Baptist preachers address Poland’s loss with comfort of the Gospel
As Poland mourned the loss of its president and other dignitaries, who died in a plane crash on April 10, two visiting Baptist preachers said that the answer to the country’s mourning is found in the Gospel.
Southern Baptist leaders Philip Roberts and Jerry Johnson of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary comforted congregations in Gdansk and Sopot respectively, and shared the gospel in the aftermath of the crisis, during their 10-day trip to the country.
MBTS president Roberts and academic dean Johnson were in the country to attend a conference at the Polish Baptist Seminary in Radosc. They met with Andrzej Seweryn, president of the Polish Baptist Seminary.
Seweryn said, “For the Christians here, there is a great chance to step up and help the people work through their grief and suffering. Now is a time to help them in answering some of life’s toughest questions, including the ones about eternity that often surface when events such as this occur.”
Among the dead were Polish president Lech Kaczynsk, his wife Maria, the military’s chief of staff and the heads of Poland’s land forces, navy and air force. Other dignitaries on board the plane included the national bank president, three military chaplains, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, Olympic Committee head, civil rights commissioner and at least two presidential aides and three lawmakers, the Polish foreign ministry said.
Many of the leaders killed in the crash were instrumental in the Solidarity movement and the return of liberty and democracy to the country. They were headed to a ceremony to commemorate the World War II slaughter of Poles that had divided the nation for seven decades and galvanized the beginning of the same Solidarity movement.
Pastor Roberts, who preached in Gdansk, the home city of the Polish president, cited Matthew 10: 39 (HCSB) where Jesus said, “Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.”
The MBTS leader continued by adding that “there will be a point when life will end for our physical body on this planet. With this in mind, each of us needs to make sure we are living for the correct reasons and the correct person — Jesus Christ — because He offers the hope of eternal life beyond what we experience in this life on earth.”
Roberts said that the time of soul-searching and reflection on these events presents a great time to share the love of Jesus Christ with the Polish populace.
Some 90 percent of the Polish population is Roman Catholic, with 75 percent practicing. The second largest faith group is Eastern Orthodox at 1.3 percent, then Protestant at 0.3 percent. The late Pope John Paul II was Polish.