In his April 3 commentary (“Psychosis and salvation”), John Nassivera blames belief in the sinfulness of all humans, believer’s baptism and salvation by God’s grace alone, as key motivators of the recent Atlanta killer, hate crimes, anti-Asian bigotry, bad and psychotic religion. While constantly using sweeping, grand statements, which itself is a good indication of weak claims (“weak point, yell louder”), his actual proofs are quite lacking.

It is Jesus Himself who told the rich young ruler, “No one is good — except God alone” (Mark 10). Jesus told His dedicated disciples, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts” (Luke 11). These clear statements about the reality of human sinful nature, even in the most gracious seekers or most dedicated followers, didn’t turn either towards killing or hating others. Just the opposite, it led them to a process that opened the newly forming church to many different ethnic, social, financial and educational groups because we all fall short of God’s glory. Every person is in need of God’s grace. One cannot take care of a problem properly without first accurately diagnosing it.

In just the past month, four area churches worked together to baptize 20-plus people by confession of faith. Those immersion baptisms were at a downtown Barre church, which freely gave out over 10,000 hot meals between March and January. Another area church has freely given out flashlights that said “Barre is not scary.” It is those who recognize their sin who can then repent, believe and freely receive the wonderful grace of God which they are encouraged to pass on. I think the real “twisted religious construct” is John Nassivera’s own reasoning in that column.

Neal Laybourne


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