Jesus and Hollywood
I enjoyed your article about the new film The Nativity Story ("The Passion of the Christ Child" by Joel Kilpatrick, December). The movie was a refreshing but sobering portrayal of life in biblical times.
We rarely see movies about the life of Christ, so I was glad Nativity made it to the big screen. Hollywood got it right this time. They were smart to take on the project.
In your article about The Nativity Story, your reviewer said that the portrayal of Mary in this film was different from the Mary in The Passion of the Christ, whom you described as "a Catholic-style Mary on a decorative pedestal." Please understand that we Catholics do not worship Mary. We worship only God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We do hold Mary in a special place in our hearts, honoring her as Jesus would want us to do and trying to imitate her humility.
Do Jews Need Jesus?
I loved Jonathan Bernis' column (Ask the Rabbi, December). I have been very concerned that there is growing sympathy for the idea that we should not witness to Jews lest we offend them. Where in the Bible did anybody get this idea?
R.T. Kendall, author
Key West, Florida
I have been a Messianic Jew for 20 years. However, unless loving Christians had explained Jesus to me and prayed for me, I might still be searching for the truth.
I thank God that the people at The 700 Club led me to the Lord, and they weren't afraid to tell me the truth just because I was Jewish. Because of my Jewish upbringing and Hebrew school, the last place I would have thought to find the truth was in Christianity.
Dana Point, California
Some people tell me that because I'm a person of Jewish heritage, I don't need to be born again, saved, baptized or become part of a New Testament church. They say my Jewish blood is enough. This is not only blatantly false but also smacks of heresy.
Robert J. Tinsky
God and the GOP
I was extremely disappointed by your article on U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris ("In the Eye of the Storm" by Maureen D. Eha, October). It was a campaign advertisement for Harris.
The author seemed to have unfettered access to Harris but never addressed the many points of controversy surrounding her in any clarifying detail. You have a responsibility to tell the whole story.
Valerie C. Cooper
I like President Bush and I've been praying for him. But why do Christians think God is a Republican?
I know abortion and gay marriage are important issues, but God has a lot to say about taking care of the poor. There are good people in both parties, and I am tired of hearing in church how I should vote.
Just tell people to vote! God will use this new situation in Washington to clean things up and get discussions going.
Charles City, Iowa
The Christian Tv Debate
Thanks for addressing the issues related to Christian television ("Wired to Reach the World" by Marcia Davis-Seale, November). I find the biannual telethons to be particularly offensive. Why do we have to hawk the gospel?
I do believe the church services that are broadcast fill a great need for those of us who are housebound. We are inspired and blessed by programs such as Turning Point, Love Worth Finding and services from Lakewood Church. Congratulations to those programs because they are keeping themselves relevant in an ever-changing world.
J. Lee Grady's editorial about contemporary Christian television was courageous, perceptive and right on target ("Lost in La-La Land," Fire in My Bones, November). I thoroughly enjoy all his editorials and believe they are bellwether essays on the convoluted state of affairs in our evangelical culture. I applaud his candor.
Dr. Barry Lumsden
Raleigh, North Carolina
My opinion of Christian television is that the good overrides the bad. I am thankful it is available. If one person finds Christ through a Christian TV program, it is worth it all.
I have never liked the way Jan Crouch dresses on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, so I wrote the ministry, and Paul Crouch answered. I still have his letter.
He told me that Jan likes to dress this way because she loves the Southern belle style. He said that one girl was actually saved when she was channel surfing and Jan's pink hair caught her attention.
The Ted Haggard Scandal
With regard to the recent removal of Ted Haggard from his pastoral position because of moral failure (News, December), we must remember that our God is a God of restoration. Our prayers are with Ted and his family.
Buffalo, New York
I was so disappointed in what happened to Ted Haggard. I admired him. What is happening in the church today?
Mary E. Owens
My heart is grieved over the apparent downfall of Ted Haggard. I only wish he would have reached out more for help. He must have felt the body of Christ would kick him out if they knew of his struggles.
Please, let's create an atmosphere where people can come forward and be honest about their lives without losing everything in return. I pray that God will restore Ted, his marriage and his family.
Ted Haggard founded a church that now has 14,000 members. Is this the product of human achievement, right education, marketing and personality? Or has God done a mighty work in our midst?
I think we are harder on Ted than God is. I'm not sure the punishment fits the crime.
As the news unfolded about Ted Haggard, my worst lament was how long it would take for the Christian community to throw Pastor Haggard in front of the bus.
It must grieve the heart of the Father to see how "worldly" we are in our response to sin. Instead of destroying our wounded, the church must restore those who fall.
Ted Haggard was a man who many assumed had all the safeguards because he taught others how to avoid falling. I think he and the National Association of Evangelicals owe the body of Christ a candid explanation of how this could happen.
We Christians need to pray for church leaders. If the apostle Paul was always asking people to pray for him, then Christian leaders certainly need prayer because of the terrors the devil is unleashing.
Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria
When Was Jesus Born?
I was disappointed that Stephen Strang seemed to accept the claim that early church fathers selected December 25 to compete with a pagan celebration (Final Word, December). They assumed Jesus was conceived at Passover and calculated His birth date from that time.
Concerning the pagan celebration, Emperor Aurelian established "the festival of the birth of the invincible sun" in A.D. 274, but there is some evidence that Christians were observing December 25 as the birth date of Jesus before A.D. 274.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Our sons and daughters have volunteered to wage war against terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world to secure our freedom. Some of them are still teenagers like David the shepherd boy. Many of our soldiers have died on the battlefield, and others are seriously wounded. Their families are often left alone to hurt and to mourn.
The war on terror is now in its sixth year and it still rages. Our soldiers are battle-weary and in desperate need of reinforcement. I want to issue an urgent cry to the church: Please arise, put on the whole armor of God and stand against the invisible arrows of the evil one. I am asking all pastors, church leaders and ministers to take 10 minutes during your weekly services to join forces in prayer for our men and women in uniform.
We are told in 2 Corinthians 10:4: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (KJV). I believe the war on terror can be won. I believe our soldiers can return home soon to their loved ones. I know that with God all things are possible.