Guns At Home

As I read your August 18 News article “Guns: Should They Be In Christian Homes?” I remembered a lesson I learned as a teenager. A guest speaker at our church youth group discussed why he would not defend himself or his family if a burglar broke into his house.

“What if he were armed?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “I am not concerned about my own standing with God. The burglar might still have the opportunity to be saved.”

For me that is a perfect reflection of a Christlike attitude.

Betty Wininger

Bloomington, Ind.

Incomplete Understanding?

I enjoyed Virginia Stem Owens’s article, “A Faith that Trembles and Dances” [July 14]. Especially helpful was the distinction between resignation and faith.

However, I believe Owens’s understanding of Abraham’s faith is incomplete when she says, “I still had no sense of assurance about what exactly would happen the next day.” But Abraham did know, at least in general, what was going to happen. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” He knew that if he plunged the knife into his son, God would raise him up. I believe Abraham danced up the mountain, as well as back down it; and that is faith.

Rev. Van Gale

Praise Fellowship Church

Wheaton, Ill.

I must address a brief but subtle jab that Owens directed toward the evangelistic effort mentioned in her example about the young man who solicited her participation in a Christmas advertisement. Faculty members should be commended, not scrutinized, for their risk of participating in an activity that provides a visible presence of Christianity in the academic environment, which is often hostile to it. The advertisement served to challenge students to investigate the claims of Christ with individuals who know their routine in much the same manner as Jesus reached people in his culture.

Amazingly, Christ still provides the spiritual perspective that touches the depth of man’s deepest needs in this complex world today. However challenging the works of Kierkegaard, his writings cannot match these claims. Students need to know that.

Howard J. Woodard

Texas A & M University

College Station, Tex.

Kierkegaard is one of the fathers of existentialism, which says there is no absolute or basis for good or evil, that any supernatural experience that gives you good feelings is okay. You can take a blind step or leap of faith into any experience, which is directly in opposition to God’s Word as revealed in the Scriptures. They give us warning that Satan can be seen as an “angel of light.”

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Since the author neglects to give a name to the hand who lifted her and pulled her up, whose spirit gets the glory? Let us give glory to God. For this end we were made.

Jeanne L. Longworth

Benicia, Calif.

Forgive Us Our Trespassing

I just came back from my first rescue. Some of my friends were hauled away to jail for trespassing at an abortion clinic. It’s kind of strange to see your old fourth-grade Sunday school teacher—the woman who made you memorize the Beatitudes—bundled into a paddy wagon.

I was amazed at the way the sober-faced authorities took their job so seriously. Maybe Sarah “Pedal Pusher” Blith-more, our church’s 87-pound organist, is more dangerous than she looks, which would explain why our city’s finest used handcuffs and a half-nelson to subdue her. Well, anyone whose name is in the Guinness Book of World Records for playing 193 verses of “Just As I Am” at a single altar call should have the stamina to survive this ordeal.

All in all, though, the rescue was a success. Some babies were saved, and we were able to express our prolife views on the evening news.

On the way home I stopped to pick up a prescription and came across another “rescue.” I had to shoulder my way to the counter because a crowd was blocking my path. When I asked what they were doing, one of them said he was saving kids from having babies. “If we keep them from buying condoms, they won’t be so sexually active,” he said, arms locked with several others in front of the brightly colored display.

As I left, I noticed another crowd in front of a liquor store next door. They were all sitting on the sidewalk singing “Throw Out the Barrel” and “How Dry You’ll Be.” One of the leaders told onlookers, “Even if we prevent one individual from getting drunk today, it will be worth getting arrested.”

I began to wonder where else protesters might discourage life-destroying decisions: gun shops, lottery-ticket counters, furriers, fast-food franchises, donut shops, cash machines?

Oh well, at least I was able to get my Valium.


Usurping God’S Prerogative

It seems to me that in all the pros and cons presented by the several writers on the abortion issue [CT Institute, July 14], there is one notable omission. I have yet to find anything meaningful said about it in any treatise on the subject. When Paul wrote to the Romans, he cited the basic sin of mankind as the worship of the creature instead of the Creator—when the creature usurps the control over life and death, which God has reserved for himself, he has sinned.

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Since there is little argument that the fetus is a living organism that at some point in its development assumes personhood, the logical conclusion is that the termination of such living can only be regarded as murder. It is certainly premeditation, and it goes to any ends necessary to accomplish the termination of living. If God says this is wrong, that it is sin, who are we to contradict him? We do so only at peril of assuming his position and prerogatives.

