Sermon: Building Bridges by Burning Korans? A Biblical Approach to Sharing Jesus in a Pluralistic World

This week a pastor for a small, fringe church in Gainesville got of lot of attention by organizing an “International Burn a Koran Day” set on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The motivation behind this pastor’s actions: to demonstrate to the world the dangers of Islam and to highlight the truth that the Koran is leading people to hell.

The outcome of this action? World-wide protests from the Muslim community including the burning of Bibles, the destruction of crosses, chants such as “death to Christians” or “death to America,” attacks against Christians as well as attacks against American troops overseas. What’s more, is that people have actually died as the result of these protests.

The good that has come from this pastor’s actions? Well, your guess is as good as mine … please let me know if you see any good that has come of it, because my search is coming up empty.

Here’s my question: does the Bible teach us anything about how we should approach adherents of religions other than Christianity? What examples do we have to look at?

In truth the Bible teaches us much about this subject giving us plenty of examples to study.

In this morning’s sermon with The Lake Merced Church of Christ in San Francisco, I highlighted one of them. That of Paul’s experience with the idolatrous Athenians in Acts 17:15-34.

You’ll see that Paul’s approach in the Bible differed greatly from that of this Gainesville pastor’s.

It is very important that we show compassion to all people regardless of race, lifestyle, or belief system. Intrinsic in showing compassion is showing respect. Paul’s example, the example of the rest of the apostles, and the example of Jesus Himself proves that to be a fact.

Here’s the introductory video used with this lesson:

And here’s the audio and PowerPoint from this morning:

To listen to more sermons like this, visit’s Sermon Archive.


I’m looking forward to being with a bunch of college students this week at the annual Cocoa Beach Retreat in Cocoa Beach Florida. This is a regional campus ministry event, and many ministries will be represented there. They are flying me in from the west coast to do the bulk of the teaching. I’ll post the audio from the lessons when I get back home – should be a great time!

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One thought on “Sermon: Building Bridges by Burning Korans? A Biblical Approach to Sharing Jesus in a Pluralistic World

  1. ATF says:

    My favorite part of that message, Wes, was about making the effort to be informed about someone’s culture and beliefs before launching some attack on them. You slipped in a little remark there about Paul obviously being well acquainted with the poetry of these philosophers, and you’re exactly right.

    The ironic thing, of course, is that once you are knowledgable about someone’s beliefs, it’s a little more natural to have some repect because you have seen for yourself whatever good is in them. It is the ignorant who are so willing to jump down people’s throats and become counter-productive for Christ.

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