Thursday, September 09, 2010

Burning the Qu'ran: good idea? Bad idea?

Qu'ran, Quran, Koran, however you spell it: there is a church in New York Florida whose pastor, Terry Jones, plans to burn Qu'rans on September 11, to commemorate the day Muslim terrorists killed over 3000 Americans in a literally diabolically clever attack targeting non-combatants who were going about their daily lives.

Is it a good idea?


Candidly, part of me really likes it, really wants to give a fist-pump at this display of in-your-face defiance. Muslim extremists — which is closer to a tautology than one wishes — threaten and target anyone who dares speak out against any aspect of their cult, including cartoonists and writers. Here's a church saying, "Oh yeah? Take this!" I like it.

But by the time one celebrates about his fourth or fifth birthday, he is expected to have begun to develop the ability to think about impulses before acting on them. In this case, a moment's thought tells me it's a very bad idea.

Why?

Is it because President Obama thinks it's a bad idea? Oh, mercy no! In no way. Obama's opposition almost turns me back in favor of it. Here is a man who only really gets excited in opposing his own political enemies. America's enemies, by contrast, he embraces and flatters and enables. So no, Obama's opposition is far from a minus.

How about the fact that Obama calls it "un-American"? That one cracks me up. I would think being "un-American" would be a selling-point for Obama, whose whole ideology is un-American.

Is it because General Petraeus thinks it endangers American troops? That one carries vastly more weight with me. We all know that "those" people in "those" countries are nuts, frankly. They'll riot and chant "death to America" over a false rumor. If some American's sneeze sounds like "Mohammed sucks," they'll riot and burn and throw things. So he's doubtless right.

No, I think burning Qu'rans/Qurans/Korans is a bad idea because it's a bad idea for a Christian church to do. Let me 'splain.


What does the act communicate? "We aren't afraid of you, and we hold your religion in contempt." Okay, fine. I like courage. And you have to admit, this takes a certain amount of courage. People have been kidnaped and beheaded on camera for far less.


But is that the church's calling, to show courage, per se, period? In no way.


How about to show contempt for competing religions? Well, yes — but in a certain way. There's a self-aggrandizing contempt, and a Gospelly contempt.


Let's suppose they succeed wildly beyond all expectation. Every Muslim in the world knows that this church isn't afraid of them. Every Muslim in the world knows that this church holds their religion in contempt.


Let's suppose (I'm "tripping" here, I know) that every Muslim in the world suddenly becomes ashamed of his religion as a result, and leaves it.


The result? Every Muslim in the world goes to Hell a non-Muslim.


Because you see, the message of Christ's church is not "Stop being a Muslim, stop being an atheist, stop being a homosexual, stop being a Hindu, stop being a Roman Catholic." The message of Christ's church is the Gospel. The message of Christ's church is the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the Lordship and incarnate deity of Christ, the atoning death of Christ, and the call to repentant faith in Christ. That is what should mark a church. That is what people should think of, when they think of a Christian church.


What we need to do as Christian churches (among other things) is preach the gospel. What the Muslims of the world (and the atheists, homosexuals, Roman Catholics, Hindus) of the world need to hear is the gospel. So what a church needs to do is find creative ways to preach the Gospel.

And note: preaching the Gospel is an act of defiance. Preaching the Gospel does convey contempt for every competing alternative.

But it is God's way of doing it.

And maybe it's the problem. I don't know a thing about the church. It's called "Dove World Outreach Center." Anything with "Center" in it is usually Charismatic. They may or may not know the Gospel, may or may not preach the Gospel, may or may not be about the Gospel.

But if they're a Christian church, they should.

Now, for no extra charge: should Qu'rans ever be burned?


Yep, I think it would be perfectly appropriate to burn a Qu'ran.

Who (perhaps) should burn it?

Converts from the deadly cult of Islam, following the example of the Ephesians (Acts 19:17-20).

Not a necessity... but it would make sense.

Which this stunt does not.

88 comments:

Gregg said...

As a pastor I resent his using the office I love dearly for political purposes. Besides, in his self-righteousness he has forgotten to both love his neighbor and love his "enemy."

I totally denounce this action.

Jason Woelm said...

Dan,

Right on! Our message is the Gospel. I wish more of us could get this right.

BTW, the church that is burning the Qu'ran is in Gainesville, FL, not NY (just a friendly fyi).

Oh, yeah, and Dan: did you hear how the pastor came to the conclusion that he and his church should burn Qu'rans? God told him to do it--after his ecstatic, tongue-laden, Charismatic prayer. So, don't worry, it's okay, Dan. God TOLD him to do it, so who are we to judge? ;)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Yes!

