It was so great to see a truly humble Christian leader on the cover of your magazine ("One Woman vs. the Dragon" by Adrian Brookes, March). I read Jackie Pullinger's book Chasing the Dragon when I was 14 or 15 years old and it had such a profound impact on my life. Her commitment to Christ and to the poor is truly amazing.
We live in a time when the Christian celebrity syndrome has interfered with the true meaning and purpose of Christianity. It's a shame that more Christians don't dedicate themselves to their faith the way Jackie has. Even in the middle of the article there was an ad for a love cruise with two prominent Christian leaders trying to exploit their successes by inviting anyone who can pay to be a part of the celebration. Yuck!
I hope Jackie's message will get out to more young people and show them God is looking for servants, not superstars. Shame on American Christian leaders for promoting wealth over health, fame over faith, and success over souls. Jesus plus nothing equals everything. All we need is Him. The size of our bank accounts, expense of our cars, or the number of homes we own mean nothing in God's eyes.
Let's pray that more and more people realize this and call out leaders and pastors who have lost that focus. God is lifting the sheets and revealing this type of wrongdoing all over the country. Please promote the truth of who Christ is more and highlight people like Jackie Pullinger who are living out His call in action. And continue to call out those who have forgotten the cross and seem to live only for themselves.
Los Angeles, California
China's Lady Warrior
It is so refreshing to see a missionary to Hong Kong on the cover of Charisma ("One Woman vs. the Dragon" by Adrian Brookes, March). Jackie Pullinger has a beautiful ministry, smile and spirit. Missionaries and small ministries often go unrecognized for the kingdom work they do.
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Thank you for the long-overdue recognition of Hong Kong missionary Jackie Pullinger. I served in Taiwan for 25 years, and most of us were very familiar with her ministry in the 1980s. She was regarded with awe and admiration. I don't think any of us 800-plus missionaries could come close to matching her remarkable influence.
I read Jackie Pullinger's book years ago and attended a Vineyard conference at John Wimber's church where she spoke. My life has never been the same. My pastor at that time told the congregation she was the "scariest person he knew" because she moved in a different spiritual realm than the majority of us.
Grand Prairie, Texas
The Grassley Probe
My wife and I have a heart connection and a financial commitment to the ministries of Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. These are effective worldwide works of God. In the United States, if you're good at what you do, you get paid well for it. The blessing of God and the faith of these ministers is the reason they get what they get.
Damon and Cindy Williams
Syracuse, New York
With regard to the Grassley investigation, the devil has launched an all-out war on the televised preaching of the gospel. Am I saying Sen. Grassley, who is born again, is intentionally persecuting these ministers? No! Is the devil trying to use this investigation to hinder the spread of the gospel? Without a doubt!
I think one of the reasons God is allowing the Grassley investigation to come down on televangelists is because of their misuse of power. Instead of touting those who have a book deal in the works, or are influential in the Christian world, Charisma ought to be promoting the humble apostle Pauls of the world.
Fort Myers, Florida
It is obvious that this is an attack on Word-Faith believers. Why didn't Sen. Grassley contact the ministries before the press release? He published his letter on his Web site and held a press conference before talking to the ministries. His letter strikes at the very heart of Word-Faith beliefs and practices.
Question: As for the investigation of so-called nonprofit ministries by Sen. Charles Grassley, has he given the same kind of scrutiny to the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Society? They allegedly have vast real estate holdings in New York.
I happen to agree with Sen. Grassley's passion to hold Christian ministries accountable. I think we all know that some charismatic ministers preach a gospel that is not orthodox Christianity. I want to be clear that I do not believe all the particular ministries fall into this category.
The issue is our constitutional right to have a religion that makes "ministers" rich and greedy and who falsely promise us that we will get rich if we give money to them. I don't like that teaching, and I don't support it.
