Category Archives: Headlines

Burn a Koran Day

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has reported that a church in Gainesville, FL is hosting a “Burn a Koran” day on September 11. The church’s senior pastor has published a book entitled Islam is of the Devil, and they have signs with the same title on the front lawn of their church property. The church is well known in Gainesville for its blunt statements and protests against unbiblical behavior.

I’m thinking these folks clearly believe that no publicity is bad publicity. I’m not mentioning the name of the church or its pastor because I do not wish to grant them any more publicity.

Christians who truly believe what the Bible teaches would have to agree that any non-Christian religion isn’t inspired by God. The claims of the Christian Bible, just like the Koran, are exclusive. They cannot both be right. Christians do not believe that Muslims believe the right thing. Muslims do not believe that Christians believe the right thing. One only has to hear a Muslim cleric praying in their normal fashion that Allah neither begets nor is he begotten to realize that Christians, who believe that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God, and Muslims, who believe that Allah had no son, do not believe anywhere near the same thing. For Christians, Jesus is God and is worthy of worship. The Bible is clear about that, and about his exclusive role as the only way into the presence of the Father through his obedience, suffering, death, and resurrection. Islam vigorously disagree with this.

Thus, as Christians we can agree with the basic theological premise of the Gainesville church. Christians and Muslims do not believe the same thing. Christians do not believe the Islam was inspired by God (as Muslims do not believe Christianity was inspired by Allah).

But the Bible is also clear that we need to love our neighbors as ourselves (see Matthew 22:39). We may disagree with our neighbors, but we need to love them. So we need to ask whether holding public burnings of a book our neighbors consider sacred is the best way to love them? There is a difference between incendiary behavior and behavior intended to woo people to the love of Christ. Most of us recognize that holding a “Burn a Koran Day” is incendiary in nature.

Some might object that the Gainesville church is demonstrating love by testifying clearly to the truth. However, there are many ways to testify to truth. The Apostle Paul, who lived in a culture that was far more licentious and polytheistic than ours, wrote, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6 NIV). I don’t believe that holding a “Burn a Koran” day fulfills the apostolic intention in this passage. Nor do I believe that I would want someone to hold a “Burn a Bible” day if I was the member of a minority faith in the country in which I lived. Any student of history knows that Satan has used book burnings to incite violence against minorities since books have been printed. Even today, such burnings are used as tactics of intimidation and oppression. How can we say we are loving our neighbors (or our enemies for that matter, see Matthew 5:43ff) when we are using tools and methods inextricably linked to violence and oppression?

In my closing paragraph I will be almost as blunt as the Gainesville church in its pronouncements: “Burn a Koran” day is not appropriate because it uses tools of intimidation instead of grace and peace. It will shutter Muslim ears to the Christian message as it distorts the message. It is counter-productive and hurtful, and not worthy of our high calling. I respectfully disagree with our brothers and sisters in Gainesville who are pursuing this path. I pray that the Holy Spirit show them a better path.

Bonnie Pays a Visit

I spent a rather soggy morning playing parking lot attendant at the Coral Springs Aquatic center. Our swim club is hosting a Senior Championship meet through this weekend, and parents of swimmers are the volunteer workers that make the event possible. Tropical Storm Bonnie began its South Florida swing just after I took my post. I can tell you from up-close-and-personal experience, it has been very wet and rainy since then.

If you read my post from June 30th of this year, you were watching to see if Bonnie would come to South Florida (see post HERE). At that time I wrote:

Back in 2002 a friend of mine had a dream that Hurricane Irene’s sister was coming. Those of you who remember the Irene saga (read about it HERE), know that Irene’s sister is Bonnie. The dream did not give any time frames about Bonnie. But in the cycle of hurricane names, the last time the name Bonnie was used was in 2004. There was a tropical storm Bonnie that season, but it did not come anywhere near us. Now that Alex has been named, the next named storm will be Bonnie. Of course, we don’t know if this Bonnie is the one mentioned in the 2002 dream, but it at least piques our interest about this next storm, and keeps us on prayer alert. I’m letting you know about this dream so that you might be on prayer alert with me.

I think we can safely say that the dream was about this Bonnie. When I posted about this on June 30, I didn’t share the details of the dream. However, the dream didn’t call Bonnie a hurricane, only a storm. To me that meant that if it came to visit, it would only be a tropical storm rather than a hurricane. Anyone who lives in South Florida knows that our area can easily weather a tropical storm because of the hurricane building codes. We certainly respect tropical storms, but we don’t normally call special prayer meetings about them. When Bonnie formed yesterday we paid close attention to it, but it was obvious that it was only going to be a tropical event by the time it came calling here.

Current forecasts do not indicate that Bonnie will become the major storm that Bob Jones prophesied in the gulf for this year. However, my prophetic ears are piqued by the fact that the Lord drew our attention to this apparently minor storm. Perhaps it will need some focused prayer before it dissipates. I pray that the forecasters are correct, and that this storm will degenerate even further and become a non-event.

Nation will Rise Against Nation

For all of the supposed distance the United States has come in race relations, the news is currently filled with reports of racial animosity. Of course, this should not be a surprise to those who understand human nature. Apart from the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying power, we are a desperately fallen people who gravitate toward wickedness. While this wickedness comes out in many different ways, it easily and naturally manifests itself against those who are different than we are.

Many intercessors have been praying for a long time about the state of race relations in the United States. After a brief post-presidential election détente, we have again slipped. It feels like we are becoming more polarized rather than less. That is certainly Satan’s plan. He is always trying to light fuses that will explode into racial violence.

Jesus has raised up peacemakers to counter Satan’s plans. We certainly need to pray against flash point incidents that will spark racial violence, but we also need to continue to pray that the Lord release peacemakers who can make a difference. In Matthew 24:7 Jesus said that nation would rise against nation. The Greek word that is equivalent to our word “nation” is ethnos. That Greek word has come into our language in a way that reminds us that ethnic divisions started out as divisions between nations, and those divisions, rivalries, and tensions can easily flare up again. In fact, Jesus assures us that this will be the case as times reach their fulfillment.

So we must pray, against flash points and for peacemakers.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.

(Matthew 5:9)

Continuing in Prayer for the Gulf

If you have been keeping up to date on the Gulf oil spill, you know that the cap is still holding even though it is leaking slightly. Obviously, this highlights the continued need for prayer. We do not need the pressure to increase to the point that this cap is blown.

Another concern is the methane gas concentration in the Gulf of Mexico that has been detected. The Lord has shown Bob Jones that the methane gas is an issue over which the church must take authority so that it doesn’t cause major problems. Methane, is of course, poisonous to sea life. So when we hear reports that methane concentrations in the water are a million times higher than normal, that is very bad. It would also be catastrophically bad if concentrations of the highly flammable methane exploded. I’m sure there are all sorts of scenarios, real and imagined, keeping some folks up at night. However, those who know their God don’t have to stay up at night worried about what comes next, rather we can pray confidently with the authority he has given us to avert any potential negative outcome.

Please step up to the plate and pray. We are still not done with this thing.

BP Caps the Well!

This is really good news. At 2:25 PM Central Time, British Petroleum shut the vents on their newly installed caps and stanched the flow of oil that has been pouring into the Gulf of Mexico for 85 days. This doesn’t mean that we can quit praying, BP isn’t pretending that this is a permanent fix and are monitoring the well for blowouts and leaking from other areas.

We need to keep praying that this monster is permanently shut down and doesn’t become something worse. But today we can add a prayer of thanks for this encouragement. As Alabama Governor Bob Riley stated upon hearing the news, “I think a lot of prayers were answered today.”