While I admire the guy's boldness, I am truly concerned for our soldiers, and the hysteria that would follow.

And you've so excellently reminded us of a much better way.

DJP said...

Can't get the city right, but I guessed the theology.

(c;

Thanks.

Ed Groover said...

Great analysis, Dan! Thank for the "what the church is about" paragraph and the "who should burn a Koran" moment at the end.

Kat said...

You said it so much better than I did...

Gee, what a surprise! ;-)

But isn't it interesting that we both noted that struggle we have between our fleshly natures ("Burn away!") and what the Gospel requires of us?

Thank you for saying it so well...

DJP said...

Yep, Kat, looks like we're on the same page.

Say, Jason — do you have a link to his claim that he'd heard God telling him to do it?

Brad Williams said...

I, for one, am totally blown away that some dude who has a 50 member flock can get so much attention. People are throwing fiery cocktails over this and burning people in effigy and burning flags and making general mayhem. It's madness!

I'm all for the freedom to burn stuff, and I think that this "pastor" is within his legal rights, but gee whiz, this whole thing smacks of insanity on multiple levels:

1. The thought that burning Korans in any way helps anyone is crazy.

2. The fact that the media even noticed this and reported it is nuts.

3. Most of all, people killing people or burning buildings and inciting riots over this apparent rednecks fiasco is the most crazy thing of all.

I dunno, this world is a crazy place.

witness said...

Not one Charismatic can speak out against this sort of folly without shooting themselves in the foot.

I just shake my head and marvel at where all this "God told me" stuff eventually leads to.

Al said...

At first I said to myself, "Here is a modern Boniface, cutting down pagan symbols and lighting them ablaze! Perhaps we will be lighting Christmas Korans one day!" But then a couple thoughts occurred to me.

First, St. Boniface went into the camp of the pagans to do his cutting, he did not cut down a Spruce in the Church parking lot. Second, our new "Apostle to the Muslims" does not appear to have the Muslim's conversion in mind. He thinks they could worship here as long as they "submit" to the Constitution. Hey, shouldn't every knee bow and every tongue confess that Madison was one smart cookie?

al sends

CR said...

I agree with what you said about the marks of the church. I also believe it blasphemes God's name in this way: Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for teaching the law but not practicing it. Similarly, a clear teaching of Scriprures is to love your enemy and clearly this act is not an act of love unless it is done by a convert from Islam as you mentioned from a similarly example in Scriptures.

Citizen Grim said...

Aren't all fire-related topics more appropriate for the blog entitled Team Pyro? ;)

Seriously, though, this post is spot-on, particularly in the final observation of when it's ever appropriate to burn a Qu'ran/Koran/crayon.

JackW said...

Yesterday afternoon I heard Hannity interview this “revered one” and it wasn’t pretty. Logic isn’t effective in this case, at least not for this man.

Well put Dan, if we are going to be persecuted or rewarded or both, let it be over the Gospel and not over burning a book.

Citizen Grim said...

Oh, and also, the ironic part of the "God told me to" nonsense is that if God is sovereign (and he is) and the burning goes ahead as planned, then we believers can take heart in the fact that God is not surprised by it or caught off guard by it. In fact, he is working it together for good, weaving it into his eternal purposes for the advancement of his glory and his kingdom, no matter how hard that may be for our human minds to reconcile.

RT said...

Yes, God told me to tell Rev. Jones that it is a dumb idea to burn the Koran. He also told me to mention that the good Rev. is a grandstanding moron. His latest gambit is that if only the Whitehouse will call him personally, he will re-think his position ------ what a maroon!

DJP said...

Indeed, what an ultramaroon.

Kevin Rhyne said...

"Preaching the Gospel does convey attempt for every competing alternative."

Do you mean "contempt" instead of "attempt"?

This post is very well put, Dan...Echoes my own thoughts...but I hadn't thought about the Ephesians. Excellent point.

Robert said...

Dan,

Great post...I am assuming you meant conveying contempt and not attempt.

There are multiple layers of problems with this guy and what he is doing. He is so radical that it is easy to pull his actions out of the crowd. What I fear for more is people in the church who think that politics is a means to spreading the gospel and saving America. I see so many people who are more active in the political arena than they are in their churches and evangelism.

The common link between this guy and the more mainstream political activists are that they use the bad actions of unbelievers to justify their neglect of doing the work we are told to do in the Bible. And both groups seem to cherish getting their time on air. All they accomplish in being on air is to be a bad (or worse, false) witness for Christ to the world.

Robert said...

