It's Time to Talk About Power

There will always be a power differential between a pastor and a church member, and the temptation to conceal this is a slippery slope. Andy Crouch is right, the way faith leaders use power "will either reflect or distort the image of the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords." As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, I have great difficulty trusting any pastor, and so often this has bled into what I believe about God. It's been a battle that I should've never had to fight.

Name Withheld by Request

Open Question

I was perplexed by "How Can Churches Best Support Parents Who Adopt from Overseas?" At times, it seems the church views international adoption as an exotic, special calling, while failing to understand that adoptees from our own neighborhoods also face identity issues, racial prejudices, prenatal or postnatal abuse or neglect, and inherited mental or physical disabilities.

Families who adopt domestically are not spared the "complaints from teachers" or the "annoyed glance from down the pew" simply because their child was born ten instead of a thousand miles away. The church would do well to stand up for all families who embrace this journey.

Carla Rodriguez
Rockford, Michigan

An Old, Old Ethic

I was delighted to see David Neff point out that the early church had a consistent objection to taking human life across the board.

As president of Consistent Life, I have been delighted to see how this ancient Christian message is now being recovered across an increasingly broad spectrum. I hope Neff's piece will inspire more evangelicals to prayerfully consider how the principle of opposing bloodshed upheld by the early church can be better incorporated into our witness in today's violent world.

Bill Samuel
Silver Spring, Maryland

Sarah Young Still Hears Jesus Calling

I was unfamiliar with Sarah Young until your recent article. The comments by various theologians were of interest, particularly the charge of blasphemy made against her. My experience and Scripture say that the Holy Spirit—the spirit of Jesus—dwells in the born-again believer. Does he then become voiceless, he who spoke the worlds into existence? Hebrews declares that in former times God spoke in diverse ways, but now speaks to us through his Son. It seems that saying Jesus doesn't or can't speak to the individual today is blaspheming the Word.

Carol Miller
Williamsport, Maryland

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The comments from theologians in your profile of Sarah Young were disheartening. I believe the church today needs to lessen the gap between theology "proclaimed" and theology lived. Dallas Willard describes this as "with-God" life, taking our real life into the kingdom of God. This intentional kingdom living does not "downplay the sacraments of Communion and baptism," as one theologian said. Instead, they are an important part of the abundant living available to us as we respond to Jesus' call.

Mary Ohman
Grand Junction, Colorado

Where Did We Come From?

I loved the premise and approach of Andrew J. Wilson's article on origins and most of his arguments. But I hated where it ended, with the suggestion of pre-Adamic humans. Can you really read Genesis 2–3 and Romans 5 and with a straight face suggest pre-Adamic humans who presumably lived in sin and death? This is clouding the water significantly rather than presenting a theologically viable solution to the problem of human origins.

Paul Mickelsen
Peoria, Arizona

The Manly Christian Pacifist

As a Christian who willingly served as a soldier, I always appreciate discussion of the issue of pacifism. However, the issue should be stated carefully. Pacifism is a rejection of a resort to violence under any and all circumstances. If that definition is not accepted, then we are simply arguing over what the criteria for just war should be.

I object to characterizing non-pacifists as having "an unbiblical attachment to American nationalism and militarism," as the book review of Fight mentions. There are many of us non-pacifists who recognize that America has not always been ethical when resorting to violence. But that discussion is, again, debating when to resort to violence. The fact that some, if not many, wars are unjustified does not support total pacifism.

Wayne Shockley
Brooklyn, Wisconsin

Hot and Holy

I want to congratulate Lisa Velthouse for presenting the core theological issues regarding human sexuality in her interview with Denny Burk, author of What Is the Meaning of Sex? It is critical that believers use sound theology when engaging both fellow believers and nonbelievers on sexual practices. A discussion of sexual practices based only on three or four Scriptures passages is likely to lead to a fruitless sharing of personal opinions on those Scriptures.

John Torgerson
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

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CT's Redesign

Editor's Note: We spent hundreds of hours over the course of several months to give you, our readers, a better visual experience. As comments pour in, we continue to tweak the design based on your suggestions. Thank you for your insight as well as for referring to our staff as "young whippersnappers"—it's been a long time since some of us have been called that.

"I really like the new @CTmagazine redesign. Up to date and well-suited to content. Bravo to @KatelynBeaty et al."

Hannah Notess (@hnotess)

Just a note of appreciation to CT and Metaleap Creative for the excellent redesign.

Andy Crouch wrote, "We wanted to convey how serious we are about serving our readers in print," and the redesign serves that purpose well, in particular because it is readily readable. Sometimes the excitement of doing a redesign can cause readability to slip down the priority list, with awful results. Thank you for keeping readability in mind.

Gary Weidner
Dubuque, Iowa

I have good news and bad news. First, the good news.

The new look is excellent. It combines enough of the old familiar CT with some cutting-edge approaches so that the end result is a balanced blend. Kudos to all who had a part in this change.

Now, the bad news. The fonts you selected for most of the articles are too small.

Even if I have to use a magnifying glass to read ct due to the small print, it's worth it! But it would sure be a much more pleasant experience if the print could be enlarged.

Ken Williams
Swansea, Illinois

It really is a new look! My problem: I have great difficulty in discerning what is your stuff and what is an advertisement. Very frustrating in many places.

Robertson McQuilkin

The "new look" issue arrived today. I can't read it. Like many seniors, I have vision issues. Are your graphic designers young whippersnappers completely inconsiderate (or incognizant) of the slings and arrows of outrageous aging?

Dorine Houston
St. Petersburg, Florida

Net Gain

Responses from the Web.

"We shouldn't look at this article as a one-size-fits-all template for families, but amen, amen, amen! Parents are never going to create a Christian utopia for their children, so let's stop trying. Let's stop pretending this cozy-bubble lifestyle is what God wants for them anyway."

D. McDonald, CT online comment.
"Why We Send Our Kids to the Poorest Public School," by Jennifer Slate, This Is Our City.

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"Reading this book now actually. Will definitely keep in mind as I get to that part of his life. Thanks."

Trena Wanless (@TrenaWanless) on the new C. S. Lewis biography by Alister McGrath.
Speaking Out: "C. S. Lewis's Joy in Marriage," by Gina Dalfonzo.

"Wish I could 'like' this 100 times. Electronic communications—whether via text, e-mail, or social media—are simply not constructive vehicles for discussion."

Stephanie Smith DeChambeau on Facebook.
"Politics, Social Media, and More Important Things," by Ed Stetzer

"Great article. Each Christian needs to decide how much culture they can 'consume' while still remaining in the Lord."

Elayna Gallea (@MrsElaynaG) on Brett McCracken's new book, Gray Matters.
"Yes, You Can Drink Beer and Watch Game of Thrones," review by Owen Strachan.

"What a long strange trip it's been!"

Bill Clinger on Facebook.
"Malcolm Gladwell Returns to Christian Roots: 'I Realized What I Had Missed,'" by Jeremy Weber.

"To work within the constraints of culture is both a blessing and a curse. This is a beautiful piece, and I love the idea of vision as a vital part of service. You've convicted me to remember that our efforts should be viewed as a team effort, not weighing action above vision or vice versa. Thank you!"

Aleah Marsden, online comment.
Her.meneutics: "The Good Female Samaritan," by Rachel Pieh Jones

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