Thanks for the memories
Your fortieth anniversary issue [Sept. 16] elicited memories, emotion, and elation: Henry's writings, Kantzer in the classroom, my frequent tears re: the Auca "tragedy," and ct-I have all but two issues, an early one I never obtained, the other loaned and never returned. Thanks for the memories and inspiration.
-Prof. Albert E. Cramer
St. Bonifacius, Minn.
After reading your issue on evangelicalism, I wonder if history will reveal the movement more as a flowering of Reformed evangelical intellectualism and academia than anything else. An intellectual understanding of the world's issues and an appreciation for the relevancy of the Christian faith in addressing them is just one side of the coin. Will the multitudes of today's more enlightened evangelicals be any more effective in living the Christian faith and life in the power of the Holy Spirit than their less sophisticated predecessors?
* Happy birthday! As a senior recycled missionary, I enjoyed reading ct from the very beginnings. May the Lord continue to bless and guide you until his return.
-Bruno R. Frigoli
I have been a subscriber to and reader of every issue of ct since its inception 40 years ago. Thus, your anniversary reflective issue was a tremendous blessing and challenge to me. Most of the individuals highlighted in this anniversary issue are friends of mine, and it was wonderful to recognize God's sovereign working in the lives of these giants.
That God himself might raise up another cadre of such quality Christian leaders for this new generation as we move into the next century and millennium is my earnest prayer.
-Ted W. Engstrom, President Emeritus
* I was delighted to see an entire issue dedicated to evangelicalism in the last 40 years. Though I found much of interest (focusing on the contributions of Stott, Packer, Henry, Kantzer, Mears, Skinner could not disappoint), I wonder what you mean by evangelicalism. When I think of evangelicalism in the last 40 years (and I am 42, so I have a biographical dimension to my perspective), I think of so much more. Let me suggest that you focused far too much on theological leaders, to the neglect of many who "make us what we really are-at the grassroots level."
-Prof. Scot McKnight
North Park College
A single issue of ct could never do justice to all the people whose contributions to the evangelical cause over the past 40 years have equally had an impact on the movement. While we profiled some theologians, we also chose an evangelist, five missionaries, a pastor, and a Sunday-school pioneer-not to mention two editors (which shows our bias). Surely the list could be greatly expanded. We're grateful for the way God used so many to make evangelicalism blossom during these years. -Eds.
* I enjoyed your anniversary edition, but I'm troubled by the patronizing attitude toward Roman Catholics displayed by Kenneth Kantzer and Carl Henry. One of ct's loyal readers, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, said recently: "Why do some evangelicals spend so much energy attacking Roman Catholics, a people who only want to pray? These people are living in Babylon, and yet they attack the very church that gave them the gospel."
-David L. Blatt
Healing hurting Christians
* "Hurting Helpers," by Steve Rabey [Sept. 16], was a very informative article; but isn't it sad that so many people misunderstand Christian therapy, and that so many abuse it? No wonder there is confusion! As a Christian social worker, I see people for the full fee, and also for a reduced fee if they cannot afford my fee. I believe in moral responsibility for my clients.
One of my goals as a Christian is to see God's people healed and returned to him. Another is to see any person in need or pain have the safety and opportunity to work this through. So, whether in a non-Christian agency or in a Christian therapy, I feel if a person can be assisted toward healing, it is good. I believe hurting Christians are still useful and should be helped and encouraged to serve in their churches, even if it does take a little more effort to encourage them along.
Des Plaines, Ill.
I was greatly disappointed in the article and wish Steve Rabey had accepted my invitation to talk with me. The article has many inaccuracies and implications that I am asking you to clarify and correct. The way the quote about greed in the industry is positioned and used makes it seem as though he is referring to us. He presented my organization as one focused solely on profit, which we are not, and failed to mention even one thing (all of which he knew) that exemplifies our ministry spirit, such as: (1) We provide free treatment by tithing all the beds we solely operate; (2) we tithe any profit; (3) we developed, at our expense, a drug treatment program for Prison Fellowship to use with prisoners; (4) we give a Life Recovery Bible free to any prisoner who requests one; (5) we train missionaries and lay counselors all over the world at no cost to them; (6) we provide free counseling and sliding-scale counseling to pastors and missionaries; (7) our radio program, which costs a great deal to produce, actually prevents many from having to have counseling (if we were focused on profit, we would have eliminated this expense long ago); (8) we have donated thousands of dollars to many ministries; (9) of the 30,000 calls we get each month from people who need help, only 500 receive care from us—the rest are referred to counseling services in their area, many to churches, support groups, and other forms of free care.
At Minirth Meier New Life, profit has never taken precedence over ministering to the hurting.
