Nine years ago, on Sunday, September 23, 2009 I gathered the men of my small congregation in the North Carolina mountains into my office, and we read a number of passages from the Qur'an. We needed no other person to present it or tell us what the words we read meant. When we were done, every man there publicly reaffirmed their opposition to false teachings and false religions in general, and Islam in particular.
So why do I start this blog post with this past experience? Because I can not understand, after seeing it for myself, how some can look at the Qur'an and say it is not in direct opposition to Christianity?
Does the Qur'an contradict the Bible? It certainly does. (I say the Qur'an contradicts the Bible and not the other way around, because historically, the Bible came first.) Aside from some of the absolutely ridiculous tales one finds therein (such as the angels being made to bow down to Adam, or Abraham saying "we are Muslim", or the several page long saga of Jesus in a court in Heaven defending himself against charges that he claimed to be deity) there are many blatant contradictions.
For instance, the Bible says to "Love your enemies and bless those who curse you. (Matt. 5:44)" The Qur'an has this to say: "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter ...if they fight you slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith ... And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression and there prevail justice and faith in Allah..." (2:90-93)
The Bible says of Jesus, "(Matt 16:16-17) Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'" The Qur'an says: "They say, ‘God has begotten a son.’ God forbid! Self-sufficient is He. His is all that the heavens and the earth contain. Surely for this you have no sanction. Would you say of God what you know not? (Qur’an 10:68)" Again in the Bible we read: "(John 1:14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. " Whereas in the Qur'an we read: "Surely they lie when they declare: 'Allah has begotten children'." (Qur'an 37:151)
There is also historical error. The Qur'an claims that it was a Samaritan who led Israel astray to worship a golden calf at Sinai. The Samaritans, however, did not come about until 700 years later. The Bible says Aaron allowed their carrying away.
Most condemning may be the assertion by the Qur'an that Jesus was never actually crucified: "(4:157) And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him - they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him."
So how can it be that there are Christian churches that are going to be having Qur'an readings? I believed many Christian churches had gone completely astray in February 2008 when I learned of "Darwin Sunday". On the Sunday closest to Darwin's birthday, many Christian churches have sermons in which they try to instruct the congregation that Darwin was right (which can only mean Genesis, God's Word, is wrong). I found over 50 congregations within a 50 mile radius of my home that were celebrating this. I wrote an open letter and sent it to over a dozen of the largest. Not one of them answered.
Can it be that the leaders in thse churches are so ignorant of God's Word that they really don't know? Huffington Post Blogger Mayhill Flower had this to say in her post "Burning Jesus: Religion in the Shadow of American Society", dated September 10, 2010 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mayhill-fowler/burning-jesus-part-two-of_b_711854.html): "A combination of ignorance and righteousness is just as much a danger to American society as the corruption of power in business and government." It is an ironic statement for her to open with, since she then spends the next several paragraphs making it completely evident that she is rather ignorant of Christianity and Islam herself.
"Perhaps, however, this situation would never have arisen if American Christians were familiar with the Quran -- if men like the Florida pastor knew that much of the Quran is a retelling of the Bible," she writes. She quotes a portion of Qur'an 43 (which contradicts Christian doctrine by itself), and then declares, "If the Florida pastor had burned the book, he would have been burning Jesus." She poses the question, "can a person be both a Muslim and a Christian at the same time?" I'll let the logical readers here answer that for themselves. (To be fair, Ms. Fowler's post in context is lamenting the shortage of thought-provoking journalism on religious matters, with which I do agree.)
It seems as though some church leaders are very ignorant of the founding values of their own religion. The Rev. Paul Tellstrom of Irvine United Congregational Church (the church that plans to "bless" the Qur'an) said this: "Muslims are simply walking a different path than us up the same mountain in order to build a right relationship with God. Our congregation desires to stand with Muslim brothers and sisters who find themselves and their faith assaulted and disparaged.” Does the Reverand believe the words of the New Testament? For there, Paul writes, "When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power..." (2 Thess. 1:7-9) Muslims have not obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I understand your anger and I myself feel angry about all of this. However, as Christians we must yield our anger to the Lord and let Him handle the situation. We must also remember that Jesus warned us that these things would come. And this is only the beginning! I oppose the burning of the quran simply because I do not believe this is a Christ-like thing to do. Jesus said "blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called sons od God." Burning the quran is not a peace making move in my opinion. I understand Pastor Jones' frustration and his felt need to take a stand. This is not our fight. This fight is the Lord's! I strongly oppose the idea to have a mosque at Ground Zero. I think it is selfish, disrespectful, arrogant and unnecessary! The total disregard for the wishes and feelings of the majority of people who lost their loved ones on 9/11 is very arrogant and distasteful. I do not like the fact that they lied to Pastor Jones and changed the story right before our eyes and think they are smarter or wiser than everybody else. I think the reason why they are so bent on having the mosque there at any cost is because of what it means to them. It is simply symbolically claiming a conquered territory. I may be wrong in my my judgement concerning this and I hope I am, but that is what I think it is for the moment. I don't believe Pastors should be blessing the quran in churches. I would not consider anyone who does that in his church to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that the church, the Bride of Christ, needs to wake up from her nap and begin to watch, fast and pray. My prayer is that the Lord would light up a holy fire in us that would continuously burn and keep our hearts from growing hard and cold. We are going to need to be able to show the world that we know Jesus Christ in the days ahead! May the grace and peace of God, our Heavenly Father, be multiplied to all His children throughout the earth! Amen!
Thank you for your comments, Morning Star. Did you read my blog from Thursday (http://www.true2ourselves.com/viewblogs/4406/on-freedom-muslims-and-burning-the-quran)? There I more fully explain my thoughts on both the Quran vurning and the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque". This mosque has been overblown by the media. It has nothing to do with any "victory". For one thing it isn't even a mosque per se; it is a community center. It will handle the overflow problem a mosque that is already there and has been there for a long time has. It is not "at Ground Zero", it is four blocks away (which isn't even really all that close in New York City terms). It is hardly the only mosque that is in that area. Those who want to build it are American citizens, and have every right to build there and SHOULD have every bit as much right as anyone else who is an American citizen. Were we to deny them that freedom, then where stand we when the government next starts telling us how he can or can not conduct our worship to God?
I agree that they have the "right" to have this "islamic community center" there. Just because somebody has the "right" to do certain things does not mean that you should necessarily do it , especially given the circumstances of this particular case. I lived in NY for 10 years. I used to work at the World Financial Center in the very heart of Ground Zero. In fact, had not my schedule been changed the weekend prior to 9/11, I would have been right there in the midst of the tragedy. 4 blocks is actually quite near. It is a short stroll down the street for those who live in NY. Pastor Jones has every "right" based on the constitution of this country to burn the quran. But is it really necessary? I do not think so!