Pathways to Peace

Following Jesus Down The Road Less Traveled

Dear Franklin Graham… A Letter From Brian McLaren

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.38.38 PMRecently, my friend Brian McLaren wrote a letter of to Franklin Graham appealing to him as a Christian minister to rethink his position on deporting Muslims and no longer permitting them to immigrate to the U.S.  I confess I agree with Brian.  If this grand vision of Franklin’s comes to pass then we are not far from putting Muslims in detention camps like we did the Japanese in WWII, trampling on the Bill of Rights, and escalating greater hatred and violence around the world between Muslims and Christians.

Fear offers no solutions, but love helps us find our way and clear our heads.  The apostle John, the youngest disciple of Jesus once said, “Fear has torments, but perfect love casts out all fear.”  The apostle Paul said, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”  Love is the only option for those could claim to follow Jesus of Nazareth.  It is not always the easy path, but it is the path that leads us to the way, the truth and the life.

I am a full-time peacemaker in the way of Christ.  For the past ten years I have traveled across the U.S. and overseas teaching Muslims and Christians how to follow Christ.  What do I tell them?  What does it mean to follow Christ?  What do I attempt to show them?  Jesus taught that on a foundational level to follow him means that we love God with all our being, love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves (even if they are Muslims:)), treat other people the way you want to be treated and if you run into enemies along the way pray for them, do good to them and try to turn them into friends. We either believe the message of Jesus or we don’t.  It would be better an atheist than to claim to follow him and show contempt for any group of people.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 11.00.51 AMBrian asked if he could post the video recording of how God used the little Muslim boy Omar in my life to turn me from hating Muslims to loving them.  This is the longer version of the story that I share in churches, mosques and synagogues.  It gives a lot more detail than my written blog post.  If you would like to watch that video go to Brian’s blog and watch it.  CLICK HERE: http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/dear-franklin-graham.html  

Also, Brian gives a challenge to evangelical pastors on how they can respond to Franklin Graham’s campaign to keep Muslims from immigrating to U.S. It is definitely a Christ-like response.  Let’s take the message of Jesus seriously.  CLICK HERE: http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/yesterday-i-posted-a-letter-to-f.html

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5 Replies

  1. Peggy Mattingly

    I listened to your video Jeff, and definitely agree with what the Word says – It’s the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. But in fairness, I would think Rev Graham agrees with that as well, for anyone whose heart the Holy Spirit has touched. It’s not possible to know who those are among the Muslims unless MAYBE you know them personally. Given the current activities of the radicals among them, it doesn’t seem to be wisdom to bring potentially suicidal people with a ‘death to Americans’ agenda into your neighborhood or home. Without supernatural guidance no one can know another’s heart. Christ reacted violently toward the money changers – those opposed to God’s heart – in the temple. He never changes, so, after offering them redemption, He would turn them away now, too. I don’t presume to speak for Rev Graham, but Christ taught us how to communicate with evil people as well as those whose hearts are ready or who already love Him. These are my thoughts and I’m interested in yours as well.

    1. Jeff

      Hey Peggy,

      Great to hear from you. The problem is that brother Graham thinks Islam is a completely evil religion. If you follow the logic of that that would mean that the people who follow it are some how damaged goods. He fails to acknowledge that Jesus is mentioned in the Qur’an many times in a positive manner. He is called the Word and Spirit of God, the statement of truth, the Messiah, the son of Mary, the one near stationed to God, the sinless one and so much more. The Qur’an says the Bible is the word of God that cannot be changed. I cannot say that is an evil religion. I may not agree with everything Muslims say on matters of theology and practice but we have way more in common that we realize. Radicals make up a very small percentage of Islam. ISIS is killing more Muslims than Christians. The same radicals that hate us hate their fellow Muslims who do not go along with them. Would we want Muslims to throw us into the same pot with KKK members who claim to be Knights of the Cross? We must keep in mind that General Patraeus said we helped create ISIS and then it turned into a Frankenstein and betrayed us. While we are being fearful about which Muslims are radicals we must also take ownership that our foreign policies have helped create many of the monsters that are stalking us. I cannot punish all Muslims who are trying to get into our country the right way along with the terrorist who hate us. That is how Inquisitions and witch hunts begin and civil rights and freedoms get lost. The people who want to punish the Muslim community might one day come looking for us. I choose to err on the side of freedom and love. Hope that helps.

  2. Jeffrey R. Burns

    Hey Peggy, I responded to your comments on my website. I am not sure it will show up on facebool.

    1. Peggy Mattingly

      Ok. Can you send me a link to your website?

    2. Jeffrey R. Burns

      Hey Peggy, my blog is http://www.jeffburns.org. I have copied my response from my site here also. Hey Peggy,

      Great to hear from you. The problem is that brother Graham thinks Islam is a completely evil religion. If you follow the logic of that that would mean that the people who follow it are some how damaged goods. He fails to acknowledge that Jesus is mentioned in the Qur’an many times in a positive manner. He is called the Word and Spirit of God, the statement of truth, the Messiah, the son of Mary, the one near stationed to God, the sinless one and so much more. The Qur’an says the Bible is the word of God that cannot be changed. I cannot say that is an evil religion. I may not agree with everything Muslims say on matters of theology and practice but we have way more in common that we realize. Radicals make up a very small percentage of Islam. ISIS is killing more Muslims than Christians. The same radicals that hate us hate their fellow Muslims who do not go along with them. Would we want Muslims to throw us into the same pot with KKK members who claim to be Knights of the Cross? We must keep in mind that General Patraeus said we helped create ISIS and then it turned into a Frankenstein and betrayed us. While we are being fearful about which Muslims are radicals we must also take ownership that our foreign policies have helped create many of the monsters that are stalking us. I cannot punish all Muslims who are trying to get into our country the right way along with the terrorist who hate us. That is how Inquisitions and witch hunts begin and civil rights and freedoms get lost. The people who want to punish the Muslim community might one day come looking for us. I choose to err on the side of freedom and love. Hope that helps.

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