Why Terry Jones Doesn’t Speak for Me

by | Sep 19, 2012 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

The Florida pastor says he’s on a mission from God. But I can’t see in Scripture where God calls us to spew hate speech.

I recently spent time with two of my daughters and their husbands at a frozen yogurt shop in downtown Gainesville, Fla., on a quiet Saturday evening. It’s a good thing it wasn’t Friday, because controversial pastor Terry Jones—who was indirectly linked to last week’s violent outbreaks in the Middle East—has been known to stir up trouble at the corner of SE Second Avenue and SE First Street.

Members of Jones’ tiny church, Dove World Outreach Center, often use megaphones to tell pedestrians they are going to hell. The angry street preachers blast homosexuals, President Obama, Muslims and any Christians who believe in tolerance. Sometimes restaurant patrons are forced to leave their patio tables and move indoors to escape the unwanted tongue-lashings.

Jones makes local news in Gainesville because of his attention-getting antics. Earlier this year he hanged President Obama in effigy on his church property (until the mannequin mysteriously disappeared). His members sometimes wear “Islam Is of the Devil” T-shirts. And back in 2010, when openly gay mayoral candidate Craig Lowe was running for office, the church launched a campaign against him with signs that said, “NO HOMO MAYOR.”

But it is Jones’ anti-Muslim rhetoric that has reached the boiling point several times recently. When he urged Christians last year to burn copies of the Quran, the resulting furor sparked riots throughout the Middle East—and 10 United Nations personnel died. Then last week, on the anniversary of 9/11, Jones admitted that he helped promote a low-budget film that mocked Islam. The violence that erupted in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and other countries caused the deaths of four Americans.

Jones insists that neither the film (which was produced by a Coptic Christian from California) nor his inflammatory comments about Islam caused last week’s violence. When The Daily Beast asked Jones if he felt he shared any responsibility for the deaths, Jones replied: “Absolutely not. We are here 1,000 miles away. Our actions pose absolutely no danger to their lifestyle. … What it does, of course, is insult them, but that’s what freedom of speech does.”

Since I have the same free speech rights, I’d like to stand on my cyber-soapbox and offer an alternative. I respect the Rev. Jones’ right to preach on a street corner, but he has a warped view of Jesus Christ if he thinks the best way to evangelize the world is to ridicule people or spew hate speech at them.

I’ll use my own bullhorn to make these announcements:

1. Real Christians don’t hate Muslims. I believe Jesus is the only way to salvation. As a Christian, I don’t believe there are multiple paths to heaven. But I’m not going to convince a Muslim of the uniqueness of Christ by denigrating Islam or mocking Muhammad. And the ugly history of the medieval Crusades proves you can’t force Christianity on Muslim cultures.

What God calls us to do is love Muslims, pray for them and show them the compassion of Christ. Ultimately we must trust the power of the Holy Spirit to open a Muslim’s heart so he or she can see how much Jesus loves them.

2. Real Christians don’t hate homosexuals. Any faithful reading of Scripture reveals that God’s original plan for sexuality is monogamous, heterosexual marriage. But we live in a broken world, and because of family breakdown, abuse and other factors, many people today have embraced homosexuality. Jesus doesn’t put gay people on a special naughty list. He offers everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, an opportunity to take up His cross and follow Him on the pathway to discipleship.

Our job is to point the way to Christ, who has the power to conform our lives to His standards of holiness. But we won’t do that effectively by calling gay people “homos” or by screaming judgments at them. Love will require honest conversation, lots of sensitivity and Spirit-directed intercession.

3. Real Christians don’t hate President Obama. I still can’t believe that people from Terry Jones’ church (in the South!) hung an African-American doll on a gallows on church property. What were they thinking? No wonder local resident Larry Condra told the Gainesville Sun: “Jesus is cool, but some of his followers give me the creeps.”

You may completely disagree with President Obama’s policies on abortion, gay marriage, taxation and the national debt. I disagree with him on many issues, too. But he’s still my president, and my Bible commands me to pray for him. I don’t have to agree with his views on socialized medicine to show him the respect any civil leader deserves.

The apostle John’s first epistle gives clear New Testament guidelines on who is really a Christian. And one of his requirements is this: “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7b-8, NASB). That tells me that a person who claims to be a Christian but whose life is characterized by hate speech might need to reevaluate whether he really knows God at all.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. He is the author of 10 Lies Men Believe and other books. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady.  

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Intentionally Raising a Godly Generation

Intentionally Raising a Godly Generation

Debbie put her faith in Christ at age 11. In fact, her whole family met Jesus at just about the same time. As her parents began growing in their faith, they nurtured growth in their children as well. Family Bible reading, prayer and talking about God’s leading in...

Dream Big: How to Cultivate Divine Revelation While You Sleep

Dream Big: How to Cultivate Divine Revelation While You Sleep

Do you have any dreams from God that you have allowed to fall by the wayside? For some of you, it’s time to dream again. For some of you, it’s time to dust off your previous dreams. For some of you, it’s important to realize God is not late; He’s always on time. For...

Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

In the month of August, God is bringing swift turnarounds so that your hard places will become a wide-open field. God is bringing about divine connections in order to strengthen the body of Christ. He is releasing faith for radical generosity, divine strategy to...

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

There are several resurrections and raptures in the Bible. I cannot understand those who argue that because there is no mention of the word "rapture" in the Bible they do not believe in it. They only believe in the Second Coming of the Lord. Some arguments are no...

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era The Lord first began speaking to me about the release of seven abilities...

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

Many years ago, Jesus went up on a mountain, sat down, and spoke to the group he was with: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all...

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

In the past few years, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of many local churches. Friends from around the world have told me that many churches have closed their doors for good. Although most churches have not returned to their pre-pandemic attendance...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

RECENT ARTICLES

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed...
Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Recently while in worship, I was talking to the Lord when this prophetic flow began to come forth. I took out my phone and pressed record. This is the transcription of that word I received: "God, I see the firebrands rising up. God, I see the firebrands rising up. I...

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

The best way to grow in the prophetic is to look at the past. As backwards as that sounds, Revelation 19:10 tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” In other translations, this is said, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness...

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

As a professional counselor, I have consoled hundreds of Christians through some of the most horrific life circumstances. Along with experiencing my own trials in life, it has caused me to deeply ponder the words of Scripture that refer to how we must learn to live in...

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first of three estimates for second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Second-quarter inflation-adjusted (real) GDP fell at an annual rate of 0.9%, compared to a drop of 1.6% in the first quarter, and pre-report...

Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve had cake for my birthday, which I celebrated recently. Strawberries with nuts are my favorite treats today. That was definitely not my choice in years past until I made some monumental decisions in about 2009. Not eating sugar...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]