Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Flagrant Misuse of a God-given Office

 Yesterday morning I saw a most despicable interview on the local TV news channel. Let it be said that myself as a Christian, a pastor, and the Gospel-driven Disciples denounce and reject the man, musings, and ministry of the subject of this interview.

It seems that so called “Pastor” Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida is among the duped and deceived men in ministry who are using their ministry for a political platform. What Jones has done in essence is rejected the God given role and function of a pastor in order to “make a political statement.”

Jones and his “church” are planning to have a public burning of the Koran on September 11, 2010. I am outraged as a pastor and as a Christian that Jones would use his “calling” for such a despicable stunt.

Pastors have no business being involved in political entanglements. I am not saying that pastors and Christians should not exercise their constitutional right to vote and to utilize the legally provided for means of redress to both check and forward governmental policies. Jones actions sicken me – to use his “ordained office” to commit such an act violates the heart and soul of Matthew 22:34-40:

     But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.  "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

I have written on the subject of believers and politics before, but allow me to list several bullet points for your consideration: 
  • ·         Christians are not to be entangled in political pursuits
  • ·         Christ did not defend himself against Pilot or the Roman Empire
  • ·         Christians do not wrestle against flesh and blood (human) but against spiritual forces
  • ·         The Christian does not wage a physical or a political battle
  • ·         The Apostles, including Paul never called for political reformation 

God forbid that any misguided and misinformed people think that Jones is acting as some kind of patriot. I stand here today to tell you that is message and mission of burning a Koran is unbiblical. He has gone beyond the scope of this office of a pastor, shepherd, and overseer. He seems to me to be nothing less than an angry, self-righteous, and unloving man who is doing irreparable damage to both the office of pastor and Christianity. He certainly is smearing the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Please do not watch this event nor give any credence to it. Jones' actions are to be denounced as contrary to the Spirit of Christ and Christianity. Though I do not recognize the Koran to be an inspired or authoritative writing, it does not deserve to be burned in the name of Christianity any more The New World Translation, The Book of Mormon, Steps to Christ, Dianetics, or any other non-Christian publication.


John said...

I agree with you.

Unfortunately, when I heard that someone was planning a "burn a Koran day," but didn't know any of the details, I said to my wife that I'd bet it was a pastor of some fundamentalist church. Sure enough...

IanH said...

Gregg, right on the mark!

Scott said...

Sort of agree. I agree with the ridiculous act of this man. It is indeed a mockery of his office, etc.

However, regarding the bullet points on Christian involvement. It's true Paul never called for open rebellion. He didn't live in a representative republic, however. He did call us to be good and faithful citizens. In this nation, that means being involved in the process; making your voice heard, etc. Rome and America, while similar in moral values, are apples and oranges when talking about citizenship and what it means. Fear God, honor the King, Paul said. In this nation, a nation of the people, the people are in essence the King. We are to honor that privilege our founding fathers fought and died for.

I'm not saying that we should take it to the extreme that many have, making politics our primary reason to be, etc. But we are neglecting our God given calling as salt and light if we don't use the freedoms we have to do what we can within the political process. Just a thought.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I think it is un thinkavle that any religious book should be burned.
The only thing I'm burning on Saturday is a CANDLE.



Radical Muslims would not think twice about burning the Bible and they would like it even better if the Bible was in the hands of a Christian when they started the fire.

Thank God we who are in Christ do not treat the enemies God in this way. We have a different calling that Pastor Jones is obviously unaware of. What he is doing will do nothing but hurt the cause of Christ. I pray he reconsiders and does not go through with his plans.

Pastor Don said...

Hear! Hear! and Amen, Greg.
To Scott (above) I would simply suggest that while it may be lawful for this pastor and church to exercise their free speech in this way, it DOES NOT edify nor advance the cause of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 10:23). The church in this country has a bad reputation for "book burning" and being closed minded. This pastor only looks like a kook in the media and will invariably be compared to "all religious fundamentalists."

The Truth of Christ is able to stand on its own in the public square. If there is an offense to be made, let it be the "Rock of offense and stumbling."

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood...
(Eph. 6:12)

Lloyd said...

