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Church Takes Stand on Book Burning

Church of God General Overseer Raymond Culpepper has released a statement regarding a controversial book burning which was scheduled for September 11.

In an email to state leaders, Culpepper made them aware of the intentions of the Church of God to place a full page advertisement in local area newspapers.

“Most of you are no doubt aware of the congregation in Gainesville, Florida which recently announced their intentions to publicly burn a copy of the Muslim book, the Koran,” Culpepper said in the message. “The activity, scheduled for September 11, has drawn international attention and been the subject of numerous op-ed columns, articles and forums across all spectrums of religious beliefs.”

“The Church of God does not ordinarily take a public stand on issues that cross our culture on a daily basis,” Culpepper continued. “However, on occasion, some events or actions generate an inordinate amount of questions, which beckon a statement, or at least an opinion, from the Church of God as a movement. This is particularly the case when the issue at hand is not so crystal clear.”

Culpepper referred to the fact that Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, the independent church which planned the action, had withdrawn their intentions and will now not burn the Koran on September 11. Prior to the announcement, the Church of God had purchased a full-page advertisement in the Cleveland Daily Banner and the Chattanooga Times Free Press which simply stated, “Burning the Koran does not exalt Jesus Christ.” The ad included information regarding the Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy which partnered on the advertisement.

“ Although we had the option to cancel it (the ad), I believe the ad gives the Church of God the opportunity to represent Jesus Christ and sends a message that we are engaged in and concerned about our society,” Culpepper concluded. “God bless you as we work for the kingdom together.”

As of Friday afternoon, Pastor Jones had said he was scheduled to travel to New York on Friday night for a still unscheduled meeting with the imam in charge of the Islamic center planned near ground zero. The meeting, Jones had said, was part of what convinced him to halt the planned burning. Jones said the meeting was promised Thursday by local Florida imam Mohammad Musri, who also told him the Islamic center would be moved in exchange for the burning being called off.

Faith News Staff

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