Pentecost in The 21st Century
* I thoroughly enjoyed reading your special "Holy Spirit Around the World" issue (January). As always, your reports give me a glimpse into how God is working worldwide. If it weren't for Charisma, Christians wouldn't be so well informed. Keep those reports coming in!
* In your report on the Kurdish people ("Reaching the People of the Magi" by Tomas Dixon, January), Dixon mentioned tradition. A great deal of the depiction of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus is tradition. One of your captions reads: "The Bible tells us [the wise men] were kings." Where does it tell us that?
Nowhere does the Word tell us that there were three. Another misstatement is that these wise men studied astrology. They were students of astronomy, which is quite different.
Faith and Politics
* I am shocked by some of the letters to the editor in response to your presidential election coverage ("The Faith of George W. Bush" by J. Lee Grady, November). Some readers were in strong support of Gore. I do not think the Holy Spirit would lead anyone to vote for a candidate who puts their stamp of approval on abortion. I must answer to God someday if I vote for a candidate who supports abortion.
Patricia A. Sillex
* God is the author of life. He is totally pro-life. No Christian who voted for pro-abortion Al Gore was led by the Holy Spirit. God can't lie or contradict Himself. That a pro-life position for Christians should even be questioned is an indicator of the waywardness of the church.
Bob and Cora Woodward
Spring City, Tennessee
* Although I know there are many issues for us to debate, I find it hard to believe that any born-again, Bible-believing, Spirit-filled Christian could leave out the most important issue we should have based our vote on--abortion.
* It never ceases to amaze me when I hear people call themselves Christians even though they support such things as abortion, divorce and same-sex intimacy. No doubt these are the same people who support evolution, which denies the existence of God the Creator.
Bronx, New York
* Christians need to wake up. God's Word is our benchmark, not the booming economy or the need by many well-meaning Christians to be politically correct. The Bible--not an article in Charisma--made the right presidential choice clear.
* I was stunned at the responses you received from readers. I thought this was one of the best articles you have ever published. If one of the candidates has repented of his youthful indiscretions and the other continues to "exaggerate the truth" every time he opens his mouth, who is going to look the best to a Christian readership?
* I am surprised that any Christians voted for Al Gore. Where have you been the last eight years as our country declined in morality? It seems even Christians care more about money and programs than being a nation that trusts God and holds morality high on its list.
Harrisville, New York
* I am appalled at the nonbiblical criteria too many voting Christians used in determining their presidential choice. It was discouraging to read letters defending a would-be president who embraces murdering unborn children and advocates special rights for those who choose a lifestyle that God calls sin.
Glenn Roberts Jr.
Punta Gorda, Florida
* I could not believe the letters you received stating that you presented Bush in a better light than Gore. In fact, when I received that issue, I was very impressed that you showed both candidates with nice smiles, unlike the way some biased media depicted the candidate they disliked with a frown and puckered lips. To me that's what sets magazines with integrity head and shoulders above the rest.
West Hills, California
* The letters in defense of Al Gore were unbelievable, especially since they were submitted by Christians. If a Christian voter had a problem with George W. Bush being president, wouldn't it have been better not to participate in the election rather than support a candidate who favors murder and homosexual rights?
* I am appalled that so-called Spirit-filled Christians can support the Democratic Party. After eight years of the Clinton administration, you would think that Christians would be willing to do anything to get the Democrats out of office.
* I see nothing wrong with showing support for a pro-life presidential candidate. After all, you are a Christian magazine whose morals are based on the Bible, not government. In choosing a pro-life president, we are apt to see laws made that are in line with the Bible.
Racism in America
* I just read your report on the lynching of black Americans ("The History America Chose to Forget" by Valerie G. Lowe, November). Yes, the United States has seen much racism since our inception as a nation, and there are obviously accounts of it even today. But we Christians need to go beyond what was done in the past, and look forward to the future and what the Lord has waiting for us there.
* As a 39-year-old black female, I was shocked to read some of the letters to the editor in response to the lynching article. Why is it that black children can grow up seeing these pictures, but white children have to be shielded from them?