One other note...we need to be prepared to stand by those converts who do burn their Qu'ran. Remember what happened when the Ephesians started burning their idols and books? I would expect no less from Muslims...especially based upon what the Qu'ran teaches.

Trevor said...

Rage boy FTW! For the EPIC WIN!

Jason Woelm said...

@Dan:

Here you go: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-09-08-quran-burning-florida_N.htm

Specifically, here's what the associate pastor, speaking for the senior pastor Terry Jones, said: "God is leading us right up to the moment. It's no different than Abraham and his son. God didn't tell him, 'Go right up to the point where you might sacrifice him.' He wanted him to be fully committed. We're prepared to do what we're called to do."

Hope that helps.

Chris said...

Wonderful post Dan! Perhaps one of the most concise posts yet! I have been driving around for days hearing about this upcoming event on the news and the various reactions to it. I have been trying to put my finger on exactly how I feel about it. Then, voila! Your post nails it with perfect balance...for Christians who happen to be conservative, not the other way around, as such a subtle reversal in perspective can be spiritually destructive to one's soul! For conservatives who happen to profess themselves Christians, they'll probably think you were way to soft. Thanks for the clarity today--I needed that!

Paula said...

Jones was interviewed by a reporter from ABC News. At the conclusion of the interview the interviewer reports Jones said, "If God sends him a clear message not to do it, he won't. But he can't imagine God sending him that message."

Word verification: dizatstr
Tells you about all you need to know about secret messages from the Almighty.

iQwest said...

For the same reasons as Dan gives, I am against burning the Koran (although I do recognize that it is constitutionally permissible). I am also against hypocrites who wag their politically-correct fingers at the Koran-burners with one hand and allow the torching of Bibles with the other. Did government officials (Obama, Petraeus, Clinton, Holder, etc.) think people would forget about this incident? (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/20/us.military.bibles.burned/index.html) The double standard is striking, and very revealing. Threats of violence from the alleged "Religion of Peace" carry the day, it would seem, resulting in the duplicitous approach.

Paula said...

Does anyone else think it's ironic that the same Obama who voted against the flag burning amendment in 2006 is now calling Koran burning un-American?

Paula said...

Does anyone else think it's ironic that the same Obama who voted against the flag burning amendment in 2006 is now calling Koran burning un-American?

iQwest said...

Sorry about that, my link got cut off for some reason. Anyone care to offer this Luddite advice on how to imbed a link in a blog comment? Here's the full link:

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/20/us.military.bibles.burned/index.html

Douglas said...

INTERPOL has today issued a global alert to its 188 member countries following the request of Pakistan’s Minister of the Interior, and its own determination, that if the proposed Koran burning by a pastor in the US goes ahead as planned, there is a strong likelihood that violent attacks on innocent people would follow.

The religion of peace.

Paula said...

Update: Fox News is reporting that Jones may cancel the fiery conflagration if he gets a call directly from the White House. Apparently Obama can overrule God. Or speak on God's behalf. Go figure.

The White House is considering its options. Can or worms anyone?

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Thank you for this post. I've been reading about this with interest, and wondering what you or any of the TeamPyro guys would say about the issue.

It made me think about what MY message to the world would be if I had 15 minutes of fame or even five, or a bumper sticker to label me by or a tattoo on my forearm. And here's my favorite part:

The message of Christ's church is the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the Lordship and incarnate deity of Christ, the atoning death of Christ, and the call to repentant faith in Christ.

Amen.

(I do have a book of Mormon that I really want to light up, though, from the last time the "boys" came to my door.)

And one last thought: we need to remember to pray for missionaries (not just military) serving in places where Islam is the official religion!

Paula said...

Merrilee said, "(I do have a book of Mormon that I really want to light up, though, from the last time the "boys" came to my door.)

DS received a copy of for a grad gift and we've pondered what to do with it. Can't really re-gift it. Do we really want to donate it to Goodwill & help spread the Purpose-driven message?

I suppose there are worse things people could be reading and it could open some doors, and it does contain God's word, but it's such a convoluted collection of trite sayings that I hesitate to be responsible for distributing it.

Barbara said...

What no one seems to notice or mention is that these same people have published an article entitled, "In Support of Westboro Baptist Church".

Frankly, that outta be 'nuff said riat dere.

(but as for the rest I'm on board with you and Mohler and everyone else who understands that the church is about the Gospel)

DJP said...

How does the BoM contain God's Word? You mean the plagiarized KJV?

DJP said...

Ohhh, Westboro — the Fred Phelps bunch.

Charismatic hyper-Calvinist Democrats?

Brrr-r-r-r!

