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Violence in culture cited by SBC, Texas officials

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A society that too many times expresses violence and hostility were cited in expressions of concern and sorrow by two Southern Baptist Convention officials and the executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
“The tragedy at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth is another reminder that we live in a time of life-and-death moments,” James T. Draper Jr., president of the SBC’s LifeWay Christian Resources said in a Sept. 16 statement.
“We don’t understand why young people have to be concerned about their safety at school or at church. We don’t understand why persons take out their own pain on innocent victims,” Draper said. “Our hearts are heavy for the friends and families of those who were killed and injured. We pray that they will know the peace that only Christ can give.”
LifeWay had a time of prayer during its Sept. 18 chapel service and, as a gesture of support for the young people at Wedgwood, Draper said 150 copies of the Broadman & Holman CD-ROM, “24-Hour Counselor” are being sent to the church for distribution to youth struggling with the loss of friends. The CD-ROM addresses numerous youth issues and includes a message, “When Someone Close to Me Has Died.”
Richard Land, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said “In that society which is increasingly hostile to expressions and affirmations of religious faith beyond the walls of the church or ones own house as in the 3-plus million teenagers who expressed their faith in the See You At The Pole event earlier on Wednesday, and which is absorbed with, fascinated by and often addicted to violence, it is only a matter of time before some of the less well-balanced in that society express that hostility through violence.
“While we mourn with those who grieve over the loss of their loved ones, as born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we affirm with the Apostle Paul that death has lost its sting and the grave has lost its victory in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we cling to our convictions that all things are being worked together for those who love God and are the called according to his purpose and as Joseph told his brothers who betrayed him that what they had intended for evil, God had used for good. Lastly, we should all pray that these young Christian martyrs’ unexpected encounter with their earthly mortality, will cause every last person in America to listen to that still soft voice of the Spirit which is seeking to convict them and confront them with the all important question “What will You do with this man Jesus?”
“Our hearts are broken over the tragedy (at Wedgwood),” William M. Pinson Jr., executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said in a statement Sept. 17.
“We grieve with those who are suffering because of this terrible act of violence. This church and the people related to it are a special part of the family of Texas Baptists. The BGCT is providing personnel and financial resources to assist. Most important of all, we join with a multitude of others in praying for the church, the victims and all involved.
“A conference on violence has just been completed in the Metroplex, sponsored by the BGCT and other Baptist groups. Hopefully, the information from this conference will help in response to this awful violence in a house of worship.”

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  • Herb Hollinger