Terry Jones is a Florida pastor who a few years ago promoted the idea of burning copies of the Koran. This infamous Koran-burning fanatic hasn’t helped the church in the reputation department before the broader world. I’m thankful that most people are wise enough to know that Jones doesn’t represent the heartbeat of most Christians. While we as Christians do reject the teachings of the Koran, that doesn’t grant us the right to burn the Muslim’s holy book. There’s no quicker way to burn a relational bridge with the Muslim community than to burn the Koran.
Now, there is a story in the Book of Acts about some recent converts to Christianity who burned their sorcery books. In Acts 19:19 we read, “And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Some might contend, “See, we have a proof text for burning the Koran.” But the people involved in the book burning in the book of Acts were those who actually practiced sorcery and magic. They burned their own books as a symbol of their repentance from magic to the Messiah. It was a sign that they were abandoning a life of sorcery to follow hard after Jesus. It wasn’t a propaganda stunt. It would be more like a Muslim becoming a Christian and burning his own Koran. While I wouldn’t encourage that, it is still a lot different from a Christian burning a Koran in his angry frustration against Islam.
In the end, we need to ask ourselves, “Why in the world would we want to offend the very people we are trying to reach with the gospel?” Christ called us to build bridges, not burn them.