Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Three Loud Heckles for Terry Jones (Follow-Up)

SEAN - Terry Jones is guilty of murder, deceit, and vanity; this post is a strong condemnation of his actions. At the same time, let's also pray for repentance. PIC: Photo of Florida Pastor Terry Jones at a press conference, Supplied by Google Images.

On occasion, people will disappoint you. You go through all the trouble of seeing things from their perspective, of letting their best arguments stand out and not using their weakest ones against them, and just when you think you've drawn the line between an activist and a hatemonger -placing your subject on the more noble side of that distinction- they go ahead and let you down. Such, alas, is the case of one Florida pastor Terry Jones. After he swore up and down last November that he would 'not now, not ever' burn the Quran, he proved himself a liar recently by lighting up a copy just a few short weeks ago. The result has been a predictable bloody riot in the Muslim world, leading to the deaths of around 30 human beings at a UN facility in Afghanistan.

The Sins of Jones (And What We Can Learn)
Reading the coverage on Mr. Jones, I think that there are at least 3 big ways in which he has disrespected the teachings of the Christian faith throughout this whole Quran burning controversy: not so much that he burned a Quran - Acts 19:17-19 records that early Christian converts from Ephesus burned their old magik books in public- but that he lied, that he knowingly endangered human lives, and that he has been seeking his own glory.

  • Lying. Terry Jones lied when he promised not to burn the Quran, and then did it regardless. Telling the truth is one of the 10 Commandments, and Jesus said we should let our 'yes' be yes, and our 'no' be no. If Mr. Jones promised to say 'no' to burning the Quran, then he should have followed that up by treating it like a no.
  • Pride. Terry Jones did this to get his 15 minutes of fame - to get attention. As I wrote last time, his goals of exposing Islam as a violent religion succeeded: everyone freaked out because they recognized that death and destruction are the rewards of insulting Islam, and no one was acting like it was a religion of peace anymore. People were afraid. So when you pull a publicity stunt after you have already achieved your goal, you're just in it for yourself. The Bible tells us to make God's name great, not our own.
  • Murder. Terry Jones should be held responsible for the killings at the Afghanistan UN facility last week. After vowing to protect American lives by not burning the Islamic holy book, he went back on his word (lying). Worse, he did it to benefit himself (pride). He knowingly performed an action that would result in the deaths of others - that is murder. The Bible commands us not to murder, and -indirectly, although National Post writer Lorne Gunter doesn't see it this way- Terry Jones is guilty of almost 30 counts of murder, if not before the American courts then certainly before the court of God.

So the lesson for us, is that the Biblical commands not to lie and not to be filled with pride have this really practical outcome. Jones' pride and deceit led to the recent massacres in Afghanistan. Our own pride can also lead to our downfall, or the downfall of others. Mr. Jones' recent mistakes are as old and corrupt as the sin of Cain - these three sins being almost the exact same as those of the Bible's first murderer. Mr. Jones has lied to his American brothers, effectively drawing them out into the field, then orchestrating events which lead to their death, only to shirk off responsibility when confronted. There, but for the grace of God, go we.


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