Up until this point, I haven’t actually read anything specific regarding the synagogue shooter. But I have today, and this article did a great job of reporting it and getting remarks from pastors of the denomination.
I want to share some points from the article I think are necessary to highlight. PLEASE take some time to read this article. And if you’re a pastor, PLEASE do not ignore what happened from a person who sat in church and under the preaching of the Word.
This story should shake Christians, especially pastors/leaders, to the core. This whole situation is more than devastating and the shooter’s rationale is blasphemous of the name of Jesus.
Some quotes from the article:
“When there’s an act of ‘radical Islamic terror’ — somebody claiming they’re motivated by their Islamic faith — if we’re going to call upon moderates in Muslim communities to condemn those things, we should do the same. I wholeheartedly, full stop, condemn white nationalism,” said Chad Woolf, an evangelical pastor in Fort Myers, Fla., who was one of the first to join in heated debate online about how the attack reflects on evangelicalism. “We should recognize that somebody could grow up in an evangelical church, whose father was a leader, and could somehow conflate the teachings of Christianity and white nationalism. We should be very concerned about that.”
Woolf said resistance to discussing current-day justice issues is common in some evangelical churches, where pastors say they are only there to preach the Bible. “In that stream, you could attend a church where maybe 80 to 90 percent of the people there are also white, and you could not really be forced to be uncomfortable if you had [anti-Semitic] biases,” he said. “By not addressing these things from the pulpit, whether you mean to or not, you give cover for some of these ideas.”
“Kwon said.... It wasn’t the white supremacist drivel taken from online chat rooms, totally foreign to the church, that chilled him most. It was the familiar theology, the parts where the writer showed he did believe what he’d been hearing in the pews as well as what he’d been hearing online.... “It’s possible to teach people in the church about personal individual salvation in Jesus Christ and still fail to instruct them regarding the ethical implications of that faith,” he said.”
“Kwon called for “a vision of the gospel that includes implications for the love of neighbor and those that are different from ourselves, to teach it as an essential feature of the gospel of grace and not just an add-on or an appendage to more important matters.””
A fellow brother in Christ on Twitter, named Ameen, posted these words which are spot on regarding what the shooter espoused with what actually is.
“This should jolt us. We shouldn’t just be shocked at the crazy white nationalist nonsense that he espoused but the accurate and precise theology that he wrote in his manifesto re election and salvation. We can’t be impressed or placated by theological accuracy re articulation.”
“Anyone can articulate sound theology if they have a brain and intelligence. What can’t be replicated is a true transformation of heart revealed by other beliefs and actions when it comes to what Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””
“Theology is for living. If our theology moves us to actions that are contrary to scripture then our theology is not correct no matter what we are able to articulate.”
Church, we have to do better.