Saturday, June 09, 2012

“Pastor” Terry Jones–Cease & Desist

Terry Jones Small Florida Church Pastor Calls LJt_1j8S9UXl

Rarely do we ever see genuine Christianity being given the time of day within our modern, sensationalistic media. If a man is a cult leader, a theological innovator, or a madman – then he is given “the microphone” and is marched out in front of a camera as a supposed poster-child of Christendom. Biblical genuineness and legitimacy isn’t titillating enough to make the evening news, therefore, its coverage is as rare as summer snow. Within the Twilight Zone of such a Universe thrives extremists such as the Westboro Baptist “Church” and “pastor” Terry Jones. If you will recall, it was in 2010 that Jones became the favored oddity of the news media when he promised to burn a copy of the Koran. In front of news cameras he repeatedly insisted that his message was an important one, especially since “God had told him” to do this. For the record, I do defend the 1st amendment rights of all citizens – even their right to say and do extremely stupid things. Without the freedom of speech – whatever that speech may be – this nation would quickly become a land of grave oppression.[1] Having said this, and as an exercise of my own right of free speech, I must say that Mr. Jones’ supposed Koran-burning “message” was one that had nothing to do with the Gospel at all, but seemed to be a desperate bid for personal attention on the national stage. Well, he got this… and more. His repeated insistence that God told him to do it was then followed by several appeals from government officials for him to cease and desist.[2] Shortly thereafter, Jones renounced his bid for Koran-burning fame, sheepishly announcing his change of heart on national television.[3] What is the message that might be gleaned from all this? The reality is that Mr. Jones doesn’t have a coherent or consistent message at all. Contrarily, the true God is not the author of such confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Back in 2010, I addressed this matter from the pulpit by focusing on the Apostle Paul’s description of his own ministry where he compares and contrasts a ministry of sincerity versus those who merely peddle the word of God:

2 Corinthians 2:14–17 (NASB) — 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

Audio: An Aroma of Life or Death, Part I

The shame of Jones’ actions in 2010 didn’t dissuade him at all, instead this cornucopia of madness was later washed down with a Koran-burning chaser in March of last year, and again in March of this year. In the more recent case, Jones was slapped with fine of $271.00 by the Gainesville Fire Rescue department – a miniscule amount compared to the grand cost of his obfuscation of the Gospel. But unfortunately, Jones’ peddling of God’s word does not end here. As of June 9th of this year it was reported that Jones has now erected an effigy of President Barack Obama, dangling from a noose, directly in front of his cross-laden Dove World Outreach Center building.

What a disturbing “outreach” message this is.[4]

With the cross of Christ in the background, and Barack Obama hanging from a noose in the foreground, one can only wonder what observers will think should they assume, falsely, that Jones has any association with the true message of Christ. Jones maintains that it is all a metaphor for his opposition to the president, and by this he believes that it is all well and good. To this I must ask: how do you reconcile this with the Apostle Peter’s mandate to “honor the king” who happened to be the emperor Nero at the time?

1 Peter 2:16–17 (NASB) — 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

In all of our freedoms, the genuine Christian must never use such freedom as a covering for evil, remembering that the desire to garner attention through shocking words and actions is a dangerous one – it is the religion of peddlers. In this one act of his, Jones has revealed himself to be nothing more than another religious jihadist, whose message is not Christ, but is instead the message of the violence and foolishness of men.

cc: Pastor Terry Jones, Dove World Outreach Center

For a more thorough treatment of 1 Peter 2:16-17, along with the general subject of patriotism and the Christian, please see the video below: The Marks of True Patriotism -

 


[1] Unfortunately, there are those who confuse and conflate a defense for free speech with a defense for the particular views of men like Jones. When a person defends the principle of free speech, this does not mean that he agrees with all expressions of speech. Thus, the protection of Jones’ freedom of speech must not be construed as an agreement with what he is saying.
[2] Among others, Jones received appeals from President Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and General Petraeus.
[3] Wikipedia: In an interview on the morning of September 11, the day of the intended protest, he said, "We will definitely not burn the Quran...Not today, not ever." CNN wire staff (September 11, 2010). "Florida pastor calls off Quran burning"
[4] “When asked whether he thought his message might get lost behind the physical display of a black man with a noose around his neck, Jones said, ‘Quite honestly, I never even thought about that.’” Rich Abdill, The Broward Palm Beach New Times, June 8th, 2012.