The Canyon Creek Controversy
After reading “God’s Man: Savior or Seducer?” [September], concerning Canyon Creek Baptist Church and its pastor, Terry Smith, I must congratulate you on your tabloid journalism. My wife and I have been members of that church since October 1987. We also have had our daughter enrolled in Canyon Creek Christian Academy since October 1987. In the name of fairness and unbiased journalism, allow me to state additional facts.
During a time of financial setback in our family, Canyon Creek Baptist Church brought us fifteen bags of groceries so our family could eat. This included not only canned goods, but milk, fruit juices, steak, a whole turkey, ham. lunchmeat, and vegetables. Several members of the church helped us move by supplying vehicles and manpower. We have personally seen the church assist people in obtaining refrigerators and other household goods, as well as assisting one family in obtaining an automobile. The main hallway of the church is lined with pictures and letters from the numerous missionaries the church supports.
Let’s consider Dr. Terry Smith. My wife and I have personal knowledge of his giving money to the church above and beyond the Biblical tithe in order to help alleviate a budgetary deficit. Consider also the fact that he himself asked for a reduction in pay in order to help the church through a financially difficult time, while also asking the church to increase the money given to several missionary works. Dr. Terry Smith has always been accountable to the church members, the board of deacons, and the board of trustees as to the financial expenditures of the church. Detailed financial reports are continually given to each member, and everyone has the ability to question the necessity of expenditures. Dr. Terry Smith is a man of veracity.
I do feel that your publication is dedicated to unbiased journalism and appreciates hearing, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”
Morris C. Whitis
I fear the Jim and Tammy scandal may have made many believe a similar soap opera exists at one’s local church. Here are some facts Philip Chalk failed to include:
1. The Canyon Creek Baptist Church, like any other, has laws that are adhered to, with the deacons and congregation having a say on every major decision (hiring and firing, salaries, budget, etc.).
2. The meeting of our congregation in August 1987 to investigate rumors gave full opportunity for all to stand up and speak. No concrete evidence was brought forward, and Charles Ferguson (the brave hero of your story) would not stand up and speak.
3. These poor molested women have cour age to speak on their telephones or to be quoted by your magazine but they have con sistently refused to testify in front of our con gregation or in a court of law.
4. Piano police records confirm that harassment of our pastor and deacons began in August 1987, straight after the failed at tempt to “defrock” our pastor.
I want to end by saying that I believe a person is innocent until proven guilty and that mere rumors should never be allowed to end a pastor’s career.
If this is all that you and your staff can find to report in this great city of Dallas, you all need to move away from your desks and find the stories that really matter.
I am not a member of Canyon Creek Baptist Church. I have no “side to take” in the Canyon Creek disputes. I do have a “side to take” in the matter of edifying journalism. This story is not that kind of journalism. You should consider it below your dignity to lend yourself to a piece of this nature.
Someone should give Philip Chalk that parable-like truth that we learned years ago: “The more a person handles a skunk, even to skin it, the more he smells like that skunk.” We regret that you have allowed D to sink to this low.
Harold Sterett Lehmann
One Vote For Council-Manager
In her editorial questioning the validity of Dallas’s council-manager form of city government [“Editor’s Page,” August], Ruth Miller Fitzgibbons regretfully shows little knowledge of the city’s political history leading to adoption of that system or of the system itself, which has provided Dallas with good government for more than half a century. And even less about managing the city, which is the biggest business operating wholly within the city limits.
For fifty-seven years, since adopting the council-manager system in 1931, Dallas has generally been regarded as one of the best-governed cities in the United States. That record precludes doubt that the system works, withstanding the test of time and onslaughts of detractors. It is no happenstance that under that system Dallas has avoided government by machine-controlled politicians perpetuating corrupt tenures by dealing out largess to themselves and minions from assessments against citizens and out of taxpayers’ dollars. Voting citizens must be credited with maintaining the system that keeps Dallas free of corruption and mismanagement.
Dallas has been served by a bright galaxy of unselfish, dedicated mayors and council members under whose administrations the city has been provided with adequate public services and good government. Upon that foundation, the councils and other public-spirited citizens elevated the economic, cultural, educational, religious, and other elements that distinguish a city and contribute to its good quality of life to serve local citizens and attract new citizens, businesses, and industries.
Looking at the record, by what rationalization does Fitzgibbons baldly state that “our system. . .is stretching at the seams as the city outgrows it”? What kind of government is “some middle ground between a Chicago-like political machine and our system”? Half honest and half corrupt?
