Beacon Light in Nepal
We appreciated the inspiring and challenging article “Nepal’s Book of Acts” and the beautiful pictures accompanying it [Nov. 9]. We especially appreciated the testimony of Min Raj and his strong belief that men and women are partners in Christ for the work of the kingdom and must be espoused by Christianity worldwide if we are to win this planet for Jesus Christ. His statement should be a beacon of light for us all.
Clyde R. & Dorothy L. Hampton
Profamily a buzzword?
I read with interest “Washington’s Profamily Activists” [Nov. 9]. Having been on both sides of the fence, I have some observations.
Often the term profamily is little more than a buzzword for the political Right. For Beverly LaHaye to defend support for SDI and opposition to gun control and parental-leave legislation as “profamily” is about as absurd as someone from the Left defending homosexual marriages as “profamily.” Such muddying of profamily concerns serves only to set up Christians for disdain and ridicule and seriously diminishes our credibility on other issues.
Before we rush uncritically to embrace the profamily agenda, Christians need to remember that our foremost job is to lift up the light of Jesus Christ. Too often that focus is splintered or muted, and the body of Christ is divided.
Tracts still contemporary tools
I am dismayed over a comment in Chuck Colson’s column “Reaching the Pagan Mind” [Nov. 9]. He says, “The problem is that much of our evangelistic literature was written in the 1950s and 1960s; it assumes ideas and attitudes no longer generally accepted. To reach today’s pagan mind, we may have to drastically overhaul our tracts, brochures, and methods.”
Colson’s remark perpetuates a stereotype that we at American Tract battle almost daily: Most Christian gospel literature would be of more use as toilet paper supplement in the public restrooms where some of it is found. But saying most evangelistic literature was written in the 1950s or ’60s demonstrates ignorance of contemporary evangelistic literature. American Tract produces about 25 million pieces of literature a year representing over 200 different tract titles. A vast majority of those are less than 10 years old, and most are less than 5 years old. Even more ironic is the fact that in the last 5 years we have published gospel literature adapted (by permission) from the writings of Colson himself!
Perry Brown, Editor/Marketing Director
American Tract Society
The Ultimate Fund Raiser
After much prayer and fighting, the library refurbishing committee settled on a fund raiser: a lottery.
Naturally, the traditionalists fussed: “Isn’t that gambling? Isn’t that unbiblical?”
But we used exegetical sleight of hand: “Lottery sounds like lottos, which sounds like koine Greek. The root stem, of course, is lot—as in ‘casting lots,’ which the Roman soldiers did for Jesus’ cloak. And note: the Bible never condemns them for it. So gambling is not the problem, but what we gamble for. To gamble for mammon—that’s sin. To gamble for something Christian—that’s a church fund raiser.”
“Sounds sneaky to me,” snarled one member. “Either that, or we’ll all have to raise our pledges by 20 percent.”
Everyone quickly discerned we had rightly divided the word of truth, and the first lottery was announced. The first grand prize? A 1958 edition of the Scofield Bible. Neither that nor the next few prizes generated many ticket sales: plaster of Paris praying hands bookends, a Rez Band poster, a year’s subscription to CHRISTIANITY TODAY.
Then we discovered what people really wanted: exemptions. Our highest revenue producers were vouchers (to be used only once) that exempted people from having to eat pancakes made by the youth at their annual pancake breakfast, or teach fifth-grade boys Sunday school, or listen to an annual stewardship sermon, or attend the yearly congregational meeting, or atteend both the midnight Christmas Eve service and the Easter sunrice service in one year, or sit next to those who raise their hahds during praise choruses.
We held dozens of lotteries, raffling off many times these most popular prizes. In a matter of months, the library was completely refurbished.
Unfortunately, fifth-grade boys ran with abandon through the Sunday-school wing, and Stewardship Sunday was cancelled until further notice. Finally, after enough vouchers had been used, we mustered a quorum for a congregational meeting and immediately forbade lotteries, no matter how coveted the grand prize.
If I could only describe the smile that came to my lips after reading Speaking Out [“Arrogance Is Not a Family Value”] in your November 9 issue! Darrell Bock seemed to address every ounce of frustration I have experienced during this election year. I have been shocked and dismayed by the manner in which Christian brothers and sisters have addressed the issues of abortion, homosexuality, and the almost hateful manner in which they have spoken toward those within our congregation who voted for the Democratic ticket.
The Scriptures call us to live a life of high standards and uncompromising moral purity. But to accompany this with intolerance, bigotry, arrogance, and verbal abuse destroys the validity of the faith that we claim to cherish.
