Burning the Qur’an Does Not Illuminate the Bible

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I am pleased to join several of my friends and colleagues in adding my name to a simple but straightforward statement, published in a full-page advertisement, in today’s New York Times. bible1.jpg

It’s sponsored by the American Bible Society.  It reads as follows:

“Burning the Qur’an does not illuminate the Bible.”

The ad, along with its signatories, can be viewed by clicking here.

Of course, this was in response to the planned “Burn the Qur’an Day” which was scheduled for this coming Saturday down in Gainesville, Florida. Late on Thursday, after intense pressure and discussions, the event was first cancelled and later suspended. Nonetheless, since the pastor urged others to join in his cause, it’s pretty fair assumption that somewhere this weekend, someone is going to set fire to a Qur’an.

Saturday will mark the 9th anniversary of the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.

The event was to be sponsored by a very small church of maybe 50 people. Opposition to the event had been gaining momentum throughout the week. From the President of the United States to the Vatican, officials were speaking out against it, and understandably so.

Some have suggested the matter comes down to the freedom of expression.

Do we, as Americans, have a right to burn the Qur’an? Yes.

Should he do it? I don’t believe so, which is why I joined my friends, Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson and Ravi Zacharias, among others, in saying so.

So, why was I opposed to the idea of burning the Qur’an? sept11remember.jpg

As a Bible-believing Christian, I certainly do not hold the Qur’an to be sacred Scriptures, as Muslims do. However, it is precisely because of their beliefs–and my desire as an evangelical to reach them with the truth of the Gospel–that I oppose this action.  After all, how can we expect to show Muslims the love of Jesus when we’re setting on fire the very book they hold most holy?

However unwise this proposed burning would have been, the true tragedy, in my estimation, remains the thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001.

This controversy garnered its share of headlines and controversy, but what of those innocent children who lost their mothers and fathers on that fateful day?  Many of them are now grown and still grappling their way through life without the steady hand of the parent who meant everything in the world to them at the time.  What of the widows who waited to hear the footsteps on the back porch but instead were met with silence and reduced to tears?

The events of the past week not only hurt Christian evangelism in general, but it also misplaced the focus of the 9/11 anniversary in particular. It saddens me that so much energy has been directed toward this isolated incident, a most unfortunate idea.

Instead of burning and tearing down the Qur’an, it’s my prayer that Christians everywhere would, in the words of the hymnist, “Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore His sacred Name.”

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Leave a Comment

John T. More than 1 year ago

Agree with your article and that love should prevail.  Never understood why a preacher who worshiped on Sunday would burn the Holy book of a man who worshiped on Friday.... and threaten to do it on the Bibical Sabbath day?  A little ironic eh!

CURE More than 1 year ago

God Bless you Eric. Your Christ-like love and sacrifice is truly an inspiration. James, please do not take this as“a sermon,” but may we suggest prayerfully re-reading the Scripture and/or ask your Pastor/Minister if she can helpyou better understand Christianity? It may be that :“Burning the koran don't mean we hate the people."But the one true “God is unconditional ‘agape’ love” (vs. eros, storge and even philia). And while incarnate, Jesus (also quitepolitically incorrect), demonstrated agape love by dying not just for us but even for Muslims (“while we were stillsinners” yet. Check out Jesus’s own agape love recorded in, e.g., Mat 22:36-40; Mark 12:30-31; and the Apostle Johnin 2 Jn 1:6 and Paul in I Cor 13:13. We do not take our LORD’s Word as “sloppy.” It is true:“Islam religion is false and the koran is false.”

No Christian denies this. As you reread Acts 19, openly ask who “burned the books?” why? when? and what was the result? John’s Gospel does record that::”Jesus told the woman ‘GO AND SIN NO MORE.’”

But did anyone cast stones? Did Jesus condemn her?

