In AD 610, while staying in Ramadhan, Mohammed reported having a Samuel-like encounter. Whereas Samuel heard the voice of God (1 Samuel 3), Mohammed encountered the angel Gabriel, God’s messenger. According to Islamic tradition, Gabriel would deliver the content of the Koran to Mohammed over time. Loosely derived from the Koran, every faithful Muslim must practice the Five Pillars: recitation of the Shahadah, prayers to Mecca five times daily, almsgiving, fasting, and Hajj.

Does God accept Muslim worship when they perform the Five Pillars? What about other religions? Does he approve of all worship? If you answer “Yes,” congratulations, you agree with 58% of Southern Evangelicals. In fact, 39% of survey respondents indicated they “strongly agree” with the statement: “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” Unfortunately, this is a case in which the majority opinion is badly wrong.

The Scriptures teach that God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). He cannot even look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13). Therefore, for any man’s worship to be acceptable to God, he must be cleansed from sin and guilt first. Imagine going to Sunday lunch at grandma’s house with sewage on your clothes. She’d run you out!

After Adam fell into sin, bringing us along, God banished him and his family from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23-24). Adam’s sin destroyed humanity’s friendship and fellowship with God. By nature, our worship is unacceptable to him.

The question we face after God’s discipline toward Adam is, “how can we get back to Eden?” “How can sinful mankind become acceptable to God once more?” In other words, we ask the question of Psalm 24:3, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?” The answer is, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” (Psalm 24:4).

Let’s be very clear here: God doesn’t accept the worship of any religion as such. He only accepts the worship of those who are righteous in his sight. King David declared, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity.” (Psalm 32:1, 2).

The Apostle Paul explained we receive forgiveness and cleansing through faith. You might respond, “Well, yes, Muslims, Jews, and Christians are religions of faith. Their worship is all acceptable to God.” However, Scripture teaches saving faith has a specific object: the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Paul explains that God declares us righteous in his sight and accepts our worship when we “believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord” (Romans 4:24). Why must faith be in Christ alone? Because only he “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

Declaring that God accepts all religions’ worship destroys the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the witness of Scripture. It is to say, “the cross of Christ is unnecessary to salvation. Any way will do.” But God only accepts the worship of righteous men. And men are only declared righteous through faith in Jesus Christ.

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