Evangelical Statement in Support of Israel

October 11, 2023

In the wake of the evil and indefensible atrocities now committed against the people of Israel by Hamas, we, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn the violence against the vulnerable, fully support Israel’s right and duty to defend itself against further attack, and urgently call all Christians to pray for the salvation and peace of the people of Israel and Palestine.

While our theological perspectives on Israel and the Church may vary, we are unified in calling attacks against Jewish people especially troubling as they have been often targeted by their neighbors since God called them as His people in the days of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3).

Since the inception of the modern state of Israel in 1948, Israel has faced numerous attacks, incursions, and violations of its national sovereignty. The Jewish people have long endured genocidal attempts to eradicate them and to destroy the Jewish state. These antisemitic, deadly ideologies and terrorist actions must be opposed.

Israel stands as a rare example of democracy in a region dominated by authoritarian regimes. The tragic events of October 7th further underscore the importance of democracy in our world and stand as a sober reminder that supporting Israel’s right to exist is both urgent and needed.

In keeping with Christian Just War tradition, we also affirm the legitimacy of Israel’s right to respond against those who have initiated these attacks as Romans 13 grants governments the power to bear the sword against those who commit such evil acts against innocent life.

Furthermore, we recognize the dignity and personhood of all persons living in the Middle East and affirm God’s love for them as well as His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ to all people.

We also recognize the difficult ministry of Jewish and Palestinian believers who labor for the gospel. We pray for their protection and for God’s blessing on their gospel ministry.

Finally, we call on American policymakers to use their power to take all forms of terrorism seriously and call governments and civil authorities to confront evil work to prevent future attacks so that the innocent and vulnerable will be protected.

May God bring peace to the Middle East.

The signatures listed reflect a small portion of the over 2000 signatories who have added their names to the statement.

*Please note that the title and institution listed for each signatory is used for identification purposes only and does not necessarily constitute an official endorsement by the institution.

Brent Leatherwood
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Daniel Darling
Director of Land Center for Cultural Engagement
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Bart Barber
President, Southern Baptist Convention
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Farmersville, TX

Albert Mohler
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Richard Land
Executive Editor, The Christian Post
President Emeritus, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Russell Moore
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today
Former President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Danny Akin
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jason Allen
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jamie Dew
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

David Dockery
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

O.S. Hawkins
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jonathan Howe
Interim President
SBC Executive Committee

Ronnie Floyd
Former President
Southern Baptist Convention

Steve Gaines
Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church; Memphis, TN
Former President, Southern Baptist Convention

Jack Graham
Senior Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church; Plano, TX
Former President, Southern Baptist Convention

J.D. Greear
Pastor, The Summit Church; Raleigh-Durham, NC
Former President, Southern Baptist Convention

Ed Litton
Pastor, Redemption Church; Mobile, AL
Former President, Southern Baptist Convention

Fred Luter
Pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church; New Orleans, LA
Former President, Southern Baptist Convention

James Merritt
Senior Pastor, Cross Pointe Church; Duluth, GA
Former President, Southern Baptist Convention

Bryant Wright
President, Send Relief
Former President, Southern Baptist Convention

Esther (Fleece) Allen
Senior Director of Communications
Alliance for The Peace of Jerusalem

Brian Autry
Executive Director
Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia

Marshall Blalock
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church of Charleston; Charleston, SC

Hunter Baker
Dean of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Political Science
Union University

Darrell Bock
Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies Dallas Theological Seminary

Victor Chayasirisobhon
Lead Pastor, First Southern Baptist Church of Anaheim
President, California Southern Baptist Convention

Randy Covington
Executive Director
Alaska Baptist Resource Network

Barry Creamer
Criswell College

Randy C. Davis
President and Executive Director
Tennessee Baptist Mission Board

Terry Dorsett
Executive Director
Baptist Churches of New England

Barrett Duke
Executive Director
Montana Southern Baptist Convention

Leo Endel
Executive Director
Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention

