On Palestinians: Balanced And Informative

Congratulations for having the courage to publish Beth Spring’s balanced and informative article “Palestinian Christians: Caught in a War of Two Rights” [Apr. 18]. I have worked with Israeli officials and visited Israel five times in four years and have a good understanding of the complex environment there. I particularly endorse Spring’s criticism of (1) the U.S. evangelical community’s unquestioning moral and political support for the State of Israel, and (2) the subtle, but effective, deprivation of many basic human rights of non-Jews.


Fairfax Station, Va.

The discrimination against Palestinians in Israel is as great and as wicked as the discrimination against blacks in South Africa.


East Cleveland, Ohio

A couple of points marred the article somewhat. To say “Israel’s electoral process of direct proportional representation by party virtually excludes Arabs from … the Knesset” is misleading. A significant number of Arabs—directly proportional to the Arab vote in the elections—are members of the Knesset.

Also, chronology in the sidebar “Possessing the Land” notes immigration of Jewish people during the British Mandate (1920–48), but it fails to mention immigration of 300,000 Arabs to “Palestine” in the same period. It also fails to mention the British White Paper of 1939, which closed the area to Jewish immigration, resulting in thousands of Jewish people being forced to return to Nazi-occupied Europe where they were exterminated.

The 1948 chronology said Israel seized “all” of Palestine, but 80 percent of Palestine had already been ceded to the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. The remaining 20 percent was partitioned between the Arabs and the Jewish people. Of the partitioned Arab lands, Jordan seized the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Egypt seized the remainder (the Gaza Strip).


Menorah Ministries

Palm Harbor, Fla.

Let’s have some more articles that delve into the subject historically and theologically.


Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Where Is The Church?

Thank you, Chuck Colson, for “Friends of Religious Liberty: Why the Embarrassing Silence?” [Apr. 18]. Where is the “church” today? Way too busy trying to see how many organizations they can join and how to get their name listed in Who’s Who of Christianity.


Atlanta, Ga.

Colson alleges that “Christian leaders fell all over themselves to ally with Moon” in his tax fraud case, and insinuates that “money, advertising, and powerful political connections are more important to church leaders than holiness.” That may have been true in some cases, but it was certainly not true of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) or its leaders.

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Here are the salient facts. After prolonged consideration, NAE agreed to the use of its name on a brief asking the Supreme Court to review the religious liberty issues raised in Moon’s tax case. That brief—filed as a friend of the Court—pointedly observes: “We stress that our filing of this brief is motivated not by any particular sympathy for Reverend Moon or by any agreement with his faith.” Colson says he agrees that “the church should rise to the defense of anyone whose religious liberty is threatened.” That is all NAE did.

Colson obliquely questions why NAE has not filed a supporting brief in the Guinn case. Like most Christian organizations, NAE’s resources are not unlimited. We are forced to pick and choose, and normally do not get involved until a case reaches the Supreme Court level.


National Association of Evangelicals

Wheaton, Ill.

While Colson’s concern for the Church of Christ in Collinsville, Oklahoma, may be well-founded, I can only guess he has little knowledge of the situation. On the other hand, if what he said is based on a thorough knowledge of Church of Christ practices, then I am horrified at his defense of a cruel and tyrannical system. I find it hard to believe he would actually defend a system of church discipline that forbids members to leave. Shades of the Middle Ages!


First Presbyterian Church

Sapulpa, Okla.

Colson need not have defended the Collinsville church—our proper response nationwide was embarrassed silence, for the damage done was to our Christian witness, not the religious liberties of the church. The church tried to deny Marian Guinn her religious liberty: the freedom from religion.


Salem, Oreg.

As a member of the fellowship of Churches of Christ, I am grateful to Charles Colson for breaking the “embarrassing silence” in the evangelical community. The elders of the Collinsville congregation have been criticized and crucified by the secular media for attempting conscientiously and lovingly to fulfill their scriptural obligation.


College Avenue Church of Christ

El Dorado, Ark.

Reconstructing Education

Thank you for your informative article on the “Christian Reconstruction” movement [“War Is Declared on Public Education,” News, Apr. 18], Not all home educators share Paul Lindstrom’s views. Jordan Lorence of Home School Legal Defense Association makes a sharp point in Today’s Christian Woman (Mar. 8).” … I believe the number one thing that keeps parents out of trouble is dealing with authorities in a cooperative and open manner.” Unfortunately, a number of home-school parents treat the authorities as if they were Gestapo agents.

