Letters from Paul

September 7, 2010

Burning the Quran?

During the long Labor Day weekend I had some extra time on my hands, so I looked at the religion section of the Houston Chronicle.  One particular article that grabbed my attention was entitled, “Religious leaders decry plans for Quran burning.”   This article reported on an interfaith symposium held at the Baitus Samee Mosque in northwest Houston. 

If you are not aware of the situation, a church in Gainesville, Florida is planning a “Burn a Quran Day” on Sept. 11 at their church property.  Of course, I wasn’t shocked to read that Muslim leaders were not pleased with the burning of their book anymore than I believe a Christian would approve of the burning of the Bible.  I read the article because I was interested in the response of “religious leaders” and I was especially interested in the response of the Christian “leader.”

Now I do not know anything about the church in Gainesville, Florida and I know nothing about Reverend Terry Jones (the pastor).  The article simply gave three quotes by Pastor Jones:

1.  “Islam is a very oppressive religion, and the Quran is definitely a dangerous book.

2.  “We want to send a clear message to radical Muslims, that in the U.S., we are not interested in shariah law and shariah courts. We have a Constitution, and we hope to uphold it.”

3.  “The radical Muslims are not interested in dialogue or peace,” Jones said. “Their religion is so radical that they are willing to die for the cause, so our message has to be this radical in order for them to understand.”

Although I am not behind the idea of burning books, there is nothing in those three statements with which I would disagree.  Islam is a very oppressive religion.  We, the United States, are not interested in shariah courts and law.  Radical Muslims ARE NOT interested in dialogue or peace.  If we were uninformed concerning that last fact, I believe September 11th cleared that up for us. 

As I stated before, I was really interested in the response from the members of the interfaith symposium and especially the Christian pastor.  The first thing that caught my attention is that the article only quoted the Jewish and Christian leaders.  The Jewish leader, Siger, stated:

“The Jews, particularly, are very familiar with book burnings,” Siger said. “First they burn books, then they burn people.”

My first question is, “Who is “they?”  If “they” is referring to Nazi’s, then he is correct.  If “they” is referring to people in Gainseville, then one is insinuating quite a large leap.  It is an assumption to state that ”burning books” is the first step down a path towards burning  people.  I realize that it has happened in the past, but that does not mean this group would follow suit.  If my memory serves me well, the Muslim group that attack the U.S. skipped the burning of books and went directly to burning American people. 

Pastor Dale Inman, the Christian leader, said,

“Not only will the burnings cause hate, but the event also goes against biblical teachings.  “The words of the Bible says that ‘All men shall know whom are my disciples because of your love, one for another,’ and I don’t find burning the Quran a way of promoting friendship and unity amongst people,”

Several questions come to mind.  Does it violate the Bible for the Christians to burn the Quran?  Is it loving to serve on interfaith panels with Hindus, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian, and Muslim clergy?  Is it loving to never confront those who reject the truth of the Gospel with the truth of Jesus Christ?  Is it loving to never speak of the lies of Satan that reside in religious texts of other faiths?

I agree 100% that burning the Quran does not lend itself to starting a conversation and I am not suggesting that it is loving . . . but I will also state that serving on interfaith symposiums which promote the respect and honoring of ALL religious scriptures does not appear loving either.  We are to love people, but nowhere in scripture does it promote, command, or require that I respect and honor scriptures of all religions.  I will not take time to list all the religious and/or sacred books utilized by world religions, but I will say this . . . “Apart from the Bible, they are false and not of God.”  The damage these religious books have done is incalculable.  Christians are to be tolerant of other religions, but never . . . never can we accept religious books as equal in validity as the Bible.  The Bible is God breathed and given to us by the King of kings and Lord of lords.      

I have witnessed the lack of courage by Christian leaders to stand up and say, “The Quran is a false book and the Muslim faith a false religion.”  I have witnessed Christian leaders state that it was loving to withhold truth in order to not offend, and yet; scripture is clear that the Gospel is offensive to those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)  The problem with burning the Quran is that the act of burning the book is offensive rather than the Gospel.  The problem of honoring or respecting other religious scripture is that it removes the exclusiveness of the gospel. 

I am curious.  We know that Jesus constantly had to deal with the Jews.  God chose them as His people and through the Jews, God gave us the Bible.  Was Jesus unloving when he said this to the Jewish people who rejected him?

John 8:43-47
43Why do you not understand what I say?  It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  44You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?  47Whoever is of God hears the words of God.  The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

I thought several other statements within the article were quite interesting as well. 

The irony of Christians burning the Quran, he (Dale Inman) said, is that the Quran and Bible have many similarities.  “Many Christians don’t know that there are many stories in the Quran that can be found directly out of the Bible; the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, the flood,” he said. “There are areas that are different, but there are a lot of the same stories.”

