Responding to Karla FayeReaders' response to CT's April 6 editorial has been been greater than for any other editorial. In the last issue, we published excerpts from the first wave of letters, letters that overwhelmingly opposed our belief that "the death penalty has outlived its usefulness." However, more recent letters show that over half (53 percent) of our readers agreed with CT's stance. This issue remains important to a large number of Christians.

God's Grace for Marriage
* I'm always amazed by God's grace when a marriage as broken as the McCartneys' experiences healing ["McCartney on the Rebound," May 18]. It's one of God's greatest miracles. However, when I read about their dating experiences in college, I was reminded of the urgency of communicating to my daughters how intelligent, capable, and valuable they are just by virtue of who God made them to be. God forbid they should ever feel compelled to date, let alone marry, a man who treated them so poorly.

Michelle Houston
Forsyth, Mont.

* McCartney's "God told me" this and "God told me" that is akin to spells of psychotic episodes that clearly say there are times when he is not in touch with reality. As an evangelical believer, I would be very cautious in setting him up as an example to follow.

Bill Simpson
San Antonio, Tex.

Gambling: A Form of Bondage
* I am grateful for Tim Stafford's article on our nation's gambling craze ["None Dare Call It Sin," May 18]. During the past eight months, I have been an intern chaplain at an inpatient treatment center for compulsive gamblers. It did not take me long to realize how naive I was about oppressive aspects of the industry. My experience has shown me that gambling is a very real form of bondage. Addictions often begin at a young age with games such as marbles and cards, or with innocent engagement in bingo, lotteries, or slot machines. Once the hook is set, destruction is fast, forceful, and often bears more collateral damage than other addictions.

Kristoffer Cox
Renville, Minn.

* I am deeply grieved over the gambling problem in Mississippi. I lived there in the '60s, and my life revolved around the church and Christ. I think the body of Christ there (as well as in my own state of Arizona) has compromised its values to the point of no longer being able to fight off moral evil. The pastors interviewed there seem to have no basis on which to oppose the sin of gambling. Who could possibly mistake the Satanic taunt in the remark, "We'll get the businessmen, and once we've got the businessmen, we'll silence the church"?

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Ann Hughes
Phoenix, Ariz.

The Suffering Colombian Church
* Thank you for "Colombia's Bleeding Church," by David Miller, in your May 18 issue. While there is a growing awareness in the American church of Christian persecution worldwide, the suffering of the church in Colombia has not received sufficient exposure. Miller's article should help correct that.

Jeff Taylor
Santa Ana, Calif.

Where Is the Fiction?
*CT's '98 Book Awards [Apr. 27] reiterate the evangelical community's inability to write fiction. While we are amazingly prolific at turning out hordes of Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and ethical musings, we are hopeless with narrative. Perhaps we should consider placing a ban on narratives about the Antichrist and romances bearing titles like Softly Creeps the Spring. Where is the next Flannery O'Connor? Where is the next Walker Percy? Where is the next C. S. Lewis?

Christopher H. Bunn
Wheaton, Ill.

A Fine Writer
Oh blessed irony! Oh joyous and grateful reversal! I found Susan Wise Bauer's article on the struggles of prayer (expressed via the mountainous literature on the topic and our contemporary "how to" culture) excellent, refreshing, and helpful ["The Myth of a Better Prayer Life," Apr. 27]. Susan Wise Bauer is a fine writer and an honest, astute thinker. CT readers should be led to her recent novel, The Revolt.

John D. Morrison
Lynchburg, Va.

* Bauer's article seems to omit the most important book on prayer, the Bible. Her prayer attempts also seem to be self-centered. She says, "The theory of prayer is, in fact, intensely simple. Tell God your needs, thank him for his gifts, cry out to him in sorrow, praise him for his greatness, listen for his answers." That is all fine as far as it goes, but there is not one word said about interceding at the throne of grace for others.

Rodney Bonck
Verona, Va.

