Unify Project, Nigeria’s Attack & John Chau’s Heroism
Fred Luter, the lone African American to have served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, sees great opportunity in the Unify Project, a new national grassroots racial unity initiative he’s leading with former SBC President Ed Litton and Dallas-area pastor Tony Evans. Three dozen worshippers at a Baptist church in Nigeria’s southern Kaduna state were abducted by gunmen on June 19 after the attackers first killed three people at a Catholic church. And in 2018, John Chau gave his life while trying to reach a remote tribe of people with the gospel on the North Sentinal Island. The island is located off the coasts of Thailand and Myanmar.
Fred Luter, the lone African American to have served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, sees great opportunity in the Unify Project, a new national grassroots racial unity initiative he’s leading with former SBC President Ed Litton and Dallas-area pastor Tony Evans.
Luter, Litton and Evans announced the Unify Project at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim with plans to launch the pastor-driven program in the fall, backed by a diverse core steering committee.
Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas and a noted author, theologian and radio host, will help lead the Unify Project in concert with The Urban Alternative, a ministry he co-founded in 1981 with his late wife Lois.
Within a short time following the announcement in Anaheim, Litton said, the initiative drew more than 2,000 requests for information on the program (available by texting Unify to 63566), and more than 1,000 requests for information registered at Unifysbc.org.
Three dozen worshippers at a Baptist church in Nigeria’s southern Kaduna state were abducted by gunmen on June 19 after the attackers first killed three people at a Catholic church.
Fulani militia attacked Bege Baptist Church, kidnapping five men and 31 women and children, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported on June 21.
CSW—a British human rights organization focused on religious persecution—reported the kidnapping at Bege Baptist Church followed an earlier assault the same day on St. Moses Catholic Church in Roboh.
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In 2018, John Chau gave his life while trying to reach a remote tribe of people with the gospel on the North Sentinal Island. The island is located off the coasts of Thailand and Myanmar.
The Sentinelese are known to be people who refuse contact with people from the outside world…sometimes resorting to violence to maintain their privacy.
Today, Voice of the Martyrs is recognizing John Chau’s sacrifice on this Day of the Christian Martyr. A day set aside to remember those who have given their lives to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world.
In a piece on Baptist Press, John Nettleton writes, “In John’s final hours, he wrote letters to his family and Christian friends. He encouraged them to forgive the Sentinelese if he were murdered and told them he wanted his body left on the island (it was). For the witnesses he knew would inevitably follow in his footsteps, he prayed that God would “give them a double anointing and bless them mightily.” He also left a challenge: “I pray that you will never love anything in this world more than you love Christ.” John Chau’s life and death are proof that he lived up to that challenge. May his example inspire us to do likewise.”
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