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Allah: A Christian Response

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  490 ratings  ·  68 reviews
From Miroslav Volf, one of the world's foremost Christian theologians—and co-teacher, along with Tony Blair, of a groundbreaking Yale University course on faith and globalization—comes Allah, a timely and provocative argument for a new pluralism between Muslims and Christians. In a penetrating exploration of every side of the issue, from New York Times headlines on terrori ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by HarperOne (first published February 8th 2011)
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Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A number of years ago a student asked me, "do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?" That is a question that has lingered with me over the years and so I turned with interest to this book in which Miroslav Volf explores the same question and the implications of how we answer it.

An important thing to understand about this book is that it is not written in the vein of the "all religions are pointing to the same truth" or that Christianity and Islam are different paths leading to salvation.
Andy Stager
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’ve been meaning to read some Miroslav Volf. He’s one of those theologians that Tim Keller and Kevin Vanhoozer frequently cite. The the theological boyfriend of my theological boyfriends. And he teaches at Yale. So, yeah. I thought I’d start with Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. But the school library didn’t have anything by Volf except Allah: A Christian Response.

I figured that since I’m now teaching philosophy, religion, and worldvi
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's true that in the past I have invented jokes about receiving text messages from God, but it's also true that on my first night in Casablanca, when I was laying in bed reading Miroslav Volf and considering the semantics and semiotics of trying to name or describe God, my phone rattled and I looked at it and it said "I AM welcomes you to Morocco!"

A little repetitive, but really good. How strange that out of all the kinds of nerds, I seem to have become a comparative theology nerd.
Ian Hammond
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Volf argues that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. He argues that because Allah and YHWH are "sufficiently similar" this view is correct. Allah and YHWH are similar, argues Volf, in that they are the One true God--the good and beneficent creator--who commands us to love him and our neighbors. The reason Volf is making this argument is that he thinks a pervasive belief that Muslims and Christians worship the same God would create peace and a way to work together for the common good. In ...more
John Yelverton
Oct 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Though well written, the author's conclusions are completely outside of reality, and he completely runs roughshod over the history and actual opinions of theologians like Martin Luther. Only read this book if you feel like placing on the shelf next to your unicorn and fairy books when you're done. ...more
Josiah Hatfield
Solid theological arguments throughout. Glad to have a deep thinking Christian like Volf.

(The 3 star review only because it reads like a lecture, my subjective way of documenting that that’s not what I’m usually looking for in a read.)
Feb 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Miroslav Volf is one of my favorite theologians and a compelling writer to boot. This book focuses on a topic that is very close to my heart - the relationship between Christians and Muslims. I am glad that he published this book because it helps people get some of the historical and methodological perspective to get beyond the rhetoric which keeps both sides from having meaningful dialogue. Volf is unapologetic that the book is written from a Christian perspective but he is also rigorous about ...more
Michael Woods
It would not be a spoiler to say that the answer the author arrives at is an unequivocal YES to the question of: Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? He states this as his thesis on the book jacket. But Volf is more interested in what does this mean for relations between adherents of the world's two greatest religions. Can Christians and Muslims coexist peacefully? Must one or both religions give up claims to truth, or can both be politically inclusive while remaining religiously excl ...more
Doug Magnuson
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have read many books (and answered many questions) related to the question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. This is the best book I have read on the subject, and it is particularly helpful and interesting because Volf addresses the broader context, including ways in which God and religion serve as identity markers and contribute to conflict between groups. His discussion of the views of some key historical figures (including Martin Luther) on the question is very helpful ...more
Bryan Neuschwander
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful response to Huntington's "clash of civilizations" approach. Volf wants to cultivate an environment that discourages extremism by
1. Respectful debate about truth.
2. Acknowledgement of a common God.
3. Belief that God is loving and just.
4. Adherence to the command to love one's neighbors.
5. A health sense of the fear of God.
6. A stand against injustice.
7. A stand against prejudice.
8. A stand against compulsion in religion.
9. A stand against disrespect.
10. A stand against political exc
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Good book. Demands a show and thoughtful reading though.
Señor Chiqui
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tackles the big question of our time: are Christians and Muslims as far apart as they think?

I only wish it were longer.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A theology that demonstrates that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is a pragmatic choice that promotes peace.

Muslim belief and practice have much in common with Christianity is the positive message about Islam that Miroslav Volf wants every Christian to hear. Very emotional counter arguments exist. Powerful messages interpreted from Islamic sacred writings position Islam against the core values and precepts of the Christian faith. Contemporary events which demonstrate extreme actions
Jon Cooper
Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Overall I support the intention of this book, and, despite, the shortcomings I see in it, hold the opinion that every Christian ought to read it. In short, Volf argues the following thesis; Christians and Muslims worship the same god in ways that are far more similar than they are different. Building off of the Muslim generated document "A Common Word", and the subsequent "Yale Response" (among other resulting documents, eg., Rowan Williams's response), he suggests that Allah is the Christian go ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Definitely somewhere between 3 and 4.

I am writing a dissertation for my program at Cambridge this year on how Christians and Muslims interact. I will save most of my thoughts for that paper.

