Ethics: Church Pressured to Support Burned Down Mosque

A Mosque in Joplin, MO recently burned down possibly due to arson. The St. Louis Post-Dispacth reported that churches in Joplin joined together to support a Mosque that burned down.1 Not only did churches come together to support the burned Mosque, but the article states that they will participate in an Islamic spiritual practice – iftar.

They’ll be taking part in an “iftar,” which is a meal to break a fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

 What if a Mosque burned down in your town and your church was pressured to help? Several churches in your town, civic groups and individuals have come together to support the Mosque with their time and finances. The overwhelming support for the displaced Muslims is no secret since the papers run stories weekly about the situation.

Various community leaders, including those from other churches, have called and sent letters asking for your church’s support. Your church was even mentioned in a newspaper story which stated that it was one of the only churches in the area that has not publicly declared support for the Mosque rebuilding efforts. After the news report, calls have flooded the church asking for support.

Finally, a congregational meeting. The Mosque issue is practically forced into discussion at the meeting. Church publicity is weighing more toward the negative than the positive. Many public leaders are saying the Mosque was burned as a hate act so Christians should show the love of Christ by giving their time and money to help the rebuild.

What is your reply during the church meeting?

  • Send money and gather a team of volunteers to help.
  • Organize a public forum to discuss why not to get involved using the gospel.
  • Stay silent and ignore the questions.
  • Participate in iftar if the Muslims agree to be baptized.
  • Or…
  1. Joplin churches gather for Islamic community.
Let's connect!

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rhology August 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Participate in iftar if the Muslims agree to be baptized.

LOL – that’s a great option.

2 mburatov August 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I’m sure many of you will disagree with me, but that’s alright.

This is a tough one for me. I Thessalonians 4:11-12 states: “and to make it your ambition to live a quiet life; You should mind your own business and work with your hands as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” The church should certainly condemn the crime of arson against these people and should certainly tangibly help these people in their time of need.

Having said that what these people need the most is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the most loving thing we can do for them is to preach the Gospel to them by word and deed. The church should certainly help clear the wreckage and so on, but helping to build a structure that will propagate a blasphemously false religion is something the church should not do. Participating in iftar or some other practice of Satan should be viewed as bowing at the altar of a false god.

So…the church should be wise as serpents but gentle as doves. They should help to feed and cloth displaced Muslims and condemn arson (if in fact it was indeed arson), but helping to build the mosque is a bridge too far. They should also actively preach the Gospel to Muslims in word and deed. That’s the best I can do for now.

3 Christiane August 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm

helping your neighbors rebuild the place where they worship . . . this is not outside of the realm of Christian behavior in a community

Christians don’t need to be ‘pressured’ to help their neighbors
or any people in trouble. Must Southern Baptists walk away from those who are ‘different’ or ‘not our kind’ ? Our Lord did not do this.

4 rhology August 16, 2012 at 7:25 am

2 Kings 22:8Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it. 9Shaphan the scribe came to the king and brought back word to the king and said, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD.” 10Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.

11When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant saying, 13“Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

13“Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

14So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter); and they spoke to her. 15She said to them, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 16thus says the LORD, “Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. 17“Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.”’ 18“But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD thus shall you say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Regarding the words which you have heard, 19because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD. 20“Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.”’” So they brought back word to the king.

2 Kings 23:4Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5He did away with the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the surrounding area of Jerusalem, also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations and to all the host of heaven. 6He brought out the Asherah from the house of the LORD outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and ground it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people. 7He also broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes which were in the house of the LORD, where the women were weaving hangings for the Asherah. 8Then he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; and he broke down the high places of the gates which were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one’s left at the city gate. 9Nevertheless the priests of the high places did not go up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers. 10He also defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire for Molech. 11He did away with the horses which the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the official, which was in the precincts; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12The altars which were on the roof, the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, the king broke down; and he smashed them there and threw their dust into the brook Kidron. 13The high places which were before Jerusalem, which were on the right of the mount of destruction which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the sons of Ammon, the king defiled. 14He broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with human bones.
15Furthermore, the altar that was at Bethel and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, even that altar and the high place he broke down. Then he demolished its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the Asherah. 16Now when Josiah turned, he saw the graves that were there on the mountain, and he sent and took the bones from the graves and burned them on the altar and defiled it according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these things.

My answer is heck no, I’m not helping them rebuild their place of idolatrous worship to a false god.
Muslims have access to plenty of funds. You may not be aware that Muslims control several nations who float upon a sea of oil. Let them pay for it. Maybe they’ll learn that their aggressive jihad carries consequences sometimes, and this is not really all that bad a consequence, all things considered.

That said, I might consider putting out a statement on the church’s website saying something like this:
We at ____ Church in no way support, condone, or appreciate unprovoked violent acts of any kind, which of course includes arson, toward any person, believers in Jesus or those who do not know or follow Jesus.
The Scripture commands us to take care of those in the household of God first and foremost, and we will look to proclaiming Christ and Him crucified with our time and resources. Any other pursuit is at best secondary to this goal.

5 Fred August 16, 2012 at 8:45 am

I find it snortily amusing that two of the main churches offering their support are “pastored” by women. Two feminized church congregations lending support to a world religion that is notoriously misogynistic.

6 Mark August 16, 2012 at 9:07 am

mburatov, I’m not sure what there is to disagree with in your comment. Thanks!

