Standing With Charleston

russell moore
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, speaks at the 2014 SBC Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. |

We stand today in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Charleston, South Carolina. The brutal massacre of those in prayer at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church should shock the conscience of every person. There is hardly a more vivid picture of unmasked evil than the murder of those in prayer.

This act of bloodshed is wicked and more than wicked. It is literally satanic, as our Lord taught us that the devil is a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44).

Virtually every week we see yet another incident pointing to the sin of racism in American society, from unarmed African-American men and children killed in the streets to worshippers gunned down in their pews. This must end. And the church of Jesus Christ must lead the way.

The church should picture to the outside world what it means to be reconciled to God and to one another. We must embody the truth that we are all created in the image of God and that those of us in Christ have been brought near to God by the blood of Jesus. We share in common a table of fellowship, an indwelling Spirit, and an inheritance that we will share, together, forever. Death cannot hold these truths back.

Since the Gospel is true, we should speak and work as the church for racial justice in the public arena and for racial reconciliation in our own communities. This is not merely the cause of African-American Christians but of all Christians.

The assault on Emanuel AME Church is an assault on all of us. When any part of the Body of Christ hurts, the whole Body of Christ hurts. We grieve, but we grieve in hope. We remember, after all, the meaning of Emanuel Church's very name, a meaning that makes devils tremble: God is with us.

Russell Moore, president
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

K. Marshall Williams, president
National African American Fellowship
Southern Baptist Convention

Ronnie Floyd, president
Southern Baptist Convention

A.B. Vines, president, 2013-2014
National African American Fellowship
Southern Baptist Convention

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