Seriously . . . “There are areas that are different?”  It is interesting that the three examples predate the beginning of the Jewish nation and the Arabs.  Yes, the Quran has the story of Adam and Eve, but in the Quran, Adam was not created perfect and The Fall did not have any effect upon human nature.  The Quran does portray Abraham as a central figure, but there is a problem.  According to the Quran, Allah makes a covenant with Abraham, but according to Muslim tradition; Ishmael is the recipient of the promise of Allah, rather than Isaac as the recipient from God, as the Bible states.  Areas of difference???  How about the fact that the Quran rejects Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of the World?  I would say that is more than an “area of difference.”  Lastly, how about the fact that the Bible is the Word of God and the Quran is not.  I am curious, what other books should Christians respect?  Perhaps we ought to honor the Book of Mormon or maybe we should value Scientology’s Dianetics.  I don’t think so.         

If a Christian is going to sit on a panel or interfaith symposium in which religion is the topic, the Christian better be ready to speak truth concerning the exclusivity of the Gospel without apology or compromise.  The loving thing to do is be truthful with all.  The Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian, and Muslim all reject Christ and therefore all are headed to hell.  The loving thing to do is tell them the truth so that they may be saved. 

Paul dealt directly with those, even in the church, who were rejecting the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:6-9
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – 7not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

There is no other gospel other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those who preach another gospel are accursed (set aside for destruction).  The loving thing to do is preach, teach, and share the gospel.  I hope that we (Christians) never let our actions offend, but never let us be afraid of the offensiveness of the Gospel and its exclusive claim.  I certainly do not plan to burn any books, but I will also not be honoring the false writings of false religions.

Link to the article quoted above:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7187112.html

A CORRECTION NEEDS TO BE MADE:
Pastor Dale Inman has e-mailed me and gave me information that simply was not presented in the article linked above.  Dale Inman did attend the symposium and he had the opportunity to present the gospel of Christ, without compromise, to approximately 150 Muslims.  That most certainly was the loving thing to do.  Pastor Inman has also planted underground churches in Muslim countries.  He loves the Lord and he desire’s to see people saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

The article in the Houston Chronicle led me to believe that Pastor Inman was willing to compromise the Gospel.  My blog was not to be seen as an attack on Pastor Inman, but rather critical against those who compromise the Gospel.  Pastor Inman does not fit into that catagory.  I have asked for Pastor Inman’s forgiveness and I ask the same from you if I led you to believe something untrue about him.

THIS IS ALSO A  PORTION OF WHAT I WROTE TO PASTOR INMAN:
Pastor Inman, this blog was not a personal attack upon you.  This blog was an attack on those who compromise the exclusivity of the Gospel, redefine tolerance, and honor ALL scriptures as truth.  Please tell me that you are aware that this is happening all the time.  Again, I have personally witnessed this.  The Houston Chronicle never presented you nor Rabbi Siger as drawing line in the sand concerning the divine inspiration of the Bible (Torah) verses the man-made books of other faiths.  The Houston Chronicle never even mentioned conflict nor your uncompromised presentation of the gospel.  If a group of different faiths are going to speak about the sanctity of scripture – without compromise – how is conflict absent?  The Bible and the Quran cannot both be sacred or Holy. They are in conflict with one another.  Look at the very loose definition of “sacred” given by the Rabbi:

“Even if it is a human document merely inspired by encounters of the divine, or generations of my people’s wisdom passed down and kept sacred, it is still sacred.”

So, my blog was never a malicious blog against you. My facts were not correct and for that I am both sorry and embarrassed, but I was led astray concerning your stand on the exclusivity of the Gospel.

3 Comments on “Burning the Quran?”

  • jbethany says:

    Thanks for taking a stand on this and thanks for articulating it so well. It amazes me how Christians today (including myself) seem to dance around the issues either out of ignorance of the truth or for fear of being offensive. I guess this should challenge us all to take a stand but also know more about what it is we’re standing for.

  • brandon warren says:

    Dale happens to be a missionary in dangerous muslim countries and was invited to speak. He doesn’t sit on some kind of interfaith ecumenical panel. He preached in that same mosque today about Rom. 1:16. He is not ashamed of the gospel and is not a pluralist. I understand your beef with weak and liberal pastors. Dale is not one of them. The editing on the article is skewed.

  • Thor says:

    I am proud to have a pastor with such courage to speak clear gospel truth no matter the cost and whose love for Christ casts out all fear. I am also very glad to have a pastor who puts the name of Jesus Christ above his own and will Quickly and humbly admit a mistake when one is made in his efforts to serve his King. God bless you Paul. Even the apostle Paul was mistaken sometimes in his zeal to serve Christ.
    Once again the liberal media gives misinformation; another reason to keep our noses in the only reliable source of truth, the bible and “Preach the Word.”

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