What are you doing this Saturday?  I will probably get some yard work done.  Kim and I will gather with many others to witness and celebrate the union in marriage of our friends Matt & Abbey.  I’ll send out some birthday wishes via Facebook.  To commemorate the ninth anniversary of the devastating September 11 terrorist attacks on our nation, we will fly an American flag at our home to remember and honor the fallen and their families. 

Oh, did I mention that I won’t be burning a Quran on the patio?

You may have picked up on the media buzz over the plans of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, to observe “Burn a Koran Day” this Saturday.  News of the event has spread rapidly through the internet.  Protests among Muslims around the world have included the burning in effigy of the church’s pastor, Terry Jones.  U.S. and NATO military officials in Afghanistan have warned that the event will greatly increase the risk of violence against coalition troops in the region.  Opposition to the event has been expressed by numerous ministers, priests, and rabbis.    

As of today, Pastor Jones indicated that the church planned to proceed with the event, but the congregation and its leaders were continuing to pray about it as a result of both threats and expressions of concern.  I guess we’ll know by Saturday what they believe God wants them to do. 

The website for the ironically named Dove World Outreach Center provides a list of “Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran.”  The document appeals to Acts 19 as a Biblical precedent and rationale for Christians publicly burning demonic books.  The attempted correlation misses the mark badly.  In actuality, the text describes recent converts to Christ in Ephesus voluntarily destroying their own materials which they formerly held to be sacred; it was not an action of the established church soliciting and destroying books in a defiant display of opposition.

The way to bring the love of Christ into the lives and souls of Muslims is not through public destruction of the Quran.  God does not need a bonfire in Gainesville for the light of the Gospel to dispel the darkness and error of Islam.  Mirroring the attitudes and tactics of Islamic radicals will not convince anyone that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Should any unfortunate harm come to Jones, members of his congregation, or the church’s property, they will undoubtedly consider it to be the price of martyrdom for the cause of truth.  Violent acts of reprisal will be wrongfully rationalized by Islamists as a necessary defense of Allah and his will.  No hearts will be changed or additional souls saved; only more hatred, suffering, and death. 

Surely the Savior weeps.