Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Random Rant - Would Jesus Burn the Koran?

Occasionally there is an issue that makes me a bit hot under the collar. (OK, if you know me, you know that this may happen more than occasionally).

I’m usually one who runs away from political discussions. Personally, I can’t stand discussing, or hearing discussed all of the nuances of current events, and everyone’s opinions on what’s wrong with whatever. But that’s just me. Many people find it fascinating. I’m even married to one of those people.

However, when pastor Terry Jones, and his plan to burn Korans, was catapulted into the spotlight last week, he made an amazing statement. He said that he believed that if Jesus were here, he would burn the Koran. This steps out of politics and into Biblical interpretation, and it got me thinking. Here is what I’ve decided on the topic.

We have three, possibly four, examples of Jesus becoming angry enough to do physical harm to property. Overall, Jesus’ life is exemplary in terms of peaceful responses to any wrong that was done. So, perhaps we should look at those examples and see what they can reveal as a lesson in when we are allowed to damage someone’s property.

First of all, we have to remember that all of Scripture provides details on several major periods of human history. There are three primary ones, Israel as God’s people under the Law of Moses, the Church as God’s people under Grace, the redeemed as God’s people after the Second Coming and Judgment. Each has specific types of action associated with it. This matters to the current question, because many people pick up a Bible, open it and read something like, “An eye for an eye.” So they assume that God believes in tit for tat vengeance. Or they read “God is love,” and assume that God will never do anything that seems harsh, such as mete out judgment. The critical student of the Bible knows that right now we are living under Grace, and we should live by the rules as set out for us in this time period.

Jesus’ life is given to us as the example to follow. I Peter 2:21 says, “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” So we would do well to see how Jesus did act on questions like the one we are asking. Interestingly enough, the bulk of the answer follows in verse 23, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

Almost everyone remembers the story of Jesus overthrowing the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple. Some scholars say that there are two separate instances of this, but that’s beside the point. Why was Jesus angry? Was he demonstrating his authority to proclaim Jehovah God as Supreme over other gods? No, he was angry with people within his own religion, Judaism, who claimed to serve God, but who had defiled the Temple and were using it for their own greedy passions.

There is also the confusing story of Jesus cursing the fig tree and causing it to wither. It’s impossible to explore the meaning of that incident in a paragraph! But it certainly was not an example of Jesus lashing out at any of the beliefs of the surrounding nations or factions.

The other example of Jesus destroying property comes from a story told in three gospels, where he cast demons out of two men. The demons begged to be sent into a herd of pigs instead of just being left in limbo, so Jesus complied with their request. The pigs immediately ran off a cliff and were killed. This seems pretty tough on the farmer! One possible explanation is that the farmer was Jewish, and pigs were an unclean animal to them, so that this part of the episode becomes similar to the cleansing of the Temple. No matter what the reason, the destruction had nothing to do with making a statement on some other culture’s religion.

Now, this is not to say that Jesus believed that all religions are fine. He boldly stated that He is the Only Way to reach God. But the phase of history where his authority is revealed to all has not yet been reached. Matthew 25 gives us a picture of that day when Jesus will return in glory, and will separate the nations and the people into believers and non-believers.

If there is condemnation to be done, God will do it then. It’s not up to us. Meanwhile, we are told to love others, perhaps even to let them take advantage of us. I don’t see Jesus burning any Korans just yet.


Secondary Roads said...

Here. Here. Well said throughout and well summarized in the final paragraph. I particularly like the final sentence.

Clara said...

We had a missionary visit yesterday. He talked about reaching Muslims, who are becoming followers of Christ in record numbers. They take righteous acts very seriously. Burning their holy book would instantly turn them against Jesus and anyone who claims to be His follower. You said this so well. Thanks.

Jean said...

I also agree with your final statements. It is not our place to burn any religion's Holy books.

Donna Bragg said...

I have to admit, I was getting caught up in all this Muslim uprising stuff going on, but GOD brought me back to the basics of love...HIS love! I am reminded of the story of Peter who asked JESUS if he could walk to HIM on the water. JESUS said yes, and while Peter kept his eyes on JESUS he stayed on the water, but when he focused on the storm around him, he sank.

We have an awesome responsibility to show everyone love...EVERYONE.

I believe, if we focus on the storm, and not on JESUS and HIS AGAPE LOVE...well...we will sink.

I loved your article here. Keep up the love. We all need it!

A True Believer said...

As a spiritually minded believer myself, I must say that I agree with almost everything you said... and absolutely upon the issues regarding Islam and the Kor'an - which is no more [nor, no less] offensive, to Yahweh, than any book upon: The Occult, Atheism, Secular Humanism, or any of the millions of other spiritually false teachings.

Where I disagree is your statement about living under grace now - as if mankind hasn't always been doing so all along. Right in the heart of the Ten Commandments it says:

"For, I, Yahweh your mighty one, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing Mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

Mercy isn't given to an innocent man; but rather, guilty ones! Yahweh knew that no-one could walk His Law perfectly and thus tempered his commandments with mercy - for those who would make the attempt to try [out of love for Him].

As David said, "Blessed is the man who is forgiven and whose iniquity is remembered no more."

Job had also said, "For, I know that my redeemer lives and He shall stand at last upon the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see Yahweh, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"

Even before 'The Cross,' True Believers understood The Truth having been revealed through the prophets....

Chin chin said...

Good discussion of a pretty hot topic. I also believe that if Christ were here, He would not promote burning the Koran. It is not the Christlike thing to do, it sows hate instead of love. There are many people out there working to reach Muslims for Christ. What impact would such an action bring? It would make efforts more difficult to bring them to Christ. What about those living in the Muslim part of the world? What impact would such an action bring? Perhaps, more persecution...

Mar Matthias Darin said...

This is an excellent article and I couldn't agree more. It is absolute deplorable for any Christian to behave as this so called minister. Its people like this man that truly slander any deeds of a good Christian.