Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified… and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:2, 4-5). Gainesville, Florida pastor Terry Jones has made news recently for his on again off again plans to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on our country. His plans have created a firestorm of protest worldwide. Political and religious leaders have expressed their concern. Many adherents to Islam the world over have staged protests in response. It was even reported that some churches in the Gainesville, Florida community would read from the Koran as part of their worship services to protest Jones’ plans—a huge mistake if you ask me. But, this article is not about the wisdom of incorporating the Koran into Christian worship services. My question is this: Is it ever right for a Christian—one who names the name of Christ—to burn or otherwise desecrate the sacred texts of other religions even though those religions are nothing more than false religious systems that lead people away from the true Christ of Holy Scripture? I think the answer is definitely no! Destroying the sacred texts of a false religious system serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever.
When Paul came to Corinth, the Bible tells us he came for one purpose, “to declare the testimony of God” (1 Cor. 2:1). He could have come with his superior intellect and his God-given ability to reason and debate persuasively. I would imagine he could have even hosted a scroll burning event. After all, the city of Corinth was known for its rampant immorality and paganism. But Paul chose not to waste all his energy by attacking all things Corinthian. He wrote, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). The worddetermined, taken from the Greek word κρίνω (krino), here means to resolve. Paul resolved to focus on the gospel—preaching Christ—rather than “persuasive words of wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:4). If we are not careful, we can get in the way of the gospel instead of being a servant or minister of the gospel. Any other approach is dangerous indeed. Burning books, especially the sacred texts of false religious systems, obscures Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit anointed preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does just the opposite. It frees God to demonstrate His power to save. When that happens, “Your faith rests not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5). No one will ever be persuaded into the Kingdom of God via man’s wisdom. But when the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” is involved, people are saved and lives are changed. “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” This is the Word of the Lord!
Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was an American Baptist missionary who spent almost 40 years in Burma (today known as Myanmar). He translated the Bible into Burmese. He planted more than 100 churches, and led more than 8,000 to faith in Jesus Christ. What was his secret? He preached Jesus, not anti-Buddhism. Pastor Jones could learn a lot from the Apostle Paul and from Adoniram Judson. We all can. The answer is never book burning but Holy Spirit anointed, Gospel-centered, repentance filled preaching. May we all resolve to preach Jesus—in word and deed—to all whom the Lord will grant us opportunity. Who knows, maybe long after we’re gone from this world it will be said about us, he (or she) led over 8,000 to faith in Jesus Christ. Don’t waste your energy on desecrating the sacred texts of another. Just preach Jesus and God will take care of the rest. “Jesus answered and said, … And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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