The pastor who baptized a murderer

Emanuel_African_Methodist_Episcopal_(AME)_Church_CorrectedDylann Roof, who was sentenced to death for murdering nine African-Americans at a Bible study, had been baptized at the age of 2 in the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, an ELCA congregation in Charleston, SC.

The pastor who baptized him, Rev. Richard Graf,  is now in the news, trying to explain the Lutheran doctrine of Baptism and how there is still hope even for this monstrous killer if he turns back to Christ.

Is his explanation adequate?  Does anything else need to be said?


Photo of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston [site of the shootings] by Cal Sr from Newport, NC, US [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

From Czarina Ong,  Pastor Who Baptised Charleston Church Massacre Shooter Dylann Roof Says He Hasn’t Given Up On Him | Christian News on Christian Today:

Pastor Richard Graf from the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, who is known for having baptised convicted mass murderer Dylann Roof back in 1997, is not giving up hope on the young man even after he killed nine African-American worshippers from the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina back in June 2015.

“What he did was terrible. There’s no excuse for it. It was a crime against the people of God and God himself,” Graf told WECT. “Those people had the God-given gift of life and he took that, he took that away from them.”. . .

Graf added that baptism is a sacred act that should be used as a key to forgiveness for Roof, but only if he chooses to use it. Roof was only two years old when he was baptised, and the only way he can preserve the promises that come with baptism is if he decides to turn back on his past and embrace God.

“Will it make a difference? I don’t know,” Graf admitted. “But, I don’t think God ever forsakes us and God’s spirit is in there somewhere, so I would not give up hope on him.”

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