Women’s God-given Roles

At last! How we appreciated Ellen Wilson Fielding’s verbalizing the privilege it is to help form the next generation [“Career Change,” Dec. 11]. We are impoverished by how far we have come from that truth.

Women desert their homes because there is too much challenge. Cheers for the women’s movement where we seek, share, love, and cooperate with each other so we can more adequately fill our God-given roles.


Northome, Minn.

Mrs. Fielding’s article certainly pleases God! It did me a lot of good reading it, even though I am an old Grandpa. She is surely a godly mother in modern Israel.


Pleasant Hill, Calif.

Christmas trees

Eugene Peterson’s thought-provoking article, “Christmas Shame” [Dec. 11], brought back memories. When I was 14, my mother eliminated the tree from our Christmas celebrations. That year my Christmas gifts included my first Bible, which I treasured all the way through my college years. Since then God has blessed me to spend over 38 years in teaching, pastoral, and administrative ministry in the church. Mom’s theology wasn’t perfect, but it helped me to put the emphasis in Christmas where it ought to be.


Seventh-day Adventists

Burleson, Tex.

Speaking as the church

Kenneth Kantzer states that a well-informed Christian political philosophy should include “a strategy that will encourage cooperation on selected moral issues even with those who disagree radically with our most fundamental Christian convictions [“A Farewell to Harms,” Dec. 11]. However, Kantzer does not seem to realize that the moment that is done, the church ceases to speak as the church because its voice becomes nondistinguishable from other “moral” voices not based on Jesus Christ—the “ethic” of Christianity. Such cooperation would not make the voice of the church clearer, it would distort it.


Lakeland, Fla.

Kantzer’s editorial was both noncompromising and erudite. The early church “turned the world upside-down,” and with 40 million so-called born-again Christians in America, we struggle to impact our own society. Could it be we’re more influenced than influencers?


High Adventure Ministries

Van Nuys, Calif.

Is God in control?

In Philip Yancey’s recent column, “God Isn’t Fair (and I’m Glad He Isn’t)” [Nov. 20], he suggested God had no hand in the airline crash that left only one survivor. We are left to believe either: God knew the crash and resulting deaths would occur but chose to save only one (or was she saved by “chance”?), or, he didn’t know and was “surprised” by the arrival in heaven of any Christians who may have been on board. If we serve a God who has so little control over such events, we are to be pitied.

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Pittsburgh, Pa.

Yancey seems to miss the point: Perhaps (just perhaps) the point that should be made is that God is not nearly as offended by so-called bad doctrine as we think he should be.


West Palm Beach, Fla.

Who can forgive?

With regard to Kenneth Kantzer’s article “The Road to Restoration” [Nov. 20], I understand we are not to judge but forgive all sins committed against us. I do not understand, according to my Bible, that we are to forgive or judge those sins committed against God. I also understand it is God, not man, that restores. Do we, in our eagerness to show forgiving love, sometimes intrude into the areas reserved for God alone?


Murdock Neb.

In his excellent article, Kantzer says, “Paradoxically, God sometimes permits us to fall into sin for our own growth and sanctification and ministry.” What an interesting statement! As far as I can tell, every sin in my life has been “permitted” by God, but the result has not always been for edifying purposes, I’m sure.

I believe God hates sin and thus would hardly be likely to “permit” it. Even so, if I am to have free will, it is my how could God prevent it?


Westlake Village, Calif.

Two issues deserved more complete analysis: (1) Regarding sins committed by Christian leaders, it is not which sins are worse than others, but whether the leader has broken the trust given to him or her, and/or whether the leader has developed a bad reputation in the eyes of unbelievers; (2) Scripture clearly indicates when leaders have sinned they are to be rebuked publicly as an example to followers (1 Tim. 5:19–20). Kantzer takes the position that this would only be true in the case of a leader’s sin that is publicly known. The question is, When is it considered public? I submit that when the sin of a leader is known to those other than the leader and the party sinned against, it is in the public domain, and careful consideration should be given to whether public trust has been violated, a bad reputation has been created, and to what should be the scope of the public rebuke. We should not be dismayed when a leader fails, in the sense of being surprised; rather, we should be concerned if the failure is not followed by appropriate attitudes and actions.

