A group of evangelical leaders has issued and signed a letter calling for believers to be peacemakers, elevating their identities in Christ above societal divisions.
A network known as The Matthew 5:9 Fellowship initiated the letter.
“Peacemaking, inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:9, is a more active, forward-leaning responsibility than peacekeeping,” said Matthew Hawkins, former policy director for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and founding member of the Matthew 5:9 Fellowship, in a statement.
“Peacemakers lean in to where there is no peace and, well, make it. Thankfully, we have guidance from scripture on how to begin this work. The Apostle Paul admonished the Roman church, ‘Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification’ (Romans 14:19).”
The letter expresses concern about increasing divisions and violence in the U.S., particularly during an election season. It identifies four standards by which Christians can live and act according to their faith, including engaging others based on biblical values, condemning violence, calling for a fair and peaceful election and building peace in their communities.
The letter has been signed by more than 200 evangelicals, according to a release. Southern Baptist signatories include:
President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Faculty, Union University, Tenn.
O. Alan Noble
Assistant Professor, Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Okla.
Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn.
Pastor, Petaluma Valley Baptist Church, Petaluma, Calif.
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Farmersville, Texas
Pastor, The Bridge Church, Charleston, S.C.
Associate Pastor, Houston Northwest Church, Houston, Texas
Senior Pastor, Charlottesville Community Church, Charlottesville, Va.
Casey B. Hough
Lead Pastor, Copperfield Church, Houston, Texas
Associate Pastor, Ezra Baptist Church, Bessemer, Ala.
Senior Pastor, First Metropolitan Church, Houston, Texas
Karen Swallow Prior
Faculty, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
Lead Pastor, Covenant Church, Sheperdstown, W. Va.
Pastor, Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Ames, Iowa