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wp-adMore than 100 evangelical pastors and ministry leaders signed an open letter expressing their opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order that restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries, suspends entrance of all refugees for 120 days, and prevents all Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely. The open letter appeared as a full-page ad in the Feb. 7 issue of the Washington Post.

Two of the signatories — former Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin — told Baptist Press their signatures reflect a specific policy disagreement and not a blanket repudiation of the president’s approach to immigration.

The letter addressed to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, stated, “As Christian pastors and leaders, we are deeply concerned by the recently announced moratorium on refugee resettlement. Our care for the oppressed and suffering is rooted in the call of Jesus to ‘love our neighbor as we love ourselves.’ In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus makes it clear that our ‘neighbor’ includes the stranger and anyone fleeing persecution and violence, regardless of their faith or country.”

The order, suspended by a lower court, was stayed Feb. 9 by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The president has vowed to continue to the fight which is expected to be taken to the Supreme Court.

The Christian relief organization, World Vision, coordinated the letter. According to a press release from the organization, an additional “500 evangelical pastors and ministry leaders representing every state in the nation” signed the letter but their names did not appear in the ad. The release also states, “World Relief is one of nine agencies nationally authorized by the U.S. State Department to resettle refugees.”

Seven other Southern Baptists, including Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., were signatories. Stetzer first voiced his opposition to the order last month in an op-ed published by the Post Jan. 26.  The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Russell Moore was not a signatory to the letter, but wrote his own letter to the president expressing his concern, which appeared in Jan. 30 issue of the Post.

Other well-known signatories include Max Lucado, author and minister of preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX; Tim Keller, pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; Eugene Cho, pastor at Quest Church in Seattle; Derwin Gray, lead pastor at Transformation Church, SC; and Bill Hybels, senior pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL.

Read the full text of the letter.

– Lisa Sergent with additional reporting by Baptist Press

HEARTLAND | Meredith Flynn

Editor’s note: Southern Baptists have been called to pray for 40 days or 40 hours prior to this fall’s election through the 40/40 Vigil. Today’s Heartland post is from Day (or Hour) 13. Go to 4040prayer.com to read more prayer prompts and to find out how to join the vigil.

Scripture for reflection and preparation

“In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.” John 1:1, 3

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.” Romans 3:23-25

“But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

REVIVAL ROOTED IN GOD – Revival begins when God’s people turn back to God.

PREPARATION

  • Praise God for who He is
  • Confess your sinfulness and need for cleansing
  • Allow His Spirit to draw you near
  • Listen as He speaks to you

ASK GOD TO…

  • Choose to send revival at this time
  • Help Christians regain their understanding of His holiness
  • Convict Christians that they are to be completely dependent on Him
  • Restore in Christians an understanding of the destructive power of sin
  • Remind Christians of His great love for them
  • Remind Christians of His great sacrifice on their behalf through Jesus
  • Raise up Spirit-filled leaders to call the church to holiness

THANKSGIVING

  • Thank God for hearing you
  • Trust that God is at work to accomplish His will