Paula said...

Ugh...this is what happens when I post a comment as I'm running out the door! I meant to say that DS received a copy of The Purpose Driven Life for a grad gift!

Oopsies! Make more sense now : )

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Honestly, I don't even want to use the BoM under a wobbly table leg (if I had one), because I don't want my children to one day find it and be curious about it's contents, or jump to the wrong conclusions about the truth.

One idea I had was to write on the inside cover and any available white spaces particular Bible verses that would be helpful for a Mormon to look into to study and come to understand the truth. I've heard that some former Mormons have "studied" their way out of their false religion, and maybe it would be helpful. Then, the next time one comes to my door, I can hand it back to them and encourage them to find the truth. (I haven't done it...yet.)

DJP said...

That's funny. The Purpose-Drive god.

The Squirrel said...

Last night on ABN, "Pastor" Jones said, "This is not intended to be an act of evangelism. This is not intended to be an act of love." -- I think we all know that this is just a publicity stunt. Well, they have their reward...

Also, James White called in to that same program and made many of the same points that you have, Dan.

Squirrel

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I was recently amused to find this bumper sticker on a car recently:

http://www.amazon.com/Obama-1-20-2013-1-20-13-bumper-sticker/dp/B00228KSPU

(Sorry--I don't know how to "use some HTML tags, such as bold, link, italicize". Maybe it would be edifying for some non-IT readers to learn some day, if one would be so gracious to 'splain it. Someone once tried to explain it to me briefly, but I still messed it up.)

DJP said...

That surprises me. What's ABN?

The Squirrel said...

"ABN is a non-denominational ministry committed to presenting the Word of God and its transforming message of Jesus Christ to Arabic and Aramaic speaking people worldwide through media." Television and webcasts.

Squirrel

DJP said...

And James White just voluntarily called in to contribute something useful to the show, without his organization controlling it or him being the featured guest? He just showed up, to elevate the discussion?

That's terrific, if so; he certainly does have a lot to contribute.

Marie said...

Dan, you are da man!

When I first heard about this on the radio, I confess I had the same split-second gut reaction as you did...to be brutally honest, I don't think this would bother me nearly as much if this guy were not a pastor. As I was thinking about it more, I realized 'it really shouldn't matter who it is making the statement/doing the burning', because right is still right and wrong is still wrong. Not that the Lord needs PR people, but what is so troublesome is that this 'pastor' is acting vengefully in the Name of Christ.

It also struck me how antithecal to the Gospel message of repentance and redemption this all is, although I couldn't have articulated the reasons why nearly as well as you did, if I had blogged about it (which I didn't). Anyway, very well said.

P.S. I also thought of that passage about the occultic book-burning, but as you pointed out, that was voluntary and came out of conversion.

Paula said...

You know, I wonder if what's needed here is a "God told me" duel. It's pretty clear that "Pastor" Jones and his "Pastorette" wife aren't going to be convinced by Sean Hannity, Hillary Clinton, Albert Mohler, or any number of interfaith or ecumenical councils. Not even the esteemed DJP.

But what if God "told" someone like, say, Pat Robertson or John Hagee - or even Fred Phelps that Jones shouldn't do this and God would rain his wrath down on Jones' church if he went through with it (including, of course, financial ruin and an IRS investigation for good measure). Surely then he would be compelled to cancel the book burning, no? [tongue only partly in cheek]

The Squirrel said...

“And James White just voluntarily called in to contribute something useful to the show, without his organization controlling it or him being the featured guest? He just showed up, to elevate the discussion?”

Well, yes, that is exactly what he did. I was in his chat channel when someone posted that Terry Jones was debating David Wood regarding the “burn a Koran day” thing. Dr. White, having been a guest on ABN in the past, and having strong feelings about the issue, decided to call in.

Dan, you seem to be of the opinion that James White is some sort of “control freak.” This is not representative of the man I know. His organization has two employees, counting himself, and a handful of volunteers.

Squirrel

DJP said...

What'd I say? It's nice he called and gave to the discussion. He's got good stuff to give.

ulfbiggorilla said...

It annoys me that the same people who are defending the right of the imam in NY to build a mosque at ground zero, in the name of religious freedom, are the ones crying foul the loudest at a pastor in Florida burning some books.

Not you Dan...I don't disagree with you that the pastor is misguided at best. It just baffles me that one petty display brings such criticism from the MSM, while a 100 million dollar display of cruelty draws the same people to its defense.

DJP said...

ULF: no doubt there are ironies to spare in the situation. No doubt.

The Squirrel said...

