By / Jun 1

In a span of just 10 days, the United States was rocked by the news of two mass shootings. The first, a racially motivated crime, occurred in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people. The most recent tragedy occurred at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and resulted in the deaths of 19 students and 2 adults. The nation finds itself, once more, discussing and debating what policies and prevention are needed to stop these atrocities and how to do so in a way that respects our Second Amendment rights. Christians should be ready to enter into those complex discussions with a perspective that is governed by a desire to honor God through obedience to Christ and protect the vulnerable. In the midst of these crucial conversations, it’s also important that we weep with those who weep while being forced to reckon with the inevitability of our own deaths.

Weeping in the face of sorrow 

Undoubtedly, when Paul instructed the churches in Romans 12:15 to “weep with those who weep,” he envisioned the example of Jesus at Lazarus’ tomb. While the Son of Man fully trusted in the Father and did not waver regarding his goodness and sovereignty—even amid the suffering and loss of Lazarus—he still wept. Jesus’ perfect knowledge did not prevent him from expressing perfect compassion and grief in the face of deep personal loss. As those who follow the Savior who wept over the brokenness that sin brought into the world, we too, when we take sin and its effect on our world seriously, will be moved to mourn with the mourners. In doing so, we imitate Christ, the Incarnate God who is near to those who are brokenhearted (Ps. 43:18) grappling with suffering that is impossible for our finite minds to make sense of. 

While we weep with those who weep and seek to bring comfort to others as those who have been comforted by the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4), we will inevitably be reminded of our own mortality as we come face to face with the reality of death. And, if we are not, Jesus believed we should be. This is seen in a passage from Luke’s Gospel. When Jesus encountered a group of people asking questions about the fate of the Galileans who perished at Pilate’s hand (Luke 13:1-5), he quickly redirected their inquiries. 

Facing our mortality 

As one reads the passage, an underlying assumption about the crowd emerges. Based on Jesus’ answer, it would appear that the crowd presumed that there was something inherently defective about those who suffer in this world. Otherwise, in their mind, why would such a horrible thing be allowed to happen? That was the only way they could think to make sense of such a tragedy. Jesus, however, answered by saying that there was nothing substantive or morally different between the Galileans who perished under Pilate and those who did not. The evil committed by Pilate against those Galileans was not due to something wrong with them. 

Jesus then went on to make the same point in the passage by highlighting another tragic accident in Siloam, where a tower had fallen on a group of 18 people, killing all of them. Those that survived in Siloam were not more righteous than those who perished. In other words, one’s goodness or badness is not the sum total explanation for “why” any given tragedy occurs. Jesus rebuked the people for what was implied in their search for an answer to the evil they experienced and turned their question on its head by ending his comments with a warning of repentance. 

Those that addressed Jesus were hoping that they could establish criteria for the type of people that bad things happen to, but Jesus wouldn’t allow it. He would not let them rest in the idea that somehow they could, through their own decisions and effort, avoid the horrors of this life in a fallen world. Instead, what they could do is repent and prepare for eternity so that they would not perish forever. In the Old Testament, the author of Ecclesiastes emphasizes the importance of considering our mortality: “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart” (7:2). The solace of understanding this on the other side of the cross is that those who trust in Christ will ultimately pass through the valley of death into a life of neverending feasting and joy (Ps. 23; Ps. 16:11). 

Hope amid the horror 

While we dwell in this broken world and weep with those who weep, we must not assume that somehow we are or can be immune to the sufferings that others experience. Mankind’s rebellion against God has resulted in a good world gone bad because of the curse of sin. Our only hope of escaping the curse that sin has brought is for someone to bear the curse for us. This is what Jesus, the Son of God, born of woman, born under the law, does for all who would place their trust in him (Gal. 4:4). And this is the truth we point to as we love others and meet their physical needs in the midst of terrible sorrow. 

Jesus, as the only sinless, innocent, stainless human to ever live, came and took on our sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him (1 Cor. 5:21). He bids us to come to him in our grief and under the weight of unbearable burdens (Matt. 11:28). He alone has conquered death, and the precious promise we have is that all who are in him will be raised like him when he returns. It is from this posture of hope amid the horrors of this world that we can face our mortality and come alongside others to minister to them and mourn with them in their darkest moments. 