Not even the majority of non-Christians and non-Americans deny the Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s Sharia-law, “Jihad” andother extremist distortions of the: “Islam religion is the same mindset in the Old Testament"

(We also know many who have suffered from it). Actually, it is worse. Yahweh consistently instructed ancient Israel to protect thepoor, the widow and orphan and “the alien in our land (e.g., Ex 23: 9).” Does America do this now? Did we ever “defeat them to prove that our God is the only God?” Since Islam did not even begin until over half a millenniumafter Jesus, are you referring to the Crusades? ....Yes, Christendom was misguided and some “Christians” were alsoevil. History records that, \our own nation has had an “Old-Testament” mindset of doing evil in the name of God(e.g., from Native American genocide to slavery). Should we not also heed John-the-Baptist’s call for repentance and ask for forgiveness for our sins; possibly, even from some Muslims (especially the

And some do think Christians are "weak," like Peter. But our God is not!  Willl you meditate what does Paul says about this in, e.g., 1 Cor 1:24-26, and 2 Cor 12:8- 10; and the Author of Hebrews in Heb 11:33-35.? We pray with you, for our country, our neighbors and for the understandable concerns of Bettylu and k. And we also pray for and express our appreciation for brave heroes like Eric and Christian Leaders like President Obama and Mr. Daly. However, we purposely refrain from trusting or even commenting on U.S. foreignpolicy or military might. Rather we endeavor to trust in God alone and His Church. We all endeavor to do God’swill (and we all will fall short).

In Jesus’ love,CURE

CURE More than 1 year ago

Amen!! Well said Mr. Daly. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love”...not our hate. Thanks for putting differences aside and uniting with other Christian groups and Leaders for His sake. This is very encouraging!!

James More than 1 year ago

It is not sloppy agape.  Burning the koran don't mean we hate the people.  Acts 19:19, they burn books.  The islam religion is false. the koran is false.  John the Baptist was political incorrect. Look at Elijah.  Tina didn't finish the story. Jesus told the woman "GO AND SIN NO MORE".  To defeat the Islam religion is the same mindset in the Old Testament.  We had to defeat them to prove that our God is the only God.  They don't really care if anyone burn the koran. They think Christian is weak. We are.

Sam L. More than 1 year ago

Cinda,  it can certainly seem daunting when we see the cultural and moral shifts taking place in our country.  It seems easy to give in to complacency or to anger.  Neither of these approaches seems to honor God or bring people to Christ so that they can live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I don't believe that these leaders are advocating complacency!  You are correct in recognizing that Jesus was quite active and engaged in his community and in bringing life and truth where it was most needed.  This is what American Bible Society- along with ministry partners - is dedicated to doing!  American Bible Society energetically and actively seeks to bring God's Word where translations are lacking, where crisis is present, where life doesn't make sense, and where access to the scripture is blocked.  All of this is done so that every person - no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, belief, or political stance- can encounter the life-changing message of the Gospel.  Only through the love of Jesus Christ will we all be brought into right relationship with each other, the world, and God.

Tina More than 1 year ago

Amen, Eric. You are absolutely right. What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if a group of muslims decided to burn bibles and then try to teach us the love and compassion of their God? Would burning our sacred documents be a sign of love and compassion? Remember, in the bible, Jesus sat and ate with sinners and tax collectors and talked to them in love, not as a judge to condemn them. When asked why, he said a sick person needs a doctor. In that instance he was comparing himself to a doctor. What is a doctor? Someone who cares for you by telling you what ails you and offers you advice, medicine, or a cure. A doctor can 't make you stop smoking. He can tell you why it is wrong and how it will harm you. Jesus COULD just make people stop sinning, but that isn 't how we were created. We were given the right of choice. Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists, and others will all face the consequences of that choice someday. Burning the Qu'ran is wrong. When confronted by the Pharisees about a prostitute found in the city Jesus said, "Let you who is without sin cast the first stone". Burning the Qu'ran is saying that we have the right to judge people based on a book that they read. Just because they read it doesn 't mean they follow it. Just because they follow it, doesn 't mean they take what it says to the extreme. We (christians) have our own extremists who decide to go beyond what the bible says and do something drastic to "make a statement". 