Edwin O. Cartwright
How To Help The Poor
As a member of Holy Trinity Church and a volunteer to the Ministry to the Poor, I am disturbed by the article on Pam Schaefer. (“Whose Alms For Whose Poor?” September].
Schaefer should continue with her vision of her ministry and should direct her energies to that end. Finding fault and pointing fingers at institutions and people that are also striving to aid the poor is really counterproductive to the entire cause. There is plenty of room for many different approaches and ministries; the winners will be the sisters and brothers who are served.
No, Danny, No!
Let me commend Skip Hollandsworth for “The Twilight of Danny White” [September]. He did an excellent job of shedding some light on a man who has remained somewhat a mystery for most Cowboy fans. However, in his discussion of White’s religious beliefs, Hollandsworth made a statement that I strongly take issue with-the statement that Mormons believe in the basic tenets of Christianity.
The basic tenets of Christianity revolve around Jesus Christ and who He was. According to the Bible, the foundation of Christian doctrine, there is only one God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three eternal and coequal Persons-God the Father. God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is and has always been God. even before the beginning of time (John 6:27: Hebrews 1:8; Acts 5:3-4; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-2). According to Mormon doctrine, Jesus, along with Satan, was a spirit-son of Elohim, one of many gods in heaven who, though once a sinful man, had exalted himself to godhood by obedience to certain principles of Mormonism. As a result of physical sexual intercourse between Elohim and the Virgin Mary, Jesus was conceived and born. In the process of being condensed down in size from a spirit-son Elohim to Mary’s baby, Jesus somehow lost all memory of who he had previously been; nonetheless, by obedience to certain principles of Mormonism, he also exalted himself from a sinful man to god-hood, something every Mormon is led to believe he can obtain, thus becoming an exalted god like Jesus. The incredible differences in the above two doctrinal versions are inescapable, even for the greenest of theologians. The Jesus of Mormonism is not the same Jesus of the Bible.
Danny White’s observation about there being no singles, only family-units, in the “Kingdom” (Heaven) applies only to the “Celestial” (Highest) Kingdom and even there only (as he really observed, but without this qualification) to candidates for “Exaltation.” This term means more than being “saved”-even in the highest Kingdom-but actually becoming like God Himself.
Cancel my subscription to D magazine. I have no confidence in any publication that attempts to justify Jim Wright [“Who Needs Jim Wright?” September]. Anyone who equates the political pork barrel with the national interest is very naive or has a very shallow perception of what is important.
The whole fabric of our political system is weakened by politicians who are so transparent. The D/FW Metroplex, the state, the nation, don’t need leaders with the character of Jim Wright. How could you be so shortsighted?
Aubrey C. Black
I take exception with your “Thumbs Down” to Attorney General Jim Mattox [September) and your interpretation of his actions at the Democratic National Convention. I am a Democrat, a Texan, and was an attender at the convention in Atlanta. So I sat with the Texas delegation. You indicated the attorney general of Texas should not have done so. Should he have tried for Delaware? As to the glare you mentioned on Mattox’s face, perhaps it was in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it should have been interpreted as focused attention.
I am proud of the job Ann Richards does as state treasurer and her fine speech in Atlanta. I am equally proud of Jim Mattox and his proven track record representing the people of Texas. I do not know for whom you speak when you state, “Mattox embarrassed us all,” but I am not among them!
Last Word On “Last Temptation”
Chris Tucker mentions that Christians have the right to “peacefully protest” The Last Temptation of Christ [“Parting Shot,” September], but if we are successful in this effort, he finds fault. Why protest if not to be effective? What would be the point?
Jews stand firmly against material that teaches falsely about Hitler and his crimes. Blacks stand against material that falsely stereotypes them as Amos and Andy characters. Christians should stand against material that teaches falsely about Jesus.
Why does everyone get so offended by the Christians standing against falseness, yet support and defend other religions or races for the same type of cause?
I would like to suggest to you that not everybody who disagrees with Chris Tucker is a bigot. Are there unreligious bigots, too? I am a librarian and opposed to censorship in most instances. However, in this instance, it grieves me and other Christians to have Jesus made to seem like any other sinful earthling. He was a human being as well as God. As a human earthman he was sinless. We feel that this representation of Him in The Last Temptation is blasphemy.
Christians feel that this movie misrepresents our Lord. Not even fiction should take this kind of liberty with a real person. Moreover, we feel that some people who view the movie will have this misrepresentation as a lasting impression of Jesus and miss their chance at eternal life through rejection of Him. You see, it really is an extremely important matter for everybody and not just intolerance as Tucker thought.
I would rather think of this discussion of the film as a sincere disagreement among friends and fellow countrymen. It then is not necessary to label anybody anything.