our beliefs and our worship will always be directed at the same thing, they can't be split across two so that we believe in one and worship the other. Scripture is full of examples (starting with Cain) of people who were surprised to find God rejecting their prayers because their worship was off. I really encourage you to read the whole article I linked for a better explanation. –  Caleb Jun 7 '13 at 16:25

Muslims may not appreciate (or perhaps they would) this distinction. But Hilare Belloc claims in The Great Heresies, that Islam is a heresy of Christianity.

Therefore, if Mohammed had had a vague inkling of Christianity and claim the inheritance of Ishmael then yeah, of course they worship the same God.

However, we couldn't say they worship Him fully because they do not believe in the Trinity. They do not believe that Jesus could be God.


In response to Caleb's answer wherein he says that no Christian sect, except liberal traditions embrace Muslims as believing in the same God.

From the documents of Vatican II (not just something a talking head says):

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Nostra Aetae - From the Documents of Vatican II

With reference to Muslims, it states these few things which are common to our faith and conveniently takes a distant reference from Abraham which is a common point on worshiping same God. It makes no reference to Mohammad though he is the epitome of this religion. Again, no recognition of Muhammad, the Qur'an, and the correctness of what Muhammad taught. So, as becomes clear in other Church documents, whatever truth there may be in what Muslims believe must come either from the universal truths that God has always made accessible to the minds and hearts of all people, or else by transmission from the divine revelation granted to the Jews and Christians.

So, yeah, even though this questions wasn't directed at Catholics in particular, it is true that most Christians (and the entire Communion of Saints) believe that Muslims attempt to worship same God, but they do so in severe error.

and, just so no one thinks this is out of context, the document says of Islam and other non-Christian religions

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.

My pastor explained it pretty succinctly to a Religious Ed. class who was doing some Q&A with him. He said it's like a theatre where everyone's looking at the same play but quite a few people (non-Catholics and non-Christians) have for whatever reason decided to watch the play from awful seats instead of getting the front row seats that they could have had, had they only desired them. That's why I said above, they do not worship Him fully, but they do worship Him.

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Both Jews and Muslims say they worship the God of Abraham, and have the same concept of the unity of God. So your statement about not worshipping fully would also have to apply to "our elder brothers and sisters" in the faith, would it not? –  Firstrock Sep 21 '11 at 20:27
    
I have at least made a partial edit to correct that mistake. As far as I read Catholic doctrine in spite of the soft pedaling on this question, my main point about the real question that ought to be asked holds true for them too. –  Caleb Jun 11 '13 at 13:26

Clearly not

I do not think either a Christian or Muslim would hold to that. The only people who would like to think so are Universalists, but that is not really the orthodox position.

John 14:6 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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"I do not think" is not really an answer, but an opinion. Do you have sources to demonstrate that the stance you mentioned is widespread and/or officially held by some denominations? –  Ben Richards Sep 14 '11 at 23:44
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That's not entirely true. The question asks if both Muslims and Chistians worship the same God. Muslims deny the divinity of Christ, but both worship the same God of Abraham and both see Jesus as the Messiah, son of Virgin Mary. You have to add more evidence to complete your statement. –  pferor Feb 4 '12 at 13:01
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@pferor: Although Muslims may accept Jesus as the Messiah, they completely deny that Jesus is the Son of God. Since this completely contradicts John 10:30, I don't see how anyone could possibly think we worship the same God. –  Nathan Osman Jun 4 '13 at 18:01
    
@BenRichards we are not supposed to give surveys of Christianity. –  caseyr547 Jun 8 '13 at 0:31
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I agreed with this answer in its simplicity No and absolutely no are correct answers fully justified by the scripture +1 –  caseyr547 Jun 8 '13 at 0:33

I read in an early grade book written for Muslim children that "God has no son." Since the god they worship does not have a son, then we are not worshiping the same God, for the Christian God has the Son, Jesus Christ.

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Awh you made the point that I was going to. +1 –  caseyr547 Jun 8 '13 at 0:34

Both Christians and Muslims claim to worship the God of Abraham, so in that sense, we worship the same God.

However, Christians believe that Jesus was God incarnate, while Muslims do not. So Christians worship Jesus and Muslims do not. So in that sense it's not fully accurate to say we worship the same God.

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It's funny that Christians and Muslims both say that they believe in the same God of the Jewish religion. The God of Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. –  user1054 Jul 5 '12 at 20:55
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It's interesting how we conflate our understanding of God with God Himself. If you make this distinction between Christians and Muslims then you have to admit similar distinctions between the various branches/sects/denominations of each. If we all accept that God is the uncaused cause, or the uncreated creator then that's enough for me to say we all worship the same God because there can be only one such entity. –  kurosch Sep 14 '12 at 22:34
    
Diplomatic answer! –  Ethan Hunt Jun 8 '13 at 13:16
    
@kurosch: what if we say that God has a Son, and His name is Jesus Christ? Then we are not all worshiping the same God. (Non-diplomatic answer.) –  Steve Jun 8 '13 at 13:54

Muslims believe Jesus as a prophet and that Mohammed is God's last prophet, but do not believe in the Trinity or the divinity of Christ.

