Juanita Stirs It Up!
Thanks for your cover story on Juanita Bynum ("She Tells It Like It Is," by Vanessa Lowe Robinson, September). As far as I'm concerned Bynum can keep telling it like it is!
You don't find too many preachers who are not afraid to step on toes. I hope Juanita fries sacred cows until the last one is done away with.
Brooklyn, New York
Several years ago I read Juanita Bynum's book No More Sheets. Her message impacted my life.
It was clear that Bynum wanted readers to be free of things that keep them from experiencing God in His fullness. Juanita, keep aiming for the heart!
Your article says Juanita Bynum is usually introduced "with the imposing title of 'prophetess.'" Who cares! Matthew 23:7-12 says we aren't to give titles and elevate another brother over another. Why does the church insist on titles?
Warren W. Blackman
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
It is too bad that the body of Christ needs celebrities instead of Jesus. I wish the article about the Missouri couple reaching inner-city children through a feeding ministry would have been on your front cover in September.
I just read the sidebar about Juanita Bynum's wedding ("A Cinderella Wedding," September). How could anyone, let alone a Christian, buy a 7.76 carat diamond ring? I guess the saddest part is that no one at Charisma or TBN saw any problem with that. Just another reason not to send my money or follow after a TV evangelist.
Surely I am not the only reader who is appalled at the account of the wedding of Juanita Bynum and Thomas Wesley Weeks III. What Charisma understatedly referred to as "lavish" I think would be better labeled ostentatious.
Are large diamonds and outlandishly expensive weddings pleasing to God? I am sure, in response to this question, a rationalized answer would be forthcoming. After all, that is the way of the worldly life, not the godly life He seeks from us.
It was with great sorrow that I read the article on Juanita Bynum's wedding. How sad that the hard-earned money of her supporters was spent so superfluously on an extravagant affair. I think it's a disgrace when people who are blessed in ministry use it to fulfill their own desires rather than to further the kingdom or help those in need.
You devoted two-thirds of a page to Juanita Bynum's wedding. I watched it on TBN, and by the time it was over I was literally sick. Who do we think we are?
As African Americans, do we have to prove something? Ninety people in the bridal party? A 37-foot cake? And Juanita Bynum says God gave her the plan for the wedding? Come on!
It's no wonder people in Third World countries dislike us more and more. The way we act, it is as if God does not care about the millions dying in Africa yet He cares so much about Juanita Bynum that He gives her special plans for her wedding. Get real, people!
Johannesburg, South Africa
God in Small Towns
I was so encouraged to read about Revival in Tulare, California (People & Events, September). I am the pastor of a small church in Bonny Doon, very close to Santa Cruz, California, and it is exciting to read about God visiting a small church, changing people and doing miracles. He sustains the universe, sustains the church and each of us who believes in Him.
Reading about this revival is very special, especially when it is just 200 miles away! Please continue your coverage of these unusual moves of God. We need this kind of encouragement.
Bonny Doon Presbyterian Church
Bonny Doon, California
Racism in the Heart
Thanks to J. Lee Grady for his stance against racism in his First Word column, ("Haunted Hearts," September), but I don't think he went far enough. He should have addressed gender bigotry at the same time.
Are racism and sexism really two separate issues? Many people who think racial bigotry is a human-rights issue also think gender bigotry is merely a social preference. The church should be leading the way in showing the world that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female."
Colorado Springs, Colorado
My husband is in South Carolina with the Air Force on temporary duty. He said he was driving around looking at the sights, and to his dismay he discovered that they actually have slave auction blocks as tourist attractions! He said the oppression was awful.
No, he didn't stop; he felt the evil just driving by. Is it any wonder we still have so much sorrow and hate among people of different colors? What causes us to make money on misery?
Midwest City, Oklahoma
I think it's pretty pathetic that people who are supposed to serve Christ discriminate against one another based on race. And we are to be a light in the world? How misleading. Then we wonder why people in the world do not want to be part of the church. They can get cruel treatment in the world.
Los Angeles, California
I want to applaud J. Lee Grady for "waving a red flag" in his August 2003 column, "Fair Warning," in which he called the church to accountability for financial abuse and manipulation in offerings. It is appalling to read about a preacher who demands $7,000 in spending money over and above his honorarium. It is even more egregious that a church would be willing to pay such a sum.
