I am saddened and maddened by pastor Terry Jones’ intransigence in the face of wise and godly counsel. Many people from pastors to government officials to General Petraeus have counseled him that his plan is unwise. Even the announcement of it has already brought offense to the gospel, caused riots, and endangered Christians worldwide.
Of course, by our American values, that should not happen; here we would not be so deeply offended by a protest. But wishes do not factor in here. Those in Athens do not live by Jerusalem’s values and Paul did not address Athenians as if he were in Jerusalem. Paul’s approach in Athens was not constructed to offend but to invite.
In addition, it seems elementary to me that to burn their holy book does not pass the test of the golden rule. Do we want them burning Bibles at mosques? Of course not! Then neither should a church bearing Christ’s name–say nothing of the name “Dove”–burn a Koran!
As a conservative Christian pastor with the same last name, I urge pastor Terry Jones to show humility and wisdom and listen to counsel; first for the image of the gospel itself which is being tainted by this hate-filled image of burning; second, for the sake of believers in Muslim countries whose persecution will increase because of such an act; third, for the welfare of troops deployed today in harm’s way whose task will be made more dangerous and difficult by a publicity media day; and fourth for the safety of our country itself because radical Islamists will use this as a spur to recruit new followers in this country as well as abroad.
Proverbs warns that it is only a fool who keeps going despite much good counsel. “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice” (Pr 12:15 NIV). I urge him to cancel the Koran burning, if for no other reason, then because the international publicity has made the whole issue just too hot to safely handle. I am praying for him.