Since the God Mohammed describes is completely different than the God described in my Christian bible, no, they are not the same God.

Even though Muslims claim to worship the God of Abraham the Qur'an does not line up at all with either the Old or New Testament. And God says Himself that he never changes.

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In the concept of God, what is the source of the claim- "Qur'an does not line up at all with the Old Testament"? And again I ask- Does concept of God in Christianity line up with Old Testament? –  Gulshan Jun 5 '13 at 9:18
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There is a reason that the New Testament and Old Testament are published together in the same book, they do work together quite well and the Old testament is referenced throughout the New Testament. Muslims claim that they believe in the same books as we do but you can clearly see by reading both that they are in complete contradiction to one another. The muslims counter this by claiming that our versions have been altered (literally impossible by the way the manuscripts were originally distributed), and that they have the one original somewhere. –  fungku Jun 6 '13 at 3:18
    
The problem I see with claiming you have an original (that would also have to be completely contrary to all existing manuscripts) is that if you could prove millions of people wrong and win them to your side with a book in your possession, why wouldn't you make it available? –  fungku Jun 6 '13 at 3:20
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@Gulshan - there is no doubt in any honest reader's mind that the OT and NT do certainly go together. –  warren Jun 6 '13 at 18:27
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@Gulshan "Qur'an does not line up at all with the Old Testament"" because Qur'an contradicts OT as well as NT on many events and facts, while NT accepts OT as true word of God without any corruption. OT being true word of God is not at all a challenge for true-ness of NT. Same however cannot be said of Qur'an. –  Seek forgiveness Jun 11 '13 at 10:50

The understanding of what God is is unique to each individual. God is to be experienced, and cannot be described, or truly known. The answer to your question of whether or not we understand our God to be the same can be found from our own personal experience of God, compared with that of a Jew, and a Moslem. The question addresses the worship of God - and obviously the various monotheistic Religions have different methods of worship, which we abide by. Even though we worship differently, it does not imply that our God is in any way different though some Religions do teach this.

In the ACC the Doctrine of the Apostolic Churches was formulated before the 6th. cent. from the decisions of the Bishops during the first seven Ecumenical Councils, and this before the Muslim Religion was established, so there is no reference in the Church to any Moslem understanding of God. The ACC does teach that the Jewish and Christian God is the same and God is written as the tetragrammaton YHVH (or YHWH) in the Hebrew writings. In Judaism when YHVH is read, the word spoken is Adonai. In Christianity, the word spoken is Yahwey, or Jehovah. None of these words occur in the NT. So, many Christians are unclear as to whom The Father of Jesus is in relationship to God YHVH - what is, in fact, the theological definition of The Father? And, today, how does this relate to the Moslem idea of God? This, I think is where the confusion lies.

During the first three centuries, the Bishops were unsure of how The Father and the God of Judaism were related. For perhaps a hundred years after the crucifixion, most Christians taught that The Father was not the same as the God of Judaism. Some people believe this today. But the catholic Church (the universal Church of East and West,) eventually stated that the Christian God was the same as the God of Judaism. They were forced into this in order to include Christians into Israel the children of God to whom the covenants were given. At that time (when the statement was made,) the writings of Paul were influential in the Church, in which Paul explicitly says that Christians are grafted into the vine of Judaism, so that the promise of God to Israel also applies to Christians. And warns that if Israel does not gain the promise, then neither do the Christians, and all will be lost. If, then, Paul is correct, we Christians share the same God as Judaism. And since Moslems also claim to be people of the book (Torah) and share the same God, we can be reasonably sure that we all share the same God.

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To get a clear answer, Judaism should be accounted. If Christians claim they worship the same God of Judaism, the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses, the God Who does not change, then easy to say, Muslims and Christians worship the same God. If answer is no for the God of Judaism, then it is same for the Muslims.

A answer in Judaism.SE may help- http://judaism.stackexchange.com/a/14501/1712

Update: As the OP himself has questioned about the substance matter of this answer, I feel to clarify my answer adding few more words.

We can see, from this page of answers, that the answer to the question "whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God" has a dual nature. At one side, the answer is yes, it is the same God they worship because they both claim to worship the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses. On the other hand, a negative tone emerges because the overall idea of the God in this two religions are fundamentally different. Christians believe in Trinity, while Muslims stick to strict monotheism.

Now, the question is, why the difference in idea or concept of God? As both claim to worship God of past righteous prophets- Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses, a question can be raised- what was these prophets' concept about God? Is it possible that, the concept of God can be changed? Because, The God Himself claimed-"I do not change". Here comes Judaism. Because, they also claim to worship the same God, the God of those prophets. And Christians and Muslims agree that, upto a certain period, before the time of Jesus, this was the true religion of God. So, what is their concept of God? How do they see the concepts of God in the Christianity and Islam? And then I supplied a link to an from a sister SE site regarding the the opinion of Judaism about the concept of God in Islam, which reflects their idea of God also. If someone needs an answer, this should help.

