On Facebook yesterday, I posted what I thought was a fairly tame, straightforward expression of biblical theology and a Christian spirit. Interestingly, the post elicited more comments than anything I’ve previously posted. Here’s the post:
“There is no Christian/biblical justification for burning the Quran, or any other religion's holy book. How do you share Jesus' love w/people you insult? The Sovereign God is not afraid of religion, rulers, or regimes, nor should his people.”
Most commentators agreed. But some expressed a desire to fight fire with fire, so to speak, defending not only Americans’ right to burn such books, but in this case, the rightness in doing so.
I cannot go there. In the same conversation stream I later posted:
“If we start burning, where does it stop? We can all name offensive, hateful, or erroneous materials. Should these all be burned? Historically, such tactics have never worked, even and especially-thankfully-against Christians and the Bible.”
Book-burning is an act of fear, ignorance, at times hysteria, and power. It accomplishes nothing but tangibly destroying the limited number of books available at the time.
On the flip side, it insults, incites anger, elicits reprisal, and may even drive people toward the religion represented in the burned holy books.
Acts 19:19 records an incident when converts from paganism burned their books on magic. This is not an example of the Apostles burning or ordering books burned. It’s an illustration of what the Spirit of God led new believers to do as an expression of their newfound faith in God. They no longer needed magic when they came to know the Lord of miracles. The point is, they freely chose to burn their own books.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what others have done or may have done. God will call them—and us—to account. In the meantime, God calls his own to a different Way.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,” (I John 4:18).
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010
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