Letters to the Editor
A Woman's Issue
Thank you for an intentional celebration of women's leadership in the October issue. It was wonderful to see so many friends mentioned, and to meet new ones as well. Their holy boldness and God-given gifts are indeed changing the world. It was a great beginning to what I hope will become a tradition at Christianity Today.
President, Christians for Biblical Equality
I should have been thrilled to see the October issue. But the cover title, "50 Women to Watch: Those most shaping the church and culture," sounded alarm bells. My concern is with the idea that anyone would or could "shape" the church. The only one who should be shaping the church is Jesus Christ. "Shaping" is what has caused so many divisions in the church and the watering down of sound biblical teaching.
Should our goal as Christians be to shape culture? Did Jesus call us to make our society more "Christian"? Does it help the ministries of those women to splash them across a magazine much in the style of People's "50 Most Beautiful People"? Or does it perpetuate America's obsession with celebrities and trivialize the work the Holy Spirit is doing through everyday men and women?
Of course, our list of women to watch was in no way comprehensive. Here's who we missed, according to our readers:Phyllis Tickle, Kay Arthur, Stormie Omartian, Michelle Obama, Katie Davis, Sherry Surratt, Jenni Catron, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Katharine Jefferts Schori, just a mom, Hillary Clinton, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
Correction:Priscilla Shirer does not have a doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary, nor was she the first African American to attend the school.
Not Risking Hell
"The Spiritual Sex" [Spotlight, October] states, "[W]omen are better Christians than men are." The explanation of this supposed superiority lies in the risk-averse nature of women when compared to men. This "insight" concludes: "They don't like risking injury, jail—or, it seems, hell."
The foundational flaw in the analysis is making the results about "better or worse," which blossomed into a more serious flaw that reports an insulting and unproven hypothesis to "explain" the apparent "superiority." Even worse, women's faith is not seen for the shining example that others in the body of Christ can learn from.
Heidi C. Lee
Belle Chasse, Louisiana
"The Bonds of Freedom" [October] observed that the concept of "true freedom" or "real freedom" can be confusing to the average Christian. Therefore we should abandon those terms.
The difference that others have tried to explain is the difference between relevant and irrelevant constraints. If my local government tells me I can't build a factory on my land, that's an irrelevant constraint; I don't want to build a factory. But if my doctor tells me I can't drink coffee anymore, that is very relevant. I love my coffee.
"True freedom" is the process by which the constraints that God asks us to observe become irrelevant. Technically, we are still constrained. In reality, we aren't. We have chosen to exercise our freedom in good rather than bad ways. And thus the truth of God's will makes us free.
The Men of YFC
As a former member of Youth for Christ (YFC), "The Choice" [October] brought back fond memories of working with men like Ajith Fernando, men who toiled among young people, often sensing the suspicion of church leaders and smarting from their criticism, for extremely low wages, while seeking to identify with the pain of the youth they were serving. Directors like Fernando are revered for their personal integrity, constant faithfulness, and fierce devotion to Christ and service. These are men for whom unsaved youth are glad and the church should be justly proud. Unfortunately, not much is heard about them. Thanks for the kind, thoughtful, and very gracious appreciation of a modern saint.