You’ve heard about the Rev. Terry Jones, I’m sure. He’s the idiot down in Florida who’s one of the very few people low enough to associate with Westboor Baptist Church in Topeka, he runs a church that sounds like a cult, and he recently burned a Koran after saying last fall that he wouldn’t.
I don’t know whether he’s a Christian or not (in any event, it isn’t for me to say one way or the other), but he certainly doesn’t act much like one, and he’s a publicity hound who, like his friends out in Kansas, does nothing but set back the cause of Christ. All that said, one has to wonder about a reaction like that of Valerie Elverton Dixon in Sojourners today.
She laments Jones’ backslidding on his promise to not burn a Koran, and I join her in that. But she then goes on:
Terry Jones and his congregation claim to be a church based on New Testament teachings. This is clearly not the case. Jesus teaches us to “not judge.” (Matthew 7: 1-5) By putting the Quran on trial, pronouncing judgment, and then burning the Quran as punishment, he has not only made a mockery of the United States Constitution and the principle of the separation of church and state and made a mockery of the American legal system, but he has also usurped the power of almighty God.
Huh? I’ll get to the matter of judging in a moment, but what in the name of Thomas Jefferson is the rest of that about? Does the Constitution prohibit burning a book? Granted, it’s one of the stupidest ways of exercising your free speech rights, but if you want to make a public spectacle of yourself, what’s the Constitution got to do with it? “Separation of church and state?” What, did Barack Obama or the state of Florida tell him to burn a Koran? And as stupid as Jones’s action is, how does that “usurp the power of almighty God”? Is that even possible?
It’s enough to make one say, “please, ma’am, just step away from the keyboard, and nobody will get hurt.”
Having invoked a couple of irrelevant secular legalisms and accused Jones of doing something impossible, she then proceeds to mangle Scripture and suggest that every Christian is as ignorant of Islam as she is:
One reason Jesus teaches us to “not judge” is because we do not have enough information. We do not know enough about Islam or about the Quran to condemn it. We do not know how many lives have been saved, how many hearts have been comforted, how many minds have found clarity, how many disputes have been settled, or how many people have found the love of God and come to know Jesus from reading the Quran.
This is just incomprehensible. It’s not like Islam is a Middle Eastern form of Rosicrucianism, a secret society with lots of texts they don’t let outsiders see. You can find the Koran on the Internet, for goodness sake, as well as tons of information. The fact is that we know that Islam teaches that 1) Jesus was not God incarnate; 2) He didn’t die on the cross; 3) He didn’t atone for the sins of the world; and 4) He didn’t rise from the dead. Put that together, and you have a religion that rejects the way of salvation that has been revealed in Jesus Christ.
I have no clue how many lives have been saved (though I know for sure that plenty have been lost) because of Islam. I have no idea how may have found comfort in it, how many minds have found “clarity,” whatever that means, or how many disputes have been settled. Many may think they have found “the love of God,” or that they “know Jesus” because they’ve read the Koran, but the God to whom they are seeking to relate is not the God of Jesus Christ, and the Jesus they think they know is a figment of Mohammad’s imagination.
For a former Christian seminary professor to claim that Christians may not render judgment regarding the truthfulness of Islam because “we do not have enough information” is one of the most obstinately dumb things I’ve heard an allegedly educated person say in a long time.
There’s more, not all of it wrong, but I’ll leave it at that. Oh, and no matter how wrong Dixon is, Terry Jones is still a disgrace.