By / May 27

In this episode, Brent and Lindsay discuss the finding from  Sexual Abuse Task Force report on the sexual abuse cover-up in the SBC Executive Committee. They also lament the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. 

ERLC Content

Culture

Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • Dobbs Resource Page Prayer Guide | Right now, the Supreme Court is considering a major Mississippi abortion case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The ERLC and other pro-life organizations filed an amicus brief in this case urging the Supreme Court to overturn the disatrous Roe v. Wade decision. Members of our team also joined pro-life advocates on the steps of the Supreme Court when oral arguments were heard last December. As we approach the Supreme Court’s final decision in June of this year, it’s important for Christians to pray for this landmark case and begin preparing our churches to serve vulnerable women and children in a potential post-Roe world. Download our free prayer guide at ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Dobbs Resource Page | Many Christians are aware that an important case about abortion is being decided at the Supreme Court this June. But for many, this case is confusing and wrapped in a lot of legal jargon. The ERLC wants to help with that, so we’ve created a resource page that will help you and your church understand what this case means, what could happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and how your church can prepare to serve vulnerable women and children in the aftermath. To learn more about the Dobbs case and how you can pray, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
By / Apr 15

In this episode, Brent and Lindsay discuss President Biden saying Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine, the Brooklyn subway shooting, and a Christian who escaped from a reeducation camp in Xinjiang. They also talk about several resources to prepare our hearts for Good Friday and Easter. 

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. Biden says Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine
  2. Frank James, suspect in Brooklyn subway shooting, discussed violence in YouTube clips
  3. Christian Detainee Who Escaped Xinjiang Camp | SBC resolution

Lunchroom

Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • Dobbs Resource Page Prayer Guide | Right now, the Supreme Court is considering a major Mississippi abortion case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The ERLC and other pro-life organizations filed an amicus brief in this case urging the Supreme Court to overturn the disatrous Roe v. Wade decision. Members of our team also joined pro-life advocates on the steps of the Supreme Court when oral arguments were heard last December. As we approach the Supreme Court’s final decision in June of this year, it’s important for Christians to pray for this landmark case and begin preparing our churches to serve vulnerable women and children in a potential post-Roe world. Download our free prayer guide at ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Dobbs Resource Page | Many Christians are aware that an important case about abortion is being decided at the Supreme Court this June. But for many, this case is confusing and wrapped in a lot of legal jargon. The ERLC wants to help with that, so we’ve created a resource page that will help you and your church understand what this case means, what could happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and how your church can prepare to serve vulnerable women and children in the aftermath. To learn more about the Dobbs case and how you can pray, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
By / Dec 4

In this episode, Brent and Lindsay discuss Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Michigan school shooting, and omicron in the U.S. They also talk about Christians killed in Nigeria and the controversy over the new rebuilding plan for Notre Dame in France. 

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. Dobbs oral arguments analysis: Newsweek and Axios
  2. Michigan school shooting 
  3. Omicron in the U.S.
  4. Christians killed in Nigeria
  5. France: Notre Dame controversy

Lunchroom

Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • The Dawn of Redeeming Grace // This episode was sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of The Dawn of Redeeming Grace. Join Sinclair Ferguson as he opens up the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel in these daily devotions for Advent. Each day’s reflection is full of insight and application and will help you to arrive at Christmas Day awed by God’s redeeming grace and refreshed by the hope of God’s promised King. Find out more about this book at thegoodbook.com.
  • Outrageous Justice // God calls us to seek justice. But how should Christians respond? Outrageous Justice, a free small-group study from experts at Prison Fellowship, offers Christians a place to start. Explore the criminal justice system through a biblical lens and discover hands-on ways to pursue justice, hope, and restoration in your community. Get your free copy of Outrageous Justice, featuring a study guide, videos, and a companion book today! Visit prisonfellowship.org/outrageous-justice.
By / Apr 16

In this episode, Josh, Lindsay, and Brent discuss the death of Prince Phillip, Russia, the shooting of Daunte Wright, the court ruling on Down syndome abortion, current FDA recommendations on the J&J vaccine, and the no-hitter thrown by Chicago pitcher. Lindsay gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content including Chelsea Patterson Sobolik with “Explainer: What you should know about the debate in Congress about the Born-Alive bill,” Andrew Bertodatti and Lamar Hardwick with “How can churches be more inclusive of disabled person?,” and Jill Waggoner with “How learning about trauma changed my life: Learning from The Body Keeps the Score.” Also in this episode, the hosts are joined by Gary Lancaster for his farewell episode. 