Christiane, I’m not sure why you referenced Southern Baptists. Aside from me being a Southern Baptist, this post is open to all and not focused on what a Southern Baptist in particular would do.

I am not convinced that Jesus and the Apostles would help rebuild places of idol worship. Jesus called people to Himsef alone to turn from false gods. Also, what Rhology says below.

Fred, I noticed the same thing about female “pastors.”

7 Christiane August 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Hello, MARK . . .

I did reference ‘Southern Baptists’ because of something I saw that upset me, this:

I guess I may be the ONLY person who saw it who felt really bad for Huckabee, as everyone else on that blog seemed to approve of what he said . . .

but I felt a sense of sadness for him and for a lost opportunity that might come for Christian people to show compassion to those of another faith . . .

by helping the new members of the community and giving them shelter and a place to pray, I do think that a Christian Church IS sharing with them the great compassion of Our Lord and that, by the act of caring, the Muslim neighbors will have an EXPERIENCE of Christianity that is profoundly understandable, of a people who not only live in the Spirit but walk in the Spirit.

Is written this: “Psalm 146:9 The LORD watches over the alien”
and in the New Testament, Christ asks for us to love others as we love ourselves.

I’m not judging. I come from a different faith tradition. I just feel a sense of sorrow for a missed chance to share Christ by showing respect and love to people in need, in a way that they could appreciate most . . . they would not forget the great kindness of the followers of Christ, and that is a seed planted, for others to water, and God to harvest in His time.

8 Errrr August 17, 2012 at 10:29 am

I find this horrible to read, how can you believe in this?

Go to

and stop wasting your lives! RIGHT NOW!

9 Mark August 17, 2012 at 11:55 am

Errrr, I’d rather not waste my time on that site. Thanks though.

10 Fred Butler August 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

It is one thing to condemn the act done by the arsonist, but how exactly is it unChristlike for SBC churches, let alone any Christians, to refuse participation in what is essentially a pagan love feast? The article for the SLPD points out what truly is a handful of theologically liberal congregations actually participating in an Islamic Ramadan feast. Islam is an anti-Christian faith. While it is good Baptists are offering some tangible support to the folks in a neighborly fashion, it is quite another to affirm their paganism by participating in the rituals of their false religion. That would certainly be sinful. You judge too harshly from a worldly-wise perspective by the way I see it.

11 Christiane August 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I think an expression of hospitality and concern for the people of another faith IS a witness to Christ. I think that in my faith tradition, we are not ‘threatened’ by other faiths as we see satan as the only enemy, and we know that he was conquered at Calvary,

some Christian people may interact with those of another faith without fear, if they hold to the teaching that we are to love and care for those in need, even if they are not of our kind. What has happened, I think, is that politically, some have fanned the flames of fear of Islam as a religion, and for the people that follow that fearfulness, it must seem very threatening to share a space in a building that is ‘sanctuary’ with those who are different.

I think there is no room for fear in Christianity . . . and I think the coming of Islamic people among Christian people in our country is a great opportunity to witness to them about a Christian love that is not fearful, but reaches out to extend compassion to all in need.

I don’t share the fearfulness of some. But I understand how that fearfulness could prevent an opportunity to fully care for the strangers among us. When we re-connect with the fact that satan is the only enemy to God’s purposes, and that fear is one of his weapons; then by grace, we can go forward without fear of those who are ‘different’. Our love of the ones who are ‘different’ does not diminish us as Christian people. The love of God, when shared, never diminishes anyone.

12 mburatov August 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I think you have made some great points. For example, your assertion that “an expression of hospitality and concern for the people of another faith IS a witness to Christ.” Absolutely. I can die on that hill. 1 Peter 2:11-12 states, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Where I would disagree is your statement: “we see satan as the only enemy.” Satan works through false teachers who spread false teachings and the Bible has some remarkably harsh things to say about false teachers. The opening verses of 2 Peter 2 state; “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them —bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” These are harsh words that are not politically correct in today’s world. Nevertheless, false teaching is something against which we are to fight by providing the antidote of the Gospel.

I agree with you that Muslims are not our enemy but Islam is and helping to propagate it by helping them build a mosque would be equivalent to helping the priests of Baal build a temple to their blood-thirsty god. Remember that the Early Church was convinced that Jesus was the only way to come to God (Acts 4:12 – Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved). We should believe the same and should behave accordingly.

Thanks for your comments.

13 Mark August 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Christiane, Mike Huckabee is right. Also, others here have given you Scriptural answers and pointed out the sinfulness and idolatry of Islam. And that encouraging Islamic worship is to encourage idolatry and instill false hope in a false religion in the name of Christian “love”.

Yet, your reply is very general and even points to fearfulness. Fear may cause some to not reach out to Muslims in any way including offering them space in which to worship. However, no one here has given fear of Islam as their reason to not open up a church building to them.

It is almost as if two different dialogues are taking place.

14 Tico August 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Why the assumption that they were “pressured” to help?

15 Christiane August 18, 2012 at 12:10 am


you may be right about ‘two different dialogues’ taking place . . . it is difficult for me to understand many things about Mike Huckabee’s response on FOX . . . I saw it in a much different light than many people

I honestly think that some in politics have promoted fear of Islam in this country for their own purposes. When people in media try to promote fear of other races and ethnic groups, I wish Christians would distance themselves from that kind of thinking.

I am grateful for being permitted to share my thoughts here, as I have wanted to say how upset I was over Huckabee’s response. So, thank you for the opportunity, and God Bless.


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