Monday, September 13, 2010
On September 8th, 2010 "Dr." James White called in on the live program, "News and Views English" of the "Aramaic Broadcasting Network" (www.abnsat.com) to share his views on Pastor Terry Jones proposed "Burn a Koran Day". I learned about his call-in via his blog at AOMIN, and the YouTube videos that he linked to:
My Attempt to Reason with Dr. Jones of Gainesville
[Also available @ YouTube: Burn the Quran 8.]
During his call-in, James stated:
...I would like to suggest that we should be buying Qur'ans, like you have on the desk, of you and I do programs together, and studying as both you and I have, so we can proclaim the Gospel and demonstrate that Muhammad was not a true prophet and the Qur'an is a denial of the truth found in Jesus Christ...(3:56 - 4:14)
Pastor Jones a bit later responded with:
...I think definitely we don't need to be buying Qur'ans and reading them; I think that's absolutely ridiculous, we need to be reading the Bible , we need the Bible...I would not encourage Christians to buy a Qur'an and read it...I hope that we are not encouraging Christians, your normal, everyday Christian, to buy a book of lies and deception, a book that is very deceiving, a book that is filled with deceiving spirits, that we are not telling them to buy that book... (6:11 - 7:11)
Before I begin sharing some of my own thoughts on this issue, I want to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT I DO NOT SUPPORT THE BURNING OF QUR'ANS. However, with that said, I would now like to reflect a bit on which of the two positions presented above is the most consistent one, keeping in mind the fact that both men believe the Qur'an is not from God, that it is a false religious book, that it presents a false Gospel, that it is anti-Christian, that it "is filled with deceiving spirits", that Muhammad was a false apostle, et al.: should one adopt James White's position that Christians should be buying Qur'ans, or should one side with Pastor Jones that the only Christians who should be buying Qur'ans are the professional, anti-Islamic apologists?
Pastor Jones makes reference to a historical event recorded in the Old Testament when King Josiah, prompted by the reading of "the book of the law" (by the high priest Hilkiah), begins his famous 'reform/s', eradicating ALL the false religious practices and objects that had crept into the religion of Israel (2 Kings 22, 23:1-25). King Josiah was being faithful to the commands given by Yahweh, through the prophet Moses; one of the more definitive instructions given is found in Deut. 13:1-10:
If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; hou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams: for Jehovah your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after Jehovah your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death, because he hath spoken rebellion against Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of bondage, to draw thee aside out of the way which Jehovah thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, that is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; of the gods of the peoples that are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; hou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: but thou shalt surely kill him; thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him to death with stones, because he hath sought to draw thee away from Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (ASV)
Now is not the time or place to get into the controversial debate of the role the Old Testament should play in determining the set of civil laws faithful Christians should adopt in countries where Christians are the majority, and hold legislative positions in government (Greg L. Bahnsen's, Theonomy In Christian Ethics, is an excellent introduction to this subject), but whatever side one takes on this issue, the Old Testament should not be ignored, and the very least should serve as a guide to the INDIVIDUAL practice/s concerning the issue of false religion.
Early Christianity came into existence within the confines of a pagan nation, and it would be centuries before Christians became the majority and could implement civil laws that were Biblically based. But, that does not mean that one's individual practice could not import the essence of the Old Testament's teaching on false religion, idols, etc.; Acts 19:19 gives us a glimpse into the mindset of some early Christians:
And not a few of them that practised magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. (ASV)
The apostle Paul wrote:
Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor. 6:14-18 - ASV)
Now, if the Qur'an is what James White and Pastor Jones believe that is—a false book "filled with deceiving spirits", et al. (I think that they are both probably wrong on this)—then who is being more Biblically consistent: White or Jones?
Interestingly enough, James White is a Calvinist, who holds great respect for John Calvin, yet it is Pastor Jones' position on the Qur'an that is much closer to Calvin—note the following:
Calvin's last personal encounter with evangelical Anabaptism seems to have occurred two years later, when an otherwise unknown Belot came to Geneva and laid out tracts for sale. Calvin had him arrested...Belot was expelled from the city. When apprehended two days later, he was beaten for defiance, his books were publicly burned, and he was threatened with the gallows if he should return. (George Williams, The Radical Reformation, pp. 597, 598.)
So, I ask once again, if one adopts the view that the Qur'an cannot be from God, that it is a anti-Christian book, "filled with deceiving spirits", who is being more Biblically consistent: White or Jones?
But then, maybe White and Jones are both wrong...
Grace and peace,