Burning the Koran

Well, it didn’t happen.  Terry Jones, a “pastor” for a small Baptist church in Florida did not burn 200 copies of the Koran as he initially stated he would do.  It was his plan to burn copies of the Koran on 9-11, the anniversary date of the day America was attacked by those claiming to act on behalf of Islam.  After several plead with him that he not burn the Koran, even the President of the United States, and after more than 100 death threats, Mr. Jones decided not to burn copies of the Koran.

Since Mr. Jones’ announcement, I’ve heard many people ask if burning the Koran would be the right or wrong thing to do.  Here are my thoughts on the matter of whether Mr. Jones or anyone else should burn the Koran.

  1. If it is your intent to inflame those who are Islamic, burning the Koran will get the job done.  However, if it is your intent to influence, teach, and change Muslims this would be the last thing you would want to do.
  2. In my judgment, better than burning the Koran would be a public reading of the Koran.  Let people know what it teaches.  Expose its errors.  Expose its ethical system.  Many people are still unaware of the violence to which this religion calls men.  How many times have you heard people say that Islam is a “peaceful religion?”  Friends, there may be “peaceful Muslims,” but that is only because they do not fully follow the teachings of the Koran.

Someone may ask, but don’t we read of Christians burning books in Acts 19:19.  The answer is, “yes,” but allow me to share a couple differences between that situation and the one most recently contemplated.

  1. The action in Acts was taken by those who were once held in the grasp of “sorcery,” not by outsiders.  This extreme reaction on the part of these early Christians was a statement that they would not be going back to their old way of life.  This action was not perpetuated by a random group of Christians who just sought out to burn books with which they didn’t agree.
  2. There is nothing in the account that would suggest that these books that were burned were purported to be holy books from some deity, elevating their actions to the perceived level of “blasphemy.”  Such would be the perception in the burning of the Koran.

Friends, I see Islam, and any religion for that matter, which does not follow Jesus Christ as a threat to the souls of men and women.  If the religion of Christ is true, and it is, then I must do what I can, not to inflame and harden people’s hearts, but soften their hearts that they might be receptive to the good news of Jesus.  In a day and age when the Caesar claimed to be divine, Jesus did not instruct his followers to storm the capitol and burn government documents.  Rather he instructed his disciples to pray for the king, pay taxes to the king, and obey him in all things in so far as they did not cause them to disobey God.

If you have any additional thoughts, leave them in the comments section.  Let me hear what you think.

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Comments 20

  • Well spoken my friend.

  • I agree Steve. The Golden Rule should apply as well: I would not wish them to burn Bibles (though they are and do). We will not accomplish anything through insult and injury. The Gospel alone is our means to bring peace to them and the world.

  • Amen. It’s a shame that one person can attract so much of the world’s undue attention in the name of Christ when countless Christians are doing so much good around the world and teaching things that make for peace rather than fear.

  • Steve,

    Very, very well put! I’ve been checking your site the past couple of days because I knew you would have a reaction and a great way of putting it. I plan to include your article in the Mt. Zion bulletin soon. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hey Ryan,
    Good to hear from you. I think of you all often. Hope all is going well with you at Mt. Zion. Tell everyone I said hello.

  • Dear brother Steve,Thanks for you thoughts on this matter. I agree with the fact that it would be better to exspose the Koran for what it is than burn it.

  • Great article. You commented on Islam being the “religion of peace.” It is confusing to westerners how some refer to Islam as the religion of peace, but then others act in such violent ways. The reaction is usually that those who are peaceful do not actually follow the true teachings of the Koran. That is only partially true. The reason why even the most violent Muslim can refer to Islam as the religion of peace is because of a VERY different understanding of the word. To a westerner the word, “peace” means, “the absence of war.” To a Muslim the word means, “an absence of opposition to Islam.” So all Muslims actually seek peace, but they do not seek a co-existing peace. They seek the peace that comes when Islam has fully dominated the world. This is also the reason that the “peaceful muslim” does not actually do anything to stop his violent brother from wreaking havoc throughout the western world and why it is so rare to hear a “peaceful muslim” to denounce acts of violence in the name of his religion.

    Again, great thoughts.

  • Brother Steve,
    What a wonderful article. You are absolutely right. Even though I know for a certainty that Islam is a work of Satan, ( It certainly wasn’t the angel Gabriel that was talking to Mohammed !) the burning of the Koran will produce no positive results. At my congregation I explained it this way.
    Christians do not burn books today…That is what “They do”
    Christians can not force Christ upon anyone… That is what They do with Islam.
    Christianity is not based on fear and law keeping; it is based on Faith, Love, Grace and heartfelt Obedience.
    It should come as no surprise that Islam is 180 degrees out of sync from Christ. Look at where, when and why it started. We can not fight the Devil on his terms. We can only use those weapons and defenses that were given to us.
    On a related note, What is the History of “textual criticism” as it relates to the Koran? It is my understanding that Islam does not believe in further revelations, and that the Koran as written is the final word for them. From the very beginning, Christianity has been attacked by those seeking (in vain) to discredit or disprove the Bible. We know, and can prove beyond any reasonable doubt, the authenticity of the Scriptures. We can do this for a very good reason, They came from God! I equally know that the Koran did not, so where are those detractors? It would seem to me that it would be possible to disprove the Koran with the Koran just as it is possible to prove the Bible with the Bible. Are there any books , or works on this subject?

  • Higg; much needed words in a time of heated anger and debate. I also have written a few articles along the same lines that can be found in the notes section of Facebook.

    It is easy to intentionally make people angry. It’s more difficult to change hearts and minds. It’s also easy to insist on our “rights” in this country instead of asking whether or not the exercising of those rights will benefit our Lord’s cause. Cp. 1 Cor.8

    I am convinced that even reading the Quran with the intent of exposing its error would be unacceptable to Muslims. It is also clear to me that the only thing that will pacify Muslims is a complete and total acceptance and agreement with Islam.

    Your observations regarding the burning of the books in Acts 19 are right on, whether the ones doing the burning became Christians before or after the action would not change the points you made.

  • […] let me give links to recommended readings from blog posts on the subject by Steve Higginbotham and Neal Pollard.  I cannot improve on what Steve and Neal have said very well. However, perhaps I […]

  • John Gaines recommended this post, and I’m glad he did. Thanks, Steve, for a reasonable analysis of this hot topic. As I see it, we need to remember that Christians are called upon to lay down their rights in order to reach others, to become all things to all men.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  • Steve,

    Good to hear from you too! Your name is brought up often to speak at church, but we always have to remind everyone that you live much further away now. We miss you in the area, but are thrilled to read your facebook updates regarding the good things going on at the Karns congregation. Will tell everyone at Mt. Zion you said hello.

  • Thanks Steve for the words of wisdon.

  • Thanks for the post. I spend some time on my website walking through Acts 19. It is an example of bad Bible study, where we see an action take place and we don’t read carefully enough to fully understand the action. Then, after not having carefully read, we go ahead and make a huge misapplication of the text.

  • Great article!

  • Thanks a lot Steve. I agree with Cameron this is great!

  • Thanks for a great article, Steve. When I heard what the guy in Florida was talking about doing, my first reaction was, “Well, it’s about time somebody served the Muslims a dose of their own medicine.” But then I realized exactly what you said which is that 1) this isn’t the way Jesus would have behaved and 2) the only thing it would accomplish would be to make them mad – and the fact is, they’re already mad at us; that’s the problem. If we want to change things for the better we’re going to have to do the most difficult thing a person can do: love them despite the way they presently feel about and are treating us. I’m still trying very hard to do that…anyway, your article was right on target. Thanks again, brother.

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