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, dead at 99
  2. US sanctions Russia over hacks
  3. Russian troops massing on Ukrainian border
  4. Officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright charged
  5. Court ruling on Down syndrome abortion law praised
  6. FDA recommends pausing J&J vaccine after 6 reported cases of blood clots
  7. White House says J&J pause will not have “significant impact” on vaccination plan
  8. Duke University to require vaccinations for fall semester
  9. No-hitter thrown by Chicago pitcher
  10. Turner’s cheesy HR makes LA 1st to 10 wins

 Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • Every person has dignity and potential. But did you know that nearly 1 in 3 American adults has a criminal record? On Sunday April 11th , we invite you to join Prison Fellowship for a special service focusing on the power of second chances. To learn more and sign up for the virtual Second Chance Sunday service visit prisonfellowship.org/secondchances.
  • Stand for Life: At the ERLC, we stand for life. Our work to save preborn babies and care for the vulnerable is vital to our work. Believing that abortion can end in our lifetime, will you join us as we STAND FOR LIFE?
By / Apr 9

In this episode, Josh, Lindsay, and Brent discuss the latest on the Rock Hill shooting, the White House’s new gun control measures, the new UK COVID-19  strain, Brazil’s COVID death toll, violence in Northern Ireland, and the results of the NCAA championship. Lindsay gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content including Alex Ward with “How can we understand trends of declining church membership? America, Christianity, and the local church,” and Jordan Wootten with “How can Christians resist the ethic of outrage culture?,” and Jared Kennedy with “Are you “working on” your kids ministry? Thinking through Process-Centered Methods for Children’s Discipleship.” Also in this episode, the hosts are joined by Dr. Todd Gray for a conversation about life and ministry. 

About Dr. Gray

Dr. Todd Gray has been Executive Director-Treasurer for the Kentucky Baptist Convention since August of 2019. Todd served churches in Kentucky and Indiana for 20 years before joining the KBC staff in 2012 as a regional consultant for western Kentucky. Since 2016 he’s served as the team leader for the Evangelism, Church Planting and Campus Ministry team. Gray holds degrees from Murray State University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Connie, have two adult daughters. You can connect with him on Twitter: @toddgray4.  

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. Latest on Rock Hill shooting
  2. WH expected to announce gun control measures
  3. UK variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the US
  4. 1 in 3 Covid-19 patients are diagnosed with a neuropsychiatric condition
  5. Brazil’s daily COVID death toll tops 4,000 for first time
  6. No lockdown for Brazil amidst Covid outbreak
  7. Bus torched in more Northern Ireland violence as British and Irish leaders call for calm
  8. NCAA Championship 2021 score: Baylor routs Gonzaga as Bears win first national title, end Zags’ perfect season

Lunchroom

 Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • Every person has dignity and potential. But did you know that nearly 1 in 3 American adults has a criminal record? On Sunday April 11th , we invite you to join Prison Fellowship for a special service focusing on the power of second chances. To learn more and sign up for the virtual Second Chance Sunday service visit prisonfellowship.org/secondchances.
  • Stand for Life: At the ERLC, we stand for life. Our work to save preborn babies and care for the vulnerable is vital to our work. Believing that abortion can end in our lifetime, will you join us as we STAND FOR LIFE?
By / Mar 26

In this episode, Josh, Lindsay, and Brent discuss shootings in Colorado, the migrant crisis at the border, the increased distribution of vaccines for all adults, new sanctions on China, Utah’s anti-porn proposal, and Prince Harry’s new job. Lindsay gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content including Cody Barnhart with “Three potential long-term effects of pornography addiction,” Catherine Parks with “The abortion pill is the next frontier in the abortion debate,” and Andrew Bertodatti with “What should we pay attention to in the news?: An interview with Jeffery Bilbro about Reading the Times.

