July 11, 2014


NASHVILLE (BP) -- As news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School spread Friday (Dec. 14), Southern Baptists active on social media began to offer their thoughts on the tragedy as well as their prayers for the people of Newtown, Ct., and messages of hope for all those impacted.

Immediately after news broke, many were left with questions about why such a place was targeted. Alvin Reid (@AlvinReid), a professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted, "Early report that 27 have been killed at an elementary school in CT. Reports unconfirmed, but an elementary school?"

Later, Reid and the North American Mission Board (@NAMB_SBC) sent out a prayer request for Bryan Sims (@SBC_pastor), who leads Southbury Baptist Church just north of Newtown.

Bryant Wright (@BryantWright), former SBC president and pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, tweeted that he was "sickened by another mass murder of children. So angry at the evil one for using empty misguided souls for such evil. Sad, praying 4 parents."

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's president, R. Albert Mohler Jr. (@AlbertMohler) expressed his immediate thoughts on Twitter. "It has happened again. Connecticut. Agony. Death. Children. Grief. Guns. Unfathomable. Horror. Evil. Murder. Heartbreak. Grace? Pray."

For Richard Ross (@richardaross), professor of student ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the murder of children demonstrated the need for cultural change. "They took canaries to old mines," Ross tweeted. "Toxic gas would kill little lungs and give adults time to escape. Children suffer most from toxic culture."

Terry Dorsett (@TerryDorsett), a NAMB church planting catalyst in Connecticut, reported what was happening in the area. "Prayer meetings are being held at several places around Newtown, CT, tonight. Proof that deep down inside, our nation still believes."

Many turned to Scripture to give comfort and hope. Dorsett retweeted Psalm 46:1: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Mark Dever (@MarkDever), pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., quoted from Psalm 142:2, "I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble," and offered his prayers "for those who've lost loved ones through this tragic sin."

Rick Warren (@RickWarren), pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California and author of "The Purpose Driven Life," quoted from Matthew 2:18: "A cry of anguish ... unrestrained weeping and mourning. She weeps for her children uncomforted, for they are no more."

Denny Burk (@DennyBurk), a professor at Southern Seminary's Boyce College, and David Platt (@plattdavid), pastor of The Church at Brook Hills and author of "Radical," both tweeted Bible verses and words from Christmas carols.

After quoting from Jeremiah 20:11, Burk tweeted lyrics from "Joy to the World": "No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found."

Platt turned to Psalm 33 and "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" for comfort: "O come, O come Emmanuel. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadow put to flight."

Noting that the tragedy happened so close to Christmas, several linked the killing of schoolchildren in Newtown with the slaughter of young boys by Herod in Bethlehem recorded in the biblical Christmas narrative.

Bart Barber (@BartBarber), pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, tweeted, "How tragic that the season of Christ's birth should be marred once again with the voice of Rachel weeping for her children!" Read More

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First Person
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FIRST-PERSON: Newtown raises age-old question
Jerry Sutton of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary addresses an age-old question: If God is all-powerful and all-knowing (and He is), and He is all good (and He is), why did He not prevent this senseless act of violent carnage (and He could have)?
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