From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ABCUSA: BWA Leader Urges Baptists to 'Raise the Cross, Not the Sword'
"SCHRAMM, Richard" <Richard.Schramm@abc-usa.org>
Thu, 20 Feb 2003 09:18:12 -0500
American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 2/20/03)--In his statement
"A Tear For Christians in the Middle East" Baptist World Alliance General
Secretary the Rev. Dr. Denton Lotz this week has urged Baptists and others
"not to raise the sword, but to raise the Cross" and to pray for world
leaders "that they will have wisdom and guidance in bringing peace to our
world in these very apocalyptic days."
Lotz, an ordained American Baptist and former International Ministries
missionary in Europe, has led the Alliance since 1988. The organization,
which will celebrate its centennial in 2005, includes 206 Baptist unions and
conventions worldwide, including American Baptist Churches USA.
The text of Lotz's message follows:
"One of the tragic consequences of war in the Middle East, and particularly
with Iraq, would be the devastating effect it would have upon the Christian
mission, not only in the Middle East, but among Muslim people worldwide.
Unfortunately, perception is often greater than reality and Muslims
everywhere may well see any war with Iraq as a war of Christians against
Muslims. This, therefore, complicates very much the Christian witness of
our brothers and sisters who for so many years have been a minority in the
"Many unfortunate and inflammatory statements by Baptists and other
Evangelical leaders against Islam and for war has caused untold suffering to
our people. Many of our Baptists leaders are on the defensive having to
explain to their government who Baptists are and what we stand for.
"Baptists around the world join with millions of other Christians in
opposing war. We worship Christ, the Prince of Peace, who has called us to
be peacemakers. It is one of the primary responsibilities of the followers
of Jesus Christ not to raise the sword, but to raise the Cross. We must
remember that Jesus told Peter to put back the sword and insisted that, 'If
I be lifted up I will draw all humanity to myself.' Let us put back our
swords and talk of war, and lift up Christ! The president of Fuller
Theological Seminary, the largest Evangelical seminary in the United States,
Dr. Richard Mouw, asked the question recently whether or not Christians who
are engaged in supporting the war have 'thought about their obligation to
the Christian community in Iraq. Have they taken that into account?' The
fact is more than 600,000 Christians, including Catholics, Orthodox and
Protestants, live in the country of Iraq which has a population of 22
million. This sizable minority needs our prayers and support. Let us,
during these next few weeks, pray for wisdom for all political leaders. Let
us pray that all regimes around the world who suppress their people, deny
religious freedom and refuse God's call for justice and righteousness will
indeed be restrained. Let us pray for the leaders of the circle of
democratic nations that they will have wisdom and guidance in bringing peace
to our world in these very apocalyptic days.
"As Baptists, let us raise the Cross of Christ and work for peace! Indeed,
with Peter let us follow our Lord's command and put back our swords.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come!"
American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (800)ABC-3USA x2077
/ (610)768-2077; fax: (610)768-2320; www.abc-usa.org;
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