Three Reasons to Not Burn the Koran

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On September 11, 2010, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, is planning on having a Koran-burning. Called the “International Burn a Koran Day,” this particular church has even put forward ten reasons why the Koran should be burned. As one might expect, condemnation for this scheduled event, and the attitude behind it, is pouring in from all over the world, with Muslims protesting in places ranging from Kabul to Indonesia, and both liberal and conservative Christians challenging the Dove World Outreach Center’s plan.

Personally, I think that Dr. Terry Jones and the members of his church ought to be ashamed. Regardless of whatever real issues they might have with Islam, the burning of the Koran is arrogant and provocative, not to mention utterly tasteless. Furthermore, it mitigates the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, implying that cheap stunts are somehow necessary to demonstrate the contagious superiority of the matchless Savior Jesus.

With that in mind let me offer three reasons why burning the Koran is, in fact, an inappropriate act put forward by small men.

First, the Dove World Outreach Center, and for that matter all of us who claim to follow Christ, should “preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23). It is noteworthy that the Apostle Paul, just before penning those three words, pointed out that certain religious types want to focus their attention on “signs,” that is, on spectacular things designed to demonstrate authority–things not unlike, say, burning Korans. But the Apostle Paul’s counsel is more mature: preach Christ crucified.

Secondly, using Acts 19:19-20 by the Dove World Outreach Center to justify the burning of the Koran was poorly handled. Dr. Jones cites this passage to validate the Koran-burning. However, when read properly, it is not the church leaders that initiate the burning of occult-oriented books in ancient Ephesus; rather, it was the former occult-practitioners who had entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ who were bringing forward and then burning their own books, and this following what was clearly their own public confession and repudiation of their former practices. Point Ten of Dr. Jones’ list of reasons why the Koran should be burned states, “Many of our greatest supporters are ex-Moslems.” But are these former Muslims part of Dr. Jones’ church? Will these former Muslims be tossing their own dog-eared copies of the Koran into the bonfire? Were such the ones actually leading this charge, stepping forward as did the former occult-practitioners in Acts 19, then perhaps this event, unsavory as it still might be, would have more credibility.

Lastly, the burning of the Koran by the Dove World Outreach Center is a provocative act that undermines and perhaps puts at real risk the very lives of Christians living among Muslims all around the world. It truly has no real value other than inciting confusion and rage, makes Christians appear to be small and in need of stunts rather than the Holy Spirit, and jeopardizes the efforts of many who have sought to build meaningful Christian-Muslim relationships through which the Son of God may be displayed.

Comments

  1. Carol Baker says:

    I’m sure we all have our opinions of Islams based on the actions of the misguided ones. Unfortunately, those like Terry Jones tend to leap and then look. Burning the Koran is not near as devestating as the bombing we sustained here on our home ground but I fear it could cause more lives lost and military achievements set back thus extending this war. We are seeing activity in the Holy land that was predicted thousands of years ago. Would we not be more prudent to prepare ourselves, our loved ones,our communites and as far as our realms of influence can reach as Christians. Let’s make this country fortified against the devils prodiges both within our country and outside it powerless and gain back our God given controls. Please, lets cut to the chase. Forget the eye for an eye and look at the big picture. Based on our Founding Fathers desire for freedom of religion, lets get on with our jobs and right the wrongs. Let’s defend this country and step up as we are intended to do with God in our heart and Christianity on our lips. LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD.

  2. Ann says:

    Good article and I agree. What I don’t see is the reverse outrage from anyone though. People treat the Muslim world like they would treat the Mafia. Everyone is scared of them and they act accordingly to not try to say anything wrong about this false religion. Islam is not of God so it has to be of the devil. I think people need to remember that. Islam is the fastest growing religion and without Jesus Christ none of these people will see heaven.

  3. Matthew says:

    Dave . . . wow. I wish I had thought about the excellent point you made. How very insightful! And good nod on the lukewarm dynamic too.

  4. Dave says:

    Reason number 4: All things are lawful, but everything is not expedient. He’s taking on authority that was never granted to him. If Terry Jones is of God, then his authority is to preach the Gospel, not destroy things in opposition to it. It’s God’s authority to decide what survives and for how long. He is in essence elevating himself to a place of authority higher than God…a very poor act of stewardship at best an an extreme falling out of pride at worst. Only thing I’d give him is he’s not being lukewarm, but the point is not to be hot in the wrong direction either!

    I’m sure we can go on with a plethora of other reasons. But your three were very well put. Thank you for your statements.

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