Editor’s Note: Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, where Bryant Wright, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is pastor, was recently featured in The Atlanta Journal Constitution for their work in helping to resettle a Syrian refugee family. The ERLC reached out to Dr. Wright to ask him why, despite the controversy surrounding refugee settlement, their church decided to assist this family.
Why is it important for JFBC to help refugees like the Syrian family you are currently assisting?
As a church, we take seriously Christ’s command to share his love and spread his gospel to all nations. We go to great lengths to empower our people to live out Christ’s Great Commission to the ends of the earth. In that light, we send numerous mission teams all over the world—in 2015 alone we sent out 1,922 people on 80 teams to 31 countries.
And yet, we cannot ignore the needy in our city, such as the homeless and now the refugee population. We are astounded by the number of refugees who have made it to our city in recent years, people from war-torn countries like Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Burma, Colombia and now Syria.
How could we ignore these people?
Christ clearly commands us to be his ambassadors, his hands and feet among these poor and vulnerable families. We are compelled to help meet their physical needs, and we also are compelled to address spiritual needs. In addition, Jesus, along with Mary and Joseph, were refugees in Egypt when an evil and cruel King Herod ordered the massacre of Jewish boys younger than two years old in Bethlehem. Jesus also teaches us in Matthew 25 that how we treat the “least of these” is how we show our love or lack of love for Him.
The gospel is the “power of God for the salvation of all who believe,” including refugees fleeing the horrors of war and seeking a new life. As great as America is, our country cannot truly satisfy their needs. The new life these families seek can only be found in Jesus. It is for this reason that we serve them.