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Koran Burning: What Would Jesus Do?

Rev. Terry Jones at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla.

Rev. Terry Jones at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. (NYDailyNews.com)

This coming Saturday, September 11, 2010, will mark the ninth anniversary of the Islamic terrorist attacks against America, culminating in approximately 3,000 civilians losing their lives in arguably the largest attack in United States history.

This year, the Rev. Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, FL has entered the fray (video clips by ABCNews and American Power):

Fran Ingram, affiliated with the same church, posted “Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran” on the church’s blog. Dave Ingram followed up that posting with “5 More Reasons to Burn a Koran,” with a very interesting (to me), almost walk-back statement at the bottom of the blog posting:

Let’s just make one thing clear. A small church, in a small town, down a back road, burning copies of its own books, on its own property, is not responsible for the violent actions anyone may take in retaliation to our protest. Remember, Paul did not make the snake, the fire drove it out and he was bitten. If violence happens in reaction to this, the violence was not caused by us, it has just been exposed.

To me, this is where the illogic of Rev. Jones’ premise begins to show. They want to engage in an inciteful act (what could be construed as an act of violence) but don’t want to be held responsible if someone reacts to their reaction of a book burning. Then, if such a reaction occurs, they want that reaction (presumably, by Muslims [of any sort?]) to be construed as violence that would have happened anyway. The presumption is that whatever violence would occur based on the reaction to their act of violence was going to happen regardless of what this church was going to do.

In other words, what they’re saying is that Muslims are inherently violent people when confronted with their own holy book being burned, despite the fact that they themselves would probably — no “probably” about it: the book burning is premeditated! — react in a violent manner if their holy book were being burned.

Other folks have weighed in on this issue (e.g.: Erick Erickson, All American Blogger, and the above-referenced links, to name a few), but I want to bring this full-circle to where I think the right side of this issue really ought to be.

As a Christian and a believer in Jesus as God’s son, I am compelled (while I am still very much a flawed human, I still have a choice to do right or wrong in any given matter!) to seriously consider what the Bible — Christianity’s holy book — might have to say on the matter. In fact, it does have something related to this very thing, something that I think God brought to my attention while perusing Drudge’s headlines this morning.

Luke 22:47-53, New American Standard Bible:

While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him..

But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”

And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber?

“While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

For the Koran burning issue, two negatives only make a positive in mathematics; returning evil for evil is never condoned in holy writ.

A number of points can be extrapolated from the above passages, including (1) God’s timing; (2) our reactions to said timing; and (3) God’s reactions to our carnal nature within the scope of his plan.

The purpose of this posting is to show that I think there may be better ways to handle grievances that many of us have with Islamic terrorism.

Key questions:

What is the point of burning the Koran? How does this improve the situation, assuming that it is we who have a problem with Islamic terrorism? Is this becoming a part of the problem or a part of the solution?

When you’re reaching your allegorical hand out to a rank-and-file Muslim, is that action for the purposes of strangling them (making you no better than a terrorist) or is it a willingness to shake hands under the auspices to agree to disagree?

From a Christian perspective, aren’t we, as Christians, actually commanded to go into all the world, share the Gospel, and help provide opportunities for the lost to receive Christ? Can you honestly say that burning a Muslim’s holy book would move them towards this goal?

I also realize that there are those reading this posting who think that my opinion is really a subjugation of my will to that of Islamic terrorism, or that somehow I’m “giving in” to the evil that is this terrorism.

Some would say we need to “do something” tangible in response to the imminent construction of the Ground Zero Mosque or other apparent threats against America.

OK:

How many times has Dove World Outreach Center promulgated the concept of their membership joining the military to actually be doing something on the front lines in the battle against Islamic terrorism?

What if General Petraeus is correct and such a book burning would make his job that much harder? Isn’t the point that most conservatives are glad that “we” are fighting “them” over there, and not here?

What if, as a Christian, you’re tasked with being nice to all people, no matter the circumstances?

Want scriptural back-up for that last question?

Check it:

Romans 12:19-21:

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” [Proverbs 25:21-22]

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Remember, it is the Islamic terrorist who is being evil in their actions against others. Yet, it is by God’s grace that the Christian ought to respond in a completely different manner.

When you get into an argument with someone, you do realize that it takes two to fight, right? If you shut up, the other person can keep going, but they’re not going to get very far, because you’ve stopped reacting in kind, right?

If you’re up for it, maybe “reverse apologetics” would work for you — Michelle Malkin has an excellent posting on this concept.

Do you want to see a Muslim become a better person, or do you want to see a Muslim destroyed?

What would Jesus do?

Watch what you do — your actions are your belief system.

You know how to reach me.

-Phil

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