Sorry. Maybe I just read more into "...without his organization controlling it or him being the featured guest?" than was there.

Squirrel

RT said...

You are certainly right, Dan, to suggest that the Church has a higher calling to pursue than book-burning. It is amusing, however, to reflect that most of the outcry against Rev. Jones is based rather upon fear of reprisal than his somewhat tenuous avocation to a higher calling. Personally, beyond agreeing with you of course, I mainly find his actions in extremely poor taste, and that primarily (and circularly I suppose) because he purports to represent the Church, or a church. Your objections and mine (of course) are perfectly sound, but how sad it is to witness government and, particularly, media advocating the self-suppression of the First Amendment out of fear of consequences. Poor taste, subversion of the Gospel - these I get, but fear?

DJP said...

Good points all, RT.

It does cause one to reflect: for every time we say "Somebody oughta...", followed by "...but that'd be stupid," there's someone who just does it.

Sir Aaron said...

@RT:

I agree with you and yet disagree.

We ought to object to actions when they aren't wise. Even if that's the only reason. You don't get rid of hornet's nest by riling up the hornets first. And that's all this accomplishes and it's not wise.

And for all the other comments about what to do with books and the burning by the Ephesians: It's one thing to destroy something for the purpose of well, destroying it. It's another to destroy something for the purpose of creating a public spectacle.

GrammaMack said...

I just read that he's calling it off. "Pastor Terry Jones said Thursday that he decided to cancel his protest because the leader of a planned Islamic Center near ground zero has agreed to move its controversial location." Huh?

Mesa Mike said...

How an inconsequential person can have his 15 minutes of fame:

1) Plan on doing something that pushes the buttons of Muslims.
2) Alert the media.
3) Get lots of undue attention!

The media has a BIG part in stirring things up.

If it's OK to burn the emblem of our freedom (the Flag), if it's OK to immerse a crucifix upside down in a jar of urine and call it art, if we truly have freedom of expression, then it's OK to burn whatever to make a statement about whatever.

The problem is not with the pastor, but with the people who get so enraged by something so trivial as the burning of paper and ink.

Burn a Christian Bible, so what? "The grass withers, and the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever." Even if you destroy printed copies of it.

Mesa Mike said...

My previous being said, I think the pastor is an idiot for doing this.

The Squirrel said...

So, Burn the Qur'an Day has been cancelled it seems...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100909/ap_on_re_us/quran_burning

Squirrel

Zaphon said...

Love it.

I thought and wrote pretty much similar things that you said in this post.

I'm not opposed to Muslim offense per se, I'm opposed to a near-cultish charismatic, legalistic group causing an unadorned rukus over the hatred of Islam.

Sure, Islam is bad. But the answer is not to burn it's book, it's to expose it's book with the light of Truth in the GOSPEL.

Phil (the Doulos) said...

Dan, thanks for expressing my thoughts on this subject so well. I was going to blog about it myself, but now that you have read my mind and blogged it, I'm covered.

Seriously, I agree with your points that (1) it is an appropriate thing to make a statement opposing radical Islam and showing we are not so weak as they think, but (2) this is not something that the church should be engaged in. That's been my biggest issue with the whole deal.

So yeah, thanks for channeling me so well. Carry on...

Rupert said...

I think that what this chap is planning is just silly really. And pretty much pointless. It is an offensive act which doesn't actually 'act' or take a stand against militant islam.

The concern I have is that as the appeasers back away from 'offending' muslims with things like books and cartoons, those same people will push forward with their threats until ultimately everyone will have a gun to their head to kneel and pray five times a day.

They need to be convinced that while they are free to practice their faith, attempting to force others to do so, and effect changes such as sharia law, will not be tolerated.

You say that preaching the gospel is the best path. But how effective is that DJP? Surely you will only be 'preaching to the converted' because you sure as heck wouldn't want to try to preach the gospel in a muslim country. And muslims, or any other faith, won't come to you to hear it.

Hayden said...

I Pastor in the town where this guy is. He has been deemed a 'nut job' by every other Pastor in the area whether it be liberal, conservative, charismatic, non-charismatic. We all ignore him like the crazy old uncle that you avoid. I belong to the Gainesville Pastor's Association which is led by a Charismatic Pastor, who crafted a letter on our behalf that we sent to him over a month ago.

The reason that this is such big news is that it is being used by the media, plain and simple. This guys has staged protests, had kids wear 'Islam is of the Devil' t-shirts and all sorts of other things and no one nationally said a peep. The reason the media picked up on this one is that they wanted to use it to produce a narrative of Islamaphobia that is sweeping the nation.

DJP said...

