What is the Church coming to these days? For the Dove World Outreach Center, a self-described charasmatic, non-denominational congregation in Gainsville, Florida, the Church has come to sending kids to school with T-shirts emblazened with hate speech like, "Islam is of the Devil". Perhaps the Dove World Outreach Center should have got the hint when they were forced to custom order the controversial shirts over the internet, because no local screenprinter would take their business. According to Senior Pastor Terry Jones, no local company "had the guts" to print the shirts. But never fear, the members of Dove World are standing up for Jesus as they're kids break dress code rules to spread, what their pastor calls "the Church's message". I must not have got that message!
This Church began their jihad on Islam during the first week of July, when they erected a sign with the infamous "T-shirt" message on the front of their property. This "message of the Church" was quickly confronted with a diverse group of protestors, both religious and secular alike, who condemned the sign as un-loving, hateful and offensive, not to mention just a trifle un-christian. Several weeks later, after receiving their internet order, they sent a few of their kids to some of the local schools with the same message on their backs. The front of the shirts quoted John 14:6 along with the strange phrase, "I stand in trust with Dove Outreach Center". This crowd is why the Church today has nearly vanished into obscurity!
What would Jesus do? What is the True message of the Church? How should we stand up for our Faith? Jesus taught His disciples to reach out to the lost, not to stand against their false beliefs. If our message is rejected, so be it. But let it not be rejected because we injected our own hatred and animosity into it! As a Christian I understand that Islam really is of the Devil, and I have no problem saying it; but is that the "message of the Church"? No way! Our message is JESUS: nothing more, nothing less and nothing else! This message may be offensive to some who hear it preached, but it is a message that any of us can take joy in, even if it brings persecution, because it is the True message of the Church. We must not squabble with the adherents of false religions, they're judgment will come soon enough; but we must embrace them with love, and share God's grace with them, even if they are enemies of Christ and His Gospel. We must remember that God demonstrated "His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".
As followers of Christ, we must practice our Faith with the dignity of Christ. We must ask ourselves if our actions are causing others to see the glory of God and the love of Jesus, or are they causing people to shrink back in horror at the heinous face of a hateful God and a bitter Christ? Are we properly representing Jesus, or are we turning His love and grace into ugliness and spite? My fellow Christians, we must be faithful witnesses to the person of our Savior, who "is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world"... even the world of Islam.
In : Meditations
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