Florida: The infamous US Pastor Terry Jones, minister of a 25-member congregation in Gainesville, Florida publicly burned a copy of the Qur’an — as he had warned he would do — an act strenuously condemned by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). The WEA is the global association of evangelicals, representing some 600 million Evangelical Protestants around the world.
“The burning of a sacred text is wrong and unwarranted. The burning of the Qur’an is especially grievous to Muslims and does not reflect the biblical values nor the spirit of the Lord Jesus whom we serve,” said Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA. “We appeal to Islamic leaders worldwide to understand that this self-proclaimed antagonist does not represent Christians. Indeed he violates the call of Jesus to love people everywhere. Such violence does harm to us all.”
Jones’ public burning followed a personal meeting and intense conversation just one day earlier with representatives of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), including Tunnicliffe.
Tunnicliffe had personally challenged Jones to listen to fellow Christian leaders from North America — and if not them — at least hear concerns of a Christian pastor from an Islamic country. Rev. Daniel Ho of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was at the meeting requesting that Jones divert from this course of action, along with Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland Church in Orlando and Dr. Brian Stiller, Global Ambassador for the WEA. The group met with Jones for approximately 90 minutes.
Jones first came to public attention in September, 2010 when he threatened to burn a Qur’an. He eventually withdrew his threat, but staged an online mock trial on Islam and burned a copy of the Qur’an in April 2011. Within days, 22 UN workers and nine protesters were killed in Afghanistan, two were dead in Pakistan, with churches attacked and Bibles burned in Hyderabad.
Jones’ current campaign is directed at the Iranian government around the issue of imprisoned pastor Youcef Naderkhani, who has been tried and convicted of apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims. Naderkhani is under sentence of death, a matter strenuously objected to by the US State Department, the Canadian government and other countries.
However, Jones admitted during the meeting with WEA members that the case of the Iranian pastor was simply a current opportunity to object.
In meeting with Tunnicliffe and associates, Jones said that after spending 30 years in Cologne Germany, he returned to find his beloved America awash in moral corruption, weakened by a failing church, diminished by a “gutless” government and overrun by Islamic clerics and their threat of Sharia law. Jones said: “God spoke to me” about defacing Islam in desecrating its Qur’an and doing what he could to “wake up America.”