Southern Baptist leaders issue joint statement on the death of George Floyd

NASHVILLE (BP) — Southern Baptist leaders have published a statement grieving the recent death of George Floyd and calling for the end of “racial inequity in the distribution of justice in our country.”

The statement, co-authored by SBC president J.D. Greear and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president Jamie Dew was unanimously signed by all SBC officers, entity heads and state convention executive directors.

Statement on the death of George Floyd

As a convention of churches committed to the equality and dignity of all people, Southern Baptists grieve the death of George Floyd, who was killed May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn.

While all must grieve, we understand that in the hearts of our fellow citizens of color, incidents like these connect to a long history of unequal justice in our country, going back to the grievous Jim Crow and slavery eras. The images and information we have available to us in this case are horrific and remind us that there is much more work to be done to ensure that there is not even a hint of racial inequity in the distribution of justice in our country. We grieve to see examples of the misuse of force, and call for these issues to be addressed with speed and justice.

While we thank God for our law enforcement officers that bravely risk their lives for the sake of others and uphold justice with dignity and integrity, we also lament when some law enforcement officers misuse their authority and bring unnecessary harm on the people they are called to protect. We further grieve with our minority brothers and sisters in the wake of George Floyd’s death, pray for his family and friends and greatly desire to see the misuse of force and any inequitable distributions of justice come to an end.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Bible speaks to matters of justice and human dignity. We are taught by Scripture that human beings are distinct among the rest of creation as those beings which bear the divine image. From the beginning of life to the end, all human beings, both male and female–of all ethnicities, colors and ages–are sacred beings that God values and loves.

Throughout the law, the prophets, the gospels and the entire canon of Scripture, murder is condemned and God’s people are called to protect the vulnerable. The Bible further condemns injustice and the misuse of authority and force. And in the example of Jesus Christ, God’s people are called to love others, care for their needs, grieve with them in brokenness and labor for the well-being of our neighbor. To follow Christ is to follow in these examples He puts before us.

Therefore, as a matter of Christian obedience and devotion, followers of Jesus Christ cannot remain silent when our brothers and sisters, friends and/or people we seek to win for Christ are mistreated, abused or killed unnecessarily.

Therefore, we pray for our local, state, and national leaders as they seek justice, and call on them to act quickly and diligently to ensure that these situations are brought to an end. As a people, Southern Baptists stand ready to help towards that end. May God give us His favor, help and strength in this effort.

Co-Authors:

James K. Dew, Jr.President, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

J.D. GreearPresident, Southern Baptist ConventionPastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Signatories:

Marshal Ausberry1st Vice President, Southern Baptist ConventionPresident, National African-American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist ConventionPastor, Antioch Baptist Church, Fairfax Station, Va.

Noe Garcia2nd Vice President, Southern Baptist ConventionSenior Pastor, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, Ariz.

Kathy LittonRegistration Secretary, Southern Baptist Convention

John YeatsRecording Secretary, Southern Baptist ConventionMissouri Baptist Convention Executive Director

Ronnie W. FloydTreasurer, Southern Baptist ConventionPresident & CEO, SBC Executive Committee

Paul ChitwoodPresident, International Mission Board

Kevin EzellPresident, North American Mission Board

O.S. HawkinsPresident, GuideStone Financial Resources

Ben MandrellPresident & CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources

Jeff IorgPresident, Gateway Seminary

Jason K. AllenPresident, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Danny L. AkinPresident, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Adam W. GreenwayPresident, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Russell D. MoorePresident, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Sandy Wisdom-MartinExecutive Director/Treasurer, Woman’s Missionary Union

Rick Lance, Alabama State Baptist ConventionRandy Covington, Alaska Baptist ConventionDavid Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist ConventionJ. D. “Sonny” Tucker, Arkansas Baptist State ConventionBill Agee, California Southern Baptist ConventionNathan Lorick, Colorado Baptist General ConventionFred MacDonald, Dakota Baptist ConventionJ. Thomas Green, Florida Baptist ConventionW. Thomas Hammond, Jr., Georgia Baptist ConventionChristopher Martin, Hawaii Pacific Baptist ConventionNate Adams, Illinois Baptist State AssociationSteve McNeil, State Convention of Baptist in IndianaTim Lubinus, Baptist Convention of IowaRobert Mills, Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern BaptistsTodd Gray, Kentucky Baptist ConventionSteve Horn, Louisiana Baptist ConventionKevin Smith, Baptist Convention of Maryland/DelawareTimothy Patterson, Baptist State Convention of MichiganLeo Endel, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist ConventionShawn Parker, Mississippi Baptist ConventionBarrett Duke, Montana Southern Baptist ConventionKevin White, Nevada Baptist ConventionTerry Dorsett, Baptist Convention of New EnglandJoseph Bunce, Baptist Convention of New MexicoTerry Robertson, Baptist Convention of New YorkMilton Hollifield, Jr., Baptist State Convention of North CarolinaRandy Adams, Northwest Baptist ConventionJack P. Kwok, State Convention of Baptists in OhioD. Hance Dilbeck, Jr., Baptist General Convention of OklahomaBarry Whitworth, Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania-South JerseyFelix Cabrera, Convention of Southern Baptist Churches in Puerto RicoGary Hollingsworth, South Carolina Baptist ConventionRandy C. Davis, Tennessee Baptist ConventionDavid W. Hardage, Baptist General Convention of TexasJim W. Richards, Southern Baptists of Texas ConventionRob Lee, Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist ConventionJohn V. Upton, Jr., Baptist General Association of VirginiaBrian Autry, Southern Baptist Convention of VirginiaEric Ramsey, West Virginia Convention of Southern BaptistsQuin Williams, Wyoming Southern Baptist Mission Network

This article was originally published by Baptist Press at bpnews.net

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