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. America mourns again
  2. Biden puts Harris in charge of border crisis
  3. Every Tennessean 16+ will be eligible for vaccination ‘no later than April 5’
  4. Krispy Kreme will offer free doughnuts—all year long—to people with COVID-19 vaccination cards
  5. Sanctions on China
  6. Utah anti-porn proposal
  7. Prince Harry announces new job at tech startup in post-royal life

Lunchroom

Lindsay: Pray for the Thackers; watching West Wing

Josh: 

Brent: Spring Training: CoolToday Park

 Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • Caring Well: Churches should be a refuge for those who have experienced abuse. The Caring Well Challenge is a free resource from the ERLC in which we take you through a year long journey with 8 different steps to help make your church safe for survivors and safe from abuse.
  • Stand for Life: At the ERLC, we stand for life. Our work to save preborn babies and care for the vulnerable is vital to our work. Believing that abortion can end in our lifetime, will you join us as we STAND FOR LIFE?
By / Mar 19

In this episode, Josh, Lindsay, and Jenn discuss the Georgia massage parlor shootings, the White house no longer getting daily COVID-19 tests, federal efforts reducing poverty, and March Madness. Lindsay gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content including the Policy Staff with “Explainer: The crisis unaccompanied minors are facing at the border,” Jordan Wooten with “Does the value of children depend on their usefulness? Children are a gift not a liability,” and David Dunham with “Why addicts must learn to practice honesty: Deception’s role in aiding addiction.” Also in this episode, the hosts are joined by Jenn Kintner for a conversation about life and ministry. 

About Jenn

Jenn Kintner serves as the Office Coordinator for the Nashville office of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. She holds a Doctorate of Education from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to her work at the ERLC she spent 10 years discipling and teaching women in Christian higher education. You can connect with her on Twitter: @jennkintner

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. Georgia massage parlor shootings: What we know
  2. White supremacy and hate are haunting Asian Americans
  3. Suspect in Atlanta-area spa shootings might have intended more shootings in Florida, mayor says
  4. White House staff no longer tested for Covid-19 daily
  5. Explainer: New federal efforts could reduce poverty in America
  6. Chelsea & Michael Sobolik adoption
  7. March Madness returns

Lunchroom

 Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • Caring Well: Churches should be a refuge for those who have experienced abuse. The Caring Well Challenge is a free resource from the ERLC in which we take you through a year long journey with 8 different steps to help make your church safe for survivors and safe from abuse.
  • Stand for Life: At the ERLC, we stand for life. Our work to save preborn babies and care for the vulnerable is vital to our work. Believing that abortion can end in our lifetime, will you join us as we STAND FOR LIFE?
By / Mar 19

With the recent rise of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans, the terroristic shootings in Atlanta this week touched a tender cord for many in the Asian-American community. Though the alleged shooter, Robert Aaron Long, has taken responsibility for the murders, he has stated that his alleged crimes were not racially motivated.

However, with six of the victims being women of Asian descent, it feels sadly familiar. Last summer’s killings of Ahmad Arbery and George Floyd sprung to mind as more information came out about the Atlanta killing spree. It was difficult not to think of Dylann Roof, who joined an evening Bible Study on June 17, 2015, at the historically Black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, only to kill nine church members, all of whom were African-American.

Even though Long denies his crimes were racially motivated, the church cannot overlook the facts of this tragedy and the growing hostility toward Asian-Americans in the United States. The New York Times is reporting that there have been almost 3,800 “hate incidents” against Asian-Americans in the last year. The reality is, our brothers and sisters in the Asian-American community are hurting, and have been since at least the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Having endured growing hostility and targeted aggression in the wake of COVID-19, Asian-Americans have been the regular recipients of hateful rhetoric and worse, bringing unimaginable pain and frustration. As hate and hostility seem to be growing nationwide, this community of Americans is suffering acutely.

Racism and the Tower of Babel

In lamenting the events of the last year, I have found myself wondering where all of this originated. We can certainly look at the stark heritage of racism in our nation’s history, what many call America’s “original sin.” And while there is no denying our country’s regrettable complicity, racism pre-dates our founding by thousands of years, all the way back to the Tower of Babel.

