My enthusiastic congratulations on your recent CT Institute on evangelism in the nineties [Dec. 16]. The whole series of articles is excellent, but three key points merit special emphasis.

First, the introduction states that “evangelism is the business of the whole church, rather than a special calling for a few.” If only more folks would believe that!

Second, in the middle of his interview, Michael Green makes the observation that “You can’t have evangelism without renewal, and if you’ve got authentic renewal, it’s going to overflow into evangelism.” My evangelistic team has seen that proven again and again over 25 years of ministry.

Third, at the end of Christopher Hancock’s article, he observes that “Evangelism is not, finally, about a forced choice between converting souls or changing social systems, but is about the grace that saves sinners, and the truth that transforms societies.” Exactly!

I am proud to preach the gospel, which is the power of God, because nothing helps people more than introducing them to Jesus Christ. Evangelism saves people not only from dying without Christ, but also from living without him.

Luis Palau

Luis Palau Evangelistic Association

Portland, Oreg.

I have talked with many Christians who do not witness and heard many excuses. Examining their excuses for the real motives, I made up a list of what I believe are the nine major causes that Christians do not confess Christ before unbelieving associates.

Prize-winning Providence

I get this idea every year about this time. It comes to me in a friendly, yet authoritative baritone voice: Ed McMahon’s. “You may already be a winner,” he says, “of $10,000,000.”

Now let me be clear: I don’t approve of gambling. But I figure that laying down a 29-cent stamp to return my entry form—without ordering any magazines—doesn’t push me too close to the slippery slope that will leave me broken and penniless in Atlantic City. And it makes me wonder: Why doesn’t God in his providence arrange for Christians to win all the big prizes?

Think of the evangelistic value. Become a Christian, be a winner! And what opportunity for Christian testimony it could hold. I know if I won $10,000,000, when they asked me for my reaction to use in their next commercial, I’d say, “I’d like to thank the good Lord for giving me this money.” Just think what the impact would be on that unbelieving world out there if, time after time, the big winners were all believers—not to mention the tithe on all those winnings flowinginto churches and Christian organizations.

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Of course, God might want to keep his distance from state lotteries. Maybe he could just handle contests like “Publisher’s Jackpot,” where there’s no gambling risk. And I can’t quite decide what he should do about the small stuff, like door prizes at hardware store grand openings. Maybe he could set a $20 minimum.

Now all I need is a few Scripture verses to shore up the idea. I’m sure there are some in the Bible somewhere—maybe in Ecclesiastes. Yeah, that’s the ticket.


An overwhelming fear of criticism—afraid of what others might think or say about them.

Fear of being embarrassed—“I don’t witness,” said one man, “because my unsaved friends and relatives know all about me.”

Fear of appearing naïve—one of the big reasons some Christian college students never get into conversation with intellectual atheists about the gospel.

Fear of not knowing enough about gospel doctrine.

Fear of not knowing how to witness—because few churches teach members how to approach an unbeliever effectively.

Fear of being seen as a judge of others.

Fear of having motives misinterpreted.

Fear of being perceived as deceitful.

Fear of an assumed tension between

personal evangelism and God’s sovereignty.

All these reasons point to pride as the root cause for our failure to witness. As long as we are conscious of our personal image and allow self to emerge undenied in our lives, we never can exercise an effective witness for Jesus Christ.

George M. Bowman

Operation Balance

Cambridge, Ont., Canada

The articles are all very good but there is a strange absence. Except for the word baptized in the interview article with Michael Green, there is no reference to or discussion of one of the central concerns in evangelism, namely, Christian baptism as initiation into the body of Christ.

Paul W. Brown

Shelton, Conn.

Carey On And Off Target

Thank you for the guest editorial of Archbishop George Carey (“Recovering the Apostles’ Zeal” [Dec. 16]). He was 100 percent correct in calling for a decade of regeneration for the church, but only 50 percent correct in listing the two steps needed for this to happen.

His first step, “motivating the local church to be evangelistic,” is right on target. Unfortunately, his second step, “new confidence in evangelistic preaching,” reinforces the misperception that effective evangelism must be done by professional experts (“preachers”) rather than church members.

The New Testament does not elevate “sermonizing” as we have done, and the only clear instance of Jesus “preaching” from a pulpit is also the one clear instance of the complete rejection of his message (at Nazareth in the beginning of his ministry). Wherever the church has become dependent on “professional preachers,” relatively few are being won to Christ.

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Rev. David Stravers

The Bible League

Holland, Ill.

Why is it so difficult for church leaders and seminary professors to understand that the only way we will ever see an evangelism explosion is for individuals to be indwelt with the empowering Spirit of God, which comes only through faith in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ?

