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Erin Roach & Diana Chandler

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Page: We are not alone

COLUMBUS (BP) -- Southern Baptists must take the Gospel to the ends of the earth to let hurting people know they are not alone, Frank S. Page told messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Southern Baptist churches are not alone in that task. "We believe there are people who need to hear the Gospel who need to know they are not alone. In their struggles, in their hurt, they need to know that someone cares about them," Page, president of the Executive Committee, said June 16 in Columbus.

Land expresses concern about political element in Martin case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land, who played a key role in the Southern Baptist Convention's 1995 repentance of the "racism of which we have been guilty," has caught media attention over what he views as the infusion of politics into the Trayvon Martin killing.

Trayvon Martin killing stirs tragic ‘ghosts of the past’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Amid the backlash surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin, Southern Baptist leaders said the case is a reminder of the need for the Gospel and of the unique circumstances in which African Americans live. "We need to encourage the authorities to do a thorough investigation and make certain that justice is done," said Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "[W]e sadly in this country have a history where ... oftentimes when the victims were black, there was not justice," Kevin Smith, a black pastor and professor, hopes the tragedy reminds believers that the salvation Jesus offers is the only solution to the world's sinfulness. "I'm so glad for the glory of the Gospel," Smith told Baptist Press. "I have good brothers and sisters ... of every ethnicity; they have every kind of background -- because we have a common heritage in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. [QUOTE@right@180="We sadly in this country have a history where in the past oftentimes when the victims were black, there was not justice." -- Richard Land]"That is our bottom line, and it ought to give us more urgency for sharing the Gospel because public policy and social engineering cannot fix the sinfulness of humanity," Smith, assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said. Maxie Miller, African American church planting team strategist at the Florida Baptist Convention, said evangelicals must focus on brotherly love in initiating dialogue about the killing and about race relations in general. "The conversation must exist. We must not just pray; we must talk about it," Miller said, because "sometimes evangelicals will use prayer as a tool for not doing something." The dialogue should focus on the biblical connection of God's expectations for His children to live in unity, as noted in Psalm 133:1, Miller said, and should include prayer for all concerned.