Mohler calls SBTS to pray for Virginia Tech in wake of massacre

Communications Staff — April 17, 2007

Christians must grieve with the victims of the shootings that took place April 16 at Virginia Tech University and pray that the Gospel will spread through the tragedy, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in chapel April 17 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“We need to pray for those who may be gathering this morning with no real and certain word of what to say and no real hope of what to believe,” Mohler, who serves as president of Southern, said. “We need to pray that there will be an opening for the Gospel—the grace and mercy of God demonstrated—even and especially in the midst of this.”

Christians cannot shrink from calling the shootings, in which a gunman took the lives of at least 32 people and wounded 29 others, evil, he said.

“One of the things we have to say is that we understand that the Bible never flinches from dealing with evil as evil,” Mohler said. “There is no euphemism in the Scripture. There is no glancing away from the reality. There is the honest assessment that evil is not only as evil as it appears; it is far more evil than we could imagine. For it is not only what we do to each other. It is our effort to rob God of His own glory.”

Believers must also remember that humans are morally responsible for their sinful acts, he said.

“The Bible straightforwardly acknowledges the insidious and seductive nature of sin,” he said. “It tells us that we are all sinners. And it also is graphic in its honest portrayal of the fact that there are persons who give themselves maniacally, unreservedly to sin.”

When speaking about tragedy, Christians must never stop with the message of sin but also explain that sending Christ to die on the cross was God’s answer to evil, Mohler said, adding that Jesus accepted upon Himself God’s wrath against evil.

“The Scripture tells us that triumph over evil for us is found only in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, where we find not only the vindication of God and His victory over sin and death and the grave, but we find the ground of our own personal salvation for those who come to Christ by faith,” he said.

When dealing with tragedy, not even the cross is the final answer, Mohler said. There is hope for the future because there will be a day when God sets right all injustice and evil, he said.

“The Bible doesn’t just leave it there either but points us to an eschatology of consummation when the absolute righteousness of God will be manifest throughout all creation,” he said. “And on that day God’s grace and God’s righteousness, His mercy and His justice will be on full and completely consistent display.

“And on that day, and on that day alone, will we see His glory when everything is laid bare and His judgment is perfect and all things are (perfect) because He is who He is—right.”

Mohler closed his comments by leading chapel attendees in prayer for the Virginia Tech community.

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