Amid the backlash surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin, Southern Baptist leaders said the case is a reminder of the need for the Gospel and of the unique circumstances in which African Americans live.
“We need to encourage the authorities to do a thorough investigation and make certain that justice is done,” said Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “[W]e sadly in this country have a history where … oftentimes when the victims were black, there was not justice,”
Kevin Smith, a black pastor and professor, hopes the tragedy reminds believers that the salvation Jesus offers is the only solution to the world’s sinfulness.
“I’m so glad for the glory of the Gospel,” Smith told Baptist Press. “I have good brothers and sisters … of every ethnicity; they have every kind of background — because we have a common heritage in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“That is our bottom line, and it ought to give us more urgency for sharing the Gospel because public policy and social engineering cannot fix the sinfulness of humanity,” Smith, assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said.
Maxie Miller, African American church planting team strategist at the Florida Baptist Convention, said evangelicals must focus on brotherly love in initiating dialogue about the killing and about race relations in general.
“The conversation must exist. We must not just pray; we must talk about it,” Miller said, because “sometimes evangelicals will use prayer as a tool for not doing something.”