Minirth Meier New Life Clinics
The chart, "The Roots and Shoots of Christian Psychology," in Steve Rabey's "Hurting Helpers" is a classic example of simplistic thinking that can serve to bitterly divide the body of Christ. The tree and its branches portrayed a fair representation of Christians who have made outstanding contributions to the mental health field in the last 40 years. But the picture tarnishes all the names listed by labeling the roots of their work as the "secular and humanistic pioneers," including Rogers, Jung, Freud, Maslow, Skinner, and Satir.
Because I personally know, have read, or listened to most of the fruitful individuals on this "tree," I can confidently say that the primary sources of their ideas and their dedicated service have not been twentieth-century popular psychology. In fact, they have exerted much effort in exposing the emptiness of secular humanist thought.
-James M. Siwy
* I was disturbed to see my name and picture in the chart. I can't imagine where the information came from that would place me as a primary representative of specialists in this area. I in no way consider myself even to be part of the Christian psychology movement. I am not trained in psychology, much less with a specialty in dissociative disorders. I have never written so much as an article on the subject.
I have been a professor of missions and am now retired from full-time teaching. I continue to have a teaching ministry on an international basis with Freedom in Christ, but dissociative disorders is not a part of the material covered in that teaching, and it has been several years since I have had a personal ministry relationship to a person known to be dealing with disassociation.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
It is unfortunate that Steve Rabey identified Neil Anderson's ministry under "dissociative disorders." It is inaccurate to list Freedom in Christ's ministry in this manner.
Our ministry addresses pastoral ministry and classic discipleship issues related to every believer's identity and freedom in Christ. Dr. Anderson conducts seminars in churches for pastors, elders, teachers, and laymen and -women of all ages who seek training on living free and ministering in Christ. Only one lesson out of 24 in our conferences covers dissociative disorders.
-Roger McNichols, Jr., Vice President
Freedom in Christ Ministries
La Habra, Calif.
The article casts a slant of greed in the industry over ministries like Minirth Meier New Life Clinics and their leaders Steve Arterburn and Paul Meier. Having known and worked with Arterburn for several years, I know this does not represent his attitude, behavior, and ministry.
-Lars B. Dunberg, President
International Bible Society
Colorado Springs, Colo.
I was disappointed in your article. I have been employed as a director of Minirth-Meier Clinic and then Minirth Meier New Life since October of 1976, when it began in Dallas. It has been a joy to see that the work we have done has impacted hundreds of thousands of lives across America. We have served in the Wheaton, Illinois, area for 10 years and have helped over 30,000 people find new hope and new health spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
-Nancy Brown, Clinic Director
Minirth Meier New Life Clinic of Wheaton
I was disappointed that the article made no mention of Jay Adams. He has had a major impact in the Christian counseling movement, and to ignore him in such an article verges on revisionist history.
-James T. Corbitt, Director
General Synod, Board of Church Extension
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
The article about psychological "healers" did not present a clear picture of what has been happening with the Minirth Meier-sponsored women's conferences called "Joyful Journey." So far this year we have ministered to more than 40,000 women; the plans for 1997 will include 100,000 women. We see women, by the score, come for encouragement and hope. Nothing in your article mentioned that this groundswell of activity is happening. In the future conferences of Joyful Journey, Campus Crusade will be providing their staff counselors for our follow-up.
-Barbara Johnson, Director
La Habra, Calif.
"Underdog" not always right
"Members Snooze to Avoid Eviction" [North American Scene, Sept. 16] missed not only our name (Church Development Fund) and church affiliation (Christian Churches-Independent), but more important, it missed the principles of neutral law which convinced six judges in four courts over 13 years that the church building in Inglewood, California, belongs to Church Development Fund.
The issues are complex, but the concept is quite simple: In 1983 a dying Christian Church (Lockhaven Christian Church) asked for a loan and for our help in maintaining their assets if they should die or be taken over by another group. A trust was established, the property was deeded to CDF, and when Lockhaven All-People's Christian Lighthouse Church tried to take over the building for their use, we stood firm.
To be consistent, any thinking Christian who disagrees with our action should be prepared to hand over the deed and the keys to their own church building to the next group that walks in the door, without regard to doctrinal differences. Unfortunately, a growing number of churches are changing hands through "hostile takeover" as weakened, congregationally autonomous churches are outnumbered and outvoted by a sudden influx of new people eyeing their valuable property. That is exactly the course things would have taken at Lockhaven had it not been for our ability to mount a legal defense in excess of $250,000.
Contrary to Steven McFarland's uninformed opinion, the heart of this issue is not "dollars and cents." Because of the Christian principles involved we told the California Attorney General's Office in 1991 that any property (real or personal) which we received from this eviction would only be used to provide for ministry in the Inglewood area.
Our American tendency toward "rooting for the underdog" doesn't always serve us well. Sometimes the underdog just doesn't deserve such unthinking and unqualified support.
-Larry Winger, C.E.O.
