Burning our Witness

An open letter faxed on 9/9/10 to Terry Jones, Pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, FL:

Dear Pastor Jones,

I write to ask you to reconsider your plans to burn copies of the Koran this September 11th.

I believe you intend for this action to serve as a wake-up call to the church and the nation to oppose Islam.

Actually, however, I believe your actions would:

  • dishearten millions of Christians, who have read the New Testament and cannot imagine Jesus and the Apostles spreading the gospel through rage, frustration and derision.
  • undermine requests for Islamic sensitivity in Americans – as in the choice to build a mosque at ground-zero.
  • aid terrorist recruitment both in America and abroad.
  • make it easy for Christ to be misrepresented to millions of Muslims who have no access to the gospel, thus becoming a stumbling block to them.
  • lead directly to the murder and added agony of many brothers and sisters in Christ, in Indonesia and elsewhere, who have no responsibility for the decisions you make that will impact them.

Burning the Koran would not be a show of strength. Our Lord Jesus demonstrated strength on the cross. His enemies spat on him, and he responded by asking his Father to forgive them in their ignorance. It was the greatest courage and love ever demonstrated.

Spitting back is only weakness. Please do not demonstrate such weakness before all the world as a pastor of God’s people.

Glenn Parkinson, Pastor, Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church (PCA)