Divine Help For The Weaker Sex

Last night around two A.M., I experienced a flash of insight: The prominence of males in the church has actually been God’s affirmative action program! Our society provides ramps for the handicapped and affirmative actions for the disadvantaged. Only now, after millenniums of church history, can we see the necessity of giving the weaker sex—males—an advantage in the church.

In recent years, the evidence has been rolling in: women not only live longer and can withstand more pain, but on the average they are more social, more verbal, and more skilled with people.

It starts early. Check any first grade and see who’s ahead verbally. In kindergarten, boys go “Bang, bang, ack, ack, ack, zoom, zoom!” Girls speak.

All the charts show men catching up in high school or college. But not in the church. Men may make better abstract theologians, but women are consistently “more religious.” A leading church consultant has said, “In denominations that ordain women, male pastors are scared to death. They know women can run circles around them: they can preach better, listen better, pastor better. Over the next 20 years, just watch—women pastors will become the key leaders in those denominations.”

Evidently God knew a strict meritocracy would result in males being upstaged. He must now look with much amusement at the paradox of men not realizing that it is the wheelchair ramp of affirmative action that put them up there behind the pulpit.


Stimulating And Moving

Thank you for carrying “The Great Temptation” by Helmut Thielicke [July 12]. The article was most stimulating and moving.


Bisbee, Ariz.

Thielicke’s subtitle warned that we might be trapped by a similar temptation to that of Hitler’s Germany. I agree. In this decade the U.S. has experienced a surge of nationalism. This new patriotism, which seems to view the U.S. as above reproach, is alloyed with hatred. President Reagan’s rhetoric sounds too similar to ignore.


Wheaton, Ill.

Forgiveness: Not Mush

Thank you for a fine editorial, “Bitburg: Must We Forgive?” [July 12]. To me it was meat and a refreshing contrast from the mush many would feed us on the difficult issue of forgiving as our Lord forgave us.


Richfield, Minn.

As Christians, we must willingly receive by faith that forgiveness and reconciliation which God has provided through Jesus Christ. To translate that faith-salvation into the Christian giving honor to the Nazi dead at Bitburg is not quite what God’s Word has in mind.

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Forgive, certainly! Be reconciled? Of course! But forgiveness and reconciliation are for the living. Paying honor and tribute to those dead at Bitburg has little to do with the biblical concept of forgiveness.


Kennett Square, Pa.

Moishe Rosen has said that many Jews feel the hatred of their oppressors is what has sustained them throughout the centuries. He illustrates how this leads to etholatry. I’ve always seen forgiveness as good, but some parts of the Jewish culture do not agree with the basic premise of the virtues of forgiveness.

The end result of not dealing with “Why” we should forgive is the same as not dealing with “How” or “If.” I think the difference is an important one to realize in talking with someone who has cultural rules that are not the same as one’s own.


Shawnee, Okla.

We all must forgive and forget. If not, world wars will continue forever. But to honor those who killed and tortured sadistically millions of people, for whatever political reasons that may benefit our country, is beyond charitable understanding. As I watched the proceedings on TV all I could think was: Hitler must be having a good belly laugh today.


Wilmington, N.C.

Your editorial on Bitburg deals most effectively with the seemingly irreconcilable tension between justice and forgiveness. I commend you for the way in which you tackled this thorny issue.

In the 1960s I read a book by a Jew about the Holocaust. The single impact it had on me was the realization that for the Jew there is no hope for life after death. It was devastating! We become so accustomed to our Christian heritage with its assurance of eternal life and its opportunity for forgiveness that we expect outsiders to believe the same.


Toronto, Ont., Canada

No? Ono!

Wayne Grudem in his Meditation “The Courage to Say No” [July 12] was looking for texts to support his point. He missed Nehemiah 6:2—living in the “plain of Ono.”


Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Strategy Of Cross-Cultural Outreach

“Foreign Missions: Next Door and Down the Street” [July 12] took the words right out of my mouth. Especially impressive are the large numbers of internationals flooding to our neighborhoods. How accurate of Dr. Winter to remark that a “veritable Pentecost of nations” resides on our doorsteps.

No, we should not let up in sending our best troops overseas. But let us realize too how viable is the strategy of cross-cultural outreach among students, business and embassy personnel, many of whom return to establish and strengthen the church in their home countries.