To call these pictures "sensational journalism" is ridiculous. Do we call photos of Holocaust victims sensational journalism? Do these pictures of lynched slaves hurt more because they actually show white people, in a country founded on godly principles, posing and laughing as dead, burned bodies hang behind them?
I'm sorry--but shredding pictures can't erase history.
Vero Beach, Florida
* I was pleased with your report on lynching. But what really makes me shudder is the attitudes of believers who criticized you for printing it.
* When I got to the article on lynching, I quickly turned past it. There are so many things that happened in mankind's history, all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Can we, today, change one?
No matter who is in the White House, mankind will remain the same. If we reject God, we are doomed to repeat history. Yes, we need to repent. We are all guilty, no matter how good we think we are. But only God can make reconciliation and restitution possible.
Bernadette F. Dunn
* I believe we have an obligation to both acknowledge and to teach the truth of our nation's history, even the ugly parts. To complain of the graphic nature of these photographs is to live in the complacent world of denial. The photographs were nauseating and appalling, but necessary to remove Christians from their comfort zones and to force all of us to confront a historical truth of our nation.
Simply "casting a vision of unity among races" is not the cure to our nation's ills. Lying to our children and to ourselves is not going to make racism, or history, go away.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all walked in brotherly love? But this will never happen on this side of heaven until we confront and give to God the history that sears our consciences as Christians and Americans.
Diana Cargill Rajoo
Should Women Preach?
* Your article on women in ministry was interesting ("Let the Women Preach!" by J. Lee Grady, December). It is obvious from Scripture that God doesn't mind women prophesying or preaching. There are many scriptural examples of women preaching and ministering in different capacities.
I don't think, however, we should overlook the fact that Jesus Himself only ordained males to apostolic leadership. How can we get around that? Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
There are some rigors and burdens we should not place on women. Scripture admonishes us to consider the weaker vessel. That verse is far from demeaning a woman's place. It gives her a place of honor and consideration.
name and city withheld
* What a relief that logic and reality are being applied to the controversial question of women in ministry. Your article was a major breakthrough, and I thank you for your courage and clear thinking on the Scriptures. It is sad that the governments of this world are being more scriptural and honest with gender equality than the church!
Ruth G. Nortje
Somerset West, South Africa
* I think women should be able to preach with their husbands supporting them, and vice versa. I would recommend a husband-wife combination pastoring a church. This is ideal because men should counsel men, and women should counsel women.
Preaching, though, is different from being an overseer, bishop or elder. The first qualification of an elder is that he be the husband of one wife. Doesn't that suggest men should be leaders in pastoral authority in church?
* Significant proof that women may minister in every area that men do is that God has used and is using us. The call of God weighs just as heavy upon us. It is impossible for us to ignore--we must obey it!
Women of God, there is really no need to make a defense. We can be confident in what He has spoken to us. He will open the doors that we will walk through.
* I agree the church has unduly limited what women should be allowed to do in the body of Christ. Women are intended to share the gospel, prophesy and influence the direction the church takes. Let us distinguish, however, between leadership and authority. It is clear when reading Scripture (rather than reading into Scripture) that God ordained men to govern the church and the home.
* Your article makes a blanket endorsement for women to lead in any and all functions within the church. The Bible does not support this claim. It outright refutes it.
Why were elders in Israel men? Why isn't the wife the one taking her seat among the elders of the land in Proverbs 31:23? When Paul writes about those who desire to be overseers and deacons, he doesn't even consider women for these positions.
Since the Bible can be misused, we must rightly divide the Word of truth, whether or not we like the results.
Sending Smoke Signals
* I am glad to see a new column by a Native American in Charisma (Smoke Signals by Richard Twiss). I am a Native American Christian, adopted into the Lord's family like the rest of my Christian brothers and sisters. Please pray for Native American revival. There are not enough workers for the harvest in Native American ministry.
Please invite Native Americans to your churches. If you are new to this type of ministry, learning about the tribe you are interested in, the dos and the don'ts, and a little of the language will be very effective.
Randy Slides Off