Dr. Norm Nelson, President and on-air host of the nationally syndicated Christian radio program, Compassion Radio, has spoken out against the book-burning of copies of the Qur’an by a Florida pastor scheduled for this coming Saturday, September 11, 2010.
According to Dr. Nelson, “This action reflects either ignorance or a lack of concern for the damaging consequences of such an act which will put at-risk the lives of Christians and Christian workers in some Muslim-majority countries.”
In fact, Nelson says, the scheduled Qur’an-burning “represents a disregard for the spirit of Christ and has the potential to destroy years of relational bridge-building which Christians have worked so hard to establish. There is no up-side to this disrespectful event. I condemn it completely!”
Nelson’s assessment is that Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove Worldwide Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, mistakenly believes that burning copies of the Qur’an is an act of courage on the part of his congregation and himself. But, in reality, it is a cowardly act.
“Jones is putting himself in the media spotlight, but others far away from Gainesville, Florida will suffer for his attention-grabbing behavior,” Nelson told the ASSIST News Service. “That is reprehensible. If he truly cares about the credibility of the Gospel and has concern for the body of Christ worldwide, he will call off the Qur’an burning and apologize publicly for the hurt he has already inflicted on the witness of the Christian community.”
Noting that General David Petraeus, commander of American forces in Afghanistan, has now issued a warning about the danger that Jones’ action will create for American troops abroad, Nelson comments, “This even raises the issue of patriotism. Knowingly and unnecessarily compromising the safety of our service personnel, is unworthy of any loyal American. That is precisely what Jones will do if he goes ahead with his plan.”
Norm Nelson, whose ministry is based in Lake Forest, California, concludes that, instead of perpetrating acts of disrespectful protest against Muslims and the book they regard as holy, Christians should see them with the eyes of Christ and recognize that they are not the enemy.
In his view, “Ultimately, Muslims are not the enemy. The real enemy is that which the Bible identifies as our spiritual Adversary who wants more than anything to get the Christian community “off message,” ranting with words of insult and resorting to inflammatory gestures that discredit our God of love and mercy. Helping flood victims in Pakistan, as we are doing, is a far better witness to Christ that this fiasco in Florida.”
Dr. Norm Nelson, and his wife, Cher, have worked and traveled extensively in Islamic countries around the world. Compassion Radio broadcasts more than 1,000 program releases daily across the United States and sponsors compassion projects in 31 of the toughest countries on earth including Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan and Sudan. They recently arranged for more than 1 million dollars of antibiotics and water purifying units to be sent to hospitals and clinics in the flood areas of Pakistan.
For interviews with Norm Nelson call 949.470.2890
To donate to the Pakistan relief project call 800.868.2478 or give through Compassion Radio’s secure web address: www.compassionradio.com
Norm Nelson is not the only Christian to condemn the book burning in Gainesville.
Helen Bako, Founder of Nigerian Women Against violence, told the ASSIST News Service, “I am very concerned about this church’s position. I am afraid that this is going to put the lives of many Christians at risk. I know so because Nigerian Christians and other Christians around the world have experienced gone through persecution due to comments and actions such as this. More than that, this is not a Christian thing to do. Jesus never taught us to retaliate.”
An ANS reader, who asked not to be named, said, “I think EVERY Christian pastor in the nation should give him a call and respectfully request he not do this for the safety of our troops in harms way. Just ask him if this is how a religious leader that preaches a message of Grace and God’s Love should act.”
He then gave the following contact information from the church’s website:
Address: 5805 NW 37th St
Gainesville, FL 32653