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September 1, 1999





Texas Baptist Forum
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___The 13,000 mostly retired Baptists who have their life savings in the Baptist Foundation of Arizona (Aug. 18) do not deserve to be punished.
___This is not just an Arizona problem. Thousands of Baptists from every state are
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affected.
___The Baptist conventions need to take care of their own. If the Baptist churches would rescue these people from losing their life savings, what a statement that would make.
___ Larry & Sharon Mitcham
___ Temple

Shame
___While I applaud the effort to discern the most influential Texas Baptists of this century, the effort is seriously flawed and diminished by the exclusion of Charles P. McLaughlin, without whom such things as River Ministry, Hispanic Baptist Convention and the greatest church-starting enterprise in the history of Christendom would likely not exist.
___To leave Dr. Charlie off this list reflects negatively on those who compiled it, to say nothing of their lack of knowledge of Baptist work in Texas.
___Dr. Charlie impacted state missions for a quarter of this century, yet he cannot make your list, and David Currie can.
___What a shame!
___ Ken Coffee
___ San Antonio

Legislation
___I would like to respond to Carl Hess' letter, "Preaching hate" (Aug. 18). Christian kids out of public schools? I am opposed to it, and I appreciate the Aug. 18 editorial, "Exodus could Balkanize America," on the subject.
___Preaching hysteria and hate for money? I am opposed to it. I am also opposed to the Disney boycott, but to say the honest, hard-working people who work in the firearms industry are killers is absurd and an insult!
___I think slavery was and is wrong, but if you think "hate crime" legislation will reduce crime rates and improve race relations, you are mistaken. Existing laws, God's laws, should be enforced. To think making new laws will lower crime rates is naive and dangerously wrong.
___Lastly, I wonder why our editors, who show such good sense most of the time, would bother to print such letters as this one from Ozark, Ala., and "No propaganda" (Aug. 18) from Port Neches. Why not let these types of letters die in the files as this one perhaps will.
___ Randy Carter
___ Ozona

Del Rio
___Carl Hess wrote about the "zillion-watt" radio stations in Del Rio (Aug. 18). They are in Mexico, not Del Rio, but use Del Rio for a mailing address.
___The hate talk Hess is hearing does come from Americans, but few are native Texans.
___ H.L. Harris
___ Palestine

Schizophrenia
___I was pleased with your recent editorial encouraging support of the public school system (Aug. 18).
___I was displeased with your careless use of the word "schizophrenic" in your latest editorial (Aug. 25).
___This is a mental health term which does not mean "split personality" as is so often misused by the unknowing. Such careless use has contributed to the stigma which is so damaging to those who suffer from the illness.
___The word, as used, has nothing to do with whether readers "agree with every idea and every quote in the Standard."
___ H.V. O'Brien
___ Eastland

Labyrinths
___I just cannot let the labyrinth article (Aug. 18) go by without comment. Do these folks know what a labyrinth is? Webster: "Labyrinth: 1. A place constructed of or full of intricate passageways and blind alleys. 2. Something extremely complex or tortuous in structure, arrangement or character."
___Why would any God-fearing Christian want to rent a piece of canvas to stand on in order to "release his worries"? I have a leather-bound book on which I can stand, "hiding" his word in my heart. I can go to my closet and quietly hear what God says to me and answer him in my prayer.
___Baptists do not need what these folks are espousing. It is pagan and borders on witchcraft. I pray it will stop.
___ Dale Taylor
___ Bastrop

Maliciousness
___I'm guessing all Texas Baptist pastors received a mailing with a flyer and a booklet from the Missouri Baptist Laymen's Association. This packet was filled with more attacks on our Baptist General Convention of Texas leadership and selected Texas Baptists.
___The headlines were incriminating--affiliating BGCT leaders and others with homosexuality, liberalism and such. The details and explanations lacked substance or even logical argumentation. When one reads the information carefully, the logic is of the nature that two plus two equals seven. The so-called facts just don't add up to the conclusion, and some of the "facts" aren't factual.
___I regret the BGCT must appoint a committee to investigate slander and libel against its leadership. I grievously understand why. We all must read and listen critically, carefully.
___I am proud of the leadership of the BGCT and the tremendous work and ministry they perform with incredible integrity. I am saddened and outraged when good men and women--whether BGCT, Southern Baptist Convention, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Presbyterian or whomever--are maliciously attacked and their focus from doing ministry is distracted. There is plenty of gospel work to be done for all Baptists, and we really don't have time or resources to be "shooting" each other.
___ Philip McCraw
___ Alpine

