Spare Me the Outrage
Of course the whole world was caught up in this goofy flag-burning story. As of Thursday night, 5 pm Central Time, it seems God has allowed this to be redeemed for His purpose. I hear the pastor is flying to NY and there is some sort of agreement that the mosque in NY will be moved if the Koran-burning pastor stops.
All of us know this Koran burning thing was dumb. Most evangelicals condemned it as not only a colossally bad idea, but as bad theology and bad understanding of our role as ambassadors of another Kingdom. I’m guessing this pastor won’t be invited to speak on the evangelical speaker’s circuit anytime soon.
But what strikes me is this idea that this lone guy somehow represents all of Christianity is baffling. It reveals the animosity that the world has toward the church. Animosity that Jesus predicted (see John 15:18-16:4).
What also bothers me is how some Christians are breathing a huge sigh of relief. As if the stopping of this cross-burning somehow rescues our faith. It demonstrates how small our view of God actually is.
Let me get this straight: The Almighty God, the Eternal I Am, Yahweh entered space and time, took on the form of a man, came as a humble baby, lived a sinless life, performed otherworldly miracles, fulfilled centuries-old predictions of a Messiah, died a cruel death, took on our sin, offers us redemption, defeats sin and death at the cross, rises again and lives in us today—and one goofy pastor in FL has the power to destroy our faith?
Give me a break. Yes this story was bad for Christianity. But Jesus doesn’t need our help. Guess what? The story lives on. The gates of Hell won’t prevail against the church.
In other words, yes this a small black eye for Christianity, but God is not in Heaven slapping himself on the forehead saying, “I didn’t account for this nutty pastor. Now what will I do?” His plan of rescuing lost souls is still on track, folks. His mission is still moving forward. The train has not been derailed.
So the next time this story happens, let’s do ourselves a favor. Yes, let’s speak out and condemn it for the sake of the gospel witness to Muslims and others. But let’s not get so sweat up with worry that one goofy guy (who by the way might be us and our bad ideas) can somehow throw a monkey wrench into the plan of God.