NASHVILLE (BP) -- Prayers for both the defeat of and the salvation of Islamic State terrorists are not contradictory, Southern Baptists' lead ethicist says.
Christians should "pray for the Gospel to go forward, and that there might be a new Saul of Tarsus turned away from murdering to Gospel witness," wrote Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in a Wednesday (Feb. 18) blog post. "At the same time, we ought to pray, with the martyrs in heaven, for justice against those who do such wickedness."
Prayers for both the defeat of such enemies and their conversion to Christ "are not contradictory prayers because salvation doesn't mean turning an eye away from justice," he said. "We can pray for Gospel rootedness in the Middle East, and we can pray to light up their world like the Fourth of July, at the same time."
Moore's comments came three days after the release of a video showing the apparent beheadings of 21 Egyptians -- all, or nearly all, Coptic Christians -- in Libya by members of the Islamic State. Many news reports said all were Coptic Christians, while National Public Radio reported one of the victims was not. Text that accompanied the video is addressed to "The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church," according to news reports.