by Dale Brown
When Dove World Outreach placed a sign out in front of their church in Florida claiming that Islam was of the devil, they got a firestorm of criticism. Later they promoted the idea to burn a Quran on 9/11 in honor of those who perished when Muslims hijacked and crashed several planes killing thousands of innocent people in an act of jihad against America. Soon others followed in the Quran burning protest.
Criticism came from several camps. Some felt that it was out of line to offend the billion plus Muslims of the world with such an act, claiming it was not a Christian thing to do. Others thought that it would be better served to study the Quran to better answer the questions of the Muslim religion.
This can be addressed in a number of ways from the Bible. First, it is not totally unbiblical to burn cultic books. In Acts 19:19 numerous books were burned by new converts in renouncing their previous ties to occultic practices. This is common even today in helping prevent them from falling back into unhealthy beliefs. Some will argue that Islam is not magic or of the occult therefore this does not apply. Many Muslims however believe the Quran to have magical powers and Allah will chastise those who do not show respect for Mohammed's revelation. In burning a Quran one makes a statement that they are not afraid of allah because he is not the God of the Bible. In many cases people are not afraid of allah, but they are terrorized of his followers however, who think they need to take matters into their own hands and act as allahs little helpers. Many Christians have a similar view of the Bible, thinking that to mark or damage a Bible will bring God's judgment up them.
The story of Gideon is helpful in understanding the biblical view of God's perspective on honoring false gods. Gideon was instructed to tear down the altars of Baal and the Asherah (Judges 6:25-31). The followers of the cult were obviously offended and wanted his hide. Gideons father told the people that if Baal was truly God he could surely take care of himself. Let Baal contend for himself.
In dealing with the false religions under the law of Moses they were instructed not only to destroy the altars but to not bring any of the related loot into your house and thus be snared by it. "And you shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is somethin banned (Deu. 7:1-26). They were not to become linked to the cultists in marriage or business for fear of caving in to false religious beliefs.
The New Testament addresses this in a similar fashion. If someone comes to your house bringing some religion other than the gospel we are warned not to allow them into our house, and not to give them a greeting of friendship (2 John 7-10). This serves two purposes; one in which a statement is made to the false teacher that he needs to repent. Secondly, the person is protecting his own household from false religion. Now the argument can be made that it might be more productive to invite the person in and try to reason with them and convert them to the truth. This however is only for those who are adequately equipped for theological debate. The average person is likely to be left confused and overwhelmed by the arguments of the cultists. So, into the fireplace with the cultic literature.