Hope I am clear now.

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"God does not change" - how? –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Dec 15 '12 at 17:53
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@H3br3wHamm3r81 This a from a verse of Bible- biblia.com/bible/nasb95/Malachi%203.6 –  Gulshan Dec 16 '12 at 8:36
    
I am familiar with the verse. But, again, God does not change, how? –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Dec 16 '12 at 17:33
    
+1. Not because it's really excellent but because I see this post as a valid answer (it's not the only answer argumenting by Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses and it adds some more context and reasoning for it) and I don't understand the downvotes. Is it because Gulshan stated that God doesn't change? But it's a Christian teaching too, for example the Thomistic view here (thesis three). If you don't understand it, ask another question, but don't punish anyone for telling truth. –  Pavel Dec 17 '12 at 0:10
    
My downvote has nothing to do with the unchanging nature of God, but rather that this answer has no substance to it. There's nothing here other than a simple answer and a link to Judaism.SE. The answer should stand on its own. And since it doesn't (no supporting information), then -1. –  Richard Dec 17 '12 at 15:41

No, Christians and Muslims do not worship the same god. Worship is based on a set of core defining beliefs. The Scriptures from the Hebrew and the Greek do not match up with what is spoken about in the Koran.

Also, the name of the Almighty spoken about in each religion is different. For Christians, the Scriptures clearly define the name of the Almighty as YHWH/Yahuweh. Muslims and the Koran claim the name of the almighty is Allah. The same uncreated creator of Heaven and earth doesn't have two (or more) names.

Psalms 83:18 The Scriptures 1998+ (18) And let them know that You, Whose Name is יהוה, You alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Psalms 135:13 The Scriptures 1998+ (13) O יהוה, Your Name is forever, O יהוה, Your remembrance to all generations,

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So your basis for saying "no" is the fact that Muslims call the Almighty "Allah"? You know, that's just the Arabic word for God, right? –  Richard Jun 6 '13 at 16:26
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Also, the discussion of what constitutes a "Christian" really belongs out on the meta site. –  Richard Jun 6 '13 at 16:28
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@Richard - No, that is only one reason. In my answer I gave the two biggest reasons, but there are more than that if need be. Also, your comment about "what constitutes a "Christian" really belongs out on the meta site" really should be posted on more than just my answer in order to be unbiased. –  The Duke Of Marshall שלם Jun 6 '13 at 16:32
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@Richard - Also, the word "allah" is more than just a generic title like we would think of the word "god" or in Hebrew "elohim". To the muslims "allah" is the name of the almighty. As "allah" is a transliteration of the arabic, anyone who says "allah" is speaking arabic and either intentionally or unintentionally giving credence to the one the muslims worship. Yahuweh, on the other hand, is the original Hebrew name of the Almighty and by speaking "Yahuweh" we are intentionally or unintentionally giving credence to the uncreated creator of both Christianity and Judaism. –  The Duke Of Marshall שלם Jun 6 '13 at 17:04
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Whether or not one party got the name wrong doesn't really solve the issue of whether the being is the same. That seems like a non-proof either way. Secondly your assertion that Scripture doesn't teach about the Trinity is dubious at best. Of course it doesn't spell out the details in minutia but implying that it is silent on the issue is not an accurate representation of Christian history. Also that entire issue doesn't seem to add anything as a defense of your "no" assertion to the original question. Can we have something backed by doctrine that clearly represents Christianity? –  Caleb Jun 6 '13 at 18:45

Every individual person on earth has their own "image" of God in their head. None of them are completely accurate. Some are more accurate than others.

Islam vs Christianity, there are many similarities and many dissimiliarities.

For instance Christians believe God exists in three forms, the Trinity. Muslims do not. Same God? no.

On the other hand, Christians and Muslims both believe God created the Universe and that He is all powerful. Same God?, yes.

You could argue the same for Catholic vs Baptist.

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So, don't you think that both qualifications are needed in order to say that they are the same god (both trinity-based and creator)? –  Richard Jun 4 '13 at 15:57
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Also, both Catholics and Baptists believe that the other is worshiping the same God. –  Richard Jun 4 '13 at 15:57
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Actually no, you couldn't reasonably argue the same thing for Baptists and Catholics. –  Caleb Jun 4 '13 at 21:20
    
No the comparison between Catholics and Baptist is inaccurate both Catholics and Baptists agree on the trinity and the perfection of the word. –  caseyr547 Jun 8 '13 at 0:45
    
This discussion here in the comments demonstrate how bogus it is to insist on stating what Identifiable Group you are speaking on behalf of. Lutheranism, even its conservative wing, has even more controversy on the matter. –  pterandon Jul 30 '13 at 15:58

protected by Caleb Dec 15 '12 at 16:24

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