Paganism lives, Dave Bass shows [“Drawing Down the Moon,” April 29]. I wonder if the stress of maintaining faith in evolution as a mindless process driven by pure chance—which may have been clung to so desperately because the only obvious alternative during most of the last century and a half was Christianity—will subside in coming years, now that there is a variety of theistic alternatives. One may be free to accept the evidence that creation has a divine purpose and value, yet manage to avoid coming face to face with the Lord. If this happens, it will constitute a “new” evangelistic and apologetic context.

Dale J. Nelson

Mayville State University

Mayville, N. Dak.

Bass failed to address adequately the neopagan charges against monotheism; nor did he elucidate the metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological problems intrinsic to neopagan pantheism/polytheism. Intellectual integrity demands more than exposition and comparison.

Douglas Groothuis

Eugene, Oreg.

For shame! Now that Satanism is no longer the faddish subject of sin-decrying stories in your easily excitable publication, you’ve adopted paganism as the next straw man to appear in your pages, and therefore in countless sermons.

Hal H. Eaton

Mouth of Wilson, Va.

Robert Vernon’s consistency

Asst. Chief Robert Vernon put both feet in his mouth trying to justify the brutality L.A. police inflicted on his Operation Rescue brethren—brutality he commanded. Vernon says he is “absolutely against abortion,” then incriminates his fellow elders at Grace Community Church by agreeing with their condemnation of the “tactics” of the would-be rescuers. Then, this “endorsement” is used to give credibility to his “principle of consistency.” Actually, Vernon is representative of many in the church. We say we’re against abortion, that it’s murder; then we criticize, even persecute, those who are actually taking a stand against it. God deliver us from our mindless and heartless indifference toward the unborn!

David Brandt

Ellison Bay, Wis.

Jesus smiling in the sunshine

Congratulations to Sherwood Eliot Wirt on broaching “The Heresy of the Serious” [April 8], heralding his forthcoming book, Jesus, Man of Joy. If this terse extract is representative of the new volume, it’s a foretaste of what contemporary readers have anticipated and awaited for decades: a credible portrait of Jesus smiling in the sunshine!

William Dauenhauer

Wickliffe, Ohio

The Christian life is essentially serious. This is a vale of tears. Humor has no place in the pulpit or the Sunday school.

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Edward J. Poole-Connor

Hampton, Va.

I once preached a sermon on “Christ and Humor” from Proverbs 17:22. Response? A few muffled giggles.

Dr. J. Lester Harnish

Portland, Oreg.

One simple “jab”

In his incisive article on forgiveness [“An Unnatural Act,” April 8], Philip Yancey coins an impressive statement: “On the backs of transformed sinners Christ would build his church.” In one simple “jab” he cuts through ages of theology to reveal a major fact of God’s will. Thanks for stimulating some of us reluctant pastors toward vital issues in today’s world.

Pastor Herald Haskell

Jefferson Christian Church

Jefferson, Oreg.

This one article is worth the price of a year’s subscription.

Rev. Dr. Howard J. Jensen

First Baptist Church

Manasquan, N.J.

Yancey’s article was awesome. His insights into forgiveness speak deeply of a man who has been touched by grace. This article is compelling and challenging!


Winona Lake, Ind.

Evangelizing Japan

“In the Shadow of the Rising Sun” [April 8] brought to mind Tokyo street mass evangelism in the years immediately following World War II. I recall one night in Tokyo where 13,000 Gospels of John were handed out to a rapt audience that filled the square. Veteran German Liebenzeller missionary Bernhard Buss, my father, preached the message in Japanese. Many Japanese were able to hear in their native tongue not only because of the large influx of American missionaries, but because German missionaries who had been there before and during the war worked closely with their new co-workers from the States.

Dietrich Buss

Biola University

La Mirada, Calif.

