Burning the Qur'an Does Not Illuminate the Bible

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Burning the Qur'an Does Not Illuminate the Bible

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I am pleased to join several of my friends and colleagues in adding my name to a simple but straightforward statement, published in a full-page advertisement, in today's New York Times. bible1.jpg
It’s sponsored by the American Bible Society.  It reads as follows:
“Burning the Qur’an does not illuminate the Bible.”
The ad, along with its signatories, can be viewed by clicking here.
Of course, this was in response to the planned “Burn the Qur’an Day” which was scheduled for this coming Saturday down in Gainesville, Florida. Late on Thursday, after intense pressure and discussions, the event was first cancelled and later suspended. Nonetheless, since the pastor urged others to join in his cause, it's pretty fair assumption that somewhere this weekend, someone is going to set fire to a Qur'an.
Saturday will mark the 9th anniversary of the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.
The event was to be sponsored by a very small church of maybe 50 people. Opposition to the event had been gaining momentum throughout the week. From the President of the United States to the Vatican, officials were speaking out against it, and understandably so.
Some have suggested the matter comes down to the freedom of expression.
Do we, as Americans, have a right to burn the Qur’an? Yes.
Should he do it? I don’t believe so, which is why I joined my friends, Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson and Ravi Zacharias, among others, in saying so.
So, why was I opposed to the idea of burning the Qur’an? sept11remember.jpg
As a Bible-believing Christian, I certainly do not hold the Qur'an to be sacred Scriptures, as Muslims do. However, it is precisely because of their beliefs--and my desire as an evangelical to reach them with the truth of the Gospel--that I oppose this action.  After all, how can we expect to show Muslims the love of Jesus when we’re setting on fire the very book they hold most holy?
However unwise this proposed burning would have been, the true tragedy, in my estimation, remains the thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001.
This controversy garnered its share of headlines and controversy, but what of those innocent children who lost their mothers and fathers on that fateful day?  Many of them are now grown and still grappling their way through life without the steady hand of the parent who meant everything in the world to them at the time.  What of the widows who waited to hear the footsteps on the back porch but instead were met with silence and reduced to tears?
The events of the past week not only hurt Christian evangelism in general, but it also misplaced the focus of the 9/11 anniversary in particular. It saddens me that so much energy has been directed toward this isolated incident, a most unfortunate idea.
Instead of burning and tearing down the Qur'an, it's my prayer that Christians everywhere would, in the words of the hymnist, "Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore His sacred Name."
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  • Comment by  Becki:

    Brother Jim, I heartily agree with you. The controversy this proposed event garnered inappropriately shifted Christians' focus from memorializing the victims of 9/11/01 and praying for their bereaved families and friends. Thank God for the Holy Spirit Who convicts us to set our eyes and hearts on appropriate targets so that we can be a shining light for Him!

  • Comment by  Cinda:

    I, too, agree that a public burning of the Qur'an does not illuminate the Word of God. However, what are Christians doing about the HUGE influx of Islam??  I also feel the frustration of the apparent support of many of our leaders for this religion.  Since reference to the Bible was made, don't you think that Jesus would respond a bit differently than complacency??

  • Comment by  DE PRIMEAUX:

    It is our position as Blood bought children of the King to illuminate the love and forgiveness of Christ. It's our position to fast and pray. It's God's position to take care of the rest. venegance is mine thus saith the Lord of host. Go about feeding my sheep and bring the lost to Me for it is I who save,heal, and deliver.

  • Comment by  Rene:

    I wholeheartedly agree.  Burning the Qur'an doesn't present the Good News, but would instead bring bad news in the way of headlines following an aftermath of retaliation.  It also puts Christians and the name of Christ in a bad light.  Thank you for being a shining light. 

  • Comment by  Anita B.:

    Bless you and your words. Well done.

