WASHINGTON (BP)–The current Middle East turmoil has prompted the two top leaders of the Baptist World Alliance to issue a call to prayer.
In a joint statement, BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz and President Billy Kim of Seoul, South Korea, issued the following statement:
“At the close of the first year of the millennium, instead of peace we have war. Whereas the beginning of the 20th century was one of optimism and hope for a Christian Century, the 21st century has begun with pessimism and hopelessness. Racial conflict, ethnic cleansing, and now the sounds of war in the Middle East remind us of Jesus’ weeping over Jerusalem. Jesus’ cry, ‘Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace’ is the universal cry of men and women worldwide. In the face of the terrible slaughter of innocent people, on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we as Baptists must be peacemakers. We call upon our brothers and sisters not only in the Middle East, but worldwide to pray and work for peace.
“The Baptist World Alliance sends its condolences to the parents of civilians and soldiers who have lost their lives. We mourn with the parents of the little Palestinian boys and girls killed by indiscriminate shooting. We mourn with the parents of Israeli soldiers who went astray and were brutally lynched and killed. We mourn with the parents of American sailors whose children were killed by a terrorist attack. We mourn that in the holy city of Jerusalem once again Christ is crucified and His message of peace ignored. Nevertheless, we must not give up. We must learn those things that make for peace. We must pray for peace and work for peace.
“Therefore, we call upon all Baptists worldwide to begin a chain of prayer meetings for peace. Let us make every worship service a time to pray for peace. We call upon Baptists worldwide to include prayers for peace in the Middle East in every service of worship! Let us pray for government leaders in the Middle East as they seek an end to violence! In our congregations let us seek to be arenas of peaceful harmony between races and different ethnic groups! Let us pray that we might know the things that make for peace!”