by Robert Randle
4/03/2011 / Devotionals
In what is considered an intentional provocation and cultural insensitivity toward the religious faith of over a billion and a half devotees, a copy of the holy book of Islam, was burned at the Gainesville, FL Church of Pastor Terry Jones. Outrage over this premeditated act spilled into the streets of the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan where demonstrators rioted and set cars and shops afire and in the wake of their riot four Afghan protestors and seven U. N. employees lay dead, according to Associated Press reporter Amir Shah and writers Deb Riechman and Mirwais Khan in the Kandahar province. Although Pastor Jones was not personally involved in the bonfire which took place March 20th, yet, he videotaped the desecration gained international attention last year for threatening to do the same himself. Pastor Jones later backed down due to pressure, protests and threats from the international community as well as pleas from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, General David Petraeus, and President Barack Obama, among others. Pastor Jones intention previously was to expose Islam not as a religion of peace but rather as one which perpetuates violence and also because Jesus is portrayed in Quranic texts as a mere man and not the Son of God. In lieu of this controversy the following Scriptures are given for consideration.
Matthew 18: 7-8
Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses must come, but woe to the man by whom the offense comes. If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.
1 Corinthians 10: 32
Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the Church of God.
Philippians 1: 9-10
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernments, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ [Messiah].
COMMENT: More could be mentioned on this matter but as a last example is the Apostle Paul giving assent to the martyr Stephen's stoning, although he did not pick up one single stone but was complicit nonetheless in the murder just the same (Cp. Acts 7: 57-60; 8: 1a; 22: 20). The Don Imus of the Christian Church assumes no responsibility for the unfortunate deaths caused in this expression of vehement righteous indignation by Arabs and devout Muslims in Afghanistan and worldwide, but is this position defensible? If violence is to Islam what love is to Christianity, then does Koran-burning exhibit that nobler ideal and virtue (Cp. Romans 13: 10)?
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