The National Association of Evangelicals expresses deep sadness over the senseless murders of Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight church members gathered for Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

We join fellow Christians throughout the nation in praying for the bereaved families and for the entire congregation in this time of tragic loss and trauma.

In this time of grieving and loss, we turn to God for comfort and hope. The killings have brought death and devastation to many, but the Bible that Rev. Pinckney read and taught assures us that God has already defeated sin and death through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

God’s purposes will not be thwarted. We honor the memory of the fallen and dare to believe that the death of these martyrs will not have been in vain.