Ronalee A. Fenrich
Also reluctant to praise extremism
After reading Tim Stafford’s article on extremism [Oct. 26], and reflecting on my own experience, I am even more reluctant than Stafford to praise extremism. The truth will always be offensive to some. However, if our methods of communication are offensive, apart from any truth they might convey, then the methods need to be seriously evaluated. The end does not justify the means.
Stafford’s comparison of today’s abortion rescue movement and the abolitionist movement was helpful. When I see the polarization and breakdown of dialogue over the abortion issue, I become concerned about what is ahead, but the call of evangelism needs to be utmost in whatever course we take.
Pastor Mark LaFollette
Bethel Baptist Church
I was disappointed that Stafford used historical argument rather than an exegetical or theological one. History is full of lessons, but Scripture is the Christian authority, and to take a major and a controversial position with no substantial reference to the Bible, to the history of Christian thought, or to major Christian positions on social ethics is poor method at best.
Pastor Van Campbell
Calvary Evangelical Free Church
Extremism did not free the slaves. Abraham Lincoln used the extremism of the abolition movement to shore up his flagging war effort. The Emancipation Proclamation was not published for the sake of the black people. It was issued for its effect on England and France, who were on record against slavery. It kept them out of the war.
Leon G. Johnson
The only time Jesus took an extreme action aimed at changing social practice was the cleansing of the Temple. He did not resort to manipulative or deceptive practice aimed at stirring up supporters for his cause. His action was direct, open, and justified only by Scripture.
I feel a comparison to the temperance movement is also appropriate. In each movement, Christians recognized sin and the bondage of sin over individuals and society. Each movement had martyrs, victories, and losses. In retrospect, we can see the lasting fruit of the Spirit and the passing labor of the flesh.
Seeing the unborn as God does
Paul Brenton is clearly a “casualty of the abortion wars” [Oct. 26] of which he wrote. In his criticism of rescue leaders, he uses his areas of disagreement to excuse himself from meeting the need of the hour—that babies are dying. Brenton has lost his way and does not see unborn babies the way God sees them.
I am sure Pastor Brenton receives a lot of flak on how he feels about Operation Rescue, but I want to thank him for writing this article. Many of us Christians are strongly against abortion but do not feel blocking clinic doors is the way to stop it. Because we do not join in, we are accused of not caring. Not joining in, though, does not mean we are doing nothing. Somebody has surely forgotten how powerful prayer is! Maybe if more people prayed about how to fight abortion, God would show us a better way.
I was there in Buffalo and it is hard for me to believe we were at the same rallies! Of course shock and guilt are “stirred up.” The truth is that, to a large degree, the church is guilty of apathy and the sin of omission. I can only conclude that Brenton does not understand corporate guilt.
Elizabeth Kingsbury, Ph.D.
I also survived the “siege” of Buffalo. It bothers me that some of my prolife colleagues are not involved in other social policy issues. If we want a woman to keep her child, then public as well as private sector programs must be increased.
Pastor Kenneth J. Macari
North Park Presbyterian Church
Strong, but effective medicine
A hearty “Amen” to Walt Russell’s perceptive diagnosis of how relativism has infected the way we study and teach the Bible [“What It Means to Me,” Oct. 26]. Russell’s remedy for this illness—examining passages in their historical and biblical contexts—is strong, effective medicine.
The world says to the church, “That’s your opinion.” Believers say to one another, “That’s just your interpretation.” I groan to find so few who understand the difference between opinions and interpretations of Scripture, and the authoritative declarations of Scripture. Yes, Virginia, it is possible to talk about what God’s Word objectively says.
Duane L. Burgess
Birth teaching not in Dake’s Bible
I would like to comment on one inaccuracy in your News article, “Same Old Benny Hinn, Critics Say” [Oct. 5].
During a conversation with Hank Hannegraaf, Bob Lyle, Benny Hinn, and myself at a meeting in Dana Point, California, in answer to Mr. Hannegraaf’s question about women and birth, Benny Hinn did not say that he had “picked up that teaching” from Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. There was mention of Dake’s Bible on a different subject but not the one reported. Dake’s Bible, to my knowledge, does not contain any such teachings.
Gene Polino, Administrator
Orlando Christian Center
A Capital Currents item (Oct. 5) includes the First Interstate Bank among businesses listed in a boycott announced by 14 members of Congress in reaction against pressure on the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to hire homosexuals and remove belief in God from their oath. Congressmen Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Bill Archer (R-Tex.) have apologized to First Interstate Bank of Houston for the inclusion of First Interstate of Texas by implication. Each of the four Interstate Bancorp regions sets its own charitable contributions policy. The Texas and California Interstate institutions both support BSA and should not be included in the boycott.
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