Should Christians Burn the Quran?

Five reasons why Christians should not burn the Quran
Royal Hamel, Faith

Friday,April 8, 2011 Guelph Mercury

On March 20, two Christian extremist pastors, Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp, burned a copy of the Quran in a Florida church. As news of the burning circulated around the world, it provoked an especially violent reaction in Afghanistan, where up to 22 people have been killed in various protests.

If you were to ask me why the two pastors felt compelled to destroy the Quran in this way, I would have to say, “I don’t know.” But if you were to ask, “Should they have burned the Quran?” I would have to say, “Absolutely not!”

I’m not interested in why the deed was done, nor can I deal with its horrendous consequences in this short article, but I consider it of great importance to reassure Muslims, and secular people as well, that the burning of the Quran was in fact an unbiblical, and yes, even an unchristian act of provocation. I do not hide from anyone that I seek to be a committed follower of Jesus, and on many issues my tendency would be to side with Christians when a dispute erupts with the Muslim community.

For instance, I abhor the blasphemy law in Pakistan which has too often been used by unscrupulous persons to persecute innocent Christians to the point of having them imprisoned for life, or even sentencing them to death.

That said, the burning of the Quran was an act performed outside the bounds of ordinary Christian love and decency and cannot be defended by any committed follower of Christ. In a press release issued this month, the World Evangelical Alliance roundly condemned the actions of these extremist pastors in Florida stating: “The WEA believes no book of any faith community should ever be burned or desecrated in any way … this action does not represent the true Christian faith or the world’s two billion Christians.”

Here are my top five reasons why Christians should consider this desecration of the Muslim holy book as an unbiblical act of attack and provocation:

First: Even if Christians in some parts of the world (Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia to name a few) are unjustly persecuted by Muslims this gives no justification for Christians to retaliate. Jesus in his famous sermon on the mount calls his followers to love their enemies, and to pray for those who unjustly persecute them.

Second: Christians are called in the New Testament to always let their speech be filled with grace. This burning, by extremist pastors, of the Muslim holy book was a form of speech. And nobody in their right mind can accept that it was a gracious kind of ‘speech.’

Third: Christians are called by Jesus to: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We would not appreciate it if Muslims, or any others, were to burn copies of our scriptures. How then can we tolerate it when extremists among ourselves play the hypocrite, denying Jesus and his commands, even while they claim to be his followers?

Fourth: Jesus has called Christ followers to go into all the world taking the message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and the good news that sins can be forgiven. This is a message of love, peace and reconciliation with God—it is not a message that deliberately seeks to affront, blaspheme, or provoke.

Fifth: The second great commandment given by Jesus states: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” It shows no love to our Muslim neighbours to desecrate, deface, or in this case to burn an object that Muslims regard as holy and sacred. Christians to be sure have a different belief system regarding what is holy and what is profane, but the Christian disobeys Jesus when we act in a manner that is callous and disrespectful of the religious feelings of our fellow human beings.

Instead of burning the Quran, it would be far better if ungodly Christian extremism were to simply fizzle out and die quietly. Far better for all if the smoke in our neighbourhoods were to come from barbecues in the backyard—Muslims and Christians sharing a meal together.

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2 Responses to Should Christians Burn the Quran?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Pastor,
    I read with interest this article, how we as Christians are to respond to this latest event.
    Question, in particular, to a paragraph you wrote about reason # 4. How do Christians dispel the myth that church goers/leaders claim WE DON’T HAVE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. It’s the DON’T HAVE TO I would like you to address.
    I really love the way you ended the article, with a smoky ending

  2. Roy Hamel says:

    Even before the resurrection Jesus was sending out his followers to proclaim his kingdom. On the very day of resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples and said to them, “even as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you”. Later he gives them the great commission…sending them out into all the world to make disciples and to teach all that Jesus had commanded them to do. The New Testament is filled with teaching indicating that Jesus’s followers have a wonderful message of repentance and faith to share with everyone. It’s a message they were and are compelled to share because of love for others and because of Jesus’s direct command. True Christianity knows nothing about a muted faith. Indeed to be silent about Jesus is to raise the question as to whether or not we really have come to know him.