Stinking to High Heaven
J. Lee Grady's description of why pride stinks was perfect (Fire in My Bones, March). "Pride stinks because it is the sulfuric stench of Lucifer himself," is one quote that will stick with me for a lifetime. It illustrates how nauseating pride really is. Jesus taught us to be humble.
Grady said in his column that "the day of the 'armor bearer' is over." When I read that I wanted to leap from my bed and cheer.
The ridiculous and absurd have abounded in this misuse of doctrine. I feel sorry for all the armor bearers and Bible carriers who thought they were doing God's will.
I once was invited to Jamaica with a fellow woman evangelist. I was to teach at schools while she held revivals. When we got to Jamaica, she told me my job was to make sure she had hot tea every morning. That privilege cost me $2,000.
Thank God for the article about armor bearers! This teaching has deceived many people, yet many of them refuse to accept the truth in God's Word. We are supposed to be servants of Christ, not important people who are too proud to carry our own Bibles.
I have been receiving Charisma for nearly a year and enjoy the publication very much. I am most alarmed by the tactics of ministers who seem to set their own standards of conduct and have no accountability. They need to be put in their place so they can stop discrediting the North American church.
New Brigden, Alberta,Canada
I am really tired of all the foolishness among church leaders today, and I'm happy to see someone is speaking up about the ridiculous shows of pomp and circumstance. Those of us who attend megachurches are kept away from those whose salaries we provide. We are told this is for the pastor's protection.
I recently attempted to speak with my pastor's wife after a service. I was halted by her personal security guard, who politely informed me that she had been through a lot and that it was not a good time to greet her. It makes us wonder how Jesus ever fulfilled His mission on earth without armor bearers and security guards.
Greenville, South Carolina
Stop the Divorce Craze
With regard to your article on divorced ministers ("Is Marriage Still Sacred" by Lisa Jones Townsel, March), I am angered by prominent Christian leaders who toss their marriages out the door because they become inconvenient.
I know of several women, myself included, who endure difficult marriages because "God hates divorce." We believe there is a better way than running away from the relationship. Some of us struggle with resentment, anger, hatred and depression in these marriages.
As we struggle to obey and honor God, there is a sweetness and a joy only God can give. If we Christians can't stay married and learn to work things out, how do we expect to be a witness to those who don't know God? Why should they take a chance on Him if it doesn't work for us?
It saddens me that too many people find an excuse for divorce. My parents have been married 62 years and I know that at times that thought may have entered their minds but not their vocabulary. Divorce is painful and as Christians it should be a last resort.
Thank you for the article on divorce. It must break the heart of God to see so many of His children running to divorce court for reasons motivated by selfishness.
Queens, New York
Your article about marriage suggested that pastors who divorce should step aside at least for a while so they can get healed and restored. Charisma should also stop running ads for conferences sponsored by such pastors. Taking their ads implies that there is no need for them to step aside as long as the magazine makes money.
I'm confused. Why does Charisma continue to accept advertising dollars from well-known ministers whose actions are repeatedly called into question? Your editorial says one thing, but your advertisement says another.
Albany, New York
I don't get it: Paula White can get a divorce and yet Charisma still runs her advertisements. To whom is she accountable? It is obvious that T.D. Jakes still promotes her as well as Charisma. A double standard is portrayed.
Rev. Richard L. Shelton
Riverside Tabernacle Church of God
Fort Gratiot, Michigan
Editor's note: When Randy and Paula White announced their divorce, Randy took full responsiblity for the breakup (News, October). We do not feel we should punish Paula for her husband's decision.
The article about greedy, egotistical ministers was excellent ("The Celebrity Syndrome" by Steve Hill, February). Thanks to Steve Hill for having the courage to write it.
Eva V. Bendeck
In the 1980s we witnessed a religious leader being jailed for squandering money. Today, televangelists are investigated for misusing money. You would think our memories wouldn't be that short.
If the only people we are attracting to church are the ones who can afford to pay the ticket price, many who cannot "afford" to pay lose "access" to God.
Raleigh, North Carolina
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!