WitnessForChrist 4  _ 2010




“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (NIV, I Peter 3:13-17)


Monday morning, August 2, 2010, when opening the internet, the author read two important e-mails. First from a friend who waited for his flight at Sukarno Hatta airport Sunday evening the day before sent from his blackberry: "I Heard today, in Bekasi there was a religious tension against church worship on the street of Batak congregation." The second, from Detik News (www.detik.com), Monday, August 2, 2010, prints an article entitled : Church in Florida Initiate 'Al- Quran Burning Movement' which begins with a paragraph: "interreligious harmony in the United States ( U.S. ) is being tested . Dove World Outreach Center, a new non - denominational covenant church, in Gainesville, Florida , USA , will host the ' International Day of Burning Qur'an' in commemoration of the 9th year of  September 11, 2001 attacks on WTC." (read also http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/julyweb-only/40.51.0.html)

Both events showed that all religions included Christian have groups who think according to their fanaticism of narrow and extreme acts, and religious extremist groups that feel themselves as the sole holder of God commands and want to judge all who do not follow their wishes without considering the consequences in large. In the year 1995 in the city of Pekalongan, Indonesia, there was an article entitled 'A Chinese Tore the Quran.' This issue has led to racial riots in the city resulted in the destruction of dozens of shops owned by Chinese people, and also some churches and temples, and later it had spread to several surrounding cities. If a torn Quran can affect urban unrest, what if the Quran is burned?

The plan of Quran burning in Florida by a small church with an average of 50 attendees in its services, will tarnish the face of Jesus and Christianity than to be a witness of Christian love which is the core of Christian message. We do not have to worry about blaming the action of the church in Florida and pray for them, because such action was contrary to the ‘love of the Gospel.’ Conversely, we also need not hesitate to blame the ban of worships as well as burning of churches!

Faithful Christian need not follow the wrong sentiment of the small group in Florida that is not express to love neighbor, but must warn them for their tyrannical act to others. Generalization is the inferior attitude felt by some religious followers, even if the terrorists claimed their act is ‘in the name of God and Islam’ in their terror actions, the Christians should act with a spirit of  'God is love' (John 3:16). Most Muslims were blaming terrorism of September 11th and in the USA many Americans, including Christians, are not blaming Islam as being behind the accident. To generally associate the terrorism to Islam religion is a fatal mistake, this is the same as if we consider all the churches in the United States want to burn the Quran the same as the fanatical small church in Florida.

Not less the National Council of Churches in the USA (NCC) and the National Association of Evangelical (NAE), as well as the largest church in the USA, Southern Baptist, also blame the church plan in Florida, as well as the Roman Catholic church that blame the narrow fanaticism which is against the true mission of the love of the gospel rather than as a mouthpiece of ‘the Word of God’.

Indeed among American Christians there are some 'Christian Zionists' who nevertheless try to defend the actions of Israel and blame any Arab countries that is considered as Islam, whereas the Palestinian Christians are also suffering under Israelis government. For them, defending Israel is defending God, but Jesus Christ who is the ‘Immanuel’ (God is with us), during his ministry has never dealt with the establishment of the state of Israel, even Lord Jesus never prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and not politically defend Jerusalem and blaming the Romans, but to make the event as a warning to the Israelites to repent, the Jerusalem which killed the prophets and even who killed Jesus (who is himself Jewish/Israelites) which is the Incarnate God.

As faithful Christians, we should become a mediator and conciliator among both sides, which on one hand side proclaims 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth' and the other side proclaims 'bloody  jihad.' Christian has to follow Jesus' teaching to love one another (give also the right cheek when the left is slapped) and invites them all to the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. Taking side to one party of the extremists in fact mean that we deny and do not obey the good news Gospel. An interesting event occurred several years ago in Ramallah when war broke out between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters. Palestinian fighters who were less armed were pressed and run into the 'Nativity Church' in Bethlehem (The church is considered as built at the site where Jesus was born). Israel demanded the church to hand Palestinian fighters to them, but the church refused. Beautiful and peaceful solution was carried out by the church that resulted that the fighters left freely to go outside by leaving their weapons. This is the Christian attitude that we need to practice constantly, especially in the context of Israel vs. Palestine conflict.

In facing the issue of Israel vs. Hamas in recent times, the Fellowship of Indonesian Churches (PGI) is wise to blame both Israel and Hamas in the conflict. Therefore we too should act according to the spectacles of Lord Jesus, that is not defending Israel and blaming Hamas nor blaming Hamas and defending Israel, but blame the mistakes made by both Israel and Hamas, and encouraged them to carry out negotiation in pursuit of love and peace of God's justice, because that is what the Lord Jesus has taught to his followers. We do not need to expand the Israeli vs. Palestinian war as if it is a religious war between Jewish against Islam, because it is a war for seizing land for the existence of both Israel and Arab nations, especially when we know the most of the Zionist Israel is already became secular. Even if Jesus was expected to become the liberator of the land of Israel, He firmly proclaimed His mission that 'God's kingdom is not of this world!'

Facing the anniversary of September 11th in the USA, we also do not need to expand it as if it was a war between Islam against Christianity. It is clear that the terrorists are also blamed by the vast majority of Muslims, while among the victims there were also Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Atheists. It is clear that the 'nine-one-one' event was an act by a group of terrorist reprisal to 'Uncle Sam' which always interferes in the political constellation of the Middle East for oil politics and weapon industry purposes. It should be in mind that the American who was arming the Taliban when they fought the Russians is also the same American who now obsessively hostile to the Taliban. In fact USA with its powerful Jewish lobby is always totally arming Israel in the Israeli vs. Arab wars, and even though USA desperately against Iran's nuclear program, USA closed its eye to Israel's nuclear program but supports it.

The fact that American pride is challenged in the incident 11 September can be seen from the following facts: The author had visited up to the roof of the World Trade Center in New York City twin tower, and got a brochure that expresses that the WTC is the pride of  'uncle Sam.' The cover begins with a big headline: 'The closest some of us will ever get to heaven' ( for Americans, heaven can mean the sky but also the Christian heaven) and inside there is an inscription: 'And in the evening, please do not touch the stars.' The American pride is also addressed in the sermon of the American famous evangelist Billy Graham. In his keynote speech at the Special Memorial Service which was held at the Episcopal Cathedral in Washington D.C. to commemorate the event, he preached that the WTC is a picture of the pride of Americans who have been obsessed by its superior progress and prosperity, but all can collapsed instantly as seen in what happened in the twin tower, but when it was built on a strong foundation, we can rebuild a new building on it. Then Billy Graham linked the message with Gospel message, that it ‘is necessary to have a strong foundation of Christian faith to build a new the United States!

In commemorating the anniversary in the month before September 11th,  let us pray like Billy Graham to the American people as his expectation, and facing the case of the small church in Florida who want to ' burn the Quran' which adorned the newspapers story, you tube, and mailing - lists at present, let us pray as what Lord Jesus has prayed: 'God the Father, forgive them for they know not what they do, ' and let us also pray that the 'Holy Spirit brings the church to discontinue the plan that does not really make sense’. Amen.

With Love from YABINA ministry www.yabina.org.


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