Erick Erickson
The Erick Erickson Show

Tony Evans
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship; Dallas, TX

Gene Fant
North Greenville University

Nathan A. Finn
Executive Director, Institute for Transformational Leadership
North Greenville University

Charles Fowler
President, Carson Newman University

Katie Fruge
Director, The Christian Life Commission and Center for Cultural Engagement
Baptist General Convention of Texas

Mitch Glaser
Chosen People Ministries

Todd Gray
Executive Director
Kentucky Baptist Convention

Julio Guarneri
Executive Director-Elect
Baptist General Convention of Texas

Griffin Gulledge
Madison Baptist Church; Madison, GA

Dean Inserra
City Church; Tallahassee, FL

Randall Jackson
President, Montana Southern Baptist Convention
Pastor, Choteau Baptist Church; Choteau, Montana

Kenneth Keathley
Director of L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Greg Laurie
Senior Pastor
Harvest Christian Fellowship; Riverside, CA

Rob Lee
Executive Director
Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention

Nathan Lorick
Executive Director
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

Tim Lubinus
Executive Director
Baptist Convention of Iowa

Matt Markins
President and CEO

Gary Marx
The Concord Fund

Katie McCoy
Director of Women’s Ministries
Baptist General Convention of Texas

Fred MacDonald
Executive Director
Dakota Baptist Convention

David Manner
Executive Director
Kansas Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists

Philip Miller
Senior Pastor
The Moody Church

Miles Mullin
Vice President & Chief of Staff
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Herbie Newell
President & Executive Director
Lifeline Children’s Services

Robert Nicholson
President and Founder
The Philos Project

Samuel “Dub” Oliver
Union University

Ray Ortlund
Renewal Ministries

Shawn Parker
Executive Director
Mississippi Baptist Convention Board

Tim Patterson
Executive Director
Baptist State Convention of Michigan

Gregory Perkins
National President, National African American Fellowship, SBC
Lead Pastor, The View Church; Menifee, CA

J. Matthew Pinson 
Welch College and Divinity School

David Prince
Senior Pastor
Ashland Avenue Baptist Church; Lexington, KY

Mike Proud
Executive Director
Colorado Baptist General Convention

Joel Rainey
Lead Pastor
Covenant Church; Shepherdstown, WV

Eric Ramsey
Executive Director
West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists

Philip Robertson
Senior Pastor, Philadelphia Baptist Church; Pineville, LA
Chairman, SBC Executive Committee

Michael Rydelnik
VP and Academic Dean, Undergraduate School Professor of Jewish Studies and Bible 
Moody Bible Institute

Robert Sloan
Houston Christian University

Clay Smith
Senior Pastor
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church; Marietta, GA

Kevin Smith
Pastor, Family Church Village
Board Chair, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Robert Smith, Jr.
Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

David Sons
Lake Murray Baptist Church; Lexington, SC

John Stonestreet
The Colson Center

Ryan Strother
Executive Director
State Convention of Baptists in Indiana

Don Sweeting
Chancellor, Colorado Christian University

Mark Tooley
The Institute for Religion and Democracy

David Trimble
Theologian and Policy Advisor
Washington, D.C.

A.B. Vines
Bishop, New Seasons Church; Spring Valley, CA
Former First Vice President, Southern Baptist Convention

Todd Unzicker
Executive Director
Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Ray Van Neste
Dean, School of Theology & Missions, Professor of Biblical Studies
Union University

Kristen Waggoner
CEO and President
Alliance Defending Freedom

Andrew T. Walker
Director, Carl F.H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jared Wellman
Tate Springs Baptist Church; Arlington, TX

Barry Whitworth
Executive Director
Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania-South Jersey

Tony Wolfe
Executive Director
South Carolina Baptist Convention

Malcolm B. Yarnell III
Research Professor of Theology
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

John Mark Yeats
President, Corban University

John Yeats
Executive Director
Missouri Baptist Convention

Eric Zeller
Gulf Theological Seminary

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Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24