The mass shooting tragedy that has shaken Charleston and the nation has caused the a pastor of a neighboring Southern Baptist Church to condemn the attack as demonic in origin.
"Everyone together—white, black, Hispanic, everybody—we're coming together in unity to see this not only [as] an attack on people, but an attack on the body of Christ," said Keith Biggs, associate pastor of Citadel Square Baptist Church, which is on the same block as Mother Emanuel AME Church, where the shooting occurred. "I mean, who can walk into a church and sit for an hour and have prayer, and then just begin to kill everybody?"
Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, who is white, made anti-black statements to his African-American victims right before killing them, according to law enforcement officials. But though police are investigating the attack as a hate crime, Biggs says bigotry and hatred is just the tip of the iceberg.
"As everybody said on TV, it goes deeper than just hate. To me, this is something that's very demonic to be able to do that. It's a big spiritual warfare, so we're coming together," he said. "We've just got to pray and seek direction, see how we can help one another, see how we can pray to get this action and so forth out of here. Everybody is very calm right now and just looking for answers."
Meanwhile, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Ronnie Floyd issued a statement echoing Biggs' sentiment. The statement was joined by Philadelphia pastor K. Marshall Williams, president of the SBC National African American Fellowship; California pastor A.B. Vines, NAAF's immediate past president; and Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
"The brutal massacre of those in prayer at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church should shock the conscience of every person," part of the statement read. "There is hardly a more vivid picture of unmasked evil than the murder of those in prayer.
"This act of bloodshed is wicked and more than wicked. It is literally satanic, as our Lord taught us that the devil is a 'murderer from the beginning'" (John 8:44).
Meanwhile, the SBC statement, Biggs, and many other faith leaders are unanimous on what the Church needs to be doing now:
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