March 8, 2000

Texas Baptist Forum
Common ground

___Christians have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ to reconcile with one another. We have been forgiven of our sins to forgive those who sin against us. This is not an option but a must-do for every Christian.
___Regardless of the hopelessness of the situation between the Southern Baptist
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Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Texas, as well as the BGCT and Southern Baptists of Texas, the God who is within us is greater than our unskilled minds.
___We are not saved free from conflicts. Rather, we are saved to deal with them as Christ would deal with them, if we will let the Holy Spirit have full freedom to lead us in all truth.
___As people of God on mission, we cannot allow personal conflicts and misguided allegiances to go unchallenged. As long as we are under the banner of the grace and truth of God in Christ Jesus in the power of the Spirit, reconciliation within the family of God is crucial for the sake of world reconciliation.
___Our common ground as children of God by faith is the Lord Jesus Christ, who commands us to love one another unconditionally.
___ Charles Mwakitwile
___ Fort Worth

Submit to Jesus
___I read with dismay the accounts of malice and slander within the community of faith, especially here in Texas (Feb. 23). I am glad these articles are finding a public forum and are being exposed to the light.
___I wonder how prayerfully some servants of Christ are submitting themselves to their Master and Lord, Jesus the Christ of God. If ever a careful read of Romans 14 and the gospel accounts is needful, it is now.
___Guilt by association is an interesting form of slander on the part of folks who are disciples of one who not only spoke and associated with, but ate, drank, touched, taught and brought healing to those untouchables of his day. I am, of course, speaking of our Savior.
___I'd rather be condemned by others for conforming to his image than to answer to him for conforming to another; no matter how politically correct it is.
___I pray for sanity and right relationships within the fellowships of those who call upon his name. Truly, judgment begins in the house of God.
___ Greg Anderson
___ San Antonio

Jesus' example
___What the Missouri Baptist Laymen's Association and the Texas Baptist Laymen's Association are doing (Feb. 23) reminds me of what Joe McCarthy was doing in the early '50s--guilt by association. And to get people to believe this, you repeat it over and over and eventually someone will believe what you say is the truth.
___They allege that if a person belongs to an organization, they must also believe what every other member of that organization believes in.
___ If this is true, what SBC President Paige Patterson said about Southern Baptists working with others on common concerns such as abortion and religious liberty, even though "they don't believe like we do," is dangerous, because if someone saw these Southern Baptist associating with these other people, it would make them look bad.
___I wish all of these people finding fault with other Baptists would devote their time and energy to the Lord's work. I do know that Jesus associated with all kinds of people, and it didn't seem to hurt him at all.
___ John Price
___ Possum Kingdom Lake

Answer questions
___How amazing to see eight pages in the Standard devoted to several men who have circulated negative material about the BGCT leaders (Feb. 23)! How dumbfounding to read thinly veiled threats aimed at churches that might consider passing out this material. Whoa! Do we still enjoy freedom of speech?
___I am not one to rely on the research of others, and I have been trying to get some questions of my own answered for some time. I wrote to the BGCT asking specific questions about their current position on issues such as abortion, homosexuality and the ordination of women as senior pastors. The reply I received sidestepped the issues and refused to answer my questions.
___Wouldn't it be better to print the BGCT's current position on these issues? And if no such position exists, in light of the swirling controversy, shouldn't one be drafted and made available to Texas Baptists? We are able to think for ourselves, given accurate information.
___John 8:32 says, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." It would be refreshing to receive an honest answer to my questions. If I can't get answers from the BGCT about their own positions, whom can I ask?
___ Stephanie Marchbanks
___ Ennis

Mud & dirt
___One quote of Roger Moran is most disturbing to me: "Expel that wicked man from among you" (Feb. 23).
___It seems Jesus' admonition in Matthew 18:15-18 would be far more appropriate--to speak face-to-face with the offending person, to seek information and reconciliation before taking it before the church. Has this New Testament pattern given by Jesus been followed? If not, then perhaps what we have is much akin to that which we are seeing in the presidential race in our nation.
___Seems like someone once said, "If you sling mud, you get awfully dirty."
___ Bill E. Roe
___ Cleburne

Healthy music
___I am concerned that church music was not listed as one of the most effective resources of the BGCT (Feb. 16).
___Music aids worship; expresses relationships; equips for mission and ministry; relates and focuses on life application of Bible-based discipleship; offers evidence of the God-focused vision; facilitates a dynamic relationship with God; evangelizes; can be used in outreach mission events; helps meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs; and reveals joyous stewardship of time, talent and finances.
___Since music is such a vital part of these healthy characteristics, we have a great challenge to offer support and programs to achieve these characteristics.
___ Elmer Crosby Jr.
___ Houston

Why Truett?
___A hearty "amen" to Dick Tillman's letter regarding the expenditure of $17 million on Baylor University's Truett Seminary (Feb. 23).
___Russell Dilday, while president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was asked about the formation of Truett Seminary. He said the issue should be studied. Having two seminaries teaching basically the same curriculum only 90 miles apart is neither effective or efficient.
___I would love to see some of that $17 million go to Southwestern Seminary to help make it an even more world-class seminary. I would also have no problem with the money going to missionary causes.
___I challenge the BGCT and Charles Wade to tell us why Texas Baptists need another seminary. Could it be for political reasons?
___ Mac Galloway
___ Houston

Teach in China
___China 2000, a ministry opportunity working in support of Christian believers in Mainland China, is under way. People willing to teach conversational English are urgently needed. Dates are July 5 to Aug. 6.
___Work side-by-side with the Chinese Christian-initiated Amity Foundation. Amity seeks to show the face of Christ to the nation. They need your presence and your willingness to show support for the indigenous church of China. Go to church; pray with Chinese believers; be an encourager; teach English.
___We have the chance to develop relationships that can result in sharing your faith.
___Please consider this calling for yourself. For information, call (517) 835-1536 or email cen29529@centuryinter.net.
___ Ann and David Wilson
___ Volunteer Project Assistants
___ Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
___ Atlanta

Barbaric act
___I wish I could ask every governor, state legislator, Supreme Court justice, presidential candidate, member of Congress and voter the following question: Would you be in favor of the death penalty if your child or spouse were found guilty of a capital crime? A yes or no answer would suffice.
___When considering the death penalty, I wonder how many politicians who say they are followers of Christ ask, "What would Jesus do?"
___The death penalty is barbaric, has been proven to be no deterrent and should be abolished in our country. For capital offenses, I favor life in prison with no possibility of parole.
___ Paul L. Whiteley Sr.
___ Louisville, Ky.

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