I thank God for pastor Dwight McKissic's courage and resolve regarding the matter of glossolalia or speaking in tongues (News, February). I am aware of the Southern Baptist Convention's creed. To have 100-plus pastors attend a meeting and submit a resolution on "partnership and free expression" is a milestone.
I am 74 years old, and for a long while had been praying and desperately seeking all that God had for His people. I was praying to become like Jesus when He, ignoring my unbelief, baptized me in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This is what He has for His people who want dunamis as well as exousia (power). My experience occurred nearly four decades ago.
My heart's cry for Baptist believers to be filled with the Spirit was heard when I came face to face with Jesus and He called me into ministry. I married a Baptist pastor who believed that tongues was of the devil.
God sent Bishop Paul Morton to empower His people, and now He has sent pastor McKissic. His plan will be accomplished in the earth. This is not cultish, which is what I was taught, but empowerment for service to the King of kings.
Whether in private or public, speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which encompasses joy, freedom and spiritual power over the devil and his works, but we must maintain our connection with Jesus Christ. Speaking in tongues enables a believer to follow Jesus' mandate with success.
Annie C. Scales
Hope for the Gangstas
Thank you for your February issue, which contained the cover story about reaching gangs ("No More Urban Slavery" by Valerie G. Lowe). That issue was one of the most spiritually relevant issues the magazine has ever done.
It was filled from cover to cover with articles that helped us understand what God is doing today. We have to take back the streets and free the slaves in Jesus name!
Adrienne Miller, founder
Share His Light Ministries
Cary, North Carolina
The Christian Coalition Crisis
Although Ted Haggard's moral failure was sad, I think it is less of a tragedy for the American church than the resignation of Joel Hunter as president of the Christian Coalition. His appointment gave hope that the organization would at least focus on the hugely important biblical issues of social justice and creation care.
The Bible makes it clear that morality involves obeying the Lord's will in every area of life, not just personal sexuality. Hunter recognized this and was willing to lead the Christian Coalition into full obedience to the Lord. However, the organization would not accept this. Who will hold them accountable for this larger moral failure?
Does God Like Hip-Hop?
Now Christians are fighting over whether we should use hip-hop music to reach people for Christ (News, February). We will never see God's glorious kingdom come as long as we argue over secondary issues. What music we listen to, what we eat, how we dress and how we worship are really unimportant. Jesus told us that what is most important is what comes out of our hearts (see Matt. 15:16-20).
The church has become so much like the world that we will do anything to get members. The Bible says we should not be conformed to this world.
We are always looking for alternatives to holiness, and when we can't find any, we take what is unholy and make it holy. God is not pleased.
I strongly disagree with G. Craige Lewis' vocal opposition to hip-hop music. Hip-hop ministers are able to speak the gospel with relevant lyrics and reach many who would otherwise not hear the message of Christ.
I am thankful for artists who are using their music to reach this generation for Christ. It is sad that Lewis' influence is causing some pastors to stop inviting hip-hop ministers to their churches.
No More Gay Gospel
The so-called gay-affirming gospel is indeed toxic (Fire in My Bones, February). Our hearts have been broken because our own son, who was a pastor with a fabulous wife and wonderful children, has gone deep into this lifestyle and is very militant in proclaiming it.
So much of the church today refuses to confront sin as sin. Too many are watering down the Word of God.
I agree with you that homosexuality is a sin. I think Jay Bakker was faced with a very tough challenge when asked by Larry King if he endorses the homosexual lifestyle. I know Bakker wants to reach homosexuals for Christ. But he went too far when he began preaching that the gay lifestyle is acceptable. We need to love homosexuals as Christ would, but without condoning the lifestyle.
Thanks to J. Lee Grady for opposing Jay Bakker's recent decision to endorse homosexuality. It's about time someone confronted the lack of spiritual discipline in the church today.
We must confront sin in love. I would rather be confronted by brothers and sisters in the Lord than become a reproach to the name of Jesus.
Does the American church want the Lord to return to find it in the current state? If we don't sharpen one another and judge righteously, we allow the Lord to bring discipline on us. Anyone ready for another Katrina, economic depression, school shooting or terrorist attack? God used Israel's enemies and natural disasters to correct them.
Jay Bakker's mother, Tammy Faye Messner, once came to Florida, to participate in a gay pride festival. Christians are adding to the confusion on the issue of homosexuality. We promote and accept it rather than preach the transformation and renewal that Jesus Christ gives.
St. Petersburg, Florida
I gave my life to Jesus Christ and was forever changed inside and out because of the anointed preaching of Jim Bakker in 1976. So I was grieved to learn that his son, Jay, has started preaching another gospel in contradiction to what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. I now have another special name to add to my daily prayer list.
I lived as a lesbian for 25 years, but I was set free by the blood of Jesus. I have found that Christians are starting to believe the lie that homosexuals cannot change. It saddens me to see this in the church.
I shared my testimony on a campus in Kentucky, and homosexuals protested it. But it was interesting that not one word was spoken against me because I could relate to homosexuals and how the church has dealt with this issue.
While I was in the gay lifestyle I was asked to leave churches. It seems nobody has the patience to wait while God sanctifies a person.
Have we become stumblingblocks to these people? The sad thing is a lot of pastors know about the elephant in the room but are not willing to talk about it.
A Tribute to Wilberforce
I was glad to read ("The Day Slavery Died" by Clive Price, February), and even more excited that Walden Media has produced a new film about William Wilberforce. I homeschool my children, and we had just finished studying about Wilberforce when I read your article.
He was an astounding, godly man. What amazed me most was his incredible perseverance and boldness. He fought against slavery for 18 years before he saw any concessions, and 44 years passed before slavery was abolished. But in spite of painful defeats, he prevailed!
I couldn't help but make comparisons to our modern culture. If there was a fiery, bold man or woman of God in Congress or on the Supreme Court who would fight abortion as Wilberforce fought slavery, they eventually would prevail as he did. Surprisingly, many arguments that were used to defend slavery in the 1700s are used today to defend abortion.
Correction: Our January feature on T.L. Osborn, "He Dared to Touch the World," incorrectly stated that Gordon Lindsay was a Kentucky native. He was born in Zion City, Illinois. Charisma regrets the error.