On May 25, 2020, we all watched in horror as atrocious events unfolded in Minnesota with the death of George Floyd at the hands of members of the Minneapolis police department. Since then, we have witnessed both peaceful protests and ensuing riots. The Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) stands with those who non-violently protest the sins of murder, racism, and hatred, such as were perpetrated against George Floyd. That these issues truly exist in our society is further seen in the accounts of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, both of whom recently and needlessly had their lives taken from them. We also recognize that rioting and looting are not morally equivalent to murder yet we condemn both (Romans 12:9). Property can be restored, but a life cannot. The BCM/D calls upon its people who protest to do so peacefully, as many are doing, by speaking boldly and biblically against these things.
We urge BCM/D churches to seek understanding of what many are experiencing during this time and be willing to speak biblical truth. George Floyd’s death was both tragic and unnecessary. Genesis 1:27 reminds us that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We are disgusted at the act perpetrated against a fellow image-bearer of God, and we pray for justice to prevail.
In Matthew 5:4, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The Apostle Paul describes God as “the God of all comfort” in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. We call upon our churches to ask God for comfort for the family of George Floyd. May the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding undergird this family during these days.
2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” We call upon BCM/D churches to pray for Derek Chauvin, the officer who murdered George Floyd, as well as the other officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng, who stood by idly in complicity, that they might come to repentance. We recognize that there are many good men and women who faithfully serve their community through law enforcement, while simultaneously recognizing that police brutality exists. We pray for the protection, integrity, and families of those seeking to serve the public well. Also, we pray for an end to the systemic issues that have plagued police forces, leading to unnecessary tragedy and heartache for people of color.
In Jeremiah 29:7 we are called to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you … and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Pray fervently for Minneapolis, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and all cities that are struggling with unrest. Let us all remember the words of Galatians 5:13-15, which say, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
Finally, we call upon all BCM/D churches to remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to these current issues plaguing our culture. The gospel leads us to love our neighbor as ourselves (James 2:8). The Good Samaritan parable in Luke 10 is a prime example for each of us about how to love our neighbor and teaches us that anybody in need is our neighbor, regardless of ethnicity or any other external factor. We call upon the churches of the BCM/D to fearlessly and faithfully love their neighbors for the sake of the gospel. Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for all sin so that we could be reconciled both to God and to one another. Let us all renew our commitment to sharing the only message that can change hearts and lives, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
President, BCM/D General Mission Board
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