Mourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. AP Photo
Best-selling author Max Lucado has urged Christians to pray for the “quick and speedy demise of the devil” following the church shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, that left 26 people dead and dozens injured.
“We pray for their recovery and for peace. And we are reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers of this present darkness,” Lucado, senior pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, said on his website Tuesday.
“We are praying for the quick and speedy demise of the devil. And we are urgent in our prayers for the return of Christ in which He will establish a kingdom of peace, once and for all, with the banishment of evil, and filled with the goodness of God.”
On Wednesday, church officials announced they will hold services this coming Sunday — one week after 26-year-old Devin Kelley stormed the building in the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history.
Church pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter was among those slain, is scheduled to speak.
“I would submit this to everyone – my families here and you guys there – whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding,” Pomeroy, who pastored the church for 15 years, said on Monday. “I don’t understand, but I know my God does.”
In an op-ed for Fox News published Monday, Lucado reminded Christians that through Christ, they can have courage — even in the face of tremendous tragedy.
“We Christians trace the source of violence back to the devil. We place the fault of bloodshed at the feet of the one whose days are numbered; Satan. We find our hope in the sure victory of Jesus,” he explained.
“These days of violence call for people of faith. People of fear make poor decisions. They overreact, lash out and/or retreat. People of courage, on the other hand, keep a cool head. They are not blind to nor bewildered by the evil in the world,” he said.
Between “blind denial and blatant panic” stands “the level-headed, clear-thinking, still-believing person of faith. Wide-eyed, yet unafraid. Unterrified by the terrifying. The calmest kid on the block, not for lack of bullies, but for faith in our Heavenly Father,” Lucado said.
“Do not give in to your fears. Resist the temptation to retreat and hunker down. This is the time for faith; the season for God-based hope,” he concluded.
Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, offered a similar sentiment in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post.
“To eradicate churches, our opponents will need a better strategy,” he said. “They should see that Christianity can be easier suffocated with comfort, to the point that we forget who we are, than it can be terrorized with violence. Those who try to confront the church with the threat of death only remind the church that we were dead, and are now alive in Christ.”
He added, “The days ahead will be awful for the grieving community of Sutherland Springs. But one thing is certain: Come Sunday, they will be gathered again, singing and praying and opening the Word. That church will bear witness to the truth that shaped them: Eternal life cannot be overcome by death. And over that church will be a cross.”