Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The announcement by a pastor in Florida to burn the Qur'an in a public protest has raised concerns by many. Foremost among the concerns is that radical Muslims will use the event and the images it generates as propaganda to incite violence against Christians.
The violent activities of radical Muslims, the rampant religious intolerance in Muslim countries, and the hair-trigger sensitivity to any criticism of Islam frustrates many non-Muslims. But will it serve any purpose to use their own tactics? Absolutely not!
The rising tide of Islam could not be possible without God's allowance. Before we fall into the temptation to "fight fire with fire," we need to think of our basic Christian principles. Christianity is not a religion that relies on physical force or violent protests. Christianity moves forward on the proclamation of God's word of grace in Jesus and deeds of mercy done for the sake of our neighbors.
Luther and his countrymen faced a much worse situation with the invasion of the Muslim Turks in the 1500s. Luther considered this invasion nothing less than punishment from God for a church and a society that had drifted from God's word. He called the church to repentance and to renewal through the word of God. Could the American Christian church and culture stand a little reforming? I certainly think so!
And what did he think about the Qur'an? Luther called for its publication and encouraged Christians to read it! He knew that side by side, the Bible would overwhelm the Qur'an with its truth and with its message of salvation.