In summary, I am not sold on Volf's idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, or at least that the sameness is entirely relevant to his point. I believe most of what he claims can be achieved without boiling down both religions until they no longer look different. We have important differences, w
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love his concept of normative Islam and normative Christianity. There are versions that aren't. He argues for the same God but Muslims can query this over the Trinity and seeing Jesus as just a prophet and Mohammad as the final one. It is fine to prefer your own religion and think it is best, but you realize that people of other faiths and none feel the same way and you respect that. God is love and love your neighbour as yourself can be found in both religions but as Christians we have love y ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
The Croatian-born theologian Miroslav Volf always has some solid ideas. You don't get hired to teach at Fuller Theological Seminary (formerly) or Yale Divinity School (currently), if you are an intellectual slouch. He also generally takes those ideas too far, but that's okay, too. All theologians are incorrect on some points, especially amateur ones like myself. I think this book is a bit dry and a bit overdone at times, but worth reading for all Christians because of the importance of Muslim / ...more
April Bumgardner
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Miroslav Volf’s writing and message is winsome and thoughtful. This is the fifth or sixth book I have read by him. Allah: a Christian Response encourages us to think openly and hospitably about the people who claim the religion of Islam. His question is do Muslims and Christians worship the same God. His answer in brief is yes, they do. While genuinely giving an ear to Muslim devotion, Volf remains strong in his Christian convictions. He does not delve into matters of salvation, but simply addre ...more
Shaun Chiles
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book helped to confirm what I already suspected to be true about the great monotheistic faiths. Wonderfully written and clearly argued. I also emailed the author and got a response! He connected me with a colleague whose nonprofit I had the privilege of interning at.
Cameron West
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
A compelling argument that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Not, mind you that they worship that God in the same way, or that their theologies describe him thus, but rather in claiming that there is only God (as do Jews) that there is sufficient similarity in the theological implications of this claim. Volf shows how how the Muslim understanding of Allah being all-merciful is very like the Christian understanding of God as love, and the Muslim claim that one has no faith unless he lo ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book in preparation for hearing the author speak at a local university. Volf is a brilliant Protestant theologian who lived in Croatia during the Balkan Wars and now teaches at Yale University. The basic premise of the book is that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and that we can build on what we share. I wavered on whether to give this three or four stars because it is a very challenging read, and sometimes it seemed a bit repetitive. Maybe 3.5? In person, Volf is gentle ...more
Bob Price
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Liking a book and agreeing with a book are two different things. Such is the case with Allah: a Christian Response.

Miroslav Volf has done an excellent job at laying the question on the line: Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? This is an important question to ask in the post 9-11 world with some religious tensions high.

Volf is not very shy about his answer to the question: "Yes" in fact, Christians and Muslims do worship the same God, but in very different ways. He views this as th
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, religions
Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? That is a question that has long been asked, with differing answers on both sides. Christian theologian Miroslav Volf says the answer is yes and this book is his exposition on how that is so.

Volf is a great Christian theologian. His book Exclusion and Embrace is one of my all time favorites. Some may assume that for a Christian to give a "yes" answer to the question, he has to reject some of the primary traditions of Christian theology such as the
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic and pertinent book. It helps Christians understand their own faith more clearly through the witness of Islam, while also promoting a profound Christian respect for Islam. Volf incorporates a broad engagement of Christian-Muslim relations by looking to historical, scriptural, philosophical, political, and sociological factors. This should be required reading for any Christian who wants to love more radically and think more deeply about his or her Muslim neighbors. I short my r ...more
Nick Richtsmeier
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Somewhere behind the knee-jerk drama around a pastor/celebrity's recent advertisement for Christian Universalism, is a book much more worth the read and much more worth broad consideration. Miroslav Volf is a brilliant theologian, a deep lover of God, and interested in something more in-depth that poking his finger in the eye of popular Christian notions.

A thoughtful read of this by a broad audience would actual create a conversation worthy of its furor. Skip Love Wins. Read Allah: A Christian R
Adam Ross
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
The question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God is a matter of long-standing debate, and this book gives a clear, careful, nuanced, and emphatic answer: yes. Volf is a refreshingly invigorating thinker (and writer), able to communicate clearly. He covers every possible angle and nuance and objection, and the book landed him praise from not just Christians but from respected Muslim scholars as well.

His argument is fairly simple, which is that there is no criticism of Christian
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book. Miroslav Volf is a theology professor at Yale University who grew up in former Yugoslavia and thus knows something about conflict between Christians and Muslims. He offers a suggestion how Christians and Muslims can live together in this world, focusing on common beliefs while not shying away from the areas of significant disagreement that still exist between the two faiths. Along the way he makes a strong case that Christianity - founded on the belief in a God whose nature is ...more
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a fascinating examination of the similarities and differences between Christians and Muslims. From an acknowledged Christian perspective, the author examines the issues that bear on whether Christians and Muslims can live together peacefully in modern society. The argument is founded on the idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God (the one and only God of the three Abrahamic faiths, the creator of the cosmos). The author compares the ways God is described in both relig ...more
Rick Lee Lee James
Do Muslims and Christians Have A Common God?

Miroslov Volf has done a masterful job of showing how Islam and Christianity do in fact share a common God while not sharing the same faith. Allah is simple the Arabic word for God, that fact alone has cause much confusion. The book does point out the many similarities between the two religions while at the same time acknowledging that they are not the same faith. This may sound confusing but the clarity that Volf brings with his perspective is immense
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, islam
There is not much to add to what other reviewers have wirtten, so I'll keep this short and focused. I have huge respect for Volf and the work he is doing worldwide on the Common Word efforts. And I am encouraged to see how a theologian of the capacity and strength of Volf is able to enter a thorny issue like Christian-Muslim engagement, be truly respectful, and communicate the points of genuine commonality AND difference without blinking an eye. For those who think Volf has crossed a line here, ...more
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Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and the founding director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. “One of the most celebrated theologians of our time,” (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury), Volf is a leading expert on religion and conflict. His recent books include Against the Tide: Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities, and ...more

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