Amen to this much needed post Greg. I have been following this story and it just makes my heart and soul ach to see "Christians" behave in such an evil way. We need to always remember that we are the LIGHT and SALT of this world for all to see and hear. God bless, Lloyd said...

Great post, Gregg.

There are Christians risking their lives in Islamic countries by sharing, and living, their faith. Terry Jones' stunt is making Christianity appear to be exceedingly odious in the eyes of Muslim people among whom our brothers and sisters dwell. That is exactly what we don't need.

If any Christians are moved to risk their necks for the cause of Christ, let it be by lovingly representing Christ to people of religions which are opposed to Christianity, not by deliberately insulting and enraging them.


Gregg said...

Thanks John. Wouldn't you know it, some wacko labeled as a "Christian Fundamentalist" gets in the headlines.

IanH - Thank you! I believe I am.

Scott - Thanks for your comment. I did say 4th paragraph that I was not advocating that we as pastors, in particular don't vote or utilize the means of redress that are available to us, but that we don't forsake the office of pastor or shepherd for politics or a political platform or issue. If one wants to be a politician then resign the church, give up the office of pastor and be a politician. Also see Pastor Don's comment and note to you.

Yvonne - as much as I despise and detest certain false doctrine and doctrinal writings, I also do not advocate burning them. Once the match ignites the wood the fire is difficult to put out - in other words, if we burn the Koran, or the Book of Mormon today, what will stop the burning of the Bible tomorrow?

Pastor Don - thanks for your great comments, espcially to Scott, who by the way is a dear brother, friend, and fellow Pastor. I agree, Jones and his church will not only come off as kooks but will cause the rest of us to be painted with the same brush by the liberals, the media, and the scoffers.

Lloyd - I agree, this is not being light and salt.

Craig - great thoughts and sentiment! Yes, so many believers have put their lives on the line to share the gospel with Muslims that could very well end up dead in a few days. The cross is offensive enough let alone adding this type of stench and scandal to it.

RaD said...

Looks like it has been called off.

However, I do agree and would not be in support.

Scott said...

Greggg and Pastor Don
I agree wholeheartedly regarding this fool's actions. I started my comment by saying that this was indeed a mockery of his office.

My other comments were not aimed at this man at all, but at the bullet points Gregg made.

We are in total agreement about the book burning, etc. These are not edifying in any way. Just wanted to stick a comment in about political involvement in general because so many advocate that Christians should stay out of it, etc. That is all.


Judith Riddle said...

Hi Pastor Gregg,

Hmm ...very strong denouncement of the pastor who was/is planning to burn the Koran to make a stand against Islam. You are right that his wanting to burn the Koran isn't coming from a loving heart. However, it seems to me that he is taking a stand against a religion that has proven to be extremely hostile to Christianity and everything American. I know, I know. This is not what Christ would endorse. Christ would not have burned a book from another religion out of hate, but He did have some very strong, tough words for the Pharisees who railed against Him, and He expressed righteous anger.

Perhaps this Pastor needs to find a better way to express his displeasure of Islam. He is foolish to even think about doing such a thing anyway because whenever you make threats against or say anything against Islam you are asking for BIG trouble. The pastor is taking his life and his family's lives in his hands.

Judith Riddle said...

BTW .. I am a new blogger. I just started my blog two weeks ago. Come on over to my blog and check out my latest posting. Thanks!

Petra said...

Good post! It does look like it's been called off, and I pray that it stays that way! God bless!

arlee bird said...

Burning one koran might be a symbolic gesture to counter all of the burnings of American flags, Christian symbols, and U.S held properties and the murders of Americans and others that islamists don't agree with. If were to be burned it would have to be accompanied by clear explanations and a dignified ceremony and not as a nutty display of wacky third world islamic style hooliganism.

If anything, so as not to be wasteful, the korans should be recycled rather than burnt.

Christians should actively be proselytizing muslims and Christian leaders should start aggressively teaching about the falsehoods of islam and educating as many as they can reach.

These interfaith worships where all can speak their beliefs and teach that there are many roads is grating to me. So called Christian pastors who encourage these events are allowing an abomination and they might as well set up some idols to worship while they are at it.

Tossing It Out