Texas Baptist Forum

Response for abuse

"Some abusive predators hide in plain sight in trusted institutions" (Nov. 28) brought to mind 1974, when I was among Texas Department of Family and Protective Services staff appointed to coordinate the first public information campaign to make Texans aware of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in all 254 counties.

The 1975 Texas Family Code was about to become law, and one of its provisions—still today—is that all adults, not just doctors, school teachers, etc., must report suspected child neglect or abuse to either DFPS or law enforcement.

The result was a mountain of new abuse reports. Their validity equaled those we received before the campaign. We weren't "drumming up" unfounded accusations.

Individuals at institutions and churches may suspect something bad is happening to a child, either at church, home or elsewhere. Sunday school teachers, youth ministers and other church leaders must learn about child abuse and neglect. "Telling the pastor" doesn't fulfill either their Christian or legal obligations.

Abuse/neglect can be reported confidentially or anonymously to Texas DFPS' Abuse Hotline, (800) 252-5400.

Ann Carson


Texas Baptist ForumSouls, not numbers

I disagree with some of Rick McClatchy's premises in his presentation to the regional New Baptist Covenant II assembly in San Antonio (Nov. 28). Based upon 30 years of working beside a number of pastors, including 13 years serving as an associational Sunday school director, I never saw a pastor who majored on attendance, buildings and cash. Their focus was on seeking the lost, reaching the unaffiliated and leading them into full fellowship and growth in Christian service.

The need to provide facilities for growth and development of those making decisions created the need for more buildings and the funds to provide them.

Criticism of Baptists for emphasizing numbers is unjust. Any church aggressively going after the unsaved and uncommitted believers can expect to be criticized and erroneously classified as concentrating on numbers. Souls for Jesus, not numbers, is our objective. "Numbers" are byproducts of our success.

Outreach and growth in Christian service are not either/or propositions. Outreach goes before growth and development. Inviting a Christian musical group to perform at a church function represents an outreach effort by the church, not primarily an entertainment event.

Robert E. Callahan

San Antonio

Words to live by

"You know me, and yet you love me."

These words were uttered to God in the closing prayer at the dedication of the MacGorman Chapel and Performing Arts Center at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The worship service was a wonderful experience of God's presence and blessing. But these words linger.

What a difference these words would make if we spoke and lived them daily! We are so narrow-minded compared to God's omniscience, so stingy compared to God's grace, so imperfect compared to God's perfection. We have to wonder at the capacity of God to love us.

But if we accept God's love, are we not compelled to love others? All others? As God loves us and them?

If we accept God's grace, are we not compelled to demonstrate his grace every day to every person? How can we harbor grudges or resentment or prejudice in the face of such wondrous love and grace?

Yes, we will disagree with others. Yes, we will be hurt. Yes, we will be wronged. God's love compels us to respond with love. Not with mere lack of hate, but with love!

No one can possibly deserve love—not from another person, and certainly not from God. "You know me, and yet you love me." These are words to live by and to love by.

Linda MacGorman

Springfield, Mo.

Grace and Hell

At the "G5" conference on hell, Brent Gentzel described activities Christians need to be doing. He seemed to imply if we are not doing them, we may not be Christian and hell may be our destination. He seemed to imply that works are required for salvation.

In Romans 4:24 and 11:6, the Apostle Paul says we are saved by grace and not by works. Pauls says if we are saved by works, then it is not by Grace. The grace of our Father is not a cheap grace that needs our work to help save us.

In John 6:29-40, Christ says it is the will of the Father that that he will not lose any but that he will raise us in the last day. Our salvation is in Christ. and the perseverance of our salvation is in Christ.

When we were born again, we were born sons and daughters of God, and hell is not a possibility for us. We are not followers of Christ; we are family of Christ—sons and daughters of our heavenly Father by the grace of God.

Gentzel also calls for us to honor the Sabbath. That is not part of the gospel. Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 3:1-5 and John 5:8 show that Christ did not honor the Sabbath, nor should we.

Felipe Jesse Gonzales

San Antonio
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