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Chapman, Merritt release statements on New York City, Washington attacks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–STATEMENT by Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee:

“We are filled with anger, grief, and sadness because of the stunning assault upon our fellow citizens and upon our government. Never before in history has such violence taken place on American soil. The appalling terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and other sites in our nation are tragedies of the highest order. This will go down as a day of infamy.

These tragic events underscore the fragile peace we take so for granted, and remind us that beneath the façade of order, our world can be a very dangerous place.

While it is apparent that terrorists made this attack upon the United States, we need to remember that the population of our nation is very diverse, and in the heat of the moment, we should resist the temptation to prejudge individuals simply because of their nationality, or to presume the guilt of innocent persons.

Southern Baptists from local churches, associations, and state conventions have already begun pouring themselves out in service to the injured and broken people who were the direct victims of these attacks.

Dr. Robert Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, is leading a full-scale mobilization of Southern Baptist Convention ministry resources. Disaster relief units across the country have been mobilized. Ken Welborn, Southern Baptists’ missionary to the United Nations, is already ministering to the U.N. family following evacuation of that facility. In addition, Southern Baptist chaplains will minister to those impacted by these tragedies in the days ahead.

Another resource, a spiritual one, is available to us, and that resource is prayer. The Executive Committee and Southern Baptist Convention entities over the country have brought their personnel together to pray. Our hearts go out to the grieving families of those who suffered and died. We call upon our Southern Baptist family everywhere to begin a prayer vigil; to go upon our knees for the families of the victims of these attacks, for our nation’s leaders, and for our beloved country, that God will turn the hearts of our nation back to Him.

“God’s Word says in Proverbs 19:21, ‘There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.'” God bless America — our hope forever rests in Him.”

STATEMENT by James Merritt, President of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“We have seen in a most tragic way the truth of the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.”

The world has witnessed first hand today the terrible effects of sin and Satan’s handiwork in the brutal killing of many innocent people.

I call on Southern Baptists all over the world to pray for the families of all involved whose lives have been touched by these terrible chain of events.

Our SBC family has been reminded again that the only hope for this world is the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that many would turn to the truth of the gospel and that believers everywhere would sense a new urgency to bring people to a saving knowledge of God’s Son.”

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