Eric More than 1 year ago

I believe the stand need to take regarding Islam in America is to love them.  Did Jesus stand up against Rome or their pantheon of gods?  Jesus' commands were to reject the sin within OURSELVES, and extend love to others.  If Islam is spreading it's our fault, not because we haven't stood up to Islamization, but because WE as Christians have failed to love people enough, to welcome them into the church.  Let's focus LESS on what everyone else is doing and focus MORE on what we should be doing:  feeding the hungry, loving the unlovable (including Muslims), and giving hope.  And this is coming from a soldier who has served twice in Southwest Asia.  I've seen the Islamists' hate, I've felt the concussion of a suicide bomber a few hundred yards away detonate a car.  I've driven in armored humvees with 60 pounds of armor and weapons on my body.  But I've also talked with the Afghan people, and my heart breaks for them.  They are Muslims, but they want hope.  They want a better life for their families.  If we in America take that away from Muslims here, they will not see the hope of Christ.  Make no mistake, there is an evil out there that we need to fight, but remember that the war Paul talks about is not against flesh and blood.  Not all Muslims are criminals.  They just need Jesus, and they're not the only ones.  Our calling is not to push them away, but to love them (even at great risk to yourself), because that is the ONLY way to fulfill Jesus' command to make disciples.  I, for one, pray to God for the courage to lay down my life to save that of a Muslim.  I'm ready for heaven; he isn't.

k More than 1 year ago

But what about truth?  Aren't we taught to stand up for the truth?  What about the Qu'ran glorifies God??  Isn't he glorified if we reject evil?  I cannot speak for anyone else, but the God I love asks me to stand up to evil.

Bettylu More than 1 year ago

I am really scared about this influx of Islam> We have to understand that this is more than the fight for religious freedom religious freedom. Does anyone agree with me?

Emily More than 1 year ago

I agree. Christians are supposed to win others to Christ.  We do not win others through disrespect.  It is not our responsible to bring down Islam but to lift high the cross.

Christine More than 1 year ago

Thank you for taking a stand. This is an awesome move for Focus on the Family ministeries.

Patricia W More than 1 year ago

I agree this does not solve anything!

Charlie T More than 1 year ago

Great job Jim i agree.Cinda: Jesus was much more harsh on its own jewish leaders, We must share and show the love of christ to all.

The Patroit More than 1 year ago

No matter how politically correct the cancellation, it boils down to Americans & Christians cowering in their own land before  the GOLIATH of a FREE Nation! The apostle Paul & David would be ashamed!

Dana More than 1 year ago

I don't understand so called Christians who say they know Jesus and follow him, which means we become like our master. They killed Jesus because he said, "except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall in no wise inherit the kingdom of heaven"( Mt 5:20). Jesus often called them Hypocrites. Jesus warned us of the false prophets, like Mohammed and Joe Smith and false teachers.  There is nothing wrong with burning a Koran if it gets the message to the world that we think the book is unholy, a cheap representation of the real thing; the book is terrible, leading masses to Hell. Most of those who call themselves Christians don't even know who they are following, indeed the masses of those who call themselves Christians will end up in Hell because the Jesus they thought they knew did not exist.

Anita B. More than 1 year ago

Bless you and your words. Well done.

Rene More than 1 year ago

I wholeheartedly agree.  Burning the Qur'an doesn't present the Good News, but would instead bring bad news in the way of headlines following an aftermath of retaliation.  It also puts Christians and the name of Christ in a bad light.  Thank you for being a shining light. 

DE PRIMEAUX More than 1 year ago

It is our position as Blood bought children of the King to illuminate the love and forgiveness of Christ. It's our position to fast and pray. It's God's position to take care of the rest. venegance is mine thus saith the Lord of host. Go about feeding my sheep and bring the lost to Me for it is I who save,heal, and deliver.

Cinda More than 1 year ago

I, too, agree that a public burning of the Qur'an does not illuminate the Word of God. However, what are Christians doing about the HUGE influx of Islam??  I also feel the frustration of the apparent support of many of our leaders for this religion.  Since reference to the Bible was made, don't you think that Jesus would respond a bit differently than complacency??

Becki More than 1 year ago

Brother Jim, I heartily agree with you. The controversy this proposed event garnered inappropriately shifted Christians' focus from memorializing the victims of 9/11/01 and praying for their bereaved families and friends. Thank God for the Holy Spirit Who convicts us to set our eyes and hearts on appropriate targets so that we can be a shining light for Him!