Creationism
___The article on the Kansas Board of Education's decision regarding evolution (Aug. 25) states, "The so-called creationist movement ... rejects the scientific concept of evolution in favor of a biblical view of the world as only a few thousand years old, and which teaches that each species was created separately by God."
___First, there is no "scientific concept of evolution." When any part of the theory of evolution is tested using the scientific method, whether it be genetics, statistics, geology, radiometric dating or others, the results do not support the theory.
___Second, "the so-called creationist movement" is more accurately called the creation science movement, and it is spearheaded by eminent scientists from all fields of study who believe the Bible is true. These scientists have shown that true science does in fact support the literal Genesis account of creation and the flood.
___Finally, the reason creation scientists teach that God created each "kind" of animal and plant separately is because that's what the fossil record suggests. Nowhere do we find any "transitional forms" as evolution demands. Examine those fancy evolutionary trees in biology textbooks, and you will notice that the fossil record contains only the tips of the branches. The evolutionary trunk is a complete fabrication.
___Perhaps it is time we gave God's word more credit for being scientifically sound. I applaud the Kansas Board of Education for their courageous and well-informed decision.
___ Jon Gardner
___ Bryan

Calling
___At one time, I agreed with the letter writer who stated, "If men refuse to take upon themselves the roles that God has prepared for them, then perhaps he will use women to accomplish his will" (Aug. 18).
___However, something drastically changed my viewpoint--God called me into vocational ministry, and I am a woman.
___Unless you have ever been called into ministry, you cannot describe the overwhelming sense of purpose and drive to fulfill that call.
___When I look at the ministry that I do, I realize God has fully gifted and equipped me. I was not his second choice. This call is a personal one, thus no other person, male or female, can do exactly what God has called me to do in ministry.
___When I look at Lottie Moon, she was not God's second choice to go to the mission field in China.
___No one else could have loved, sacrificed and served like Miss Moon. She was God's first choice to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, not his second!
___ Karen Fyffe
___ Magnolia

Revival
___A letter urged everyone longing for revival to read "Counterfeit Revival" by Hank Hanegraaff (Aug. 4). I urge anyone who reads that book to give at least equal time to "Let No One Deceive You" by Michael Brown.
___Of course, the real book on revival is the "Holy Bible" authored by God himself and tells us how to seek revival his way.
___ Leslie Stone
___ Carthage

Pentecostal views
___I noticed a statement about former Pentecostals in a Baptist church who "lacked the kind of solid biblical training onlineonlyemphasized by Southern Baptists" (July 21).
___One of the differences between Charismatics and Pentecostals (as perceived by Pentecostals) is that Charismatics seem to avoid doctrinal issues; Pentecostals are usually very strong on biblical study and doctrine, although there are obviously some exceptions.
___I suspect many Baptists only know two scriptures: John 3:16 and Romans 10:13. Why would we call on the name of the Lord then ignore Matthew 7:21?
___Jesus said we must worship God in spirit and in truth. I want my children to understand not only what we believe, but why we believe, and I am not a minister.
___Also, I am not afraid of another person's view. If our own belief cannot stand up to objective examination, then maybe it should be discarded.
___Wayne Thompson
___Jefferson

Al Gore's proposal
___The proposal of Al Gore that the federal government engage churches in partnership onlineonlyministry to addicts, juvenile offenders, the homeless and other problem groups is enticing--but it entices to suicidal quicksand.
___First, it violates religious freedom, for it compels every individual to finance religious teaching and action. God made us morally and spiritually free. The essence of response to God in Christ is voluntary repentance, faith, service--"constrained only by the love of Christ." Moreover, what the government finances the government regulates, as it should.
___Second, it entices churches to avoid the cross in extending ministries that Christ calls and impels us to practice. This was the devil's oft-repeated temptation to Christ. It is an ever-common temptation to believers: "Serve God, but avoid the cross!" Jesus teaches: "No cross--no redemption!"
___Third, it causes churches to commit spiritual suicide. When we bypass the cross, getting someone else to pay the cost of service, we thereby repudiate the cross, reject the impulse of love and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. By this "quenching of the Spirit" (seeking to serve without cost) we forfeit the power and enablement of the Spirit. "Without me," said Jesus, "you are absolute failures!" The church that does not give self and possessions has committed spiritual suicide.
___Which do we prefer--government money and regulations of our churches, so it will not cost us much, or the power of God to work miracles of redemption?
___Joseph B. Underwood
___Richmond, Va.

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