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Today the violence throughout the United States continues.

The first word is that the North Central Florida Baptist Association stands in opposition to all Racism.  The NCFBA stands against Police Brutality and any unnecessary force over others.  We promote peaceful protests and believe only together, through the leadership of fearless pastors who stand on the truth of scripture, can we heal and move forward together.

Social Justice is the byproduct of the true gospel.  Social injustice, therefore, which includes racism and brutality, is the byproduct of a lack of the gospel.  Therefore, the ills of violence, theft, and hate of which we see in so much of our cities today is the result of a false gospel or a lack of the gospel in houses, families, and particularly houses of worship across this unique and amazing nation.

Thusly, police who lack the gospel may slide into racism and brutality against other groups.  Citizens, likewise, who lack the true gospel descend into violence and looting.  As Tony Evans, Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship stated this week, we need both justice and righteousness.  If we have simply justice, we cannot have love.  If we have only righteousness, there is not fair payment for one’s actions.  We need both in this case and we need it now.  Here is a quote from Dr. Evans:

“And while we must address the crisis before us, we must also not allow ourselves to be drawn into a destructive response. I not only affirm, but also encourage the peaceful and righteous protests & protesters – as does God (Act 16: 35-40). Voices must speak up (Prov. 31:8). But unrighteous destruction will not accomplish the goal we need to ultimately experience once and for all.”

Let us all be the voices to speak up.  Let us all be people seeking to rectify the individual and systemic issues we face. Issues of injustice, inequity, lack of opportunity, educational disparity, the healthcare gap and economic inequality rooted in disproportionate employment possibilities among our African-American neighbors right here in Gainesville.  We will stand together until these issues are discussed.  We will fight together until we fairly address our neighbor’s hurts. But more than all other things, we will preach the gospel and seek justice AND righteousness.  In this we will find unity and revival.