Koop’S Integrity

I deeply appreciated Philip Yancey’s article on former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop [Oct. 20]. Koop has shown integrity in both his personal and professional lives. I believe he has done a model job of integrating his faith and work. He is a good example of the fact that integrity has a cost. The cost may be great, but it pays rich dividends in the satisfaction of being able to live with yourself before God.

I pray that I will develop and show the kind of integrity Koop has modeled.

Dave Houvenagle

St. Paul, Minn.

I was scandalized by Yancey’s article on Koop. He says approvingly that “Koop offered up a refreshing model of integrity from an evangelical Christian.” Yet he admits only six lines earlier that Koop remained silent on abortion because he realized that “if he took a strong vocal stand, no one would listen to anything he said as surgeon general.” I don’t call that integrity: I call it compromise.

Norman L. Geisler

Liberty University

Lynchburg, Va.

Why do some Christians defy categorization and thereby incur animosity from both the Left and the Right? Yancey’s lucid article positions Koop in the same perplexing stance in which many Christian forebears have stood.

Our Lord himself was enemy of both Pharisee and Sadducee; the apostle Paul was opposed by both antinomian and legalist. More recently, G. K. Chesterton was rejected by both political liberal and conservative. Koop joins our nonconforming forebears by “surprising friends and foes alike.”

The prophetic Christian cannot be pigeonholed into cultural ideologies.

Greg Smith

Evergreen Students for Christ

Olympia, Wash.

Koop’s perfidious betrayal of the unborn is a shining example of another Calvinistic doctrine Yancey failed to mention: the total depravity of men.

Rev. Michael L. Isbell

Red Oak Christian Church

Greenville, N.C.

Yancey’s perceptive profile of C. Everett Koop is far finer than any of the analyses I’ve read in metropolitan journals.

Rolf Veenstra

Rehoboth Christian Reformed Church

Rehoboth, N.M.

Yancey seems to take at face value that “the sovereignty of God” is central to Koop’s beliefs. But our Lord tells us we are known by our fruits. And when one judges Koop righteously, not on the basis of appearance, it is clear that he, alas, as surgeon general, did not behave as if he believes God is sovereign.

When asked in an interview on public television how he separated his “personal views” from his views as surgeon general, he replied, with a chuckle: “I don’t know. It’s not hard. You sorta split your personality and say, ‘I don’t like what’s happening but I report it.’ ” But no true Christian, especially one who claims to believe in God’s sovereignty, can “split” his personality.

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John Lofton

Laurel, Md.

I have been pained by the cruel, unthinking attacks on Koop’s upright, carefully reasoned, deeply Christian positions. His maturity and courage are fruits of the Spirit fellow evangelicals should emulate and cherish, not deride. I shall miss his utterly trustworthy leadership.

Ellen Gabrielse

Lexington, Ma.

Colson’S “New Dark Ages”

Chuck Colson makes some excellent points in his article “Living in the New Dark Ages” [Oct. 20]. Yet, there have been some incredible bursts of light that have stunned us all. Who could possibly have foreseen the awesome collapse of Marxist societies? Who can predict what “intellectual earthquakes” will rock Western academia where Marx has had such a powerful and devious influence? What will the British Labor party look like next year? Or Marxist parties in the Third World?

I also commend Colson for his respectful references to Catholic history. Too long we in the West have savaged Catholic history and thought. That bias, I believe, lies at the heart of much of our Western spiritual and intellectual malaise.

Richard H. Schaefer

San Francisco, Calif.

The article by Colson caught me a little off. I am part of the 80 percent of the U.S. who regularly attend church, whom Colson characterizes as the “modern man—guided solely by [his] own dark passions.” True—there is a sickness in our culture. But can’t you find a voice other than one who helped plunge our nation into perhaps its gravest constitutional crisis through his “own dark passions”?

Jay Daniel

Rapid City, S.D.

Praise His Name, Two, Three, Four

Our church has seen several movements—the charismatic, the church-growth, and the small-group movements, to name a few. Still, we weren’t prepared for the latest: the Movement movement.

It started innocently with a women’s aerobics class, which was followed by some innocent swaying to praise choruses and fast-moving hymns. But it started to get out of hand when our intern from the seminary arrived, all excited about his class in “Theo-Kinetics.” He proposed a Sunday morning dance troupe to “recapture the intuitive in worship.” Then denominational headquarters, never wanting to be out of step (so to speak), issued a denominationwide study curriculum, “Motion and Mission.”