Valuable insight, Hayden. Thanks.

Susan said...

Dan said: No, I think burning Qu'rans/Qurans/Korans is a bad idea because it's a bad idea for a Christian church to do. Let me 'splain.

What's there to 'splain? Of course it's a bad idea. This is not to say your 'splaining was bad, Dan--au contraire--but I would just think it's common sense not to do it. But then again, when God speaks to Rev. Jones he obviously wasn't appealing to his common sense. [\sarcasm]

And Citizen Grim, your thoughts on how the sovereignty of God is over all this is a good and timely reminder that is sorely needed in crazy days such as these.

Sir Aaron said...

Rupert:

Christians do evangelize and risk their lives in Muslim countries. Open Doors is one organization which provides Bibles and other support their and other places that are restrictive to the Christian.

Rupert said...

Hello Sir Aaron. Yes I'm aware of that. Some of them take extraordinary risks to do even the smallest work.

Can you imagine what would happen if someone tried to build a Christian drop-in center/church in the middle of Tehran?

Paula said...

Rupert said, "You say that preaching the gospel is the best path. But how effective is that DJP?

DJP didn't say it, God did. Just a thought, but maybe head over to Bible Gateway and plug "preach" and "gospel" into the search engine (I suggest ESV) & see what it comes up with. Also try "preach/word" and "proclaim/gospel". You'll see that that was the main business the early church was about.

Keep in mind that the message of the cross was not all that popular in the times of the early church.

"Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth." (Hebrews 11:36-38 NKJV)

God's word and the Holy Spirit are his chosen means of transmitting the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to his creation. Whether it's "effective" or not (by our standards) is God's work and His business. We are merely to be obedient to his command to preach the Good News.

Zaphon said...

Rupert said: "You say that preaching the gospel is the best path. But how effective is that DJP? Surely you will only be 'preaching to the converted' because you sure as heck wouldn't want to try to preach the gospel in a muslim country. And muslims, or any other faith, won't come to you to hear it."


Imagine if Paul and Barnabas and others had that mentality. Everywhere they went, the GOSPEL was preached. Some converted, and some resisted. But what was always the case is that God was glorified and the Gospel spread like fire.

I think it's telling that you want to measure the "effectiveness" of the Gospel preached. Anyone who has labored in the field will tell you that if you weigh results by numbers, you will be disappointed. When the point of preaching is to glorify God, then effectiveness is always powerful.

Don't underestimate what the Word can do. Jesus Christ is building His Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. He knows where His people are, so our task is not to determine in advance if they will hear or not and repent, but to preach the Word everywhere we go.

The population of Muslims is exploding in the US and Canada (where I live), and we are feeling the presence of this religious group like never before. You say we wouldn't want to preach in their countries, well let me suggest that the mission field is ripe in your own backyard.

They ARE coming to you...so adorn the Gospel, and give them the Word of Life.

Paula said...

Terry Jones' interview on Nightline:

Faisal Abdul Rauf (NYC mosque-builder):
I am glad that pastor jones has decided not to burn any Qurans. However I have not spoken with Pastor Jones or Imam Mussri. I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. We are not here to barter.

Terry Jones: We had a clear promise from the Iman [sic] here in that meeting. There were several people who can confirm that. We find that very devastating if that is true. That would mean the Iman [sic] here lied to us. We hope that that is not true and we can still come to some type of agreement on this matter.

Terry Moran (Nightline): If the plans to build the mosque are not changed, would you go forward with your plans to burn the Korans?[pretty please, he asks hopefully, because we need the ratings!]

Terry Jones: Uh, right now, we don't know. Right now we are, like we said, we are very shocked, very devastated, that the possibility is there, that a man of god, anyway according to his religion, would lie to us several times.

Imam Mussri: What I guaranteed him was to have meeting and to fly with him to NYC to have that meeting.

Terry Moran: Have the pleadings, the urgings of the top officials in the American government had an effect on you?

Terry Jones: Oh, very much so, very much so. Yes, yes, yes.

Terry Moran So it sounds like you don't really want to do this

Terry Jones: We are not looking for a way out, we are looking for a solution that will make everyone happy. For now we are canceling the event. We are still believing that this promise will come about.

Terry Moran: What have you learned?

Terry Jones: All of those things we have taken into prayerful consideration. Our opinion of Islam has not changed. Our opinion of Islam has only been confirmed through the fact that we have actually done nothing . We have not burnt a Koran, we have not done anything at all, but even though we haven't done anything, There has already been riots and threats to us that already confirms that that mission or part of our mission has been accomplished to bring a greater awareness to America and to the world that Islam is possibly much more dangerous & much more violent than we thought.