Kathryne A. McCullar

Swannanoa, N.C.

The New Old, Old Story

Many thanks for your interview article with Timothy Botts. I’ve put it in my copy of his wonderful book, Messiah, which is a powerful retelling of the gospel story. The music fills my heart even as I turn the pages. Botts’s combinations of shapes, spaces, and colors, with the words of Handel’s Messiah, evoke all of the feelings one experiences in hearing the old, old story told again.

Lois Sibley

Glenside, Pa.

Gambling Is A Swindle

Thank you for helping the public become aware of suffering caused by commercial gambling [“The States’ Bad Bet,” Nov. 25]. The Wall Street Journal has explained how gambling is technically a swindle: theft by deception. Stealing is taking from others. Under the law, gambling is (1) payment for a (2) chance to (3) take from others. If any one of these three is omitted, it is not gambling.

Rev. Richard E. Taylor

Kansas for Life at Its Best!

Topeka, Kans.

Joe Atkins mentioned several examples of the kind of political corruption that seems almost inevitable whenever legalized gambling is concerned, but he omitted one of the most glaring cases. In Arizona, undercover law-enforcement officers posing as gambling lobbyists offered bribes to state legislators in return for their votes to legalize casino gambling. Almost 10 percent of the lawmakers readily agreed to sell their votes, and the ensuing scandal rocked the entire state last year.

The only parties that ultimately benefit from legalized gambling are predatory moneyed interests determined to become even more moneyed. The sponsorship and glorification of gambling by state governments is indicative of intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

John J. Dunphy

Alton, Ill.

Are Women Really At Fault?

Regarding Charles Colson’s column “The Thomas Hearings and the New Gender Wars” [Nov. 25]—let me get this straight: Women are to blame for sexual harassment because, in their attempt to achieve equality and personhood in American society, they have rejected male protection and chivalry and so have invited harassment, exploitation, and violence. Please, God, don’t let Charles Colson ever draw jury duty for a rape trial.

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Jeron Ashford Frame

Paoli, Pa.

In view of Colson’s concern over the possibility of “all-out gender wars,” I was disappointed to see him so eager to join the fray by blaming the ills of the 1990s on “militant feminism.” His essay had an underlying tone of “it’s all Eve’s fault” that I found very troubling. Even in his prison example, the central issue is a dehumanizing system rather than the gender of the guard. Problems we reap today from the 1960s have grown from choices made and philosophies embraced by both men and women. Colson does women a disservice and oversimplifies complex issues by suggesting that if we just had the “older codes of chivalry” back everything would be all right.

Kathy Long

Durham, N.C.

I’m surprised that no one yet has mentioned the possibility of reverse sexual harassment. After all, it’s as old as Genesis 39 when Potiphar’s wife got Joseph imprisoned on a patently false charge of attempted rape. As an ancient writer observed, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

Lois Thiessen

Orange City, Fla.

Time To Ask The Question

I’m glad the question “Is Birth Control Christian?” is being asked [CT Institute, Nov. 11]! For too long the answer was assumed. Whatever one decides about birth control, it’s always seemed wrong to say, ‘I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, do what you want me to do; but I only want two children.”

Mrs. Tim Beard

Flagstaff, Ariz.

I had hoped both sides of the issue would be presented fairly, but this clearly was not your goal. The sniping diatribe against Mary Pride’s bookmade the intent plain.

By “permitting” God to bestow blessings, be they children or any other blessing, we acknowledge him and submit to his leadership and will for our lives. And who among us rushes to refuse any other bounty of the Great Provider so quickly as his precious little ones.

John T. Perrodin

Colorado Springs, Colo.

I wish to clarify a point in my article “The Church’s Changing Mind” that was unfortunately obscured in the process of revision for publication. The practices that Christians opposed by A.D.100 were abortion, exposure, and infanticide. Opposition to contraception came about a half-century (implicitly) to a century (explicitly) later.

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Michael J. Gorman

Odenton, Md.

Only Arab Christians In Israel?

Evangelical missiologists acknowledge that Israel’s Jewish Christians are an integral part of the body of Christ in the Middle East. Western theologians also tend to exhibit a keen interest in the election of Israel the people and the eschatology of Israel the land. But Kim Lawton’s recent articles on Christianity in the Middle East [Nov. 11] are surprisingly silent regarding Jewish Christianity, while Jonathan Kuttab gives Christian tourists the impression that only Arab Christians exist in Israel. America’s role as honest broker in Madrid may be subject to debate, but CT’s Mid-East reportage could certainly benefit from a more evenhanded approach.


Jerusalem, Israel

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