Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Even the stupidity, and asininity of this pastor burning Qu'rans, will be used by a sovereign God to show us our hearts: Christians & Non-Christians.
I have been able to stay in contact with a couple friends of mine, who serving our Savior overseas, and we were discussing the whole burning the Qu'ran thing.Here's an excellent, and timely, word from Dave, a fine pastor-friend of mine, (who is also now in Indonesia training-up pastors in the Word as I post this, with another mutual pastor-friend. [I have posted his ministry at the bottom of the article]:
"Roscoe and I find ourselves in the largest Muslim nation in the world during Ramadan,the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. We are learning a lot about Islam by being here at this particular time. But how can I share those things sensitively, graciously, and yet truthfully? This update is longer than the others, but I ask you to read it to the end. I have labored hard and thought long about this e-mail. It may generate controversy and reaction, but so be it.
This update goes primarily to Americans who have mainly known a world and culture that is western and formed by a Judeo-Christian worldview. Though not perfect, our world is orderly, just, clean, and pure. That is not the world of Indonesia. I will try to give a taste of Indonesia but nothing short of actually visiting this country will tell the full story. Tomorrow I want to describe a culture that is totally corrupt. Today I want to say a word about the presence of Islam as a majority religion.
In the west, there is a lot of confusion about Islam and the church seems to struggle with a healthy attitude towards Muslims. Much of the concern seems to stem from confusion as to where our loyalties lie: are we loyal, red-blooded Americans, or are we devoted soldiers of the cross of Christ sent on a mission to bless all the families of the earth? It's amazing how those two worldviews get mixed in together, producing a sad theology that is effete and is incapable of hearty, robust discipleship of Jesus.
Let me be clear: I am proud to be an American and love my country. The following comments should not be seen as Jane Fonda going to Vietnam to denounce America.
An illustration of our problem is seen in the fact that many evangelical Americans are ideologically "pro-Israel" and "anti-Arab" or "anti-Palestinian". Sometimes it seems to me that we have given short shrift to the theme of the Bible, that God intends to bless ALL of the families of the earth. We seem to have forgotten that our priority as evangelical Americans is not to advance the American flag to the four corners of the earth but to penetrate every ethnic group with the liberating truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So as Americans we may rejoice when Israel wins a war, when America invades Iraq or Afghanistan, and we may be able to justify our joy patriotically, theologically, or geo-politically. But what we may fail to take into consideration is that these military initiatives create huge ramifications among those who are making great sacrifices for the spread of the Gospel. These military initiatives are generally perceived by the Muslim world as Christians on a Crusade. The result is that the work of foreign mssnries is set back. The local mssnry told me yesterday that every time America makes a military move against an Islamic nation, Indonesian mobs roam the streets looking for foreigners to beat up. He has to stay home behind locked doors for a week or more until emotions subside. (I am not taking a position here on American military initiatives; I am merely encouraging us to consider the implications of such initiatives for the more important issue of carrying out Jesus' mission.)
An isolated situation like some kooks in Florida having a day to burn the Quran may seem to many of us as some blip on the screen that is annoying but not to be given serious thought. But the rioting this week here in the capital, Jakarta, where Molotov cocktails are being thrown at the US embassy to protest the Qur'an burning, should convince us that the Muslim world is watching this situation and is assuming that this incident is reflective of the deep animus of ALL Americans toward Muslims as people.
Three days in Indonesia has told me that there is a more significant issue confronting our world than planes being flown into towers, road bombs killing innocent bystanders, human bombs walking into restaurants and killing people, Muslims moving into our neighborhoods, and Al-Qaeda spawning terrorism around the globe. All of those may be terribly wrong, but there is something that trumps all of that in importance.
What could be more important than those things? I would say the deconstructing of the evil system of religion and worldview that has spiritually paralyzed a huge percentage of our world's population is the real concern, and there is a loathsome spiritual being named Satan who gloats over his conquest of so many creatures created in God's image. He is our enemy, not Osama bin Laden. Satan has shrewdly engineered a religious system that is so evil, so despicable, that it can completely corrupt every part of a culture where it prevails and can totally immobilize the capacity of the people to think clearly or to respond to truly Good News. This is truly worthy of our concern, sadness, indignation, and yes, anger.
Do you want to be angry today? Transform your anger into prayer and action that can be translated into a direct assault of the Kingdom of God against this vile kingdom of darkness that holds people in its disgusting grip." -Dave Shive
Northeast regional co-director
Dave's ministry focuses on missions, prayer, and the importance of suffering in the Kingdom of God. He is passionate about encouraging local congregations to use their resources for the advancement of God's mission. He has served with ACMC since 2009. Dave lives in Catonsville, Maryland, with his wife, Kathy.