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Please make it clear that most home educators seek peaceful coexistence.


Freeman, S.D.

I would no more hand my three young children over to public educationists than send them to Libya, Iran, or the Soviet Union for schooling. Education is the province of the home and the church and never the state, according to the Word of God.


Pensacola, Fla.

A movement called Christian Reconstruction should be committed to the reconstruction of public education, not its dismantling.


Mukwonago, Wis.

Setting Or Following Trends?

Kenneth Kantzer’s editorial “Saving Public Education” [Apr. 4] and the report to which it refers, “A Nation at Risk,” both attribute more power and influence to the public schools than they deserve. As a teacher, I have come to the conclusion that schools do not set trends as much as they follow or reflect them.


Fredericton, N.B., Canada

The editorial was very much to the point. I have long thought that there is a difference in learning ability, as well as in the attitude of public schools. In my own educational experiences, some teachers passed every student—even in some college classes.


Sellingrove, Pa.

Having studied and taught in the American and European systems, I concur that the former leaves much to be desired. By the time my son had finished high school in France, he had had seven years of English, five years of German, four years of history, geography, math, and science, and one year of Latin and philosophy. When he came to Wheaton College he was given one year of credit.


Orange, Calif.

I, for one, would like to see the government get completely out of the education business and give it back to the churches and local organizations.


N. Highlands, Calif.

Sports And Spectators

I appreciated the articles on the ethics of sports [“The Sanctification of Sport,” Apr. 4]. Recognition that sport is not an area where we can leave our Christianity behind is crucial. To be biblical, we should stress achievement over competition. What is needful in our sports-saturated society is an ethic of spectatorship. To what extent can Christians support teams that exemplify non-Christian values such as materialism, intimidation, and pride?

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Foothills Christian College

Calgary, Alta., Canada

If only Shirl Hoffman had encountered Andre Thornton or Norm Evans before writing “The Sanctification of Sport” with its focus on the killer instinct. The Lord Jesus came into my life the last third of my 40 years as a Detroit sports writer. As a believer, my spirits were lifted by Bill Glass and Raymond Berry, Alvin Dark and Bobby Richardson, Danny Thompson and Fritz Peterson. These and many others displayed competitive intensity in a biblical sense. The Lord has exciting people on his side in professional and college sports.


President, Baseball Chapel

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Even in an over-30 church-league basketball game, the “killer instinct” is alive in most Americans. Why else would we old Presbyterians be concerned that our Nazarene brothers beat us for seventh place?


West Lafayette, Ind.

I disagree with Hoffman’s idea that competition and Christianity do not mix. Christianity does not emphasize the importance of losing. We are called to victory!


Burbank, Calif.

Is it possible that Hoffman confuses “play” as fun, recreation, relieving of the strain of work and other responsibilities with “play” in the highly commercialized world of both professional sports and “amateur” sports on the college campus? Isn’t it that—the play of children—that Zechariah 8:5 envisions in the messianic age, while the play of adults is part of the throat-cutting economic structure of our society? It is for this reason I cringe at the recital of evangelical theology at its crudest by various “sports figures” at the opening of our on-campus football games. It is why I genuinely respect the well-known athlete who, in explaining a week’s absence from class, states plainly, “I’m hoping to be the highest-paid recruit in history.” At least that’s honest, and not muddied up with pious cant.


Auburn University

Auburn University, Ala.

Golden Calves

There it was, a snappy storefront right between two other businesses (oops, I mean Christian ministries).

On one side was Sweeter Than Honey Christian Candies, featuring “temptations you don’t need to flee.” On the other side was Revelation Video Rentals, with a sign in the window proclaiming: OUR PROPHECY VIDEOS WILL SCARE YOU SILLY.

But it was the new store in the middle that drew me in. It was simply called Son Tans.

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“Why a Christian tanning parlor?” I asked the hospitable manager.

“Because God may look on the heart, but man looks on the outward appearance,” he said. “I think Christians should have a healthy glow, don’t you?”

I must have looked a little skeptical, and the manager got serious. “Jesus was probably well tanned,” he declared.

“Aren’t we supposed to be like him?”

I tried to change the subject. “Are you for Christians only?” “The only screening done here is with lotion,” he said.

“Our machines shine on the just and the unjust.”

Clearly, this enterprise needs little comment. But I suppose it’s only fair to add that the manager said he had an evangelistic outreach. “When you bring non-Christian friends,” he explained, “they quickly learn they’ve got to turn or burn.”


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