Terry Moran Then maybe you've brought your message to the world and you don't have to burn any Korans?

Terry Jones: That's very possible

Thomas Louw said...

When I heard about this proposed burning of Koran’s, I immediately pictured an American Hill Billy. I wasn’t too far off. I think it’s outrageous, and unwise. (I dresspratley wanted to use another word.)
I have worked my whole life for Muslims. For the most part they are good mannered folk. Don’t get me wrong; with the smallest nudge they’ll go extreme.
I think this Christian (I hope) is causing a lot of trouble for Christians in Muslims Countries, being they missionaries or otherwise. At this moment there are e-mails flying around between Muslims calling for the burning of churches on 9/11.
It is easy to call for burning a book and then say “Sorry I won’t” Like this man has done. The problem is that in countries where Christians are the minority, fevers are high and people can die.
(Write ting this I have the strongest urge to slap this guy, hard)

Zimbabwe said...

I think that it isn't good idea. Yes, we should talk the truth about Islam. But by burning the Quran we only show Muslims that they are right - that Christians are agressive and stupid. This is my view.

DJP said...

You're welcome to express it - but, really? The actions of one pastor with a small church show that Christians are aggressive and stupid?

Doesn't the over-the-top reaction of Muslims all over the world — as well as non-Muslim leaders panicked fears of yet more Muslim violence — rather suggest that the pastor, while not right in his actions, is right about a great many Muslims?

Scott said...

Good thoughts on this subject Dan. When I first heard about this burning. This book burning might get him some attention but it will endanger the lives of many Christians around the world needlessly.

On another note, does it seem like most of the crazies in the news come from Florida?! Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe it's just the news agencies I follow but sometimes I think everyone in this state is trying to one-up the other in craziness.

DJP said...

Well, there are two good guys: one reads this blog (see above), and the other's named...hm, Ted something. I heard him at a Founder's Conference.

Zimbabwe said...

Maybe I didn't write clearly - but in my opinion, sometimes one thing made by one person can make very bad picture of Christianity in minds of some people. I know people, who really hate all Christians, because one priest (I live in country where the main church is Catholic) made one bad thing.
Sorry if my English isn't very good.

DJP said...

English is incredibly difficult! You're doing just fine.

Yes, you're right. But it's hardly fair, is it? It is just the opposite of the case with Muslims.

One nut in Florida has a nutty idea, and Christians all over the country denounce him.

But Muslims all over the place call for death and violence and destruction -- but where are the contrary voices, calling for tolerance and free speech?

So I reject the generalization to all Christians, if anyone tries to make it.

Robert said...

I'd like to make a comment with regards to the Imam and Islam in general. You cannot trust what a Muslim tells you is the truth if the person believes in the fundamental teachings of Islam. Go research Taqiyya and you will see for yourself that Islam teaches that it is OK to lie if it furthers the purposes of Islam (i.e. bringing Sharia law to all of the world, destroying infidels, etc.). I am not saying all Muslims follow all of the teachings of the Qu'ran...I'm just saying those who do will have no problem telling lies to spread Islam...in fact, it is encouraged.

Sorry, not trying to derail, but just think that we need to address certain problems as they arise. I only found out about this last month and think it is important for people to know what we're dealing with.

That said, we need to be evangelizing to Muslims (and all lost people for that matter) and presenting the truth to them. In fact, we can even use their own beliefs to evangelize to them because they hold that Old Testament Scripture is sacred. I once again will promote the reading of "The Gospel for Muslims" by Thabiti Anyabwile, who just happens to be a converted Muslim. This is a mucch better example to follow than some heretic burning false teachings from another religion.

MSC said...

You can bet your bottom dollar that the media picked this up for the reasons Hayden mentioned. To what degree of responsibility will they take if blood is spilled?

Zimbabwe said...

I agree with You in this case :) In some Muslims coutries You can go to prison if You have the Bible. I read very much about persecuted Christians in Iran, Somalia or Egypt.
I often hear that Islam and Christianity have this same God - it is one of the biggest lie I have heard.

Paula said...

Read this on someone's Facebook today: Human nature says to get even by burning their Koran for burning our Bible. But we are called to a higher purpose. Show them love and grace, not hate and retribution. Be the follower of Christ we were asked to be. We are to be a Peculiar people. That means we are to be uncharacteristic of the unsaved.

JTW said...

I wholeheartedly agree that “Burn a Koran Day” is an idiotic distraction and unnecessarily provocative. Christians should not be associated with this kind of behavior. HST, I also find it unsettling that the Western world, in unison, has so quickly and passionately denounced the action as if it were an unspeakable crime against humanity.