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Seattle Pacific University

Seattle, Wash.

I noticed one small problem that has plagued this subject for a long time, and will continue to bother anyone trying to find the right road to restoration. That is the attitude exemplified by the statement “Demands laid on the President of the United States, for example, would necessarily be far more stringent than those required of a county commissioner.” This and the sidebar, “Are All Sins Created Equal?,” show an attitude that is not allowed in the Bible. Either sin is sin, no matter who commits it, or God is not just. The laws of God apply equally for us all.


Tulsa, Okla.

Lessons In Deception

I should have been suspicious when our pastor preached from Exodus 1 about the midwives who feared God and lied to the king of Egypt, and from 1 Samuel 21, in which David disguised his sanity by “lying” with his behavior. Now I realize he was laying the groundwork for his own deception.

About midweek I called his office and was informed he was “out of town.” A few questions later, I translated that to mean he actually lives in the country; he was at home: thus, he is often “out of town.”

It didn’t take long to decipher some other popular phrases. “He has someone with him” means he and another staff member are exchanging good stories.

“He’s on the other line” means he opted to call someone else rather than talk to me. “He has an afternoon appointment” is easy—he is playing tennis with his partner. “Preparing for his sermon” took some investigation: he’s reading his latest issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

Now I’m working on my own set of deceptors for not being able to make it to church. How about “I had to be at an immersion,” when I decided to go waterskiing? Or I could be “training a new Christian in the pattern of Matthew,” when my son and I go fishing. Could I be “visiting shut-ins” at the indoor sports arena? Surely “serving the needy children in our neighborhood,” will sound pious, even though I’m really dishing up ice cream and cake.

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This business seems to be catching.


Different standards

While reading David Augsburger’s fine article, “The Private Lives of Public Leaders” [Nov. 20], I reminded myself that secular leaders and unsaved religious leaders and persons are expected to fulfill carnal appetites; however, the child of God, whether pastor, layman or public figure, is under a totally different set of standards.


Xenia, Ohio

An incredible review

I find somewhat incredible Glenn Schram’s review of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind [Books, Nov. 20]. Bloom has written a truly insightful book—perhaps even a great book. But Schram waves away the excellence of the book in half a sentence: “Bloom’s critique of our universities seems incontrovertible …”; then the wave good-bye, “but whether his proposed solutions are adequate is questionable.” Isn’t a critique that approaches being “incontrovertible” an unusually fine bit of work?

Bloom tells what has happened to American liberal arts higher education and why. Beyond that, he gives us that rarest commodity: insight. Schram faults Bloom for not giving a strong answer on how to correct it all. It’s not an unfair criticism, but somehow it seems just a bit petty. If I wrote a review of Bloom’s book, it would start: “Read this book!”


Portland, Oreg.

Those Korean churches

CT continues to set standards of excellence in Christian journalism with stories of church growth, first in China and now in Korea [“Will Success Spoil the South Korean Church?” Nov. 20]. I’m looking forward to the report on Egypt.

May I add a footnote on Korean superchurches? You omitted reference to the three largest Methodist churches in the world, all with over 200,000 members. The leader is pastor Kim Sun-Do of the Kwang Kim Methodist Church in Seoul.


Fuller Theological Seminary

Pasadena, Calif.

Old hymns: Embarrassing or uplifting?

As a “baby boomer,” may I add my two cents to Donald Hustad’s article on music in the church [“Let’s Not Just Praise the Lord,” Nov. 6]? Many old hymns are embarrassing to sing: they seem patronizing—“dear, sweet, precious” Jesus. Yet other hymns of the same 200-year time span are uplifting expressions of adoration and gratitude (“And Can It Be?,”“O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”). Is this a personality quirk or a societal linguistic shift? I am relieved at the shift away from choruses that extol “my experience” and “my feelings” rather than my Lord. However, the (ageless!) contemporary choruses using Jewish folk melodies and Scripture strike a chord deep within my soul.


Bellevue, Wash.

Regarding Donald P. Hustad’s article:

Amen Amen Amen Amen

Amen Amen Amen

Amen Amen Amen Amen

Amen Amen Amen.


Port Moody, B.C., Canada

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