As published in Christianity Today:
On Sunday, November 5, 2017, a man dressed in all black wearing a ballistic vest exited a vehicle and started firing a Ruger AR ‘assault-type rifle’ outside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in Texas. The gunman then entered the church, where services were underway, and continued to fire. Twenty-six people were killed and 20 were injured in this small Texas town.
On Sunday, September 24, 2017, a masked man pulled into the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ inAntioch, Tennessee as the congregation closed out its worship service. Once church members began leaving, the man exited his vehicle and shot Melanie Crow Smith, a 39-year-old mother of two, multiple times before bursting into the sanctuary. He opened fire, injuring eight other churchgoers, including Minister Joey Spann. Spann was shot in the chest and the hand. As he lay on the floor expecting to die, he asked forgiveness for the shooter.
The new American reality is that there seems to be no safe place when it comes to gun violence. Not even our places of worship.
Americans are growing both weary of and numb to reports of mass shootings such as the incidents in Sutherland Springs, Texas and Antioch, Tennessee. Statistics show that mass homicides are now occurring in schools, houses of worship, and other public spaces almost daily in America, and that as many as 93 Americans are killed by gun violence each day.
In a recent article in Christianity Today, National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson acknowledged that while many evangelical leaders own guns and overwhelmingly support the Second Amendment, they are still grieved when guns are used to take innocent lives.