Terry Jones too radical for German parish, reports say
Florida preacher Terry Jones was too radical for a church he set up in West Germany in the 1980s and was expelled last year by its board, according to European press accounts.
"Jones became increasingly radical as the years went by,” the German magazine Der Spiegel reported online, quoting “former associates” and others.
“At one point he wanted to help a homosexual member to ‘pray away his sins,’” the respected weekly said. “Later he began to increasingly target Islam in his sermons. “
According to an unnamed congregation member quoted by the magazine, “some members were afraid to attend services because they expected to be attacked by Muslims.”
Andrew Schäfer, a Protestant Church official who is charged with keeping an eye on the emergence of extremist sects in the Cologne region, told Der Spiegel that “Jones is a fundamentalist.” Germany was "central" to Jones’s alleged plans to lead the "Christian awakening of Europe," Schäfer told The Guardian newspaper of London.
“Various witnesses gave Spiegel Online consistent accounts of the Jones' behavior,” the weekly reported. “The pastor and his wife apparently regarded themselves as having been appointed by God, meaning opposition was a crime against the Lord. Terry and [his wife] Sylvia Jones allegedly used these methods to ask for money in an increasingly insistent manner, as well as making members of the congregation carry out work.”
In 2002 a Cologne court convicted Jones, who has only an honorary degree from an unaccredited school of theology in California, of falsely using the title “doctor” and fined $3,800, according to German media reports.
But Jones’s dismissal by the Cologne church was due only to “a difference in leadership style,” not misconduct, Stephen Baar, a leader of the congregation, told The Associated Press.
Jones has denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, Jones wrote and published a book on his Web site, "Islam Is of the Devil," in which he proclaimed that the Christian church in America is “mired in political correctness” and “remains ignorant about one of Satan's most successful, and most accepted attempts to counteract the truth of the gospel—Islam.”
On Thursday, amid international outrage, mounting threats from jihadist Web sites and following a personal appeal from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Jones called off his plans to lead a national day of ritual Koran burnings.
| September 10, 2010; 8:40 PM ET
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