Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina has responded to the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history at the Orlando gay nightclub on Sunday, warning that without a heart connection to Jesus Christ, the "possibilities for evil are endless."
Noble said in a video posted on Facebook on Monday that when he first heard news of the Orlando massacre, where gunman Omar Mir Seddique Mateen killed 49 people and reportedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, his first response, like many other Americans, was to think that just another shooting has occurred in a list of many.
"How callous have we started becoming?" Noble asked, warning against becoming desensitized to such tragedies.
He said that as he read more details about the rampage, he began thinking that only a spiritual solution can help prevent such acts of violence.
"I don't think this is a gun control issue, I don't think this is a gay issues, I don't think even if you really want to boil it down, this is a religious issue. I think this is a heart issue. I think the biggest problem in our world today isn't anything that we can legislate or pass a law against," Noble said.
"The biggest problem in our world today is there are people who literally don't have a heart connection to Jesus. And when people don't have a heart connection with Jesus, the possibilities for evil are endless."
Pointing to the story of the Apostle Paul as found in the Bible, where Paul turned away from persecuting Christians to become a follower of Christ, Noble said: "Here's the beautiful thing — Jesus can defeat ISIS."
He added that his hope and his prayer is that people don't get caught up in politics, but instead focus their hearts on the notion that "Jesus Christ is absolutely the only hope for the world."
Christian churches, including a Southern Baptist congregation two blocks away from the Orlando nightclub, have meanwhile been reaching out to help victims and their families.
Delaney Baptist Church Pastor Troy Peeples told The Christian Post on Monday that his 1,900 member congregation prayed for the victims and the first responders on Sunday morning, and stressed that his church is focused on "sharing the love of God through Jesus Christ to those who are hurting."
"It was announced in our service that blood was needed, so we encouraged our members to give blood and many did. We are looking into ways that we can minister to the various groups impacted by this tragedy," Peeples added. "Honestly, we are a little overwhelmed! We know that there are and will be many needs and we are praying how best meet some of those needs."