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SBC, Evangelical Leaders Urge Christians to Actively Welcome Iraqi, Syrian Refugees

SBC, Evangelical Leaders Urge Christians to Actively Welcome Iraqi, Syrian Refugees

The list of signatories to the statement includes Frank Page, the CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee; Alton Garrison, the assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; and Jo Anne Lyon, the general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church.

The signers also include leaders from LifeWay Research, World Relief (humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals), and the Evangelical humanitarian group World Vision.

"Thus we declare that we care, we are responding because our allegiance is to Jesus, and we seek to be more like him, emulating his compassionate care for the most vulnerable."

Baptist News Global reports that Thursday's meeting was originally planned for the Spring but moved up after the San Bernardino attack and the call by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslim refugees from entering the country.

"Unfortunately, refugees are being treated like the new Ebola," Ed Stetzer, the executive director of LifeWay Research, wrote in a recent post. "Much like the Ebola panic, many are now terrified of refugees. Is there a response that is more in the way of Jesus?"

On Dec. 2, the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of prominent Evangelical organizations who advocate for immigration reform with biblical values, sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to "reject damaging changes to the U.S. refugee resettlement system that would cause this life-saving program to grind to a halt."

The letter also called for the increase in the resettlement of Christian refugees and for no religious group to be excluded from the resettlement program.

"The Middle East is in great turmoil today, but the church is not. Our security resides in a Savior who overcame death itself," Barrett Duke, director of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Research Institute, said in a statement. "Some look at the current Syrian crisis and respond with fear. Fear divides, love unites. Our confidence in God can empower us to look past fear and see in the refugee a fellow human being, created in God's image, who needs our love and help."

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