Gambling is considered sinful, but there are believers today who will give away their "seed money" hoping that they will finally hit the jackpot. Has our depressed economy further enriched the purveyors of false hope? I believe we must give without regard to a return.
I want to thank Charisma for giving us this vital information. I also want to challenge you to identify the ministers who are abusing churches financially. For the sake of your many readers, and for the charismatic movement as a whole, please demonstrate courage in this matter by giving us all the facts.
Tears for Bob the Tomato
I almost cried when I read that the creators of VeggieTales, Big Idea Productions, have been sued and may have to sell their company (People & Events, September). I have nothing but love and admiration for what they have accomplished. As the mother of five children still in school, I feel they have made a major contribution to their moral views and knowledge of the Bible.
I want Phil Vischer to know that I am willing to help to keep Big Idea from going under, and I would suggest that instead of a major investor helping, he should turn the company into a ministry. Ask people to give an offering. Give me an address, and I'll send mine today.
The Hugh Ross Debate
In reference to your cover story on scientist Hugh Ross ("He Sees God in the Stars," by Andy Butcher, June), I am saddened that people like Ross do not see the danger in what they are saying. He is taking the infallible Word of God and twisting it to fit his own warped view. What does this do to new believers or seekers? It gives them misinformation and reason to doubt the literal Word of God.
Des Moines, Iowa
To all those who are fighting over Hugh Ross' specific beliefs about creation: Give it up! In the essentials of Christian faith we must be united. In the nonessentials we need to give freedom. In all things we must show love.
To know whether God's idea of a day was 24 hours or 24 million years does not lessen God's power. It does not compromise salvation. Time is irrelevant to God. These are useless arguments.
I was particularly startled to read Hugh Ross' response to his critics in the September issue of your magazine. He takes an inordinate amount of offense at opposition to his theories.
It was obvious that he didn't read the book by the 50 Ph.D. scientists in support of the young-earth theory. I did. I read nothing in the book that could be construed as an attempt to "silence, discredit or belittle" Mr. Ross or anyone else as he charges.
Sharrill Schultz Lottmann
It is abundantly clear that no one who decided to criticize Hugh Ross bothered checking his Web site. Every objection raised, including that he is an "evolutionist," is covered in detail on the site's frequently-asked-questions page and in even greater detail on his regular radio broadcasts.
Scientists are very receptive to the view of Scripture that Ross presents. Last time I checked, Romans 10:9 doesn't say you have to believe in a six-day creation to get into heaven. Please stop the petty doctrinal debates and focus on the real issue.
I just wanted to thank you for writing the article describing the ministry of Hugh Ross. I am grateful for your willingness to write about this avenue of ministry, which I believe is effective.
I met Ross about 12 years ago. That meeting has totally strengthened my faith. Not only that, my dad, who held a low view of the Bible, began coming back to the Bible and the faith again. I am sorry about all the criticism he has received, but I pray that neither Ross nor Charisma will back down from the truth.
Thank you for your article on Hugh Ross. Although young-earth creationists disagree with his conclusions, it is the portion of that contingent that pursues a vicious campaign against him that we find so tragic and disturbing. As long as we have watched and listened to him, Ross has been gentle, humble and focused on bringing groups together instead of dividing them.
Rick and Mary Wilson
Here Come the Russians
It was with great interest that we read your article on Russian Pentecostals who have come to our city of Tacoma, Washington, looking for religious asylum ("They Came for Freedom," August). We became involved in this when some friends called and said that Church World Service desperately needed more homes because more Pentecostals from Russia and Ukraine had arrived here.
Two Ukrainians and their three children came to our home in July 1989, and a brother, his wife and baby a few days later. We were members of Neighborhood Church, a small Assemblies of God church, which also played a large role in settling the immigrants. One of our members had been led by the Lord to learn to speak Russian. Pastor Martin Haack and his wife, Faith, personally cleaned and painted rental houses for them.
The congregation presented the immigrants with love offerings so they would have cash available. Other church members found home furnishings, as the immigrants all arrived with only a few duffel bags. The greatest warm memory is to know without a doubt that all of us who helped had heard and obeyed the leading of the Lord with joy and enthusiasm.
Nancy and Fred Shelton