He's Still Shining Bright
It was refreshing to read your recent cover story on Bill Bright ("Still Shining Bright" by Andy Butcher, October). His Bible studies laid the groundwork for my walk with Jesus more than 20 years ago. He is a wonderful servant of God. Thank you for giving him the honor that is due him.
Barri Cae Mallin
Bill Bright is a giant of worldwide evangelism. It is refreshing to read about a man who has brought so many to faith in Christ. If anyone will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter now into the joy of thy Lord," it will be Bill Bright.
Anointing for Sale
Thank you for the article "Is the Anointing for Sale?" by B. Courtney McBath (October). He said what I've been saying for years: The anointing isn't for sale, but we have a lot of "preachers" out there selling it. Many TV "preachers" say if you don't send them your tithe, you will not be blessed.
Some of our "preachers" would have had Simon the sorcerer [see Acts 8] come to their churches and offer money for the anointing, and they would have said, "This man is from God."
This timely article is one of the better ones I've read in Charisma. Sadly, the man named Simon in Acts 8:18 would fit in perfectly today.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I attended a meeting at which a minister told the congregation he would prophesy over anyone wanting a prophecy--if they were willing to pay $100 for it. This immediately turned me off. Since then I continually get mail from this minister, asking for $100 to $400 so he can give me my prophecy from God. I throw the letters in the trash. People need to be warned about this.
Your article was not only a discerning exposé but also a condemnation of your magazine and its advertising. I applaud McBath. My only critique is that he was not brave enough to name names.
Bricktown, New Jersey
I am appalled at the number of church leaders who have expressed views focused on elevating themselves rather than teaching the full gospel. We are seeing the fruit of sin in our church leaders because they are not preaching the important message of genuine repentance. This is an essential part of the gospel. But sadly, through the years, it has been ignored. When will the church wake up?
While McBath's comments may be praiseworthy, it is just more of the double-speak that has become fashionable for Charisma. Your magazine is one of the largest promoters of charismatic and Pentecostal icons who challenge the sufficiency of God's Word with man-made proclamations and anointing. Until you stop promoting the very ones you criticize, your judgments--no matter how accurate--mean nothing.
M. Kurt Goedelman
St. Louis, Missouri
Forgiving Bill Clinton
I read your report about the backlash pastor Dick Bernal has received after allowing former President Clinton to speak at his church as part of an independent fund-raiser ("Pastor Defends Clinton's Church Visit," People & Events, October). Comparing Clinton to David in the Bible is fallacious because David completely confessed his sin to God and everyone, and he made no excuses for it.
Compromise is shaming the church in America today. We don't need Satan's allies to proclaim anything from our pulpits.
Without complete knowledge of the situation, Christians must accept Clinton's act of repentance as well as Bernal's apology to his church. It would appear that the body of Christ is the only army that shoots its own. Let us raise up our brothers in prayer when they have fallen short.
I was shocked at Bernal's claim that "Bill Clinton is a good-hearted man who has been unfairly vilified by Christians." Bernal's comments are outrageous, especially when he states that people who are critical of Clinton would have David stoned if he were alive today.
I am saddened that there are still members in the body of Christ who can't forgive Clinton. God forgave David. Is Clinton any different? If healing and restoration can't be found in the church, where can one find it?
I respect your balanced magazine, but I read this report with sadness and anger. These Christians who criticized Bernal must be people who have never experienced the mercy of Jesus. Either they need a renewed mind, or they have religious spirits from the pit of hell.
Jesus and Goth Culture
Your cover story on the Goth culture was right on target ("Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" by Jimmy Stewart, August). But let's not forget the kids who are "normal." Thousands of kids do not dress in an unusual way. They go to school, work afternoon jobs and do their homework--but they have real problems that need addressing as much as the Goths do.
Philip A. Williams
Rockingham, North Carolina
I have a lot in common with the Goth scene and was very encouraged by your article. For years I was a victim of "church and religion," and the fact that I was a little different resulted in a lot of alienation. I am grateful for your boldness. Other Christian magazines militantly attack people who don't fit into their perception of Christianity.
My son was once one of those who did not feel welcomed by churches. His low self-esteem made it hard for him to make friends with the clean-cut people at school. The "freaks" welcomed him with open arms, and he wound up immersed in their culture.
Some youths were out where the need was, and they ministered love to my son, and he asked Jesus to be his Savior. The change in him has been miraculous. I can't help but wonder how many more years of pain there would have been without those sold-out kids going to meet him where he was instead of waiting for him to come to church.
Gail E. Mullis
We are to catch the fish, but it's the Holy Spirit's job--not ours--to clean the fish. The problem with those who call themselves saints but who ostracize everyone who doesn't look, act, smell, dress or walk like them is simple: They don't love God, themselves or others.
Ruby M. Byrd
You don't need to become a hooker to minister to prostitutes or a drag queen to witness to transvestites. Why do you need to become a Goth to witness to Goths?
Long Beach, California
We Must Be Relevant
In response to J. Lee Grady's column, "Religious or Relevant?" (First Word, August), I encourage you to continue addressing hard issues. It is too easy for many of us to hide our heads in the sand. I plead guilty, personally. A recent issue that addressed aspects of homosexuality truly got my attention and changed my heart attitude. I find myself more compassionate, understanding and prayerful.
Mary Lou Brannan
Thank you for covering the topics I won't read about in any other Christian publication. Folks may feel uncomfortable reading about Goths, prostitutes and homosexuals, but Jesus would be right there rubbing elbows with them.
Stay relevant, please! No more dull, goody-goody church stories. I gave a copy of the Goth issue to a vampire at work. He actually seemed interested and not at all turned off. We need a Christian magazine that will reach out to the lost.
Please do articles on tough topics, but put them inside the magazine--not on the cover--so that our church-visitor displays don't look similar to the seamiest magazine racks in an adult bookstore.
How it must break God's heart when Christians complain about articles such as your recent report on homosexuality and the church. Where is the love in us?
Mount Airy, Maryland
Corrections: In our October issue we incorrectly used the term "Armenian" instead of "Arminian" to refer to the doctrine of Arminianism. In our review of Michael W. Smith's Worship album, we said that Smith and his wife, Debbie, co-wrote the song "Above All." It was co-written by Lenny LeBlanc and Paul Baloche. We regret these errors.