I've been amazed as J. Lee Grady has repeatedly knocked one topic after another out of the park (Fire in My Bones). A true big-league, home-run hitter, at least up to his trashing of George Barna's Revolution (June). That was more like foul and whiff. No home run this time.
John L. Moore
Miles City, Montana
I would have agreed with George Barna had it not been for the hurricane that destroyed my city. Rich, large churches were the first to offer food, clothing and shelter. But this is not to discredit smaller churches that didn't have the resources. Instead of abandoning the church, we should call on God to cleanse it of leaders who make it unbearable.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Regardless of where my church meets, I intend to hold on to the New Testament principles of healthy, accountable leadership. How will anyone be trained properly and with balance without accountability? We all have blind spots and need someone who can speak truth into our lives.
Liberty Life Center
Kudos for George Barna's new book, Revolution. After hearing 5,000 sermons, I have had to sadly conclude that my own personal needs were never met. I would have been years ahead in my Christian experience if I had attended a weekly, confidential cell group in a home.
San Francisco, California
It appears you scanned Revolution through the lens of your own agenda and inaccurately paraphrased Barna's ideas. Though I admit the tone is frustrated, even angry at points, you give your readers the image that Barna is pulling people out of churches across the world. Your portrayal is inaccurate and deceptive. He is not urging people to leave churches in throngs.
Perhaps house churches are popular because of the cost: no tithes or offerings. Programs tailored for kids appear no longer relevant. Apparently, house churches don't have many children. That's tragic. Most believers accept Christ as kids. If the church disintegrates into house churches, its moral force will be lost, speeding Christian America into the end times.
Most, not all, house churches are full of people in rebellion who do not want to tithe. I often wonder who is the authority in a house church, especially if it's their house! Without that biblical, correct and nonabusive authority in leadership, you have anarchy.
Reaching the Saints in Utah
God bless Sandra Tanner and her husband for the wonderful, eternal work they're doing in the Mormon stronghold of Utah ("The Bravest Woman in Utah" by John Draper, June). God is using her to reach Latter-day Saints with the gospel, despite challenges and opposition to the truth. I pray He will continue to bless them for being committed to the call.
In response to John Draper's article, I appreciate the ways God has used Sandra Tanner to help confused Mormons, but the writer presents an imbalanced and misleading view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). I have become acquainted with many Mormons who believe everything LDS teaches them and yet are also committed Christians.
Newport, New Hampshire
I am saddened by the direction of Brownsville Assembly of God. However, my life is fruit of the revival. (Fire in My Bones, July). I don't care what the critics say; Jesus was alive in every meeting.
I appreciate the perspective of Lee Grady regarding the revival, and I share his grief over the mistakes that happened there. Revivals are never intended to last; they are intended to revitalize the body for healthy ministry. Too often when the glory stays, so do we.
Standing With Israel
Thanks for the article "Why Israel Matters" by Robert Stearns (May). We must never forget that God will always love Israel. What a beautiful reminder of God's faithfulness to His promises. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem requires that we pray for the peace of its people.
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
It is good to see that the church is waking up to stand with Israel and realizing that it's not replacing that nation but is grafted in through Romans 11:17. I got your magazine because of the front page on Israel. I am a Messianic gentile who prefers to worship God in a Jewish synagogue rather than a church.
El Paso, Texas
Christian Hope Network (CHN) of Kenya will stand with Israel in this time of great need for prayer. Though many churches in the West are not standing with Israel, we at CHN Kenya know for sure that our faith is rooted in Israel.
Rev. James Onyango Owuor
You continuously quote "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" out of context for supporting the secular state of Israel even though there is no exegetical relationship. You should be informing your readers of what the rest of Scripture says, especially Isaiah 56:3,6-8. The Jews were chosen by God as a conduit of His grace for the salvation of the entire world, not just the Hebrew people.
Stearns explains in the most compelling manner what every committed Christian must be prepared for in the coming days. Israel's history can't be denied. Jesus came as a Jew, and as His followers we must understand our heritage. We can't be silent when it pertains to the peace of Jerusalem.
Rev. Barbara A. Yovino
Brooklyn, New York
Robert Stearns' article on Israel is the most important story in print right now.This one statement must be grasped: Israel is rapidly evolving into what may become the most fundamental issue to face every Bible-believing Christian in the world.
Wendy Finch McCusker
Hearing the unbelievable cry for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people should shake every Christian out of the lethargy of thinking the body of Christ is exempt from this same hatred. Thanks to Stearns for his bold, passionate plea for Christians to take a stand with Israel.
I commend you for taking a strong stand on behalf of Israel. The church desperately needs to be informed, and it is incumbent on us to stand and take our place. Robert Stearns is a wonderful example of that.
Christians need to have a proper understanding of what God says about Israel and the vital role the church can play in supporting this nation. I applaud your efforts in shining light on this subject.
Lake Mary, Florida
The articles on Israel are educational and timely, but something is missing.We can "pray for the peace of Jerusalem," but peace for people anywhere comes only through Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. I pray with the apostle Paul: "My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved" (Rom. 10:1, KJV). Yes, we should pray for Israel, but not just for the land.
Overland Park, Kansas
Correction: In our profile of worship leader Israel Houghton ("A Passion for His Presence," June) we stated that Houghton wrote the songs "No Limits" and "Friend of God." He wrote "Take the Limits Off" with Aaron Lindsey while "No Limits (Enlarge My Territory)" was written by Derick Thomas. Houghton co-wrote "Friend of God" with Michael Gungor. Charisma regrets the error.
I was both shocked and chagrined at the stance and content of Lee Grady's "Barna's Dangerous Proposal" (Fire in My Bones, June). A recent survey of the Barna Group has revealed a breathtaking picture of how much deeper, more committed, more knowledgeable and more doctrinally correct revolutionaries are compared to the average evangelical. Bottom line: Barna's writings in Revolution (Tyndale) are complementary with our house-church stuff.
Your statement that "He wants to reinvent the church without its biblical structure and New Testament order—and without the people who are anointed by God to guide it" is just flat wrong. He would be horrified at that.
On the matter of New Testament order, I assume you're referring to the institutional, pyramidal "local" churches of today. That is precisely the thing that Barna's numbers are showing clearly to be spiraling downward. He is right about revolutionaries forming house, office and campus churches.
But his prediction that many of them will find a spiritual home grounded in a floating subculture of music festivals and large conferences is too optimistic. They won't find the accountability of small-group relationships there. What will survive are house churches that are making obsolete audience-style Christianity that produces so many irresponsible spectators. Surveys show there's a rapidly growing crowd of perhaps 23 million born-again Christians in the U.S. who show up for only Christmas and Easter, if that.
In the 1990s, perhaps half the U.S. house churches were composed of survivors and dropouts. But that sort of meeting now constitutes roughly 5 percent of house churches in America. The vast majority of house-church networks today are positive, biblically solid and oriented toward reaching nations. It's a new day in the house-church scene, and I think Barna has picked up on this.
Jim Rutz, Chairman
Open Church Ministries
Colorado Springs, Colorado