Church Development Fund
* I am outraged by your correspondent's reference to a "Church of Christ (Campbellite)." Such offensive labels are seldom seen in the usually civil reporting of ct. Why would you see the need to attach a parenthesis? If you consider them unfamiliar to readers, at least use a term they themselves might use, such as Church of Christ (noninstrumental). Whether in reference to a Church of Christ, Christian Church or Disciples Church, all of which stand in the heritage of Alexander Campbell among many others, I've never seen the term "Campbellite" used in a way where offense was not intended.
Pro-life and pro-missions
* A small comment on the editorial regarding "Our Selective Rage" [Aug. 12]. Emphatically agreed-being pro-life means more than being anti-abortion. One major element is missing from your discussion of "consistently pro-life": world evangelism. Evangelicals who are genuinely concerned with the issues of life must give at least as much attention to the eternal condition of those already born, but who have never heard of Christ, as we do to those yet unborn. A pro-life church must be a pro-missions church.
-Johnny V. Miller, President
Columbia International University
I want to thank Ron Sider for his insightful editorial. He successfully articulated something that has been nagging at me for many years: How can I speak up on some important issue without being lumped in with others who, while they may share my views on that point, are nevertheless quite divergent on some other issue about which I am equally concerned? I hope his idea of seeing "a new coalition" of evangelicals and others that "could contribute substantially to the renewal of our society" comes to fruition. In the meantime, how do I vote this fall?
-David F. Oltrogge
At first glance, I was heartened to see the editorial, certain that Ron Sider would make some mention of the second leading cause of death among children over the age of ten: guns. But like all evangelical publications and leaders, ct is strangely silent about the illicit love of Christians for guns. Since 1979, more American children have died from gunfire than members of the U.S. military in the Vietnam war, plus every American hostile action since then. Where are the pickets against pistols? The silence of evangelicals on this most perverted of political bedfellows, Christians and guns, is appalling.
-Paula V. Doctor
In the mid-1970s, as a student at Messiah College, I was deeply inspired by Ron Sider and his emphasis on faith-based social justice. Ironically, my personal journey led me to the understanding that reproductive freedom is also an issue of social justice. I believe Sider demonstrates selective rage when he talks about "empowering the poor" and supporting the "dignity and equality of women" while at the same time advocating for a pro-life ethic which denies women full access to safe and legal reproductive services, including abortion. What is empowering or dignifying about denying a woman the use of her own judgment to exercise control over her reproductive choices, and subjecting her to laws which require carrying a pregnancy to term in spite of the fact that it may kill her? This is not empowerment; this is not justice; this is not pro-life.
Los Angeles, Calif.
The ethnic church
* I am very thankful for Helen Lee's article, "Silent Exodus" [Aug. 12], about the flight of Asian Americans from their ethnic churches. I am assistant to the senior minister of a Vietnamese church in Waco and have been working with Vietnamese for a little over two years. In this short time, I have run into the same problem: the ever-growing division between first- and second-generation Asian Christians. The problem comes from the lack of theological thought that rises from the fear of disunity and estrangement.
If Christianity responds to cultural changes by being relevant, then the need to create ethnic unity within the church would be placed under the more important goal of missions. For example, there is no need for ethnic churches to teach their language in the church if those within the church are not involved in bringing in nonethnic-speaking individuals. Christianity is about unity through diversity; culture is about diversity seeking unity. Keeping culture through the church institution undermines the work of these churches to begin with. Having Korean-, Chinese-, Japanese-, or Vietnamese-speaking services only for the sake of the languages reaches no one. The "exodus" to atheism or English-speaking churches is inevitable, because when culture and not theology is addressed, the ultimate result is dispersion. Theology speaks to Asian cultures that are rapidly being undermined by the internal need for assimilation or alien forces of assimilation. The question is "Are churches willing to listen?"
-Phuc Luu, Assistant Minister
First Baptist Church
To blame the exodus of second-generation Asians from the church on cultural differences with the first generation is a one-sided judgment in disposition and goes against fundamental biblical principles. It further fails to represent the opposing views of first- and second-generation Asian Americans.
Submerged in our own arrogance and self-ambition, the disrespect, disobedience, and indolence of today's typical second-generation Asian pastor is in stark contrast to the commitment, sacrifice, spiritual fervor, and humility of the parent generation. We have become a generation spoiled by the blessing painstakingly reaped by the first generation.
Moreover, to make the first generation solely culpable for our own inadequacies and mistakes is a further reflection of our own self-centeredness. How can one talk about multi-ethnic ministry when one can't even embrace his own culture? Scripture is quite clear when it comes to principles of (1) the unity in the church, and (2) submission to authority. There is still much to learn from the parent church.
Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church
Ellicott City, Md.
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Copyright © 1996 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Last Updated: October 9, 1996
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