Should Churches Burn Qurans??? (Or Any Books For That Matter!)

fahrenheit burn
Image by mrtwism via Flickr

In a word and quite simply, no.

But just when we thought this rediculousness went away, now there is another (infamous) church vowing to actually carry it out.

My first thoughts on this go back to a quite unhealthy trend that I have seen in many American churches.  A belief that somehow unites church and state to the point where pastors think government should look and act more like a theocracy, as though the government should act as a church itself.

It surfaces here quite well.  For, Pastor Terry Jones’ original intent was to burn Qurans to “send a warning.”

Now, what kind of warning can a small church in Florida send?  Certainly nothing that would have any lasting change for the good.  That is why I say leave the heavy lifting (the “warnings”) to the government and the politicians that represent us as Americans.

What the church is called to do is to love their enemies – unto death if necessary.  This is clearly the model Jesus left.

Now, on a practical level, is there anywhere in the New Testament that we see books being burned by Christians?

Yes, indeed there is!  Acts 19:11-20.

Form here on out, since the content is so good, I will give credit to the STR Blog where they quote Tony Reinke on the subject:

The Bible, as far as I can tell, mentions one account where religious texts are thrown to the flames (Acts 19:11-20). On the heels of the great work of God in Ephesus, the people had come to fear God and to trust in the Savior. As a result, “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” (v. 19). In modern terms they ignited a bonfire using very expensive magic books….

From this account here are six points to ponder:

1. The Ephesian people burned their own books. These new believers renounced their past. This was not an act of Christians barging into homes to ransack libraries for kindling, or weeding out the public library, or buying up all available copies from the local bookshop. They gathered the valuable books from their own houses.

2. No Christian leader encouraged the book burning. At least the text doesn’t say it. Or would have been better for the books to be sold and the money given to the Apostolic ministry? Perish the thought. There there is no indication that Paul advised the people to burn (or sell) their occultist books.

3. The books posed no threat to the gospel. The gospel overcame the magic power of the books. The gospel is like a hurricane and nothing will stop its wind, certainly not a book of demonic spells.

4. God’s display of power convinced the people that their books were worthless. There was no need to address the value of the magic books directly. Once God’s power and his gospel were seen in the city, the matter was settled.

5. The book burning was a display of godly sorrow. The recently converted Christians wanted to confess their sin before “all.” The high value of the books (50,000 days wages worth!) made a strong statement. It was an act of personal sorrow for their own sin.

6. The burning illustrated the victory of the gospel. The magic books were burned because the gospel was spreading like wildfire: “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily” (v. 20).

These six points should make us very hesitant about burning other people’s religious books.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s