Most of you have heard by now of the Westboro-Baptist-like antics being planned by Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones. After reading more about the story this evening, I struggled with whether I wanted to discuss it all as, quite frankly, it doesn't deserve the attention this church is seeking. A few things come to mind: pride, anger, vengeance, hate, and revilement.
This Koran burning certainly does not represent peace, love, joy, longsuffering, kindness, love, patience, gentleness, or self-control. So with that in mind, I decided to address a couple of recent comments from this wayward pastor in the hope that the Body will be edified and nonbelievers will understand these actions are inexcusable and not representative of Christ in any way.
I want to be clear that any religion that denies the fundamentals of the Christian faith is indeed demonic. I say this because anything that draws attention and focus away from the person of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, His finished work on the cross to atone for sin, His bodily resurrection, and draws away from He being the one and only Way of salvation is of the devil. It is the antichrist spirit. Thus, anyone who denies these absolute truths forfeits the only way they will see heaven. By denying these truths, they condemn themselves to an eternal hell, and the very point of this blog is to boldly proclaim that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth, and the Life and no man goes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). If you are a Muslim reading this, please see this post: Cling to the Cross! A Message for Muslims.
That being said, what Dove World Outreach is planning for September 11 is at best grave ignorance, and at worst evil. Not only are they jeopardizing American soldiers, missionaries, and Christians worldwide, their actions are not exemplary of Christian behavior.
What they are doing is inciting more violence and hatred for Christians. If they cared anything about the souls of Muslims, they would be handing out Gospel tracts or forming an evangelical coalition to witness to Muslims around the globe (after all, they do consider themselves a "world outreach").
Despite protests and death threats, Terry Jones insists they will continue with the Koran burning. They have even been denied a permit from the fire department, yet through defiance will proceed. A rebellious spirit is not a godly spirit.
Showing his ignorance of Scripture, Jones is quoted saying,
"We feel it's maybe the right time for America to stand up. How long are we going to bow down? How long are we going to be controlled by the terrorists, by radical Islam?" (source)
Reminiscent of the ecumenical patriotism of late (re: Glenn Beck, evangelicals et al), since when is it the church's job to stand up to geopolitical crises? Since when is it the church's business to be entangled with the things of this world? 2 Timothy 2:3-4,
"You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."
Moreover, since when does the true church, the Body of Christ, bow down to anything but Almighty God? Last I checked, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Bride of Christ. We certainly will never be controlled by another power, especially Islam.
Islam is just like anything else of this world and the only way to change anything about it is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to its practitioners. It is likely the only way Islam will be destroyed is by the sovereign hand of God in these last days, but in the meantime, we need to be speaking the truth in love to these lost people, not inciting them to hate us and hate our God.
Responding to the death threats the Dove church members have been receiving, Jones said,
"We will not be responsible. We are only reacting to the violence that is already there in that religion." (source)
It seems Jones hasn't read the command of Jesus to love our enemies. Matthew 5:43-45,
"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
Yes, Islam has waged war against the West. Yes, Islam's modus operandi is to infiltrate all fabrics of society and conquer with violence until they can reestablish their global caliphate (which won't happen because God has other plans). Yes, Islam is technically "of the devil" as Terry Jones proclaims. But this is a secular issue in that the church has no business in "standing up for America". That's the government's job - even if they are inadequate or refuse to do so. The decision to burn the Koran on September 11 is foolishness and wicked rebellion.
Consider the following Scriptures,
"(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
"...[We]ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;"
Notice anything about the verse numbers? It was not my intention to pluck relevant verses numbered 9-11, but for some reason I can't and won't chalk it off as coincidence. I'm actually smiling now thinking God had something to do with that. In any case, the text of these passages have an emphasis on the fruits of righteousness - that is, the fruit of Christ Himself. Everything we do, whether by word or deed, must be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And if our actions serve to turn people away, rest assured they are not a fruit of righteousness.
Pride will be the downfall of this pastor and this church. I can only imagine the potential fallout as a result of their actions. No doubt they have been rebuked by a large number of born again believers, and their continued rebellion may very well reveal the nature of their hearts.
I plan on posting this message on their website and facebook pages. You can do the same by following the links below:
Dove World Blog
International Burn a Koran Day
If just one reader has a change of heart because of this post, I would be very grateful.
This is a call to repentance. This is a call for you to repent from your pride and seek forgiveness of your anger, lack of self-control, lack of humility, lack of meekness, lack of gentleness, and lack of love. I call you to repent and ask forgiveness for placing Americans in danger, and more importantly, for placing your brethren around the world in danger. It grieves me to think a born again believer will lose their head in an Islamic country because of your rebellion. Repent and confess your sins to God as He is faithful to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
I leave you with these words from the Apostle Paul:
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."
For the love of the brethren and the testimony of Jesus Christ, repent!
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