Recently a Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands supported the use of ‘Allah’ instead of God. Here’s a link to the original article. Bishop Muskens said that when he was a missionary to Indonesia the Christian missionaries there used the name ‘Allah’ almost exclusively. He is hoping that better relations between Islam and Christianity would follow if Christians chose to use the Islamic name.
One of my major concerns in this issue is that the two religions have major differences in their theological definitions of God. Using the Islamic name would not bring clarification but rather confusion from my perspective. Many Christian teachers question whether we are even talking about the same God when Muslims refer to Allah and Christians to the God of the Bible.
The Arabic name ‘Allah’ started out as a designation for the ‘Moon god’ before Muhammad appropriated it and used it in the Koran. While it is true that Muslims claim that it is a designation for the God of creation portrayed in the Bible, Allah of the Koran seems to have many characteristics which are different than God in the Bible, and vastly different than the Triune God of Christianity.
While missionaries working among Arabic speaking or Islamic populations may need to use ‘Allah’ when referring to God and even in Bible translations; that does not mean that the name ‘Allah’ should be used world wide as a substitute for the God of the Bible. Christians should be particularly careful in this regard, to avoid a syncretistic definition of God.