Workshop Speakers at Ethics Lectures Maintain Christian Duty Requires Advocacy


“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.

“Thirty-three 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 policy.

“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 world.”

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.

Quoting Fred 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.





  • A Princeton Review Best Western College
  • Council for Christian Colleges & Universities  
  • Center for Student Opportunity: Promoting a College-Bound Culture
  • US News Best Colleges
  • Military Friendly
  • college_of_christian_distinction_badge20172018
  • College Choice Best Christian Colleges and University
  • University and College Accountability Network