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Durham, N.C.

Where is the burgeoning U.S. church? Foreign mission societies have tremendous tasks overseas—the many immigrants coming to our shores and borders are but a drop in the bucket percentagewise of those left behind. Let us get the U.S. church out of prosperity row and into service! Jack Frizen is correct—the responsibility rests here.


Oshkosh, Wis.

Over the decade on which Bjork reports that ten million newcomers arrived in America, world population (especially in the homelands of these newcomers) grew by over 500 million. What kind of logic would suggest deploying the whole work force among the ten million?


General Director,

TEAM Wheaton, Ill.

Why would an immigrant, especially a refugee, want to turn around and leave America to return to his native country as an evangelist? In the minds of all of the refugees I have known and many of the international college students I have taught, a top priority is to get their family members to America and never go back.


Black Mountain, N.C.

One home missions leader said, “We have been working among Hispanics for over 40 years.” This is great, but where are the Hispanic leaders? Where are the Hispanic missionaries? Or if an Hispanic young man wants to go to seminary, he is asked, “Why?”

Unless our churches are willing to really accept all as brothers and sisters in Christ (when they are won to him), and realize that we all have something to offer, this great opportunity that the Lord is giving to us will be lost.


Denair, Calif.

Of Traditions And Stereotypes

The July 12 issue was one of the best I’ve ever read. Hardly a paragraph went untouched. In the article about Southern Baptists, W. A. Criswell said, “We have a hierarchy more dominating than the Episcopal Church.” He said it, not I.

He alluded to one of the stereotypes of the Episcopal Church among evangelicals that is not true. Particularly after reading some of the letters about Thomas Howard’s conversion to Catholicism, I am surprised at how little effort some evangelicals make to understand other Christian traditions. It’s like criticizing a book one has never read.


Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

CT’s references to the SBC struggle as being between the conservatives and “moderates” is only echoing the nonevangelical bias. But foundational beliefs like the atoning death of Christ have been swept aside in many SBC schools and churches. What would the more deserving “moderates” have to do to qualify for a discerning and realistic label that does not mislead readers? The bottom line isn’t labels, but faithfulness to Jesus.

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W. Columbia, S.C.

A Flawed Application?

Kenneth Kantzer’s effort to limit God to the extent of traditional Christianity’s experience and perception is disturbing [“The Cut-rate Grace of a Health and Wealth Gospel,” June 14]. This worship of tradition holds the body of Christ from the power it needs for evangelism. The Bible must be held true regardless of human application. Just because some are not able to make a truth work does not invalidate the truth. It indicates a flaw in the application.


Scottsdale, Ariz.

I was a part of this cheap grace movement—the health and wealth God who always pampers us. I thank God I joined those who want costly grace.


Knoxville, Tenn.

Surely extremes can develop when Bible texts are used out of context, or in an imbalanced way. The absorption of the American dream by the prosperity cult denies biblical repentance and Christ’s call to self-denial. But Kantzer’s mild distinction between the “wealth” and “health” portions of his article does not avoid guilt by association for those who do not hold to the propserity cult motif, but do hold to divine strength and healing so as to advance Christ’s kingdom in this day.


The Firt Alliance Church

Greensboro, N.C.

Applause For Causa

It is sad to see a fine magazine step onto treacherous ground, as in the article on Sun Myung Moon’s anti-Communist CAUSA ministry (News, June 14). It failed to take note of the applause the ministry receives from thousands of pastors nationwide or attempt to consider its merits and potential to buttress traditional Christianity against the inroads of materialist thought, which is its purpose. As a newsman and a longtime Unification Church member, my hope and prayer is that such a story will never recur.


New York City Tribune

New York, N.Y.

CT’s story linked CAUSA with the Coalition for Religious Freedom by inference. Here is the truth about the Coalition:

(1) The Coalition has absolutely no ties with CAUSA. (2) The board is made up entirely of Christians; no members of the Unification Church or other Moon organization serve in any capacity. (3) No money has been given to the Coalition by the Unification Church. Some grants have been given by business organizations over which Moon has influence. (4) The Coalition is not a religious organization but a First Amendment one, controlled by Christians.


Chairman, Corporate Board

Coalition for Religious Freedom

Washington, D.C.

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