India (MNN) — Police
in Michigan say a
Lansing-area man is behind the Quran burning near Michigan State University
that sparked international outrage and a mob attack on a church in India.
The incident coincided
with a Florida pastor's plans to burn a Quran on the anniversary of the Sept.
11 attacks as a protest against Islamic extremism.
Although the pastor
didn't go through with the planned burning, there have been copy cat incidents, and the global
outrage is still seething.
Dave Stravers, President of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India, detailed the reactions in India. "In
Kashmir, which is a predominantly-Muslim state in India, people attacked a
Christian school and completely destroyed the school. Then, in the state of Punjab, a mob also
attacked a church and set church furniture on fire."
Although things appear to have settled down now, the incident
reveals a deeper problem. "Mob violence
by Muslims against Christians is quite unusual in India," says Stravers, "and it shows the depth
of reaction against these very unchristian actions," which could mean
provocation won't take much.
Mission India concerns are for partners working in regions that have
had some unrest. Ministry could be
affected because, as he puts it, "Unfortunately these hateful actions (threats
to burn the Quran) have already severely
damaged the witness of the church."
Stravers goes on to say that Satan's strategy is to intimidate
people into stopping their work. Distractions and reprisal violence is a
risk. However, "We do not use Satan's
methods to try to advance the cause of Christ."
It's critical that Mission India continues their work with after-school
club tutoring, Bible clubs for children, and literacy training: "85% of all the Muslims and Hindus in India do
not know a single Christian person," Stravers
explains. So far, "They've had no
opportunity to respond to the Gospel. There
are thousands of Christians in India that are very eager to tell them the truth
about Jesus. "
It's spiritual warfare, and Mission India has the soldiers in
position. "We have, in India, thousands
of people praying every day that the Lord will give physical protection to the
workers in India, and secondly, that the Holy Spirit will give courage to
people who face opposition."
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