Let’s Get On with It!
On the one hand, I commend you for treating subjects such as the one in “Under Fire” [Sept. 18]. On the other hand, it incenses me that so much time and energy are expended arguing, debating, and otherwise dissecting Christian doctrine. Give me a break! Let’s get on with the Father’s business of soul saving and leave men like Richard Foster and David Seamands alone to do their thing—which certainly sounds to me like it is Christ’s and the Father’s thing.
West Allis, Wis.
David Hunt and T. A. McMahon’s Seduction of Christianity does an excellent job of documenting the infiltration of occult philosophy into Christian institutions, but there is one flaw. The authors provide ample support for their point that visualization has become a common practice in contemporary Christianity. But in spite of their repeated and vigorous contention that visualization is an ancient occult practice, they do not quote a single authority or cite even one reference to support that claim.
Pacific Press Publishing Association
A new deli delight
Now that you have revealed to the world why we at Fuller are so severely troubled with chronic theological indigestion through printing our Catalyst snack shop menu in your September 18 issue [“The Divine Deli”], let me offer some hope to those who may be suffering. The committee is considering a new addition: The John Wimber: Miracle Whip on Wonder Bread.
C. PETER WAGNER
Fuller Theological Seminary
Christians in a secular state
William Willimon’s essay on religious freedom [“The Chains of Freedom,” Sept. 18] is a clear articulation of the dilemma Christians now face. “Now,” because it is only as we have experienced the breakdown of a Judeo-Christian consensus that we are forced to wonder what is the Christian role in the creation of a purely secular state.
This is not only a political dilemma, but an intellectual one as well. The Christian’s claim to truth for the whole nation is not a priori. We believers must come to terms with the uncomfortable fact that faith no longer has the accent of reality, sociologically or intellectually. Kierkegaard was right: We do not enter faith by rational, impersonal, universal knowledge, but by inwardness and personal commitment. The fact of the matter is, however, the “human right” of freedom of choice takes precedence over the Christian’s right to make disciples.
THOMAS J. BOWER
The only reason Christians are safe in the United States is that we are moderately Christian!
I was appalled that the New Age movement is using the word channel to make mediumship respectable [“Theology from the Twilight Zone,” Sept. 18]. The word has an honorable past in Christian spirituality; ask anyone who’s prayed to be a channel of God’s grace. And to use entity to mean spirit spoils a useful comprehensive term.
New York, N.Y.
It is important to recognize that it is the object of our faith, not our personal spiritual experiences, that makes Christianity unique among the world’s religions. While basically agreeing on the essentials of faith, it is possible to be quite diverse in our expressions and experiences of that “one, true faith.” In secondary matters, one Christian tradition’s orthodoxy is another’s heresy! If we are to show a loving respect for each other’s religious consciences—certainly a necessity if our witness to a loving, redemptive God is to be credible—we must learn the art of fruitful dialogue, rather than alienating polemic, in theological and spiritual disputes.
CAROL A. DWORKOWSKI
I have a theological problem with Tim Stafford’s review of John Wimber’s Power Healing [Books, Sept. 18]. Stafford asks, “Since when have movements been decided by theology?” I would suggest he take a good hard look at Acts 15 and the Book of Galatians. The apostles James and Paul saw fit to apply theology to the question of circumcision for believers.
Cedar Grove, Wis.
Our church has made “mental health in the body of Christ” a real priority lately. Of course, we don’t pretend to have the professional resources to deal with serious mental illness or severe emotional trauma, but there are many phobias, disorders, or compulsive behaviors that we can address because they are specific to church life. For example:
- Cuppickupia: The compulsive urge to run around picking up all the little cups after a Communion service. Especially prevalent among preacher’s kids.
- Kleptocuppia: An advanced form of cuppickupia, in which the kleptocuppiac hides one Communion cup on his person while collecting the empty cups. This causes other cuppickupiacs great emotional trauma.
- Oopseedaisia: The dread of dropping anything in church. Oopseedaisiacs often slow down offerings or Communion services by either refusing to touch the passing plate or holding on so tightly that they can’t let it go.
- Whoomeegulpia: The fear of being called on to pray after a long string of prayer requests have been mentioned. The Whoomeegulpiac often blanks out and reverts to “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.”
- Titheomania: The irresistible urge to make increasingly large Sunday offerings. Somehow, this seems to be one of the rarer church compulsions.
