Future of Disciples
I appreciate the new heart revealed with the Global Gospel Project (GGP). As a seminary student I have been disillusioned by the references to older CT articles that served as credible evidence in theological discussions. It seemed like CT had come a long ways from its disciple-making roots and fallen into the trap of cultural discussion that so many Christian organizations pigeonhole themselves into. The latest issue renewed my hope in the ministry of CT.
It helps that the article "It's Okay to Expect a Miracle" [December] addresses the issue of fraud. I was an atheist, and I found that Jesus could and did indeed appear to me. Later, I would find his invisible presence more real than the vision that led to my conversion. While the miraculous has a place, it is by no means as important as the mind. Our Lord first called for repentance, a change of mind based on thinking through a matter and then making a change.
Thank you for "My Perfect Child" [December]. Our son was born with spina bifida and we faced pressure from the medical community to abort him. I don't know what the future holds but I am happy that he is here even if he isn't "perfect"—then again, neither am I.
Immigrants Among Us
I really enjoyed the article on Vineyard Columbus ["The Kingdom in Columbus," December]. Founder John Wimber's teaching on the kingdom of God radically changed my life and ministry, and I applaud the church's efforts to reach out to the immigrant and destitute.
Still, I do not believe that the political stance on illegal immigration is a kingdom issue. Previously, I grew a Hispanic ministry in Florida. We gladly ministered without regard to their immigration status because the church is not called to check it. However, our leadership never said that immigration laws were unjust.
The term "social justice" is misapplied when used in reference to legal immigration laws that do not discriminate. At the same time, I support the right of Christians to voice their concerns about immigration laws and to advocate for new laws.
William P. Payne
How God Governs
Thank you for your thoughtful and restrained remarks on Elizabeth Warren's recent comments in "No Taxpayer Is an Island" [December]. However, the editorial implied something that needs examining. You wrote, "We believe God exercises sovereignty not by manipulating his creatures like so many chess pieces, but by ordaining institutions to which he delegates a caretaking role. Government is one of those institutions."
I agree that God is indisputably sovereign. I disagree that the government or any other institution is "God ordained." I do not accept Luther's position that the state, i.e., king, is God's representative on earth. Jesus was God's representative on earth. Jesus did not envision a Christian government but rather Christians in government. That is the path of peace and successful governance. Christians behaving as Christians is our hope.
I commend Chuck Colson and Timothy George for writing on public education ["Education Is in Our DNA," December]. As a public educator I have gotten backlash from other believers who think homeschooling is the only way. I disagree with them 100 percent. I have been given a position in a secular place to be a light to countless students. Their education is important to me not only in academics but also morally: I also show them the love of Christ by how I relate to them and my coworkers.
Without education I would not be able to read the Scriptures and teach others. Education is a noble career that should be valued by everyone even if it is public education. And as public educators we should always seek improvement because we have been entrusted to lead our future.
For us folks unread in philosophy and untrained in either theology or biology, it matters a lot how we got here, because we want to know if we really need a Savior or if we can read our Bibles for real meaning. In regards to the Alvin Plantinga interview ["Conflict Resolution," December], we do not expect anyone to prove completely "right" in everything he teaches. Some of us who were educated by doctrinaire naturalists, then soothed by theistic evolutionist theologians, now wonder why the young-earth creationists are written off. Plantinga seems to be saying that only a theistic evolutionist can be a believer and remain scientific.
I feel cheated again.
Obeying the Rules
"Double-Daring the IRS" [December] is misleading. While Americans United for Separation of Church and State complained to the IRS about our church's website, I am not using the website to endorse Rick Perry.
Our website links to a YouTube page that posts all of my media appearances for the convenience of our church members and carried a clip of my introduction of Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. However, our website states that the media clips do not reflect an official endorsement.
I have repeatedly said I believe pastors and churches should not officially endorse candidates for political office. Our church has been careful to operate within those IRS guidelines, and we advise other churches to do so as well.
Pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas
What got the most comments in December's CT
14% Making Disciples Today Mark Galli
10% The Good God Who Came Down Michael Horton
10% No Taxpayer Is an Island CT Editorial
The most praised piece in December's CT
It's Okay to Expect a Miracle Interview with Craig Keener
Compiled by Elissa Cooper
"The least bit of curve will 'present a temptation' even if you're wearing a turtleneck. We can't win in a shame-based system."
Dianna, discussing how women are conflicted when it comes to modesty and a healthy outlook on body image and sexuality.
Her.meneutics: "How 'Modest Is Hottest' Is Hurting Christian Women," by Sharon Hodde Miller
"The person who has greed and retains everything for their own self-gratification gives wealthy people a bad name."
Marilyn, opining that people can receive generous salaries as long as they are good stewards.
CT Liveblog: "How Will Christians Respond to Albert Pujols' $250 Million Contract" by Sarah Pulliam Bailey
"My prayer for the President is that the constant carping of other Christians doesn't discourage him in his own practice of faith."
Jim R., expressing disappointment in Christian leaders who criticize President Obama's lack of faith.
CT Politics: "Obama at Christmas Tree Lighting: Christ 'A Manifestation of God's Love,'" by Sarah Pulliam Bailey
"He will be singing to crowds of predominantly unbelievers, touring with mostly unbelievers, and he has credence in their eyes because he is talented."
Carol, applauding Christian singer Marc Martel, who will be performing in a secular tribute to Queen.
CT Entertainment Blog: "Downhere's Marc Martel Wins Queen Contest," by Mark Moring
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The December issue is available on our website.
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