A message about the equality of all people created in the image of God

By CSBC Leaders on June 11, 2020

FRESNO—California Southern Baptist Convention leaders have published a message about the equality of all people created in the image of God. The message is an acknowledgement of the worth of every person, no matter their ethnicity. The diversity of CSBC congregations is a testimony to the love God demonstrates for all humanity.

The message was a collaborative effort of the CSBC leaders who penned their names to the message.

A message about the equality of all people created in the image of God

Dear California Southern Baptist Brothers and Sisters:

It is with profound sadness that we pause to acknowledge the senseless loss of life. We mourn George Floyd, Ahmed Aubary, and Breonna Taylor. We mourn the many whose lives were taken and who remain unnamed. We mourn for our great country as she wrestles with these thorny issues amid a backdrop of global pandemic.

However, we also celebrate life. Genesis 1:26-27 records, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness ... So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.“ Life was then created by God in Genesis 2:7: "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." As God’s image-bearers, we are all equal. We are equal in dignity and equal in worth. We celebrate life by mourning the senseless loss of life.

Trillia Newbell, Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention says, "The Lord did not distinguish between the Christian and non-Christian in creating them in His image. Understanding our equality as image-bearers changes everything about our human relationships. As image-bearers, we should view others as God views us." Understanding and embodying these principles will lead to all of God's creation irrespective of their race, color, or creed being the beneficiary of their sacred rights endowed to each of us as citizens of our great country.

Sadly, fallen man seeks to reframe God's design. That is exactly what sin is. It is saying to God that creation knows better than the creator. To the people of God, we implore you to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.“ Philippians 2:3-4

Jesus said, “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

The Apostle John stated, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20

Therefore, let us walk in obedience to our Lord and Savior and align our lives to the Great Commission. God has given His Church to be the beacon of light to those who grieve, and are hurt, angry, overwhelmed, and heartbroken.

We pray for our country. We pray that healing and change that can only come through surrendering to the transformative power of Jesus will create a spiritual revival. We pray that through this difficult season the church will be the beacon light pointing a lost world to the only solution - Jesus! We pray for our CSBC churches and the pastors who lead them. We pray for those who are hurting, angry, anxious, or concerned. We pray that God's Spirit will minister to the troubled. We pray for our law enforcement partners on the front lines of protecting our constitutional freedoms. We pray for you. We pray that God will meet you in the midst of what may feel like a chaotic time.

Be assured that God is with you and California Southern Baptists.

Signatories

A.B. Vines
Pastor, New Seasons Church, Spring Valley
Immediate Past President, California Southern Baptist Convention
Immediate Past First Vice President, Southern Baptist Convention

Gregory Perkins
Pastor, The View Church, Menifee
Board Member, National African American Fellowship - SBC

Kevin James
Pastor, New Creation Bible Fellowship, Tracy
President, CSBC African American Fellowship
West Region Director, National African American Fellowship - SBC

Victor Chayasirisobhon
Pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Anaheim
Chairman, CSBC Executive Board

Shawn Beaty
Pastor, Clovis Hills Community Church, Clovis
CSBC President

Bill Agee
CSBC Executive Director

This Convention serves our culturally diverse congregations as we fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.