Shootings Don’t Intimidate the Church – Russell Moore
President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Russell Moore has stated that the Church would not be intimidated by recent shooting incidents targeted at worshipers.
Dr. Moore said this in a recent article for The Washington Post, while reflecting on the tragic shooting that took place Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Moore who is also the dean of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said, “The goal the gunman sought, to terrorize worshipers, has been attempted constantly over the centuries around the world by cold, rational governments and terrorist groups — all thinking that they could, by the trauma of violence, snuff out churches, or at least intimidate those churches into hiding from one another. Such violent tactics always end up with the exact opposite of what the intimidators intend: a resilient church that, if anything, moves forward with even more purpose than before. Why?
“Whether they are crazed loners in the United States or jihadist cells in Syria or governing councils in the old Soviet bloc, these forces fundamentally misunderstand the source of Christianity’s strength in the first place. Killers assume, after all, that gunfire or poison gas or mass beheadings will show Christians how powerless we are. That is true. They assume that this sense of powerlessness will rob the community of its will to be the church. That is false.
Russell Moore reminded that, “The church was formed against the threat of terror,” noting that Jesus was also a victim of unjust and excruciating death.
“Jesus himself stood before a Roman governor who told him that the state had the authority to kill him, in the most horrific way possible — staking him to a crossbeam to bleed slowly to death before a jeering crowd. That’s, of course, exactly what Pilate did— and the empire’s intimidation seemed to work, at first.
“Most of Jesus’ core followers went into hiding, out of fear that they would be endangered next. That’s exactly what crosses were designed to do: Their public display was to warn people that they could be the next in line.”
Moore challenged opponents of Christianity to come up with better challenges, noting that “They should see that Christianity can be easier suffocated with comfort, to the point that we forget who we are, than it can be terrorized with violence. Those who try to confront the church with the threat of death only remind the church that we were dead, and are now alive in Christ.
“The days ahead will be awful for the grieving community of Sutherland Springs. But one thing is certain: Come Sunday, they will be gathered again, singing and praying and opening the Word. That church will bear witness to the truth that shaped them: Eternal life cannot be overcome by death. And over that church will be a cross.”