Terry Jones’ Quran Burning in Gainesville

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Can it get more ironic than this quote from Terry Jones, who burned a Quran Saturday night,

“For some of them,” he said, “it could be an awakening.”

Looks like he was right…In the protests that followed overseas one has died and 16 injured. You can be sure there will be more to follow. Apparently he put the book “on trial” and dressed up in judicial robes and had a mock hearing to declare the book guilty.

“It’s like people forgot about us,” Jones said Saturday. “But we kept doing what we do.”

What does that imply this whole thing is really about anyway?

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. – James 3:1-12

0 Responses

  1. When Paul addressed the Athenians on their altar to the unknown God, he met them where they were, he didn’t go through the city ripping altars down. I always cringe when I read stories like this. If a Christian believes it is ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols, the Bible says he should not do it before men who might have their conscience scarred by it. This guy is burning the Quran before the entire world, furthering the animosity already present between Christians and Muslims. I don’t recall reading that this is an effective form of evangelism in the Scriptures. I wonder if he would be so bold to do this in Afghanistan or Egypt.

    Is this close to where you live?

    1. Very well said! I thought about Paul’s preaching to the Athenians too as an example of how Christians ought to interact with people of different beliefs. I also think about Jesus’ statement “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s…” (Mk 12.17). Even though in the context of that statement Jesus is trying to avoid an entrapping question, we should realize that Jesus had the opportunity to put down the paganism of Rome and yet, from everything we know about Jesus, he never did.

      May we be more like Jesus!

  2. Jones is, I think, easy to attack mainly because he is not very eloquent. I’ve seen people burn Korans, Bibles, and flags on Youtube in the context of the first amendment with complete impunity. I don’t see the logic in declaring him responsible for the deaths of the UN workers. I mean, who are we going to hold responsible for 911, or any of the attacks from militant extremists?

    That being said, if someone says, “I”m going to kill people if you burn that book” and we understand them but burn it anyway, you are doing just as good a job of illustrating your own insensitivity as you are of illustrating the psychosis of your enemy. Well done, Mr. Jones. You’ve demonstrated that these people are psychopaths that can’t be reasoned with.

    We already knew that.

    I have to wonder, though, at what the reaction would be if a hundred people each burned a Koran in protest of the killings at the UN complex in Afghanistan. What about a thousand? A million?

    1. Charlie,
      I am not quite certain if I am following you. Are you considering this post an attack? Are you saying that it would be good to burn more? Can you help me understand where you are going with that?

      I am in full agreement with Kevin on this. Paul didn’t smash their idols. In other places he even quoted from their own Greek philosophers to make his point. A biblical approach would be to start with the Quran itself and preach Jesus from it wherever he can be found and then move to a more biblical view of who he is. Burning books is for those who don’t know how to engage in proper and appropriate dialog with those they disagree with.

    2. Matt,
      This post isn’t an attack. But pretty much everything you read on this subject has the obligatory, “let me start by saying that this guy is a wacko/idiot/redneck/hypocrite/whatever, and now I’d like to talk about the First Amendment and the war effort.” After that, there are pretty much two categories of opinion: 1. that Jones should be held personally responsible for the deaths, and 2. that he shouldn’t.

      My thinking is this. Jones has every legal right to burn the symbol of the religion he opposes. Afghani mobs have no right to murder people.

      My point about burning more books was this. How does one protest the killing and still respect human rights? From a political standpoint, I do suspect that there may be a point when enough Korans are burned to elicit a more thoughtful response from militant mobs. But I could be wrong.

      Christians were once subjected to systematic text destruction and persecution. Their response was to protect the texts that they could, and not shun persecution, torture, or martyrdom. This attitude eventually won the respect of the populace across the Roman Empire at the grassroots level, such that systematic policies of extermination from the top down were unsuccessful, and the Empire became Christian within a century.

      This, I think, is where we need to get back to. And Mr. Jones is not helping. Legally, he is on firm ground. Politically, he’s dangerous. In terms of the spirit of Christianity, I would judge that his actions and attitudes are not showing the world that for him to live is Christ.

  3. Also, I would like to see where all the repentant Muslims are lining up in response to what he did in September and what he is doing now. It is foolish to keep doing things that shut down the conversation and only provoke other people to anger. I would go so far as to say it is un-Christlike.

  4. I’ll go out on the limb a teeny bit here and say that there won’t be any good fruit that comes out of this Quran burning stunt Jones has done…which means that in the end, it’s all about Jones’ fifteen minutes of fame and not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Grace and Peace,


    1. I agree, this is not just political activism, he is a “pastor” under the guise of Christianity bringing shame upon the name of Christ. Was it worth 15 minutes? I don’t think anyone would like to explain that rationale to the Lord.

  5. Here is a proposal from a political commentator that approaches things from a different perspective than any thing expressed here. His proposal is a rather unique way of offering atonement to the Muslim Community for the insult given them by Terry Jones’ expression of his first amendment rights. This would be a good time to remember that Paul said he would rather be defrauded than to harm anyone by his inconsiderate actions. I have no doubt at all that Jones’ act was contrary to the spirit of Christ. The referenced article suggests how the situation might be defused. Would I recommend trying this “solution”? I doubt it. Would it work? I doubt that too – but it is a novel idea.

  6. Looked at realistically, Terry Jones hid behind the US Constitution’s first amendment to insult the Islamic community. This is cowardly and definitely not Christ-like.

    In a very non-political congregation, yesterday I heard Terry Jones’ actions condemned in no uncertain terms. Where is the Islamic condemnation of the rioters who killed innocent people?

  7. I do not agree with Jones tactics. In fact I see very little tact at all. On the other hand I find it ironic that if I openly reject and denounce the Islamic faith then I might be labeled by government officials or the media as intollerant. Seems to me that murdering soldiers or civilans in the name of a religious belief is far less tolerant than burning a book.

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