* I am grateful for Bauer's kind comments about my book, The Art of Prayer. I disagree, however, with the implicit assumption that her subjective responses to the books she reviewed should be taken as universal. She is troubled by our culture's self-helpism, yet she falls into the equally pervasive cultural bias of defining a book's value by "if it works for me." Bauer evidenced little awareness of the need for different literary approaches that speak to different kinds of people. Bauer says several of the books are "undoubtedly pitched to an audience accustomed to solving its problems with how-to books." It is hard to read this as anything but dismissive. But in a day of best-selling New Age author-gurus like Deepak Chopra, I felt called to write an approachable book that could point people to Christianity's wonderfully accessible God.

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Timothy Jones
Nolensville, Tenn.

No Biblical View?
* It is common to find people making good arguments for absolutes, including a belief in an absolute God, being the problem in the world. What is not so common is to find a Christian reviewer doing more damage. In Volf's review of Jehovah on Trial [Apr. 27] I found not one attempt to provide a biblical answer. God's rejection of Cain is not set in the biblical context of his rejection of God as his God, but Volf sees it in God's "inverting the order of social inequalities." Rather than present a biblical view, Volf sees Schwartz's critique of monotheism as a prod "to give a richer and more faithful account of who God is." How better than from Scripture? Instead, we are given a picture of a God whose election of "us" (saints?) does not exclude "them" (sinners?). This God actually chooses some for the "ultimate purpose" of blessing all. In the same way? For eternity? Finally, even the Trinity becomes a model for a healthy society rather than a model of life specifically and exclusively for the church. I find the points made by the reviewer much more disturbing than anything in the book.

Scotty Karber
Benton, Ark.

* I believe Volf would have served us better if he had ended by saying, "Now all good Christians can save their money, and forget about Schwartz and keep on following and obeying God's Holy Word."

C. C. Fowler
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Positive, Nonjudgmental
As a Roman Catholic, I was surprised and grateful to discover your article "A Pro-Woman Pope" [Apr. 27]. Thank you, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese! Her article was positive and nonjudgmental, something Christian media other than specific Catholic literature and broadcasts frequently fail at. The lack of understanding and ignorance of Catholic teaching further serves to prejudice and divide Christians. I pray daily for the union of all Christians, and positive truthful dialogue is a very important step to reaching that goal.

Pamela Weaver
Piedmont, S. Dak.

Having a pope who supports women's equality in all realms of society does not mean much when he denies women the opportunity to be ordained.

Barbara Hallenbaugh
Connellsville, Pa.

Throwing Stones at Clinton
* Virtuecrat Charles Colson's decrying of President Clinton's approval ratings in the midst of "salacious charges" deserves scrutiny ["Why Fidelity Matters," Apr. 27]. The last president we had who indisputably slept only with his wife was Jimmy Carter, who was hounded from office by Religious Right types like Colson and Falwell. Although Carter was an evangelical himself (and still teaches Sunday school), most evangelicals opted to support his successor, who became our only president who was divorced and never went to church. The evangelicals who voted for Ronald Reagan should be the last people throwing stones at Clinton.

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Paul R. Schlitz, Jr.
Baltimore, Md.

A Ray of Divine Light
* A hearty "hoorah" for Mr. George, Mr. Oden, and Mr. Packer. It is about time someone speaks, and is heard, from the ranks of true ecumenism ["An Open Letter About 'The Gift of Salvation,' " Apr. 27]. For a long time, I have been disheartened by the ecclesiastical bickering between Protestants and Catholics. All it has ever served to accomplish is a widening of the gulf between us.

I applaud the spirit and the effort of ECT. It seemed I never saw a reflection of that spirit in real life. Now I have glimpsed a ray of divine light. I shall continue to encourage and pray for those who push forward this true ecumenical spirit.

Dennis Paul Meyer
Coopersburg, Pa.

* Many evangelicals are wondering where the evangelical signers of the ECT documents are headed. Anyone who studies carefully the latest "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (1994) can only come to one conclusion: They are on a one-way street leading to Rome.

Glenn R. Felty
Chicago, Ill.

Christians and the Holocaust
With regard to the Editorial in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, April 27, 1998: I sincerely appreciate your attempt to wrestle with Christian responsibility for the Holocaust. But the article does not come to grips with the precedents that Hitler found in official Christian policies toward Jews, the complicity of genuine Christians in the democratic processes that brought Hitler to power, and the refusal of many born-again Christians to take a stand against Hitler's activities. Hitler's racist philosophy may have owed much to social Darwinism and Nietzsche, but it could not have developed without a long tradition of Christian theology that treated Jews in equally racist modes. Indeed, your own quotation from Martin Luther fortuitously identifies Jews in racial terms.

