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

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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. Greear President, Southern Baptist Convention Pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Signatories: Marshal Ausberry 1st Vice President, Southern Baptist Convention President, National African-American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastor, Antioch Baptist Church, Fairfax Station, Va. Noe Garcia 2nd Vice President, Southern Baptist Convention Senior Pastor, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, Ariz. Kathy Litton Registration Secretary, Southern Baptist Convention John Yeats Recording Secretary, Southern Baptist Convention Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Director Ronnie W. Floyd Treasurer, Southern Baptist Convention President & CEO, SBC Executive Committee Paul Chitwood President, International Mission Board Kevin Ezell President, North American Mission Board O.S. Hawkins President, GuideStone Financial Resources Ben Mandrell President & CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources Jeff Iorg President, Gateway Seminary Jason K. Allen President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Danny L. Akin President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Adam W. Greenway President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Russell D. Moore President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Sandy Wisdom-Martin Executive Director/Treasurer, Woman’s Missionary Union Rick Lance, Alabama State Baptist Convention Randy Covington, Alaska Baptist Convention David Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention J. D. “Sonny” Tucker, Arkansas Baptist State Convention Bill Agee, California Southern Baptist Convention Nathan Lorick, Colorado Baptist General Convention Fred MacDonald, Dakota Baptist Convention J. Thomas Green, Florida Baptist Convention W. Thomas Hammond, Jr., Georgia Baptist Convention Christopher Martin, Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention Nate Adams, Illinois Baptist State Association Steve McNeil, State Convention of Baptist in Indiana Tim Lubinus, Baptist Convention of Iowa Robert Mills, Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists Todd Gray, Kentucky Baptist Convention Steve Horn, Louisiana Baptist Convention Kevin Smith, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Timothy Patterson, Baptist State Convention of Michigan Leo Endel, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention Shawn Parker, Mississippi Baptist Convention Barrett Duke, Montana Southern Baptist Convention Kevin White, Nevada Baptist Convention Terry Dorsett, Baptist Convention of New England Joseph Bunce, Baptist Convention of New Mexico Terry Robertson, Baptist Convention of New York Milton Hollifield, Jr., Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Randy Adams, Northwest Baptist Convention Jack P. Kwok, State Convention of Baptists in Ohio D. Hance Dilbeck, Jr., Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Barry Whitworth, Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania-South Jersey Felix Cabrera, Convention of Southern Baptist Churches in Puerto Rico Gary Hollingsworth, South Carolina Baptist Convention Randy C. Davis, Tennessee Baptist Convention David W. Hardage, Baptist General Convention of Texas Jim W. Richards, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Rob Lee, Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention John V. Upton, Jr., Baptist General Association of Virginia Brian Autry, Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia Eric Ramsey, West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists Quin Williams, Wyoming Southern Baptist Mission Network Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. The original story can be found at: http://www.baptistpress.com/54877/southern-baptist-leaders-issue-joint-statement-on-the-death-of-george-floyd

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