It’s close to the memorial of the September 11, 2001 attacks that took place in the United States. At least one group is intent on making a statement on Saturday, September 11, 2010.  The members of the Dove World Outreach Center  plan on holding a public Quran burning, to “raise awareness and warn” about the dangers of Islam. 

This church, led by Terry Jones and his wife, is a charismatic, legalistic group, with some members even having joint-protested with the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. According to Jones, the church has a vision and a calling to expose Islam, and the burning of the Muslim holy book is God’s will.

On their blog, they give a “Ten Reasons” for burning a Quran. Ironically, when I read newspaper articles on the matter today, I quickly remembered the scene in Acts 19, where occult books were burned as a sign of repentance of the idolators in Ephesus. And, not surprisingly, Mr. Jones and his flock see themselves as being in the same ilk as the heroes of Acts 19.

Like the Christians in Acts 19, we are publicly burning a book that is demonic. Many of our greatest supporters are ex-Moslems. They know these evils first hand. We are not, like the Nazis, stealing books, destroying properties or harming any people. We are not Nazis nor are we like Nazis. The Christians in Acts 19 did not go on from their scroll burning to harm anyone. They used the public burning as an opportunity, a demonstration to preach the truth. Only to preach and leave the decision of whether to follow the truth or not. “

I doubt that what DWOC is doing is really what they did in Acts 19. Here you have a small church in Florida, making controversy for its own sake. Those in Ephesus were converted from paganism, and brought their magic books to be burned. It was a sign of their repentance, especially from the greed that accompanied their idolatry. This little church should read the Book of Acts and notice carefully what message and power stirred up the Roman world in their day.

My issue with this is not that the church says that Islam is of the devil. For Islam certainly is. And it’s also not that they consider the Quran an evil book; for it truly is a blasphemous writing. Certainly, the burning of a Quran is going to enrage Muslims, as it is deeply offensive to them. And there will be a backlash of violence if it does happen. We’ve already seen what happens when Muslims at large become offended at the satirizing of their Prophet, or any perception that their religion is being “attacked”. So, I’m not put off by the offense of Muslims per se. I think it’s inevitable that Muslims are going to become angry because they don’t live in a world where everyone shares their beliefs. And particularly in the West, where we have a common notion of freely expressing our views, Islam is fair game for criticism.

My issue is more with what message is being sent to the world with this Quran burning, if it does take place. Right now, the message seems to be an angry, reactionary, hostile message of hate and loathing of Islam, by causing an affront to them. And the news surrounding this fiasco is all about what danger this will have on American lives in Afghanistan, and in other places.  And this is what we can expect when an ultra charismatic group thinks it is God who wants them to do this, who appoint themselves as a moralistic vanguard of the “end time church”.  Sure, pastor Terry can say they love Muslims, and hate Islam, but his actions don’t convey that proposition. The ruckus will not be for all the right reasons.

I’m not suggesting we let up on Islam. We ought to expose its false religion as a works-based, satanic lie. But not by gratuitously burning its holy book on the anniversary of America’s “2nd Pearl Harbor”.  We rightly hate what Islam is, especially in its common extremist expressions. Also,we should not join in the ecumenical niceties that call for rejection of all truth standards for the sake of “peace”. Here’s what I think we should do….

Go out into the world and make disciples of all nationsMatthew 28:18.   Yes, go to the Muslims in your own context. Meet them, and tell them the Gospel of salvation from a dead, works-religion. They don’t need to see a burning Quran to hear the Gospel. If they hear and repent and believe in Jesus, then, if they are so passionate about the truth of the Biblical God that they want to renounce their religion publicly, let THEM do so.

The sight of American christians, coupled with the “quack factor” of a charismatic church bombastically incinerating someone else’s religious book is simply sinful, and disregards the call of the LORD to adorn HIS Gospel. Let me say this plainly-Terry Jones and his cultish group are drawing attention to themselves, and causing nothing but trouble.