We Hear Iraq's Cry
Thanks so much for your special report on Iraq ("The Cry of Iraq's Church," by Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, August). The cover photograph alone gave me a compassionate heart to pray for the people of that nation.
Every time I look at that girl's grieving face I find myself asking God to dry her tears and cause her to rejoice again. It is a relief to know that Christians are standing in the gap for Iraq.
Annie L. Lee
Metuchen, New Jersey
My wife and I regularly pray for the salvation of more and more Iraqi people, especially those who are loyal to Saddam Hussein. We pray that the Iraqi people will be totally liberated from the clutches of the enemy and that the gospel of Jesus Christ will reign in Iraq.
Rev. Honorio and Sotera Suyamin
Mindanao, Southern Philippines
Thanks for the focus you placed on supporting Iraqi Christians. The president of our ministry, Harold Harder, recently returned from Baghdad, where he delivered requested medicines to several Catholic hospitals and met with leaders of several denominations.
Thank you for Charisma. It is the most popular magazine in our break room here at Blessings International, and we have consistently benefited from the excellent columns and articles.
I haven't been able to get the image of the little girl on your cover out of my mind. I'd like to know about her and her family. Has she found her brothers? How can I send her support? Does she speak English? I've been praying for her every day.
Editor's note: Please continue to pray for this girl. Hussein Malla, who took the photograph of her for the Associated Press, told us that many people in her town, Karbala, were trying to help her find her missing brothers.
I congratulate Paula Yorker for coming forward with her testimony about incest ("The Burden of a Secret," by Nancy Justice, July). It is always hard to read about incest, and it is especially hard to be a victim.
I can relate to Yorker's struggle. I was molested at an early age by a close relative, and I held my secret for 40 years. I know about the shame, the guilt and the question victims ask over and over: "How did I let this happen?"
I eventually wrote a book, Too Scared to Tell, which gives an honest portrayal of the impact sexual abuse can have on a child as well as an adult.
Gwendolyn King Perry
Revival in Kiev
We would like to express our profound appreciation to you for the article about the ministry of pastor Sunday Adelaja in Kiev, Ukraine ("Taking Kiev by Surprise," by Frank Brown, June). This article had a tremendous impact on our city.
About 100 American and Slavic churches have decided to invite pastor Adelaja to a conference in Sacramento in October. The article has helped build stronger ties between the Slavic and American Christians here in this region.
Rev. Vasiliy Biletskiy
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for publishing the article on pastor Sunday Adelaja. Being a refugee from the former Soviet Union, where this kind of revival ministry was unavailable 14 years ago, I am thrilled to see how God is using an African pastor to transform a society deeply immersed in communism.
His goal of winning 5 million Ukrainians for Christ has changed my personal perspective about soul-winning. Now I think bigger!
Fleecing the Flock?
Thank God and J. Lee Grady for the excellent editorial titled "Fair Warning," (First Word, August). My dear minister-father told me when I was young in the ministry that when money became a priority, my reason for being in the ministry would be lost. Thanks for focusing on a disease that is plaguing the church today.
Former Assistant General
of the Assemblies of God
Palm Desert, California
I applaud your courage in exposing greed in the pulpit. I also have been worried sick about what is happening in some of our churches and TV ministries. There is no doubt that with all the money hype, something has to give. What we stand to lose as a Christian community is astronomical.
Grady's examples of greed among ministers were shocking. I've been in the ministry for more than 35 years, and I've heard about a lot of greed, but your stories are amazing. Because I don't listen to those types of preachers or don't have the sources you have, I wasn't aware that greed is so blatant in some charismatic circles. I've never heard of a preacher getting a "spending allowance," let alone one for $7,000.
John P. Rothacker
I appreciate and agree with what Grady said in his column. However, if you take a look at the people who advertise in your magazine, their conferences are mostly about creating a dynamic, prosperous personal lifestyle.
Your personal conviction, which is sound, conflicts with many of your magazine's advertisements. I've read Charisma's advertising-policy disclaimer, but you're still taking their money. It seems double-minded.
I am thankful that Grady is speaking out about the financial abuse in the church today. It is an answered prayer, and I pray he continues to expose this error for what it is. I have often wondered why more leaders do not speak out against the greed and sheep-fleecing that is taking place in the charismatic church.
I am glad Grady gets the "first word" because he has some strong things to say. I am glad he is not timid about saying them. I have been reading First Word for some time now, and I would buy Charisma just for this column.
Las Vegas, Nevada
I totally agree with the column on greed, manipulation and financial foolishness on display in some American churches today. Our churches are in serious trouble as these false preachers think of more creative ways to dip into our pockets.
We were members of a church where this happened. The pastor and his "entourage" moved to another state when the financial mismanagement was exposed.
There are two great failures in the charismatic movement. First is the failure of church members to demand honesty and integrity from the pulpit minister. The second failure is closely related: lack of financial accountability.
Many churches have no real board, elders or deacons. And if they do, they pack the board with yes-men and yes-women. I was once a member of a church board that was made up of the preacher, his wife, his brother-in-law and his father-in-law. Never once in seven years was a financial statement shared with the congregation.
John T. Leeson III
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
The Hugh Ross Debate
I am amazed by all the ruckus caused by people who read the article about scientist Hugh Ross and his "old earth" view of creation (Letters, August). All this arguing is more divisive than informative. Aren't we acting like juveniles as we lash out against our brothers and sisters?
The devil delights in watching us fight among ourselves. We desperately need to grow up and work together to bring people into the kingdom and to disciple them.
I am still saddened that the responses to your article on Hugh Ross fall into two camps: Those who use feelings and their experience to justify their position, and those who try to hold to what is written and therefore base their beliefs on what the biblical text clearly says.
In both areas, the philosophy of a world not connected to God is used to lay a foundation for a Christian belief system. And in both areas it ultimately fails, leaving disillusioned people.
R. Bradley Andrews
The Catholic Debate
I am tired of all the letters from Catholics who are angry that anyone might suggest that Catholicism is more of a cult than it is Christianity. There are a few precious Catholics who put Jesus Christ first and are truly saved. But it is a sad fact that most Catholics do not know the Bible well enough to know how much the tradition they have been taught is in conflict with it.
Among those who do know, there is a great tendency to be unconcerned because they believe their leadership has the final say in interpreting the Bible. However, if God is the author of an inerrant Bible (which the Catholic Church says He is) and the author of Catholic tradition, then He must be either confused or a good liar to contradict Himself that much!
We need more light and less heat on this subject.
Elvis ... a Preacher?
I read your article on preachers who dress up like Elvis ("For the Love of Elvis," by Andy Butcher, August). Using the late Elvis Presley as a "tool" to witness about the Lord? And an evangelist who feels as though a "mantle" from the late estate at Graceland has fallen on him via a tour?
This is really out there. I guess the Easter Bunny and Santa aren't distraction enough. Now we've got Elvis to distract us from the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
San Bernardino, California