Are there no implications for other moral decisions? Of course there are; but the fact that they exist has no bearing on the rightness or wrongness of abortion. Instead of getting wrapped up in the discovery of a universal key that will unlock all doors, why not deal with these issues in the light of Scripture as God gives wisdom to do so.

F. Brooks Sanders

Ormond Beach, Fla.

The real cause of the problem of abortion was not even mentioned. An “academic discussion in writing” comes across as so much drivel when the real focus of irritation is avoided. Why are Christians so polite toward the Devil?

Joseph Heath

Winslow, Ark.

The real question is, What is God’s answer to what is most worthy—to help the women who are suffering after an abortion, or to stop those who are performing the abortions?

If the government has the right to say which unborn person may live or be destroyed, how much longer will it be before they have the right to say the same about those who have survived their mother’s womb?

Joyce Fassig

West Brooklyn, Ill.

My sense of Scripture tells me that many very sincere, dedicated Christians are using unscriptural methods when they oppose any law through the tactic of civil disobedience, unless that law compels us to personally trespass against God’s commandments. Further, when unscriptural methods are used to oppose any immoral law or act, those so engaged cannot have first sought God’s direction on the matter through prayer and fasting, and are therefore fighting the battle in their own strength and without God’s blessing.

Rev. David. R. Miser

New Song Ministries

Fairfield, Calif.

You want to stop abortions? Instill in people a value system where the phrase “wanted child” is redundant because children are valued unconditionally. Treat women and men who have conceived children “unthinkingly” or “accidentally” with love and respect and minister to them redemptively. Help our society gain a godly understanding of the place of sexual activity in relationships. Replace selfishness and immediate gratification of desires with a longing to serve and to bring joy to others.

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Rev. James R. Proctor

United Church of South Royalton

Royalton, Vt.

Most of the thinking today is aimed at the symptoms and not at the disease. We have allowed lust to substitute for love, and then gone on to use the word love without worrying about what others are picturing in their minds. What we consider good business could be greed in disguise. We must start the treatment before we get to the point of needing abortion. To be heard we have to have something better to offer than confrontation.

Donald S. Walker

Middlebury, Conn.

Loving People—And Animals

Charles Colson’s self-righteous “Save the Wails” [July 14] points up so well that some people will never understand that one can love people and animals. Doesn’t the love that motivates animal advocates spring from a greater love? Shouldn’t it be thoughtfully considered, rather than cruelly demeaned?

If Colson sat at my desk and saw some of the photographs of cruelties humans visit upon animals—including the 96 million we factory-farm and eat each week—he might be shocked into realizing the tremendous need there is for support, not ridicule, or an attitude of compassion toward animals. Like it or not, this planet that we humans have so devastated belongs to them, too.

Carla Bennett

People for the Ethical Treatment

of Animals Washington, D.C.

As a part-time wildlife rehabilitator and member of several humane societies, I am well aware that animals don’t have “rights.” They are hardly allowed to live in peace. There is no legal protection for many types of animals in cases of abuse, and most states still allow barbarous leg-hold traps. These are only a few examples of the suffering perpetrated by the attitude that the only species that truly matters is us. I would like to think that a loving God is concerned with the well-being of all his creatures.

Kristen Kranz

Milwaukee, Wis.

Isn’T Christianity “Unique”?

As an enthusiastic fan of Joseph Campbell [The Power of Myth, Books, July 14], I would like to encourage readers to examine his work despite Terry Muck’s caution that “he goes too far” on behalf of the transcendental nature of religion. Naturally Muck would have been more comfortable had Campbell singled out Christianity as a “unique” example of his thesis about myths, but the excitement generated by his work comes from his convincing and eloquent demonstration that precisely the opposite is true. The great spiritual and psychological truths contained in the story of Jesus can be found in the myths of many cultures in all times in all places—sometimes with astonishing similarity. However, stripped of their cultural spin or local inflection, these stories speak of the remarkable universality of humanity’s spiritual understanding.

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Ray Rantapaa

San Francisco, Calif.

Conservative And “Reactionary”

The “conservatives” in the Episcopal Church [News, July 14] are really reactionaries. Like all religious reactionaries, they love alleged scandalous incidents, which they use to justify their existence. Bishop Spong doesn’t run around blessing same-sex “marriages.” Those reactionaries are in never-never land if they think whole segments of the Episcopal Church are eager to “join up.” Their “synod” will eventually go the way of all the other Episcopal splinter groups—which become more absorbed with a ministry of “maintenance” than a ministry of proclamation of the kingdom.

Rev. Steven M. Giovangelo

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

La Crescenta, Calif.

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