Until about a week ago this question had never crossed my mind.
My son Travis brought this issue to my attention. He’s in his third year at the University of Florida in Gainesville. This is the same Gainesville where a local pastor of a very small church has garnered worldwide attention by staging a Koran burning on September 11th. September 11th also happens to be Travis’ 21st birthday, so he’s trying to figure out how to constructively engage in this drama while demonstrating the love of Christ.
We need some voices of sanity to speak into this chaos. Enter Jimmy Trent, leader of the CRU ministry team at UF. Jimmy just posted a fantastic, well-reasoned and Christ-honoring response to this pastor’s warped sense of faith. He begins by saying:
I am saddened that Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center is leading an outrageous act of burning Korans on September 11th. I am saddened that this may result in harm to Americans worldwide as General David Patraeus stated Monday. Ultimately, I am saddened that Jesus is being misrepresented to millions while news outlets across the world continue to pounce on this story as it unfolds.
I believe that as Christians, and as Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) at the University of Florida, we do have a radical message and we are called to communicate that in a radical way. We differ from Jones, though, in both our message and our method.
Our message is radical. We are all sinners and enemies of God deserving hell, we all need to be saved and only Jesus can do that (John 14:6). Is that radical? Absolutely.
Our method is radical. We love as Jesus loved in that, while we were still sinners and enemies of God, Jesus died for us. We now give our lives to love our friends and enemies alike, not hate them (Matthew 5:43, 44). Is that radical? Absolutely.
Way to go, Jimmy. Thanks for taking a stand and answering the question above with a resounding “no.”