Christians in the US must not turn their backs on refugees fleeing the crisis in the Middle East, Russell Moore has said.
In an article for the Washington Post, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said refugees are "our mission field".
"We should be the ones calling the rest of the world to remember the image of God and inalienable human dignity, of persecuted people whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Yazidi, especially those fleeing from genocidal Islamic terrorists," Moore wrote.
There has been significant debate over the acceptance of refugees in the US following the terror attacks that killed 129 people in Paris last Friday. There are fears that jihadists could infiltrate other countries under the guise of fleeing Islamic State.
Yesterday, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to suspend Obama's programme to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.
The new legislation – which will now pass to the Senate – would require the director of the FBI, the director of national intelligence, and the homeland security secretary to verify that each Syrian refugee poses no security risk.
Moore said that it was understandable that Americans have raised concerns. "It is completely right to ensure that the United States have a strong process to discern who are truly refugees and who are trying to take advantage of refugees," he said.
"That's why we in the US need a clearer and stronger articulation of what kind of system will be put in place by our government to properly vet anyone seeking to enter as a refugee."
However, "evangelical Christians cannot be the people who turn our back on our mission field," he added.
"We should remember the history of the 20th century, of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust and Refuseniks from the Soviet Union who were largely ignored by the world community. We can have prudential discussions and disagreements about how to maintain security. What we cannot do is to demagogue the issue."
Moore's remarks could be in reference to Republican presidential candidate frontrunner Donald Trump's latest insistence that he would "certainly implement" a database of American Muslims.
When asked how this would differ from the Nazi policy of registering Jews, Trump replied, "You tell me".
A statement from the US Holocaust Museum said: "Acutely aware of the consequences to Jews who were unable to flee Nazism, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum looks with concern upon the current refugee crisis.
"While recognizing that security concerns must be fully addressed, we should not turn our backs on the thousands of legitimate refugees."