Our Deepest Sympathy . . . and Indignation

This was originally published in the FSBCA Weekly.  It has since been moved to this blog.

I knew it was coming, but it still infuriated me when it did.  There are enough people on the “lunatic fringe” of Christianity that it was inevitable.

A California pastor posted a video on YouTube that said that Christians shouldn’t be grieving with those who died in Orlando because they deserve what they got.  (He said much more but I refuse to quote him.  You can his remarks online if you care to do so.  He is the pastor of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, an independent, fundamentalist, King-James only church.)

So let me shout–internet style–so that you know where I stand and where I believe all Christians should stand:  WE EXTEND OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO THE FAMILIES OF THOSE WHO LOST A LOVED ONE IN ORLANDO.  OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.

And let me shout once again to the pastor in California so that you know where I stand:  YOU HAVE TOTALLY MISREPRESENTED GOD’S HEART.  YOUR JOB IS TO PROCLAIM GOD’S LOVE AND CALL PEOPLE TO FAITH IN CHRIST.  You have made God’s work much more difficult for the rest of us and we call upon you to repent and send out a message of love and sympathy.  And if you refuse to do so, please take the word “Baptist” out of your church’s name.  We don’t understand you.  We don’t agree with you.  And we don’t want others to assume that we do.

Real love is for all people.  Love is not limited to people we agree with or to those who live a lifestyle that we approve of.  Love is not limited to those we identify with or to those we fully understand.  Real love is offered to all people because they are human beings and made in the image of God.  God loves all people; because we are His people, we love them as well.

And because we love people, we cry with them.  When they’re hurting, we hurt with them.  When they need help, we offer it to them.  We don’t have to understand them or agree with them.

We are called to love.  It is our heart, our “prime directive,” our greatest commandment, and part of our “great commission.”

So to the families and friends of those who lost a love one in Orlando or who are struggling with injuries sustained in Sunday morning’s attack, we offer you our love, our sympathy, our prayers, and any help we can give you.

About Pastor Jack

Pastor Jack Marslender is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Avondale. He is married (Dawn) and is the father of Tina, Rebecca, Kimberly, Melinda, Angela, Maria, Kenneth, Kevin, and Lorissa. He is also the grandfather of Wyatt, Emilie, Everett, Olivia, Dylan, Charlotte, and Aiden.
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