Letters to the Editor
"Meanwhile, Love the Sojourner" [September] did a superb job of highlighting the personal challenges faced by immigrants in Phoenix, the ministry dilemma posed by immigrants present unlawfully, the unique burden that Hispanic churches bear, and the courage of many evangelical leaders—both Latino and Caucasian—in standing with immigrants in ways consistent with biblical values of compassion and hospitality, despite pushback.
Given that you're likely getting some pushback of your own for running the article, I wanted to express how much I appreciated it. In working with evangelical churches on immigration issues—and based on discussions with legislators—I know that those most opposed to immigration are far more likely to complain than the majority of both white evangelicals and the American population as a whole who agree with a more balanced approach to immigration policy.
In regards to "Orthodox Moves" [September], Metropolitan Jonah was not the head of the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) long enough to have much of an impact. He was elected as the best candidate available at the time. But Met. Jonah had never been a hierarch and his actions in a unilateral mode with his own agenda did not work.
He was a former Episcopalian who had been well indoctrinated in Russian Orthodox practice while in Russia. As the head of a very small monastery, he matured in understanding an Orthodox monastic life, but as the head of a major Orthodox Church, he just wasn't ready. This action only proves that the OCA works in the manner in which all Orthodox churches should operate. That is, the Orthodox Church is conciliar. A head of an Orthodox church cannot act unilaterally imposing their authority on all.
Faith, Not Works
I cannot share the apparent position in "What's His Is Ours" [September] that salvation is "all of God and none of man." Surely we must consider Jesus' own gospel in comprehending salvation. Jesus said, "Repent and believe" (Mark 1:15). John the Baptist and Peter said the same thing.
Concerning faith, Jesus said to the woman who anointed his feet with perfume, "Your faith has saved you" (Luke 7:50). There does not appear to be anything "passive" in accomplishing salvation from Jesus' statements or encounters.
Does this challenge Paul? Frankly, when it comes to scriptural interpretation, I would rather attempt to construe Ephesians 2:8-9 consistently with what Jesus said repeatedly, rather than the other way around. And this can be done. What is by the grace of God is not that we have faith, but that it is faith that saves us instead of works. For works to save us, we could never sin (James 2:10). So God is willing to take our faith in place of perfect works—which would allow for boasting—by his grace.
Thomas F. Harkins Jr.
Fort Worth, Texas
No Undue Influence
In the past decade, a number of organizations, foundations, churches, and individuals have aligned themselves with the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), providing leadership and support. Contrary to the implication of "The Second Coming Christ Controversy" [September], our funding is so broadly based as to defy undue influence of any person or group.
David Jang, founder of the Olivet University, is an honored member of the WEA's North American Council. As a body within WEA, the council was not unaware of the rumors alleged by the authors of the CT article. However, in making this appointment we trusted the wisdom and advice of our alliance in South Korea with respect to his character and theology.