Why Are We Battling Over Books and Buildings?

The Dome of The Rock mosque, in the Temple Mount.

Image via Wikipedia

In the last few weeks I’ve suddenly been besieged with two pressing questions. 1) Was I for or against the location of a mosque at Ground Zero? 2) Should Pastor Terry Jones in Florida burn a pile of Qurans. No person demanded an answer from me, but an opinion seemed necessary. Talk radio, cable news, Drudge and the Internet all had opinions. Many of my friends hold strong opinions. Facebook postings on both were plentiful. It just seemed necessary to have and offer an opinion too. Both issues are complicated and I was not at all certain what I thought. so I spent time with the Lord in prayer asking for guidance.

   I am a Christian man of God. These issues both carry political and religious implications. Should every child of God have an opinion (and express it) on all God related matters? I think not.  I have a sense that neither the Imam in New York nor the Pastor in Florida saw the size of the charge at the end of the fuses they were lighting. Each has been identified with their separate religions as if solitary spokesmen, but neither speak for me.

   But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth… (2 Titus 2:23-25a NKJV)

   I am for God. That means I trust Jesus Christ as Savior and believe what He tells me. I trust the bible as His expressed will and word. I am for what He is for and against what He is against. My personal struggle is not so grand as to be played out on TV screens around the world. I simply want to be more like Christ and to share Him with someone every day. Even as a mature Christian, sometimes weeks pass where I carry out neither. 

    Let’s reverse our perspective and look back in church history. In 638 A.D.. Caliph Omar led a battle weary but victorious Islāmic army through the gates of Jerusalem where he promptly built a mosque that is the predecessor to the current Dome of the Rock mosque. At the same time he destroyed far more than a few holy books. He destroyed every remnant of Christianity and Judaism he could detect, including thousands of Followers, yet neither faith was destroyed – just as the bible promised. More than a millennia has passed since that battle, and during that time the Lord has continued His work of Grace, including saving me.  Today’s issues are minor passing controversies that will not change God’s plans in any way.

     I’ve decided not to be distracted by these current religo/political controversies. That would be a misuse of the Grace that I have found in Christ. I am sufficiently challenged by the Holy Spirit’s ongoing sanctification of my flesh and the burden my heart has for those who have yet to hear the Gospel. 

    But, by the way, I have read the Quran.  As a bible believing Christian I found it to be distorted nonsense. It is no holy book to me. I already have one – the bible. The Quran has no power or effect on what I believe will be God’s final disposition of humanity. That has already been clearly defined in the bible. These controversies have no effect on my faith or on God’s final outcome. Muslims and others have destroyed many bibles and built many mosques, yet the work of Christ continues, and I feel no urge to ignite a Quran bonfire.

    I won’t be defined by what I am against, but rather by Who I am for.  I stand for Christ.

    Wanna battle Islam? Share the Gospel with a Muslim friend.  If they reject the Gospel, fair enough – they have that right. The war isn’t over books or buildings – it is a battle for souls.  Live your faith.

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