Tuesday, September 28, 2010

God's Guiding Action

It is interesting how we fret and worry in light of how God has plans to work things out His way. In life we so easily forget the pointlessness of worry, since not even a sparrow falls apart from the Father's plan. We are far more valuable than that as humans carry the imago Dei, the image of God, through how He created us. How much more then, will things like changes in a job, moving from place to place, connections we all have changing, or the way finances turn out be used of God for good. The wonderful thing about how God works is it is subtle enough that it requires faith, but looking back at what He has done we can strengthen our faith for tomorrow.

Nehemiah was ridiculed, but God got him through it (Nehemiah 4). Joseph was cruely treated by those closest to him in a way meant for evil result (Genesis 45:5). Yet God had a plan in that.

Looking at this devotionally, there are so often hidden dangers we miss when looking at and planning our futures. Yet as Romans 8:38 says "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to seperate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." There is no created power, no fallen into sin human, no persistently wicked person wearing sheeps clothing, no financial crisis, and no political scenario that can prevent God from accomplishing plans He has for the relationship we each need with Him to come about. Praise God for His infinite wisdom!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Florida "Dove World Outreach"'

The situation in the news with "Dove World Outreach" (ironic name) has become a hot topic of conversation. It has been hyped up by the media that a pastor at that small (24 year old, nondenominational) church is doing a Qur'an burning. Apparently he says the bonfire they are going to build will go on this week as planned desipte attention drawing widespread criticism.

Now to the point here, it seems that one would be hard pressed to find any endorsement of the reaons that Terry Jones their pastor is doing this in the New Testament pages. It would take some non-existent example such as Paul burning a bunch of books on a Roman Caesar's life or Timothy burning copies of the Artmesian worship manual. No such example exists, and reading the reports that I've seen in several places (here and here and here) I don't see any clear biblical church reasoning for Jones' motivation. It seems that Terry Jones is following a political motive. This motive is to point out the potential danger of a pluralistic view towards other religions. In our present context, acceptance of anything anyone does is considered fashionable. (Except ironically not this guy [though I'm not a pluralist]). It is unclear since Jones fails to offer biblical reasoning why his church then would be the location of this burning. This seems dangerous to me. Perhaps if he is inclined to this, he should borrow someone's field, or go to some rented land, and use that instead if his motives are political commentary. He has the right to, even if it is not especially wise.
One of the things that strikes me is how he calls it "International Qur'an Burning Day." That is obviously meant to draw attention to his own personal message. It's clear he is not just trying to get a message to just his own area.
A thought that comes to mind as well is this: if Terry Jones is following the New Testament model, he should be seeking ways to reach out to Muslims with the gospel of reconciliation to the LORD God (Yahweh) through Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the cross. Instead the attention seems to be on his own goals for our time and place. I would not normally reference this writer, but Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard, made the comment that this action does not bode well for that kind of bridging relations for the purpose of outreach in the name of Christ. How then is his place an "outreach" center for Christ? It seems Barnes is correct on this one.
In the NT, there is an example of a book burning. However it is not done the way Jones is doing this. In fact, the burning is done with a significant amount of magic/divination books by those who converted out of the magic they had practiced. This was a way of saying we who have converted out put behind us our own --personal-- temptation to sin by using the magic books again. It was NOT a going out and buying magic books, or PR campaign, to drive home personal political views. It was a witnessing tool to say those books are false. If Terry Jones wants to have a Qur'an burning, it should NOT be him doing it. The New Testament church did have a book burning that eliminated personal idols. Therefore, if Jones struggles with some personal idol, perhaps it is addiction to too much television, let him burn up his own television so that he will not fall back into his own sin struggle. But since (to my knowledge) Jones never was a follower of Islam, he should not be burning Qur'ans. It simply doesn't accomplish the goals he is called to in his life and situation.
Nevertheless, I am wondering if any Christians out there have any thoughts on this person. It seems that Terry Jones has the right to do this as a freedom of speech issue, but what about as a Christian? If he is doing this, isn't it better that he do this as a way of expressing his own personal political views rather on some personal property rather than on a church property and as a pastor? What do you think the reprucussions may be with his doing this from a Christian perspective?