February 19, 2001





TEXAS BAPTIST FORUM
How to ...
___The article "How to Become a Christian" on the Bible study lessons page is useful to me.
___I taught Sunday School for years, but my health caused me to give that up, but I still tell others about Jesus.
___I'm 82 and mostly a shut-in, but I use this article to give to people who come to my
E-mail the editor at marvknox@baptiststandard.com
door. I tell people who bring their beliefs to my door that I will read what they give out if they will read mine.
___I keep this article by my front door and have given copies to others. A friend in another state asked me to send her several items, and I did, so this article is being used there too.
___I also send it in letters to people who need it. And I keep some copies in my purse, for I never know when I might be able to pass it on.
___ B. Lorraine Wilson
___ Denton

Israel's 'right'
___In these days of deep trouble in the "Promised Land," we hear much about Israel's "right" to the land based on the promise of God to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-7). But when this promise is repeated to Isaac, its conditional nature becomes apparent: "For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands ... because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirement, my commands, my decrees and my laws" (Genesis 26:3-5).
___Furthermore, any doubt about the conditional nature of God's promise concerning the land is erased by a reading of Deuteronomy 28 and 29, filled with ifs and conditional clauses.
___"If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, ... so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess" (Deuteronomy 28:58-63). "All the nations will ask: 'Why has the Lord done this to this land? ... 'It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, ... Therefore the Lord's anger burned against this land. ... In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now'" (Deuter-onomy 29:24-28). This prediction came true.
___Let us not be guilty of promoting the evil of disobedience or suggesting that God should reward his people by restoring them to the land without repentance and a deep sense of faith in his living Word.
___ David W. King
___ Marshall

Best teachers
___Thanks for the editorial voicing the truth regarding education (Feb. 5), which for years now has largely been ignored.
___Parents are the key to education, whether the issue is academics, morality or spirituality. Not to say that free will isn't important, and a child won't some day grow up and become capable of making an independent decision to follow the Lord. But for countless children, parents have unfortunately created unnecessary and formidable barriers and hurdles that will have to be overcome first.
___God's providing the privilege of free will also gives us the best parental model--to allow choices but with consequences--so we can learn personally that cause and effect are linked. Parents have the responsibility to create the same kind of environments for children.
___Parents, by God's design, are the first and best teachers.
___ Suzanne Coffman
___ Early

Omitting 'Baptist'
___Granted, "Baptist" evokes thoughts of contention and conflict these days, but it is still disturbing that the word should be omitted from the name of a church as was suggested by some at the Baptist General Convention of Texas Evangelism Conference (Feb. 5).
___If it is necessary to fool people into attending a church by concealing Baptist connections, then the significance of Baptist beliefs may be compromised. This seems similar to the "bait and switch" marketing ploy!
___On the other hand, Baptists looking for a church may avoid a "Fellowship" church, assuming it to be non-denominational or worse, poly-denominational (believe whatever you choose to believe).
___Of course, the Southern Baptist Convention has set an example by removing "Baptist" from the names of Ridgecrest and Glorieta assemblies and from bookstores in order to market those entities outside the traditional Baptist family.
___ John Metcalf
___ Cedar Hill

Christian witness
___"Unbelievable" is the only word I could think of as I watched the "Division Street" episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger" Feb. 3.
___Several years ago, my husband and I caught a "Walker" episode promoting Indian spiritism and New Age philosophies. Since then, producer and lead actor Chuck Norris has become a Christian and attends a Baptist church in Dallas. In a surprising display of boldness, we saw evidence of his life change on TV.
___Through tears of joy, I listened in awe as Hulk Hogan, who was guest starring as an ex-gang member, gave a full-length gospel presentation to some troubled kids. References to God, Christ, prayer and Christian relationships were made throughout.
___What an amazing experience it was to hear Scripture quoted and the gospel presented on a quality prime-time television show. As Christians, we need to stand up and commend Chuck Norris--first for the obvious change in his life and second for his boldness in using his God-give platform to convey the good news of Jesus Christ.
___May we all boldly proclaim God's message of love.
___ Christie Peterson
___ Fort Worth

Turning back
___A front-page story tells how a Muslim in Bangladesh came to be a Christian (Jan. 29). Only one statement is troublesome in this otherwise wonderful account. You state that "he turned his back on Allah and placed his faith in Jesus."
___Muslims have always identified their Allah as the God of Abraham, that is, the same God that Jews and Christians worship. If a Jew becomes a Christian, we would never say that "he turned his back on Yahweh (or Jehovah) and placed his faith in Jesus."
___Certainly when that man became a Christian he did turn his back on the teachings of Mohammed, who claimed himself to be God's final messenger and taught that Jesus was only a great prophet.
___ James O. Morse
___ McGregor

Satan's challenge
___The challenge to Christ on the cross continues: "Come down from the cross, and we will follow you."
___Satan's efforts to get Christ to eliminate the cross never cease. He used Peter's love in an attempt to persuade Jesus to refuse the cross. He used the Greeks in an effort to detour Jesus from the cross. In Gethsemane, he used human shrinking from suffering and humiliation to turn Jesus from the cross. While Jesus hung on the cross, Satan spoke through the multitude: "Eliminate the cross from your way of life, and we will follow you."
___Today, he uses the sly enticement, "Let government help finance the cost of redemptive ministries. Save yourselves. Accept government-coerced monies for life-changing ministries commanded by Christ. Don't assume the cost. Let others pay the cost, even though by coercion. Never think, 'There is a cross for me!'"
___That's the attraction of the proposed "charity" partnership of churches with the state: "Come down from the cross!"
___However well-intentioned the proposal may be, the result will be the death of spiritual effectiveness of the ministries, for we cannot eliminate the cross and serve in the power of the resurrection. It will also be the end, eventually, of religious freedom, for what the government supports financially, the government regulates.
___Will we minister in the resurrection power of Christ? Or in the self-saving attitude of Satan? The life and effectiveness of churches depend upon our answer!
___ Joe Underwood
___ Richmond, Va.

Consistent answer
___As the voucher debate heats up, perhaps it is time for Baptists to examine our approaches to higher education.
___It seems a contradiction when Baptist leaders cry out against vouchers for elementary and secondary schools, claiming separation of church and state reasons, while thousands of students attend Baptist schools on federal grants and the GI bill, and benefit from millions of dollars in research grants given to these schools.
___Are we in effect saying that our Baptist colleges and universities are no longer Christian, or that we are too busy enjoying the financial benefit of vouchers in the higher educational system to be consistent in our approaches to education and "faith-based" organizations?
___ Gary May
___ Diana

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