As many as 100 evangelical leaders are raising their voices to help support the Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their homeland.
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) drafted a statement which was signed by leaders of different denominations at Wheaton College, which proclaimed their principles regarding the refugee crisis:
"So, as governments oversee matters of security, we will care for the hurting, calling Christians to embrace refugees through their denomination, congregation or other non-profits by providing for immediate and long-term needs, such as housing, food, clothing, employment, English language classes, and schooling for children."
The meeting was co-chaired by evangelical leaders from Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, Wesleyan Church, World Vision, etc., ahead of the GC2 Summit, which is co-sponsored by Billy Graham Center for Evangelism and Humanitarian Disaster Institute and the SBC.
The statement was drafted by a coalition of 12 members including Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research, Frank Page of the SBC, and Stephan Bauman of World Relief, and was intended to work out a feasible Christian response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
"Our statement is to change a narrative of fear and instead focus on faith and compassion," said Stetzer. "Our desire is not to resettle everybody in another country. When a house is burning down, we need to put out the fire and rescue people fleeing the fire."
"Unfortunately, refugees are being treated like the new Ebola. Much like the Ebola panic, many are now terrified of refugees. Is there a response that is more in the way of Jesus?" wrote Stetzer in Christianity Today.
The draft to the GC2 statement says that the signatories are committed to practicing the following beliefs:
"Refugees possess the image of God and, as such, are infinitely valuable to God and to us; We are commanded to love our neighbor, and it is our privilege to love refugees; As Christians, we must care sacrificially for the refugee, the foreigner, and the stranger; We will motivate and prepare our churches and movements to care for refugees; We will not be motivated by fear but by love for God and others."
The SBC's Frank Page said that the mercy and compassion of Jesus is revealed through the help extended to refugees.
"We unashamedly want people to see the love of Christ in the actions that we manifest (as) we render aid. But never is ministry or aid dependent on one's acceptance of the Gospel message," he said.