Public or private schooling?
The informative article by Paul F. Parsons, “The Fourth R” [Sept. 4], was an oversimplification of the conditions in both the public secular and private Christian school systems. As a retired public school educator who has supported the private Christian school movement, I am aware that Christian school advocates tend to generalize negative conditions in the public schools. During my career I worked alongside both Christian and non-Christian administrators and teachers. These dedicated educators strive against difficult circumstances to establish order and teach traditional values. Many of the problems in the public sector stem from the power structure that assigns responsibility without sufficient authority to correct conditions.
The private Christian school system, however, has its problems. They range from hiring qualified personnel to establishing positive relationships among pastors, administrators, teachers, students, and parents. Private does not always mean good; neither does public always mean bad. Each situation must be judged on its own merit.
L. A. ROBINSON, PH.D.
Laguna Beach, Calif.
I commend Professor Parsons for his thorough research and for visiting Christian schools in 60 cities. I believe he caught the spirit of this remarkable movement and reported it well.
PAUL A. KIENEL
Association of Christian Schools Intl.
I am in a particularly good position to confirm your positive comments on the solid Christian traits visible in the staff and faculty of the Stony Brook School in Long Island. Just a few days ago my son had to return from Stony Brook (and preseason football practice) to attend his mother’s funeral. What I’m finding to be typical of the Stony Brook mentality was the matter-of-fact decision by his head coach to miss football practice and accompany my son on the flight and attend the funeral with him—and the coach was planning to pay for his own ticket.
The Stony Brook School is indeed a special place with staff and faculty who show evidence of the “fruit of the Spirit” and not mere doctrinal allegiance.
I am concerned that “Christianizing” education may do more damage than good, as much of our second-rate Christian counterculture has. The education is mediocre, particularly in the lazy ACE system. There a student is cut off from the rest and told to work at his own pace, then given shoddy tests. He graduates at an early age, and those not in the know think he is a prodigy. Imagine his horror in his first year in college, with its strict strata and common plateaus, as he struggles alongside those raised on definite expectations and evaluations. Without a standard, how can anyone’s work be properly evaluated?
PETER T. CHATTAWAY
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Regarding the Arts section in the September 4 issue, I was disturbed by the insensitivity of the hymn “Ambivalence.” Even with “tongue firmly in cheek” it made light of a very serious issue in the church: exclusive language. Any language that excludes a Christian brother or sister is less than what Jesus modeled for us. Fortunately, God’s grace covers our ignorance and insensitivity.
REV. EMMA RICHARDS
Lombard Mennonite Church
Full name, please
That was an interesting piece on our friend Jane and her hymns [“A Trendy Voice,” Arts, Sept. 18]. But you did leave out a couple of things: two letters in her middle name. It’s Jane Parker Huber.
Society needs condom ads
John Piper [“Just Say No to Condom Ads,” Speaking Out, Sept. 4] raises some important concerns, but in an idealistic way. We have to understand that we’re dealing with both a society determined to have sex outside the bounds of marriage and a killer disease. The condom ads are not addressed to the Christian community, but to society at large. A part of our responsibility, as Jeremiah so clearly understood, is to seek the welfare of the land in which we live, even though our hearts yearn for something better. As much as any of us would like to deal in absolutes with our culture, we have to engage in creative compromise.
DR. THOMAS P. EGGEBEEN
First Presbyterian Church
Needed: Healthy patriotism
I was somewhat disturbed by the general tenor of the editorial “Return of the Big Stick” [Sept. 4]. Much of the evidence Terry Muck cited as “raising renewed fears of creeping militarism” is better interpreted as a renewal of healthy patriotism. One has the impression that the military is actively attempting to establish itself as some sort of idol, usurping the place of God.
CHAPLAIN ROBERT C. STROUD
United States Air Force
Reese Air Force Base, Tex.
Is it possible that another reason people are looking to the military institution of man for protection rather than to God is that they see churches and Christian leaders demonstrating their lack of trust in God and their trust in man’s institutions in such matters as lawsuits and legal disputes? You cannot pick up a newspaper without encountering Christians suing their churches, churches suing their parishioners, and Christian leaders taking their disputes against one another to law “before unbelievers.”
WILLIAM D. BONTRAGER
Christian Conciliation Service
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