Terry Jones and the Qur’an Burning in Gainesville

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Gainesville is a really special place to me. I lived there several years while doing graduate work from the University of Florida. My wife and her family are from Gainesville. We were just there over the labor day weekend. It is a real shame that the whole community is getting a black eye over what Terry Jones is going to do there on September 11. Maybe he would do well to learn from Paul in Acts 17 where he didn’t smash and burn their idols and objects of worship. Instead, he used those things as a starting point to point people to Jesus and not away from him. The whole thing is distasteful. I have never known speaking the truth in love to be equated with burning something that is special to another person or committing inflammatory (no pun intended) acts. Freedom of speech and expression does not mean everything is permissible and we, as Christians, have to be especially mindful of our words and deeds. It is important that we pray that all parties involved can practice the second greatest commandment…to love our neighbor as ourselves and remove from our hearts any hateful attitudes and actions whether coming from Muslims or Christians.

It is important that we are informed about these things as our world becomes more diverse culturally and religiously. Evertt Huffard wrote a very helpful book called Christ or the Qur’an. It has been a while since I read this book but my memory is that Dr. Huffard says the real comparison is not the Bible and the Qur’an. The real parallel is Christ and the Qur’an based on how Muslims view the text and how Christians view Christ.

0 Responses

  1. Wouldn’t it be cool if a bunch of believers from the Gainesville community went to the Qur’an burning, and didn’t stage a counter-rally, but rather simply laid down silently on the pile of books? Perhaps Mr. Jones would have to call the police to have them removed… but wouldn’t that be faithful witness?

    1. I know one person who mentioned possibly doing that. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is exactly what happens on Saturday. We all recognize that the best way for radical Islam to be handled is by non-violent Muslims. The same is true with Christianity. When violence and hatred rears its ugly head we need to be the first to stand there and say it is wrong and that we won’t tolerate it. That doesn’t mean we agree with everything about Islam but it does mean that we treat people with love and respect.

  2. Perhaps the inspiration for the proposed inflamatory act is the incident in Ephesus recorded in Acts 19 where new converts from the mystic arts burned their books worth 50,000 drachma.

    There is a significant difference in that and what is proposed for the Q’uran in Gainesville Saturday.

    First, those doing the burning were recent converts from the “religion” using the books.

    Second, they did it at considerable financial sacrifice.

    Third, I take this to be a symbol of their true repentance to a new and better way instead of as an “in your face” challenge to a perceived enemy.

    Now if the members of the congregation are recent converts from Islam, then I can stand corrected.

    As it is, this is a cheap publicity stunt that is apparently gaining what the pastor wants – world-wide notoriety for his disdain for Islam. Never mind that it is likely to incite riots, mayhem and death. Like Pilate, he has washed his hands of the consequences of his act.

    The Good Lord challenges us to be “wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.” This act shows the exact opposite of what Jesus said here.


  3. Good post and comments. When I first heard of this, I too thought that it was nothing like what’s recorded in Acts 19. And, despite the opinions of others I’ve heard, it also bares no resemblance to the tearing down of idols and such recorded in the Old Testament. Although I’d see that also creating a wall between Christians and potential converts, that is definitely not a parallel to what’s happening now. This act in no way actively stops any Muslims from reading the Qu’ran. In fact, it may very well encourage more people to read it.

    1. The idols being torn down in the OT were those put up by God’s people. I would see that as the fundamental difference. It was more “in house” than what is being done here. It is one thing to call your own people to the standard they have agreed to live by and quite another to try to force it on others.

  4. I think this goes along with your Bible study series, especially your proof-texting posts. These guys (and the defenses I have read) all use Acts 19:19 as evidence that this is a Christian practice. It is proof-texting at its worse. Ripping a passage from its context without careful reading and forcing it to prove something it never was meant to prove.

    Sorry, a place so close to you is connected with this. I think most fair minded people will separate the city from this group. I ranted on my blog on this subject today.

  5. I’m preaching Acts 17 and relating it to the Koran burning this Sunday in San Francisco.

    Additionally, I’m offended that you would mention Gainesville publicly and highlight its being the home of Sonny’s Barbecue. Shame!

    1. I didn’t mean for this to be a comprehensive list of all things Gainesville…otherwise I would have included Sonny’s in the #1 spot followed by the Gators & Tom Petty. Regretfully I won’t be joining you in Cocoa this weekend but I know you will do a great job!

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