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In the Fight: Desecrate the Koran -- Riots; Desecrate the Bible -- Yawn

In the Fight: Desecrate the Koran -- Riots; Desecrate the Bible -- Yawn

By Matt Friedeman, PhD

June 13, 2005

(AgapePress) - Observers of the printed page, the White House, and anyone interested in responsibility in the media were rightly outraged that Newsweek recently botched a report about Koran desecration by the U.S. military and started rioting in Afghanistan that ended lives and injured many.

It has long been known, but apparently not often reported by the mainstream media, that in places like Saudi Arabia, Bibles are not flushed at airport customs but are shredded. And if you are carrying enough of them, you may well receive 70 lashes if not execution.

Little is heard publicly about such contempt.

The reason? It is likely what Newsweek and its media elite friends choose to report, and not report. The largely irreligious corps of reporters and their disrespect of Christianity obviously comes into play.

But Danny Nalliah, a Sri Lankan-born pastor now based in Australia, presents a slightly different perspective: "The Muslims respect the Koran far more than Christians respect the Bible." So, then, when a Koran is reportedly destroyed, it is really big news. When a Bible is shredded -- yawn. No outrage, no tears, no human rights organizations rising to champion a cause. Just -- yawn.

A denominational executive just informed one of my friends that if a young missionary with a relatively weak view of Scripture is sent into a Muslim country, he will be broken in that country. Muslims aren't playing games with their holy book in most parts of the world. Christians who mean to take them on at an ideological and spiritual level must think at least as highly of the Bible as the Muslims do of the Koran.

How will we know when this happens?

- Christians accept a theological position that their Bible is fully authoritative and without error. A weak position here leads to weak positions on other consequential teachings. For instance, George Barna reports that in 2005, 46 percent of born-again Christians deny Satan's existence. A majority (52 percent) of all born-again Christians in 2001 rejected the existence of the Holy Spirit.

- Christians spend significant time in daily Bible study. Combined with significant hours of prayer per week, this makes Spirit-filled Christians most likely to have a powerful impact on their world and in their wooing of the Muslim to their faith.

- Christians not only affirm Scripture as authoritative and read it, but are informed by it. In short, they intellectually grasp the details of the Word. Be mindful that Barna found in 2000 that three-quarters of Americans believed that the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves. It doesn't.

- Christians recognize that knowing means more than intellectual assent. It means acting on that Truth. To know Scripture means to do Scripture. There is power in truth released in the daily lives of believers.

No one is stimulated to riot or even care much when a Bible is desecrated and shredded, or when people with Bibles are persecuted. But flush a Koran, and protests break out and people are killed or injured.

It would be understandable for the Evangelical to attribute the difference to the fact that the Bible has a civilizing effect and the Koran -- believed in or destroyed -- agitates the soul.

Is that the case? Or is it that Christians have long ago ceased to be a people of the Book and, frankly, it is not sacred enough in our daily lives to make it much of a consideration when it is shredded? The people of the Koran -- seems they mean business. Matt Friedeman (mfriedeman@wbs.edu) is a professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary. Respond to this column at his blog at "In the Fight."

Copyright 2005 AgapePress

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