Darling, Land join Ukrainian Baptist leaders in letter to House Speaker

FORT Well worth, Texas (BP) – The namesake of the Land Heart for Cultural Engagement as very well as its present-day director have joined two Ukrainian Baptist leaders in a letter urging Household Speaker Mike Johnson to “consider the plight of Christians” struggling brutality at the hands of invading Russian forces in Ukraine.

Issued on April 8, the letter is signed by Dan Darling, director of the Land Heart for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Richard Land, previous president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Fee and former commissioner for the United States Fee on International Spiritual Independence.

They are joined by Yaroslav Pyzh, president of Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary, and Valerii Antoniu, president of The Baptist Union of Ukraine.

The election of Johnson final fall, the letter stated, put the fellow Southern Baptist in a God-ordained situation “for these types of a time as this.”

“The Russian government’s decision to invade Ukraine and to concentrate on Baptists and other evangelical Christians in Ukraine has been a tragic hallmark of the war,” it observed.

A systematic erasure of “faithful Christians in occupied places of Ukraine” has integrated threats, torture and the removal of pastors, even retired types who are considered way too Western and not sufficiently professional-Russia.

Pyzh lately lauded the function of Southern Baptists in Ukraine.

“The enable is vital, but it is a lot more than just aid. It is a concept of hope,” stated Pyzh, a Send out Reduction ministry spouse and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary alumnus.

He spoke of the 5 WeCare centers in eastern Ukraine opened by his seminary through support with Mail Aid, delivering humanitarian assist as properly as counseling and Bible Examine assist.

“Giving bread and providing food stuff is important,” he mentioned. “But the thought of these WeCare centers is far more than that. We would like people today to know Christ and have hope and ample daily life.”

The letter also pointed to the destruction of Baptist church buildings by Russian forces. At minimum 270 homes of worship, spiritual educational establishments and sacred sites ended up either destroyed or destroyed in the course of the 1st 5 months of the war that started in February 2022.

Experts think it is not a scenario of collateral destruction, but a move towards Russia finally weaponizing faith and applying it as a propaganda instrument.

Spiritual companies are permitted to exist as soon as they “fully and publicly support the authorities, specifically their army actions,” stated Ruslan Khalikov, a Ukrainian spiritual specialist and the head of the “Religion on Fire” task that documents the harm Moscow’s war wrought to Ukraine’s religious lifestyle.

“Baptist organizations have been the premier contributors to aid in Ukraine due to the fact Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked war in opposition to Ukraine,” the letter browse. “The Southern Baptist Convention’s Deliver Relief ministry has poured thousands and thousands of bucks into supporting Ukrainian refugees in the encompassing international locations and proceeds to support Baptists in Ukraine.

“We desire peace. But additional than that, we drive a peace that is dependent on the principles of justice. Our God is equally properly just and the creator of fantastic peace.”

(EDITOR’S Notice &#8211 Scott Barkley is countrywide correspondent for Baptist Push.)

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