I can only guess why Africa, China, South America, and almost everywhere else seem to excite missions-minded Christians, but Japan fails to do so. My guesses are: (1) Japanese affluence creates no image of neediness; (2) economically, the Japanese are clubbing the U.S.; (3) we lack a history of Christian missions there and have few success stories to tell; (4) costs are so high that several missionaries could be supported elsewhere for the cost of only one in Japan; (5) an awareness or a suspicion that Christian evangelism methods have not yet found the cultural key that will open the country to Christ’s message.

I suspect we Americans have a spiritual blind spot concerning Japan.

Robert W. Dingman

Westlake Village, Calif.

Silent preachers

Thanks for pricking my conscience regarding the devastation wrought by tobacco use in our country and around the world in “Why the Marlboro Man Wants Your Kids” [April 8].

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However, why does Scriven omit any reference to the role of tobacco growers in providing the weed used by the tobacco industry to produce cigarettes? He does not live, as I do, in the “Burley Belt,” does he? Could money have something to do with my silence, as well as the silence of practically all Bible-believing Kentucky preachers, on the frightful consequences of tobacco use?

J. Robert (Bob) Ross, Minister

Harrodsburg, Ky.

I found Scriven’s observations right on target and wish to join him in calling on America’s churches and church members to become active in opposing the efforts of the tobacco industry to continue trapping our unwary youth in a pattern of addiction.

R. C. Adams

Fresno, Calif.

One of the most disgraceful sights in the world is flying into Hong Kong and, even before landing, seeing dozens of large, building-sized pictures of the Marlboro Man, Camel’s Smooth Character, and other huge billboards of American tobacco companies grotesquely advertising their deadly products. It is a sickening and pathetically sad testimony to America. Who of us that have been there did not feel greatly embarrassed?

Rick Leatherwood

Phoenix, Ariz.

The future of YFC

As the new chief executive officer for Youth for Christ/USA, I wanted to respond to your two recent articles regarding YFC [News, March 11 and April 8]. It is important your readers are aware that the financial problems of our national office do not reflect on any of our 237 locally autonomous chapters. We have very strong ministry on the field and don’t want any negative publicity to adversely affect them.

It is also important that readers understand that D.C. ’91, our Congress on Evangelism in July, is not affected by our circumstances. We are expecting between 12,000 and 15,000 young people, and the conference is independent and financially strong.

Roger Cross, Chief Executive Officer

Youth for Christ/USA

Denver, Colo.

A difficult and controversial area

Susan Foh, in her review of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper, emphasizes she does not know whether the book is biblically accurate and asks, “Does the Bible teach these ideas?” The answer is given in John 7:17. Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to be doing his will, he shall know concerning the teaching whether out of God it is or I myself from myself am uttering.”

The contributors to this book should be commended for their work in an admittedly difficult and controversial area. They should be given a hearing.

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Pastor Arlie D. Rauch

Community Bible Church

Glendive, Mont.

Let us stop contriving systems of molds into which we squeeze one another until we all look like Dr. Piper’s ideal, which is at best only tenuously based on Scripture.

Alison Bucklin

St. Paul, Minn.

Foh’s review was misleading. First, 75 percent of the review focused on what she disagreed with in only one chapter (mine, chap. 2). Readers did not learn there is a major chapter dealing with 50 crucial questions complementarians are commonly asked; nor that there is a chapter dealing in detail with the position statement of our counterpart, Christians for Biblical Equality, with important hermeneutical reflection.

Second, she describes my view of manhood and womanhood in her own loaded terms, which give false impressions about what I said.

Third, she admits that I give “scriptural backing” for my view in the endnotes, but concludes by telling the reader that I have not shown my view is biblical. Yet she gives not one example of an exegetical flaw. What can the reader do with a mere indictment without evidence?

Pastor John Piper

Bethlehem Baptist Church

Minneapolis, Minn.

Foh “did not see the forest for the trees,” as she totally missed the point. The thrust of the book is not on the nuances of how complementarity is applied, but rather on the fact that it exists.

Ms. Mary Kassian

Edmonton, Alb., Canada

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