Is prayer useless if it can’t protect Christians at church?
Prominent pastors are responding to that claim which was spurred by a debate on social media after the mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
“Granted, it’s hard to understand why God would allow a tragedy like this to happen, especially in a church. Our hearts break for the families and friends of those who were murdered in this wicked and cold-blooded attack,” Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, California, said in a written statement to The Christian Post on Monday.
“However, the Bible does not promise anyone a pain-free life. In fact, Jesus Himself said, ‘In this world you will have tribulation’ (John 16:33). Here is what I do know: these people that were gathered for worship at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, believed in and loved Jesus Christ,” Laurie added.
The megachurch pastor assured that the victims are now in God’s presence, “where there is ‘fullness of joy’ and ‘pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11). All of their questions are answered; our questions will have to wait.”
A debate online on the effectiveness of prayer was partly inspired from the Twitter comments of former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Stand By Me” actor Wil Wheaton, who lashed out at House Speaker Paul Ryan for sending his prayers over the tragedy, which left 26 worshipers dead.
“The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of [expletive],” Wheaton tweeted on Monday.
He later apologized and said that he wasn’t trying to offend people of faith, but was speaking out against lack of legislative action.
“I’m not talking about religion or faith at all. I am talking about the speaker of the house who does nothing to address gun violence,” he wrote in one follow-up tweet.
“Hey, real and actual people of faith: I hear you. I apologize for insulting you, in my rage at Paul Ryan’s refusal to address gun violence,” he added.
Wheaton’s tweet prompted others to debate whether prayer works at all, however.
SOURCE: Stoyan Zaimov