But local congregations aren’t always moving at the same speed as seminary professors and denominational hierarchs. After the worship-dance group’s first Sunday-morning performance, the issue came to the board. Some favored the new expression, citing Jeremiah 31:13. Others ridiculed it as “discipleship in Danskin.” It finally came to a motion (of course).

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As expected, the board voted for a compromise between the progressives and conservatives. Worship dance is permissible, but for men only. That left our head ushers, Frank and Wilber, with the job of leading the men in an expressionistic interpretation of “All Hail the Power” as part of the call to worship. They resigned immediately.

Now we need a study from the seminary or headquarters on “Finding Ushers for Ministry.”


Male And Female Roles

Regarding the review of Equal to Serve and Call Me Blessed [Oct. 20]: No one who has thoroughly and properly studied the male-female identity issue in Scripture can conclude that “the authority of men has been brought to Scripture—not found in it.” To do so is to reject what is clearly taught. Our problem is we want to interpret Scripture rather than believe what it says.

The roles of male headship and female submission were designed in men and women in Creation. The pre-Fall union was perfect, without conflict or abuse. If we wish to “succeed” in the Christian life, our goal must be to obediently fulfill the roles God has uniquely designed for us, not to redefine them.

Duane L. Burgess

Tucson, Ariz.

Thank you for the review by Phyllis Alsdurf of Faith Martin’s book, Call Me Blessed. Every signatory of the Danvers Statement should read it once a week until they confess their sins of bigotry and oppression.

Ronald M. White

Minneapolis, Minn.

Reverse Emigration Ahead?

The article “Russian Revolution” [Oct. 20] was tremendously encouraging to me, especially the part about Russian textbook publishers who “expressed interest in Christian books on child-rearing, alcoholism, and abortion.” In light of the current situation in U.S. public schools, where Christianity is being increasingly forced out, I felt a slight pang of envy! The thought crossed my mind—wouldn’t it be ironic if our next generation saw a massive emigration of Christians from the U.S. to the Soviet Union!

Janet Lindeblad Jenzen

Wichita, Kan.

In their analysis of communism, I believe the Deynekas should have focused more on its “continuity” and less on the “change.” There have been no glorious democratic changes in the USSR: rather, the best, most seductive liar has been elevated to leadership.

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Fortunately, the Deynekas leave us with a resounding thought: “In communist countries open doors can suddenly close.” Be prepared. In fact, be prepared for more than clicks of shutting doors.

Daniel R. Peterson

Livingston, Mont.

Miraculous Breakthroughs, Wrong Identification

I read with interest the article about the Palau crusades [in the USSR; News, Oct. 20]. It continues to amaze me how the Lord has brought such drastic changes to the Soviet Union. I’m sure there will be a continuing stream of miraculous breakthroughs for Christians there.

Thank you for the mention of Bible Literature International. The long-range impact of one million pieces of evangelistic literature in the USSR being handed from person to person will be phenomenal. As Luis has said, it’s like turning one million little evangelists loose in that country! However, the reference to us as “Biblical Literature International” has caused some confusion among our donors and friends. Please help clarify our identity!

Jim Falkenberg

Bible Literature International

Columbus, Ohio

The Holocaust Ahead

Tim Stafford’s article [“The Abortion Wars”, Oct. 6] was excellent. It will be placed in my classic-articles file next to Douglas F. Tobler’s “Education, Moral Values, and Democracy: Lessons from the German Experience.” Tobler’s research describes how the decline in education, political involvement, and moral indifference led to war and the slaughter of the Jews. Stafford’s article shows distinct parallels with the German experience. Substitute the word unborn for Jew, and it will shock you how similar our situation is. Stafford is correct: The only way to stop the abortion holocaust is for Christians to change the world.

Maj. Hemming Lynn Galbraith

Chaplain, U.S. Army

Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

The whole abortion argument centers on the word therapeutic. What may be therapeutic for the mother is not only lethal for the child but for society at large as well. The Incarnation makes every child a symbol of eternal hope, of being, alas, “born again.” Neither political side of this “battle,” I am afraid, sees the child in such light. One side sees the child as another deadly burden to add to the welfare state. The other side sees the child as a pernicious poison that will sink the mother deeper into her powerless state. Neither side offers the woman at the abortion clinic the gift child found in the Incarnate. Both offer only a battle that will sink her deeper in her despair.