Your recommendations about education in the history of Judaism and anti-Judaism already have been widely followed in secular and nonevangelical Christian institutions. But many reputable evangelical institutions do not offer even a single course in these areas. Evangelicals have produced a Bible translation (the NIV) that is arguably the most insensitive of all the major recent translations with respect to the manner in which Jews and Judaism are portrayed (e.g., the NIV resists using the word Messiah, even when the title is demanded by the context).

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Perhaps rather than defending ourselves, we should apologize.

Prof. Allen Kerkeslager
Eastern College
St. Davids, Pa.

* The author quotes Christian leaders from Chrysostom to Luther, which should make us do more than squirm. Perhaps our delicate Christian audiences would not be so shocked at the Holocaust Museum if our church curricula included an historical analysis of these events. Most Christians can attend a full range of church-sponsored educational programming from the cradle to the grave and fail to hear one word about the need to heal the relationship between the modern disciples of Jesus and his original brothers and sisters.

JoAnn Mugnuson
Lakeville, Minn.

Safeguarding MKs
Thank you for your good article on abuse of missionary kids (MKs) at Mamou Alliance Academy ["From Trauma to Truth," Apr. 27]. My parents and Henry and Hazel Neudorf, whom your article mentions, served with the Gospel Missionary Union (GMU), not the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA) as your article implies. However, both GMU and C&MA required their missionary kids to be sent off to Mamou Alliance Academy at age six.

Unfortunately, the abuse of MKs is not just something that occurred in the past. Over the last few years, the Mamou Steering Committee has received reports of recent abuse of MKs at boarding schools. When, if ever, will the member missions of the IFMA and EFMA form an independent, permanent committee of professionals to oversee the 120-some mk schools they now run? Mission boards desperately need to be held accountable to some form of independent commission that will rectify the sins of the past and safeguard the present and future generations of missionary kids.

Pastor Richard Darr
Libertyville, Ill.

* As a house parent/head of station of the Mamou school during the era in question, and as one who appeared before the mentioned "commission to investigate" (and was exonerated), I am appalled that CT would print this article without examining the facts more carefully. I arrived first on the scene early in the era in question, and by the following year confronted an abusive situation personally; that confrontation ultimately led to the termination of the services of the guilty couple. When I later became house parent/head of station, the principal of the school and I were also instrumental in terminating the services of the abusive teacher in question. It is regrettable that these things should occur, but to say that they were never addressed at that time is even more regrettable.

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Rev. Andrew D. Gardner
Brockton, Mass.

The article implies inactivity and cover-up. In reality, when accusations were first made, names and specifics were sought. These were not given, precluding an investigation. Once details were revealed, a commission was appointed to address the issue.

The C&MA is committed to dealing with this past situation in a comprehensive and sensitive manner to bring healing and closure to those who suffered. It has enacted measures to avoid a repeat of the problem, while resisting a "baby with the bathwater" mentality by closing down all such overseas schools.

Robert L. Niklaus, Dir. of Communications
The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Alarming Prospects
With regard to "Does 'The Gift of Salvation' Sell Out the Reformation?" [News Apr. 27], I don't know which prospect I find more alarming: that God, in the process of "infusing" us with righteousness, would withhold full assurance of salvation or that in "imputing" righteousness to us he would ever be content to let us actually continue in sin. While uncertainty regarding salvation can lead to bondage, so can spiritual complacency. Since there are potential pitfalls and definite strengths on both sides, maybe there is nothing wrong with continuing to hope and work for the unity of purpose that transcends longstanding differences.

Marilyn Kincaid Clines
Delray Beach, Fla.

The photo of Bill McCartney on page 27 of the May 18 issue should have credited photographer Wayne Armstrong of Promise Keepers. CT regrets the omission.

Brief letters are welcome. They may be edited for space and clarity and must include the writer's name and address if intended for publication. Due to the volume of mail, we cannot respond personally to individual letters. Write to Eutychus, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188; fax: 630/260-0114. E-mail: ( * ).

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