“Human trafficking wasn’t even a crime in Texas,” said Suzii
Paynter as she offered an example of why people of faith should come together
to shape laws and public policy.
As part of the T.B.
Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics at Hardin-Simmons University, Paynter,
executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Texas, said making
human trafficking illegal in Texas was a collaborative effort of Christians.
different laws had to be changed to make human trafficking a crime. It was the
churches of Texas and the collaboration of people of faith that made it happen.
The change in the law came from the heart of Christian people,” said Paynter.
Suzii and husband
Roger Paynter, senior pastor for First Baptist Church Austin, Texas, conducted
the auxiliary workshop during the Maston Lectures to assist and encourage Christians
and churches to shape the world by affecting needed changes to laws and public
“Being involved in
advocacy is the way to reach the next generation of Christians,” said Suzii. Roger
added that Christianity is not about propping up a church. “You are created in
the image of God and your gifts are to enlarge the Kingdom of God in the
Advocacy brings a
new energy to your faith contends Roger. “At our church in Austin we build
action teams around peoples’ passions. It is a way to live into our faith.
Advocacy gives Christians a hammer, puts it into their hands, and gives them a
tangible way to serve.”
Suzii relates the
story of a grandmother in an apartment complex, caring for 17 children whose
parents are incarcerated. “It is a necessity of Christian life to speak on behalf
of people like these through our advocacy. When you advocate for others, it is
no longer an act of charity, it is a matter of partnership,” she said.
Regarding the role
of the local church in shaping public policy, Roger warns that it can
occasionally be difficult for churches to approach advocacy without it being
turned into partisan politics.
Craddock, a professor of preaching and New Testament in the Candler School of
Theology at Emory University, Roger said, “Good preaching is not about getting
something said. It is about getting something heard.” Paynter advises that
pastors have to keep people aware that fulfilling needs is what Jesus would do.
He said it is important for a congregation to hear a pastor’s repeated concern
for people in great need.
About the Lecture Series:
The T. B. Maston
Lectures in Christian Ethics, presented by Logsdon Seminary and The Logsdon
School of Theology of HSU, seek to honor the legacy of Dr. T.B. Maston, a
longtime professor of Christian ethics and pioneering Baptist ethicist. Maston
is renowned for his writing and teaching in the areas of biblical ethics, race
relations, family life, church and state, and character formation.
In its 14th
year at HSU, the lectures featured Dr. W. Hulitt Gloer, David E. Garland
Professor of Preaching and Christian Scripture at Baylor University's George W.
Truett Theological Seminary.
A leader of Bible
conferences and studies throughout the United States, Gloer is a member of the
Society of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Association, and National Association
of Baptist Professors of Religion.
“The T. B. Maston
Lecture Series is one of the best, if not singularly the most outstanding
lecture series on Christian Ethics in Texas Baptist Institutions,” said Dr. Don
Williford, dean of the Logsdon School of Theology and Seminary.
The Maston Lecture
Series is one of many events presented by Logsdon throughout the year designed
to be a resource for ministers, churches, students, and the community.