Southern Baptist leaders were among about 550 evangelicals from a diversity of denominations at a summit on Wednesday (Jan. 20) to pinpoint concrete ways Christians can spread the love of Christ at home and abroad amid a global crisis of 60 million refugees.
The Great Commandment, Great Commission Summit (GC2)convened 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Community Christian Church in Napierville, Ill., moved weeks ago from its original location of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism (BGCE) at Wheaton College in Chicago to facilitate the large number of registrants.
Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research and a BGCE senior fellow, moderated the event that included video messages from International Mission Board President David Platt and Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, and comments from Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank S. Page.
Stetzer revealed preliminary results of a survey conducted Jan. 8-15 among Protestant pastors, in which 45 percent said their congregations fear refugees; 85 percent of pastors agreed that Christians have a responsibility to sacrificially care for refugees, and 68 percent of pastors believed the church can balance security with compassion. Regarding the Syrian refugee crisis in particular, a third of pastors surveyed have addressed the topic from the pulpit, Stetzer said the survey shows.
In the largest and longest global refugee crisis in history, the world’s 60 million refugees are among 232 million migrants globally, Stephen Bauman, president and CEO of World Relief, told those assembled. Typically, refugees have exhausted all of their earthly resources, are saddled with insurmountable debt, lack the opportunity to earn a living, suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder and are hopeless. Most refugees living in camps will live the remainder of their lives there, leaders said.
“We are facing a critical moment as the church,” he said. “Will we acquiesce to fear, ignoring the facts and blaming the victims of war instead of its perpetrators? Or will we find courage within ourselves to honor the vision and values of our faith?”
In a video presented during lunch, International Mission Board President David Platt presented a “God-centered view” of the refugee crisis, extolling God’s sovereignty over all things and Satan’s sovereignty over nothing.
He told leaders to remember that God oversees the movement of all people; God generally establishes government for the protection of people; God specifically commands His Church to provide for His people; and God seeks, shelters and showers the refugee with His grace. Platt exhorted leaders to serve refugees by speaking the Gospel clearly, praying to God for help and guidance, acting justly, loving sacrificially, and hoping confidently.
“God is sovereign over even suffering in this world,” Platt said. “There is coming a day when wars and crises will no longer exist.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press