Jeffrey A. Munson

Evanston, Ill.

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Knowing that it is only God who creates the sperm and eggs that babies are produced from, it seems it should only be God who can take babies so they do not get born—if that is what he chooses for them.

Phyllis Taulman

Gallatin, Tenn.

Understanding The Psalms

Thanks to Philip Yancey for his excellent article “How I Learned to Stop Hating and Start Loving the Psalms” [Oct. 6]. Like Yancey, I too have found this book difficult to understand at times. Not long ago, I heard a Bible scholar declare that he found the attitude of the psalmist in the “cursing psalms,” as Yancey described them, to be objectionable and difficult to justify. His explanation of these psalms as examples of how to deal with our anger before God (“the cursing psalms are best understood as prayers”) opened my understanding of their function. Furthermore, his third point on how the Psalms have transformed his spiritual vision is right on the mark! “We need to make God the center of our lives so that everything relates to him.” This is an attitude Christians are losing sight of today. Thank you for drawing it to our attention so clearly.

David Bartel

Waterloo, Ont., Canada

For many years Philip Yancey’s writings have helped me and my patients on our journey through life to glory. I am a student of theology, but more often than not, it is Yancey who brings me to my knees with a simple “Praise God.”

Faye Bentley

Mesa, Ariz.

What About Rahab?

Kenneth Kantzer in his “Pinocchio Syndrome” [Oct. 6] states that a lie is a statement intended to lead another to believe what we ourselves really do not believe. Good definition! In his column, he doesn’t excuse lying under any condition, which is the normal Christian position. I would appreciate his evaluation of Rahab’s lie in Joshua 2. She was not at war with her own city, Jericho, so the excuse of expecting deceit in warfare was not hers. Would she have been remembered among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 had she not spoken a deliberate lie to protect the spies, herself, and her family?

John Sargent

Bayonet Point, Fla.

Kantzer’s “The Pinocchio Syndrome” disappoints me. I think it is a mistake to lump Oliver North and John Poindexter with Gary Hart and Jim Bakker as telling “huge lies,” even though some distinction is attempted later in the article.

John M. Gore

Oakton, Va.

The statement “God hates liars” raises many questions in my mind. (1) Are liars a unique group of sinners and so excluded from God’s love? (2) How can we overcome the sin of lying if we fear to approach a God who hates us? (3) Does the statement “For God so loved the world …” exclude liars?

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True, the consequence for an unforgiven liar is the same as if God hated him—final destruction. However, God’s love embraces every sinner who chooses to avail himself of his grace, including liars. God’s loving justice will be meted out to all sinners who do not accept his free grace, not just to liars.

Lydia Chiomenti

Galax, Va.

If the day comes, God forbid, when the storm troopers come seeking to destroy my family, I pray that God will provide an Oliver North and not a Kenneth Kantzer to field their questions.

James M. Parsons

Fort Wayne, Ind.

Not Newsworthy?

We were saddened to learn of the tragic persecution in Mitotic, Mexico [World Scene, Oct. 6]. We would appreciate follow-up reports on the victims’ plight. With all the professed concern for human rights, it is odd that we did not hear of this incident on television news or read of it in the newspaper. The news media may be eager to champion the rights of their favored groups, but apparently evangelical Protestants are not among the media’s elect. If the people run out of town had been 600 gays instead of 600 Presbyterians, I suspect the story would have been featured on the evening news and on Ted Koppel’s “Nightline.”

Lewis Kash

Port Neches, Tex.

The news item left me with the impression that these people were expelled because they refused to renounce the Christian faith. But did the demands of the village officials really “include an order that Christians stop practicing their faith” or just an order that these Presbyterians renounce beliefs considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church? Would the village officials really wish to curtail the religious activities of Roman Catholics along with those of Presbyterians—or are Roman Catholics not considered Christians?

Joseph Siotkowski

Chicago, Ill.

Letters are welcome; brevity is preferred. All are subject to condensation. Write Eutychus, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

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