I got an email today from the Irish News asking me if I had ever been affiliated with Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. As you may know, this is the church that plans to burn hundreds of copies of the Qur’an this Saturday, September 11, 2010, as an awareness protest against Islamic Jihad.
I lived in Gainesville from 1989 to 1992. In fact, The Forerunner was originally a publishing ministry of Maranatha Christian Churches, which had its international office in Gainesville. The office closed in early 1990, but I inherited the privilege of editing the print edition of The Forerunner, which I continued to publish until 1994.
When I lived in Gainesville, I knew the Dove World Outreach Center because I once worked at a Christian school near their location. I don’t know Pastor Terry Jones personally, but I was surprised to find that he has become an overnight international sensation due to the media hype over his plans to burn the Koran on September 11th, 2010. The amount of attention this has been getting is fascinating to say the least.
I disagree with burning the Quran (the only “holy book” with as many variant spellings as interpretations) as an appropriate response to Islamic Jihad. Iconoclasm, or the smashing of idols, has never been an effective way to promote the Gospel even when done in a symbolic way. Yet it is as old as the The Synod of Constantinople (753 AD) and has included the smashing of images of saints during the Reformation. Some Christians have always liked to burn and smash idols. But unless you are Gideon and have access to a leash of foxes (and a prophetic word to boot) then you are just prodding a hornet’s nest.
Although Pastor Terry Jones will be vilified by just about everyone, he is willing to use “theater in the streets” to expose the 800 pound gorilla in the room. How is Islam is different from every other world religion?
I understand fully what this pastor is trying to do. He wants to call attention to the fact that Islam harbors a violent faction – much more so than any major world religion. In fact, Islam, when interpreted by a plain reading of the words and actions of the prophet Mohammed himself, is a violent religion. Perhaps the best documentation of this and what our response should be to Islam is Dr. Peter Hammond’s: Slavery, Terrorism & Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat.
The response of liberal politicians and the media bears this out. Ironically, Dove’s pastor, who shepherds a flock of about 50 church members, has been warned even by top military in the field in Iraq not to burn the Qur’ān because it might inflame the passions of terrorists and put our troops in danger. However, this response is the proverbial “proof in the pudding.” No other world religion would react this way to the burning of its “holy book.” This is exactly what Terry Jones is showing the world.
Years ago, homosexual activist Robert Mapplethorpe and artist Andres Serrano caused a sensation when American taxpayer dollars sponsored an exhibit of Mapplethorpe’s homo-erotic photos and Serrano’s “Piss Christ,” which consisted of a crucifix submerged in a vat of urine. This blasphemous display was milked endlessly by conservatives for political purposes and defended by liberal groups such as the ACLU as “freedom of expression.” However, no one ever suggested to supporters that they ought to end the exhibit because it might cause Christians to do acts of violence on homosexuals.
Likewise, we can imagine an anti-Romney, anti-Beck political hack (like myself) protesting the emergence of Mormonism in American politics by burning the Book of Mormon. Just imagine the backlash from the Mormon community! On one hand, it would certainly cause the lives of evangelical missionaries living in Utah and the western states to be put in peril. However, we justify this Book of Mormon burning to draw attention to the fact that Mormonism is a dangerous religion that sponsors terrorism and holy war.
International Burn the Book of Mormon Day1
I am announcing a Book of Mormon burning day on December 23, 2010, the birthday of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Since I own only one copy of the Book of Mormon, I am asking all readers of The Forerunner, to send in copies of the Book of Mormon to the address at the bottom of this page. These will be burned in a brick barbecue in my backyard on December 23rd. We’ll see how many copies arrive in the mail by then. I will keep you updated at this blog post.
The Bible, the al-Qur’ān (and the Book of Mormon for that matter) each call for Holy War. Most Muslims interpret this metaphorically in the same way that Christians interpret the “spiritual warfare” spoken of by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:11-18.
It is true that nations have waged war in the name of Christianity in the past. The irony is that nearly everyone, including Christianity’s most virulent critics, see the contradiction. There is no such contradiction in Islam. Mohammed himself waged warfare during his own lifetime in order to spread the new religion’s dominance. Jesus Christ and the Apostles did not. They taught peaceful resistance even in the face of martyrdom. Violence done to Christians is often the way that the faith has spread. Later, the Church Father Tertullian wrote, “The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church.”
Even more ironic is the manner in which liberal commentators defend Islam as a peaceful religion. My friend and collaborator, Rusty Thomas, recently wrote a response to a liberal journalist who defended Islam as “peaceful.”
Do you think that you would have the show, the money, the prestige, and the influence you now enjoy, if you were under Islamic domination? Do you think feminists would remain in their rebellion or homosexuals would be free to parade their sin like Sodom in Saudi Arabia? Your gods of pluralism, diversity, tolerance, and relativism are betraying your reason. Muslims are using our Freedom of Religion clause of the Constitution to one day destroy our freedoms. They are using our system against us to establish their tyrannical agenda contained in Sharia law.
Though there are religious elements in Islam, the correct comparison is not akin to Christianity or Judaism. No, Islam is a totalitarian ideology that is more akin to Communism or Fascism. Ideas have consequences and a belief system will lead somewhere. Rev. Benham nailed it when he said, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” What you and others do not seem to comprehend is the more violent a Muslim becomes the more true this person is to the text of the Koran. When will America wake up from the delusion that has corrupted our reason?
However tasteless and ineffectual the act of burning a “holy book” may be, it is brilliant “theater in the streets.” By Saturday, September 11th, 2010, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center will have used the liberal media to prove his own point.
1 I trust that if you have read this far, you understand that this is satire. I don’t really plan to burn the Book of Mormon. It’s a polemic designed to prove a point.
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)