Crossing the Color Line
Because I am an African American pastor in Memphis, I took a special interest in your article on racial issues in my city ("Crossing the Color Line in Memphis" by Anahid Schweikert, February). I, along with others, was involved in a series of meetings to discuss the issue of racial reconciliation. We helped set up the services in 1994 that became known as The Memphis Miracle. To say those services were awesome would be a gross understatement.
Rev. Grady Thomas
New Azusa Ministries
My cap is off to those heroes of the faith who are building a bridge across the color divide in the church today. My father went to the altar for Holy Communion in a church here in Baltimore and was deliberately skipped because he is black.
It pains my heart that color is even an issue in the church. It's a symptom of Christian immaturity. Every mature Christian understands that God doesn't have a heaven for blacks and another for whites. We must organize a funeral for this ugly attitude.
Mixing God And Politics
I was delighted to see your cover story about our president's faith ("How the President Found God" by Stephen Mansfield, October). I think God put Bush in the White House.
I was appalled to see the ugly, hateful letters in your December issue that criticized the president. To say that Mr. Clinton was a "better Christian" than Mr. Bush is shameful.
I can't believe the person who wrote to Charisma and questioned President Bush's faith because his wife reads the Harry Potter books. Since when do we judge a person's salvation on the actions of his family? We are saved by the redeeming work of Jesus alone.
One of your readers blasted President Bush because his daughters were caught drinking. Where in the Bible does it say that the salvation of a father means his children share in his salvation or faith? Just because Bush is a Christian does not guarantee that his daughters will be.
I'm shocked at the venom directed at the president from some of the letters to the editor. We as Christians should not be so quick to judge. We have no idea of the responsibility that rests on his shoulders.
The 2004 election is possibly the most important of this century. We need a president who knows the value of a dollar. We need someone who will keep government spending in check and who has compassion for the poor.
We need an honest man with Christian values. I would like to see Charisma do an in-depth article on General Wesley Clark. This Democratic candidate not only talks with God but he also listens and responds.
Lenoir, North Carolina
My heart was filled with sadness as I read the negative letters about Bush. It is our responsibility to pray for President Bush and his family. We need to lift them up before God and pray for their protection, strength and wisdom.
Le Grand, California
President Bush is a big liar. He is no man of God!
I could hardly believe some of the letters that professing Christians wrote about President Bush. I would expect these types of personal attacks from the world--but from fellow Christians?
Santa Cruz, California
I did not have a subscription to Charisma at the time I read your article on President Bush, but a friend loaned me her copy. We have been passing it around in my Sunday school class. I am appalled that so many readers criticized the article. President Bush is not perfect. None of us are.
Joyce O. Giles
I am slightly amused but mostly disgusted after reading the letters to the editor regarding President Bush. I have a theory about why so many people hate our president. It's because the darkness in them is reacting to the light in him.
Grass Valley, California
One of your readers criticized President Bush for belonging to the Skull and Bones fraternity when he was a student at Yale. I'm sure he would never join such a group now if he had it to do over again. College was a long time ago for him. I'm grateful that God doesn't hold past sins against us once we come to Him in repentance.
I am sure President Bush was not a born-again Christian when he was at Yale. His conversion came after he married. A lot of us have done things we shouldn't have done before we accepted Christ.
I've been very disappointed by recent letters to the editor. It amazes me how so-called Christians can come against our president, who despite his past is now at least proclaiming our creator as his God. I don't even want to imagine where our country would be if Al Gore had made it into office!
I read about the Ponzi scheme that deceived so many Christians, including ministry leaders (People & Events, February). The real losers in this scheme were not the ministries but the God-fearing people who gave their money to reach a dying world. How many more funds do these ministries have in reserve? Just exactly who in your article is really guilty of fraud?
Michael Evans Valrico, Florida
When I read that ministries took money and "invested" it, I pictured these same ministries pleading for me to send them money to keep them going.
Your article mentioned that ministers in the Northern California-Nevada district of the Assemblies of God lost money in this scam. These leaders are required to tithe to their district.
Now they realize our leaders have been investing other people's money in a "too good to be true" scheme that resulted in the loss of millions, leaving many pastors without health care and jeopardizing assets of district offices in Sacramento. It's time to begin again with those who will lead with integrity.
Where did these ministries get that kind of money to invest in this scheme? It seems they managed to accumulate thousands and thousands of dollars in personal wealth while begging for offerings.
Did any of these men have godly discernment about this false scheme? If they had sought the Holy Spirit, God would have revealed that it was false. Both sides of this Ponzi scheme needed to be exposed.
Cayce, South Carolina
Charisma Inside Prison
The 850 inmates at Ellsworth Correctional Facility would like to thank you for your article about Marie Muhammad Vaughn ("Out of Black Islam" by Valerie G. Lowe, July). A number of men here in this prison have been brought to salvation through the article, and we're grateful. We use it every day as a witnessing tool.
Nelson R. Gabriel
Ellsworth Correctional Facility
For the Love of Arafat?
As a Christian Zionist I am outraged that author R.T. Kendall tried to "convert" Yasser Arafat (People & Events, February). Has it occurred to him that Arafat, who has the blood of thousands of innocent Jews and others on his hands, just might be what the apostle Paul described as a "vessel fit for destruction"?
Look out, Osama bin Laden. R.T. Kendall is coming after you next!
Huntington Beach, California
Old vs. New Wineskins
In the article about C. Peter Wagner ("Professor of the Spirit" by J. Lee Grady, February), the author says that Wagner "made many new enemies--particularly among some Assemblies of God leaders--when he began advocating in 2001 the emergence of modern-day apostles as a key to church growth." I honestly don't know anyone in leadership in the Assemblies of God who would consider Peter Wagner an enemy. He is a brother in Christ.
Is it possible to disagree with another person's viewpoint on matters of scriptural interpretation without being tagged an enemy? I think it serves the kingdom well when fellow believers can engage one another in discussion and even disagreement without being disagreeable in spirit.
If what is meant by modern-day apostles and prophets involves anointed persons who penetrate non-Christian environments to establish the church (apostles) and anointedly proclaim God's Word (prophets)--there really is no disagreement. If what is meant by apostle, however, is a person who uses the title apostle as a pretext for assuming dictatorial control over other believers--then that is another matter.
If what is meant by prophet is one who speaks the word of God to convict, console, comfort or give direction to another through preparing or confirming what the Spirit speaks within the person's own heart--then there is no disagreement. If what is meant by prophet, however, is one who functions as a "charismatic fortuneteller," then that also is another matter.
From 1990 through 2003 the worldwide Assemblies of God family has grown from 23.7 million believers to 50.9 million in 211 countries. This growth is the work of the Holy Spirit and suggests that maybe we are not living in a totally post-denominational area. Terminology like old wineskins and new wineskins divides people. We're all in this together. Peter Wagner has done yeoman service in the cause of Christ, and it's wonderful that you have given prominence to one who is so worthy of honor.
George O. Wood, General Secretary
The Assemblies of God General Council