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Wedgwood pastor Al Meredith, on Larry King: ‘God’s in control&#

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–The pastor of Wedgwood Baptist Church told Larry King on the CNN program Sept. 16: “I can’t make sense of why this would happen at all, other than, overall, I know God’s in control.”
Al Meredith, senior pastor of the Fort Worth, Texas, congregation where seven people were killed by a suicidal gunman Sept. 15, continued, “That’s a statement of faith, and that’s what I cling to.”
Meredith, Wedgwood youth minister Jay Fannin and his wife, Nikki, and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., and a frequent guest on the program, discussed with King the shooting spree by Larry Gene Ashbrook at the church that left three adults and four teenagers dead before the gunman committed suicide.
Meredith said it was a time of immense grief and heartache for the victims’ families, but that those who were killed have an eternal home in heaven.
“We know exactly where they are,” the pastor said on the CNN broadcast. “Jesus Christ himself said that he was the resurrection and the life, and whoever lives and believes in Jesus Christ would never die. Though our bodies pass away, our soul and our spirit are forever with him.
“And so we grieve, but not as those who have no hope,” Meredith continued. “Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and that is a confidence that in the midst of a tragedy like this grows stronger as we band together. It’s not whistling in the dark. It is a confidence born out of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Ashbrook’s senseless slaughter, Mohler reflected, is indicative of the sinfulness of society.
“I think we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing,” Mohler said. “Ideas have consequences, and I think what we have let loose in this country is now coming back in the form of a violence that, quite frankly, is unbelievable. If we tally all of this up, it all comes back to the basic spiritual problem, the problem of sin.”
The solution to that problem, Mohler said, lies in Christ alone. “We can put metal detectors in every doorway and X-ray machines, but the bottom line is there is evil in the hearts of human beings,” he said. The Wedgwood shooting is one example of that evil for which “the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only answer.”
At the time of shooting, the church group was celebrating the “See You at the Pole” event from earlier in the day, during which teenagers gathered to pray around flag poles at their respective schools.
Mohler praised the victims for their courage and their testimony. “The amazing thing is that those young people went to the pole yesterday morning to bear witness to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Little did they know the opportunity they were about to experience — literally for some of them — the witness of martyrdom.”
King asked Mohler whether he thought the victims, if given the opportunity, would “do it all over again.”
Mohler responded with the account of a 19-year-old man who stood up during the shooting and said to the gunman, “I know what you need. You need the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Said Mohler: “Now that’s a bravery I think the world has a hard time understanding. The clarity of that young man’s witness is absolutely incredible. I do not know how those young people would have prepared themselves had they known what they faced, but they had already in the course of that day borne witness to what was most important in their life: their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and their determination to be bold witnesses in his name.”

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth
    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.Read All by Tim Ellsworth ›