At the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, we see a picture of all of humanity together, united in culture, language, and purpose. Though, as the Bible makes clear, that purpose was to rival God’s reign over the world. God’s image-bearers were meant to rule over the earth as God’s representatives. But in constructing the tower, our forebears were attempting to rule as his replacement, which resulted in their exile, just like their forebears Adam and Eve. He scattered them and confused their language because together their aspirations proved deadly, and he knew things would get worse. It was merciful discipline. But, because sin infects every human heart, the desire to rule over something different from us has never left.

We still do not know if Long was motivated by racism or sex addiction or a combination of these and other sins. But we do know that human beings have brought our Babel-like tendencies with us to our respective cultures, languages, and ethnicities. Since we could not rule like or over God, we’ve now set our sights on one another. In our society, racism and white supremacy seeks to make other image-bearers, those who speak different languages and come from other cultures, subject to another’s rule. And because sin makes us think we can rival God, the sickest among us imagine that we have the right to give and take life, a right that only belongs to him. 

The responsibility of the church today

Those who are in Christ have a responsibility to speak out against racism and white supremacy. Why? Because racism and white supremacy have no place in the kingdom of God and are fundamentally antithetical to the gospel. And as we continue to see, these are problems that continue to plague our country and churches. As those who have been saved by grace through faith, we are called to the good works of protecting the vulnerable, caring for the oppressed, and fighting against evil. We have been saved not just from our sin, but into the work of the Triune God who saved us, to restore all that was lost in the fall. We seek to make straight what is crooked and make whole what has been shattered. Christ did that for us, and we go and do likewise.

Diversity and the destiny of the church

Our destiny as the church is a multiethnic one, a future that has been set from before the foundation of the earth. As Paul argues in Ephesians 2, any dividing walls of hostility between Jew and Gentile have been banished in Christ, resulting in a beautiful, multiethnic temple. The body of Christ, therefore, consists of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. It was a plan, Paul says, that was set in motion from “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4). In other words, for the glory of God and the holiness of his church, homogeneity was never part of the plan.

Because it was always God’s intention to build a multiethnic kingdom, we cannot say we are “seeking first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33) unless we say and show that we care about racism. Hate crimes against the Black community are the most notorious in American history, but a crime against any person because of their race is an affront to God’s genius, design, and image. As the body of Christ and as emissaries of the kingdom of God on Earth, we cannot sit by and watch our Asian-American neighbors, or any others, suffer such injustice.

We may never know the answers to the questions we have after the shooting spree in Atlanta. But there are two things we know to be true: God hates sin and comforts the broken. Right now, the pain present in the Asian-American community is real. Our neighbors are hurting and living in fear. We must join our voices with the chorus of lament and speak up in opposition to such forms of hate. Even more, we must get involved. We are a people called to love our neighbors not just with our prayers and voices, but with our hands and feet. Only then will all that has been shattered in this world begin to be made whole. 

By / Aug 28

In this episode, Josh, Lindsay, and Brent discuss Hurricane Laura, Jacob Blake, the Republican National Convention, Liberty University, and COVID-19. Lindsay also gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content including a piece by Jason Thacker with “How pornography is preying on the vulnerable in the midst of COVID-19,” Alex Ward with “Explainer: Report of the Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board,” and Josh Wester with “4 Lessons from Carl F.H. Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism.” Also in this episode, the hosts are joined by Meredith Leatherwood for a conversation about life and ministry.

About Meredith

Meredith Leatherwood is the Founder of Leatherwood Promotions, a business that promotes Christian records and singles in the music industry. She has been working in the music industry for nearly two decades as a record promoter. She holds a Masters in Theology from Liberty University. She and Brent have been married for eight years and they’re busy raising three children in Nashville, Tennessee. 

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. A massive hurricane, named Laura, made landfall early Thursday morning off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas
  2. 2 killed during Jacob Blake protests in Kenosha
  3. Justic Dept. to open investigation on Kenosha shooting
  4. 17-year-old charged with homicide after shooting during Kenosha protests, authorities say
  5. Republican National Convention took place
  6. Falwell resigns as president of Liberty
  7. Coronavirus cases fell by 15% this week

 Lunchroom

 Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

  • ERLC Highlights – subscribe for curated content from the ERLC’s editors delivered straight to your inbox
  • Policy Newsletter – Sign up for policy updates from our Washington, D.C., team.