Finally, I have found an issue on which Hillary Clinton and I agree! On Tuesday, the Secretary of State told the Council on Foreign Relations that plans to burn the Qur’an this Saturday at a Florida church are “outrageous” and “aberrational.” Others have voiced concern that the planned burning would put American soldiers at risk.
Another important question is what the likely effect would be on Christian converts from Islam in Islamic states. Phony charges of “desecrating the Qur’ an” in Muslim countries have often ignited riots and resulted in widespread death and destruction against Christians. Compass Direct News, www.compassdirect.org, a web news service that reports on persecution of Christians worldwide, has documented such incidents, such as a rampage in Gombe, Nigeria on March 21, 2007.
The website of the church that plans to burn Qur’ ans states, “we are burning Korans to raise awareness and warn….We see, as we state in the Ten Reasons below, that Islam is a danger. We are using this act to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam.”
In the Bible, II Corinthians 4:2 gives a different approach, which is, “commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Burning books of another faith provokes anger. It does not appeal to consciences.
Wouldn’t it be far more productive to appeal to the consciences of Muslims by engaging them respectfully with questions that point from the Qur’ an back to the Bible? The Qur’ an contains over a dozen verses explicitly affirming as God’s Word the Tawrat (books of Moses), the Zabur (the Psalms of David), and the Injil (the Gospel).
It is true that Muslims are taught that the Bible was corrupted. They are also taught that the Gospel referred to in the Qur’an is not the Gospels of the Bible, but instead is the original one that has been lost.
But these teachings give us opportunities to ask our Muslim friends questions such as the following: “If the Bible was corrupted, then why does the Qur’ an affirm it as God’s Word?” “Since the Qur’ an says that God’s Word cannot be altered, how could the Bible have been altered?” “If the true Gospel is not in the Bible, then what can the Qur’ an mean by commanding Christians to “believe,” “stand on” and “judge by” the Gospel?”
I have a copy of the Qur’ an. I will not be burning it. I will be reading it and using it to build bridges of understanding to my Muslim friends. I encourage you to make some Muslim friends and do likewise.