Well, it's been in the news for over a week and Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville is, at least at this moment, still planning to burn copies of the Qur'an on Saturday. The Washington Post says that Jones may have postponed the burning following a call by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and a potential meeting with the NYC Ground Zero proposed mosque imam (though we hear conflicting reports about this proposed meeting.) Regardless, the little church of 50 (that number is dwindling we hear) is still the top national and international news story.
Do you remember when the most newsworthy thing happening in Gainesville was that the Gators were playing football?
Now, according to the Drudge Report, there is a pastor of a church near Fort Campbell in Tennessee, a church in Topeka, Kansas and a group in Wyoming planning to have their own Qur'an burnings.
Anyway, since this has been all over the news, I have been asked by church members, folks in the community, people in the barber shop and the local elementary school where my wife subs what my thoughts were on this.
I have avoided blogging about this just because there were so many other posts out there, but for those four or five of you that actually read this blog, I thought I would share my point of view.
Simply put - I think it's a terrible idea.
My personal belief is that Pastor Jones and these others are receiving exactly what they desired - publicity. You've heard the old adage "Any publicity is good publicity." Well, not in this case.
You may think by stating this is a bad idea, I'm saying that the Muslim religion is valid and equal to Christianity and that the Muslim holy book should be viewed as equal to the Bible. I'll be clear here - I do not believe that at all. There are Christian churches in Gainesville who have stated as sign of solidarity and tolerance that they will read from the Qur'an during their Sunday worship services. There is even a Jewish Synagogue in Gainesville that will read from the Qur'an during their Sabbath gathering. They are doing this, they say, as a sign of tolerance and support of all religious beliefs. In fact, they are doing this as a sign of protest to Pastor Jones. Is this the response Jones wanted? "Christian" churches reading from the Qur'an. I have problems with that and fear that if a church will teach from the Qur'an as a "holy book" during a Christian worship service, then they apparently do not hold the value of the Bible very high. That would be a discussion for another post.
I do believe that the Qur'an burnings will do nothing to lead others to Christ, open doors to reaching Muslims in this world with the life-transforming Gospel of Jesus and will definitely put American military men and women, Christian missionaries in Muslim countries and Christian natives in predominantly Muslim countries in harms way for no good reason.
I am all for using different methods for reaching people with the Gospel, but not at all for changing the message. Some lean to becoming more liberal in their teachings of the Word of God for fear of insulting or turning off people. Others lean to becoming more legalistic and start looking more and more like the Pharisees of the New Testament. Both extremes are tools the Enemy uses to divide and attack churches.
Rather than just restate what others have said so well, I am going to link to a few blog postings here regarding the issue.