It calls to mind the recent controversies over the Danish cartoon and South Park episode depicting Muhammad. Film makers are also afraid of upsetting the delicate Muslim temperament by depicting the destruction of Islamic landmarks on film. Franklin Graham (who is not a wing-nut) was denounced for his comments about Islam and was dis-invited as a speaker at the Pentagons National Day of Prayer. More could be said, including how accommodating the public school system has become to Islam.

We are constantly told that we have nothing to fear from this religion of peace, and yet, we walk on egg shells.

I find this current trajectory of accommodation unsettling. Especially when you consider the efforts of the U.N. to strengthen support for it’s ‘religious-defamation resolution’. It is clear that this hyper-sensitivity only applies to Islam as blasphemous depictions of Christ are regularly offered as bold expressions of art.

Do I think this “pastor” should stand-down, absolutely. But I’m also worried about what further concessions to Islam will be demanded in the future.

Clint said...

Sooo... Does this mean it's OK to burn bibles? I think if this comes to pass, the sales of bibles for firewood in the middle east will skyrocket... (kind of a law of action/reaction thing)

DJP said...

Does what mean that it would be okay to burn Bibles?

If Bible sales in the Middle East went up, that'd be great. Last I heard, it was a banned book, period. Religion of Peace strikes again.

Hayden said...

I think one of the reason we have so many crazies here in Florida is that it get so hot down here and the humidity does something with the brain [sarcasm].

My hope out of all of this is that people will want to read books like Thabiti Anwabile (sp?) book "The Gospel for Muslims" and share the Gospel which is the "power of God unto salvation"

Mesa Mike said...

If the Bibles to be burned are purchased from American publishers, then I'm all for Muslims burning as many Bibles as they can.

It's just paper and ink.

Lisa said...

Not one part of me likes what this guy is doing and I don't even admire the guys boldness. I find this whole charade to be embarrassing, moronic and seemingly self-promoting... and very anti-CHRISTian.
You have some excellent points.
Especially when you wrote about the message of Christ's church, but I genuinely don't understand how any part of you likes any part of this. No fist-pump here. ... well ... except when you wrote about the message of Christ's church. That rocked.

DJP said...

Hi Lisa,

Of course I don't expect or demand that everyone see it as I do. But perhaps if you read this little survey of recent Muslim-outrage history by Michelle Malkin, you may see my point. Heck, our soldiers in "friendly" Muslim countries, serving their interests, are prohibited in their own personal practice of Christian faith. A person I know who was about to move to an Arab country for work remarked that she wouldn't be allowed to bring a Bible.

I'm sure you've read that sort of thing yourself.

In the face of such international intimidation and cowed cowardice, the bare fact of anyone taking an in-your-face stance on this issue, in spite of predictable Muslim outrage and death threats, is a refreshing change.

So that's where that small part of the post is coming from.

Then plug in everything else I said.

trogdor said...

Why bother burning something that's bound for the lake of fire anyway?

trogdor said...

On the topic of Bibles in the Middle East, it does depend somewhat on where you are. Most of my experience in that area is in Turkey, which is sort of an oddball, in a constant struggle between Islam and civilization. For the last 100 years or so, civilization has formally been in charge, so possessing and distributing the Bible is technically legal.

Granted, many authorities assume it's illegal and it's a good way to find yourself in jail for a few hours, and there are obvious dangers involved if someone objects too strongly to receiving God's Word, but it's actually technically legal activity. In recent years, the most fruitful - and most dangerous - mission activity has been to distribute the Bible.

Incidentally, that wretched crime is an example of taqiyya in action (muslims allowed/commanded to lie in order to advance jihad), and also an illustration of the conflation of Islam and politics. In Turkey at least, to be a good Turk is to be a muslim, people of any other religion are viewed as potential conquerors, and Turks of a different religion are not just infidels but traitors. It's still unclear whether these heinous murders were more for Allah or for Ataturk. Naivety about the integration of religion and politics in Islam is far too rampant in our national discussion.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

In the wake of all these events, I decided to finally watch a video that was sent to me free in the mail a couple of years ago, right around pre-election time. It's called "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West."

Even though it's a few years old now, it's message is still very much applicable, and opened my eyes to the reality that the radical muslim's goal is to conquer the world, basically. What this film fails to do (perhaps because it cannot know the true solution to the problem), is offer any practical advice on what to do about it.

But it is very informative. (And I hope my attempt at making a link really worked this time, thanks to the public service announcement from Friday's H&T.)