I have to disagree with David, I think Terry Jones will follow-through with his “International Burn a Koran Day” plans and light them up on Sunday. I do agree that there is way too much attention paid to this guy. Let’s put this into perspective, this is a tiny church with 50 members. Pastor Jones seems to thrive on the controversy and has even written a book Islam is of the Devil.
While that is accurate I don’t think the title is an effective evangelism technique, much like when I was a sophomore in high school being told I was going to hell when I was heading inside to watch the Iowa State Wrestling Championships. True? At the time, yes. Effective, not really. Memorable? Obviously, but I don’t think this guy intended to be blog fodder (and sermon illustration material) years later.
This guy is getting some attention now, but what real impact will he have for the Kingdom of God in the long run? Zilch. Nada. Nothing. David mentions that while Americans (and Christians) will be offended by the Ground Zero Mosque (which, shocker, another poll out today shows that two-thirds of Americans are against it being built) but won’t resort to violence unlike some Muslims who seem to riot at the drop of a hat.
That doesn’t matter. This guy is a representative of Christ and last time I checked 1 Corinthians 13 was still in the Bible. Also Scripture tells us that we are to be prepared to bear witness to the hope that we have in Christ, (1 Peter 3:15), but we are to do it “with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:16). How does this act by Pastor Jones and the members of Dove World Outreach Center bear witness to the hope found in the Gospel? How does this demonstrate gentleness and respect.
I’m all for telling the truth, but the Bible is clear we are to do so in love, (Ephesians 4:15). So what does this actually prove. Glenn Beck who has been savaged quite a bit on this blog made a great point in a blog post he wrote a couple of days ago. He wrote:
The only thing this act would prove is that you CAN burn a Koran. I didn’t know America was in doubt on that fact. Let’s prove to each other that while there are many things we can do, there are maybe many more things that we choose not to do.
So true (see there are things we can still agree with Beck on). Former Governor Sarah Palin pointed out in a Facebook post this afternoon that what they likely want to accomplish will likely backfire:
It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance. Don’t feed that fire. If your ultimate point is to prove that the Christian teachings of mercy, justice, freedom, and equality provide the foundation on which our country stands, then your tactic to prove this point is totally counter-productive.
Chuck Colson in his commentary today pointed out not only could this put our troops in Afghanistan at increased risk as General David Petraeus warned, but it could also impact fellow followers of Christ who are already persecuted in that part of the world.
And most of that fury will be directed into violence against Christians in Muslim areas throughout the world. If Jones goes through with this horrid plan, people—Christian people—will suffer and some will die.
This idea is bad on so many levels. So instead of burning on Quran, those of us who follow Christ, let’s pray for a Muslims instead. Somehow, I have a feeling that would be much, much more effective.
Update: I guess David was right, I stand corrected.