Atlanta Church Removes Spa Gunman From Membership Following Shooting Spree


Following the shootings in massage parlors that took a number of lives in Georgia last week, the local church of the shooter issued a statement, removing his membership.

Robert Aaron Long killed eight individuals and injured one, in three massage parlors in Acworth on March 16. Six of those who died are Asians, the other two are Caucasians while the one injured is Hispanic. Long was charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault.

In a statement through its website, Crabapple First Baptist Church (CFBC) explained its reaction over the killings, as well as communicating the removal of Long as a member of its congregation.

"On Tuesday evening, March 16, 2021, we heard the tragic news of the brutal murders of 8 individuals, six of whom were of Asian descent, and of the aggravated assault of one victim who survived. We were absolutely devastated at this senseless loss of life and callous disregard for human beings created in the image of God. We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for all of those affected by this heinous crime as they deal with unimaginable pain and sorrow," the statement began.

It continued by expressing its disappointment that the gunman was a member of their congregation, along with his family. The church stated that the murders contradict Long's "confession of faith in Jesus and the gospel."

CFBC clarified that the killings was an act of rebellion against "our Holy God and His Word" and "antithetical" to what the church believes, condemning Long's actions and his reasons for committing such. The church added that the shootings were "repudiation" of its faith and practice, as well as "unacceptable and contrary to the gospel."

The statement further stated that Long is responsible for his desires and actions, dismissing blame on the victims. The gunman's actions, it said, is caused by a "sinful heart and a depraved mind."

The church also said that they are cooperating with the authorities and praying for justice, both for earthly and divine justice.

They urged other Christians to join them in praying for the victims' families, affected communities, shooter's family and their church as well.

"We believe in a Holy and Righteous God who abhors evil and will judge all sin in perfect justice. We also believe that this Holy God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life," CFBC further stated.

Moreover, the church said that it is grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for His gift of salvation, as well as giving them strength to endure the hardship. They are also thankful for their friends, pastors and ministry partners who prayed and supported them.

The statement concluded by conveying their grief over the victims, as well as regret for the fear and pain that the Asian-Americans are currently experiencing in the country due to the killings.

CFBC also provided explanations to the questions being raised following the tragedy, including their decision to remove Long from church membership, as a form of discipline.