  • Comment by  Dana:

    I don't understand so called Christians who say they know Jesus and follow him, which means we become like our master. They killed Jesus because he said, "except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall in no wise inherit the kingdom of heaven"( Mt 5:20). Jesus often called them Hypocrites. Jesus warned us of the false prophets, like Mohammed and Joe Smith and false teachers.  There is nothing wrong with burning a Koran if it gets the message to the world that we think the book is unholy, a cheap representation of the real thing; the book is terrible, leading masses to Hell. Most of those who call themselves Christians don't even know who they are following, indeed the masses of those who call themselves Christians will end up in Hell because the Jesus they thought they knew did not exist.

  • Comment by  The Patroit:

    No matter how politically correct the cancellation, it boils down to Americans & Christians cowering in their own land before  the GOLIATH of a FREE Nation! The apostle Paul & David would be ashamed!

  • Comment by  Charlie T:

    Great job Jim i agree.Cinda: Jesus was much more harsh on its own jewish leaders, We must share and show the love of christ to all.

  • Comment by  Patricia W:

    I agree this does not solve anything!

  • Comment by  Christine:

    Thank you for taking a stand. This is an awesome move for Focus on the Family ministeries.

  • Comment by  Emily:

    I agree. Christians are supposed to win others to Christ.  We do not win others through disrespect.  It is not our responsible to bring down Islam but to lift high the cross.

  • Comment by  Bettylu:

    I am really scared about this influx of Islam> We have to understand that this is more than the fight for religious freedom religious freedom. Does anyone agree with me?

  • Comment by  k:

    But what about truth?  Aren't we taught to stand up for the truth?  What about the Qu'ran glorifies God??  Isn't he glorified if we reject evil?  I cannot speak for anyone else, but the God I love asks me to stand up to evil.

  • Comment by  Eric:

    I believe the stand need to take regarding Islam in America is to love them.  Did Jesus stand up against Rome or their pantheon of gods?  Jesus' commands were to reject the sin within OURSELVES, and extend love to others.  If Islam is spreading it's our fault, not because we haven't stood up to Islamization, but because WE as Christians have failed to love people enough, to welcome them into the church.  Let's focus LESS on what everyone else is doing and focus MORE on what we should be doing:  feeding the hungry, loving the unlovable (including Muslims), and giving hope.  And this is coming from a soldier who has served twice in Southwest Asia.  I've seen the Islamists' hate, I've felt the concussion of a suicide bomber a few hundred yards away detonate a car.  I've driven in armored humvees with 60 pounds of armor and weapons on my body.  But I've also talked with the Afghan people, and my heart breaks for them.  They are Muslims, but they want hope.  They want a better life for their families.  If we in America take that away from Muslims here, they will not see the hope of Christ.  Make no mistake, there is an evil out there that we need to fight, but remember that the war Paul talks about is not against flesh and blood.  Not all Muslims are criminals.  They just need Jesus, and they're not the only ones.  Our calling is not to push them away, but to love them (even at great risk to yourself), because that is the ONLY way to fulfill Jesus' command to make disciples.  I, for one, pray to God for the courage to lay down my life to save that of a Muslim.  I'm ready for heaven; he isn't.

  • Comment by  Tina:

    Amen, Eric. You are absolutely right. What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if a group of muslims decided to burn bibles and then try to teach us the love and compassion of their God? Would burning our sacred documents be a sign of love and compassion? Remember, in the bible, Jesus sat and ate with sinners and tax collectors and talked to them in love, not as a judge to condemn them. When asked why, he said a sick person needs a doctor. In that instance he was comparing himself to a doctor. What is a doctor? Someone who cares for you by telling you what ails you and offers you advice, medicine, or a cure. A doctor can 't make you stop smoking. He can tell you why it is wrong and how it will harm you. Jesus COULD just make people stop sinning, but that isn 't how we were created. We were given the right of choice. Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists, and others will all face the consequences of that choice someday. Burning the Qu'ran is wrong. When confronted by the Pharisees about a prostitute found in the city Jesus said, "Let you who is without sin cast the first stone". Burning the Qu'ran is saying that we have the right to judge people based on a book that they read. Just because they read it doesn 't mean they follow it. Just because they follow it, doesn 't mean they take what it says to the extreme. We (christians) have our own extremists who decide to go beyond what the bible says and do something drastic to "make a statement".