Judging by The Cover?
I adored the cover of your January 2002 issue featuring the little Mexican girl. That photo would make a great poster. I hope the photographer is willing to release it.
I subscribed to your magazine expecting to be motivated and inspired in my Christian walk. Instead, I find disturbing images on your covers, including Goths, Vladimir Lenin and Muslims. I am glad my subscription is about to expire.
Get the Sin Out!
Thanks to J. Lee Grady for his editorial, "Sin in the Camp" (First Word, March). I know you will be hit by many people saying we shouldn't judge. You hit the nail right on the head. Thank you for telling it like it is.
Scotia, New York
There is definitely "sin in the camp" when Christian leaders such as Clarence McClendon, Larry Lea and others flaunt their sin by remarrying soon after divorcing their wives and then quickly returning to their ministries. Meanwhile, the church hardly winks.
God's standard for marriage is lowered each time a wedding band falls from the pulpit. For too long, the Christian community has been giving approving winks to adulterous relationships because the person in sin is in the ministry. Why are we not demanding that our shepherds raise the marriage standard?
Robert E. Steinkamp
Pompano Beach, Florida
I have been disturbed for months because a major Christian TV network has been allowing Clarence McClendon to preach on their programs. I don't believe the Lord is happy that the people who lead this network are winking at this sin.
The Bible says that a little leaven will ferment the whole lump of dough. After all, if a pastor can do this, and then be allowed to keep preaching on Christian television like nothing happened, then surely it is OK for the rest of us, right?
I have just about quit watching a certain Christian TV network because they air programs featuring the people Grady wrote about. If my child wrecked my car, I would not get him a new one the next day. Many people have been hurt in the name of lust. What message are we sending to the world?
I wanted to shout after reading "Sin in the Camp." I'm 100 percent in agreement. Every time I see a TV program featuring one of the ministers Grady mentioned, I change the channel. I'm disappointed in the station that airs his preaching.
Do we think that the world is not watching our hypocrisy? One of the preachers you wrote about is still preaching on a prominent Christian TV network. I was sharing Christ with a friend recently, and she told me she has no intention of becoming a Christian until the church gets real!
Mount Vernon, Washington
I recently e-mailed the president of a major Christian TV network about the fact that Clarence McClendon was still featured on the programming. I was told that there was nothing they could do since the Rev. McClendon was a paying contractual subscriber of airtime.
Then later I saw McClendon hosting the network's flagship program. This sickened me to the point that I can no longer support the network financially.
The Rev. Charles Ferrara
New Fairfield, Connecticut
I disagree with Mr. Grady's position on the restoration of fallen ministers. It seems that he holds the denominational viewpoint that fallen individuals should stay out of the pulpit for a time to restore trust. As much as it might be good, there is nothing in the Word of God to substantiate such an idea.
Many leaders in the Bible experienced failures. If the Word does not support such a policy, then who are you or anyone else to take such a strong stance?
Forty-four years ago, when I was 14, my mother divorced my father, a conservative minister. Many reasons were given, and my father continued to preach. He always made it clear that his wife divorced him--and so everything was accepted in the church on that basis. Only many years later did I learn of the sexual sins of my father.
If the church had confronted, counseled and restored him biblically, it would have been much different for our family, the church and his life. He died a lonely, broken man.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Congratulations for actually taking a stand against sin in ministry. It is refreshing to see someone apply the Word and call sin what it is. It is depressing and alarming when ministers commit adultery and their sin is pushed under the rug.
I suspect Charisma will take a few lightning strikes from this column, but they are not strikes from God. I suspect they're from people willing to accept less than what God wants for their pastors. And they want to believe God will therefore expect less of them.
Grady's March column was prophetic in the Old Testament sense. I've been a pastor for more than 20 years, and I want to see revival, but as I talk to people they tell me that they're sick of the "church" and our "gospel" as reflected in exactly what you pointed out in your column. Ours is an entertainment culture, and as long as they receive that, then holiness is overlooked.
Dennis Hodulick, Pastor
Long Island, New York
I wholeheartedly agree with what Grady said about ministers who divorce, quickly remarry and stay in the pulpit. But I couldn't help but notice near this article a full-page advertisement that featured Clarence McClendon, a minister who divorced his wife and married another woman a week later.
Does Charisma not practice what it preaches? It appears that the money
generated for a full-page ad precludes the beliefs of your magazine. That looks hypocritical.
Hopefully I wasn't the only one who found it ironic that you can denounce Clarence McClendon on page 8 and then take advertising dollars from his camp to run an ad on page 2.
Editor's note: The advertisement in question was placed by a third party that listed McClendon as one of the event's sponsors.
Stomp on the Devil
I was so pleased to see Charisma cover the unusual yet moving story about the dramatic transformation of Kimberly Daniels in Jacksonville, Florida. I commend you for writing about her ministry to people who are tormented by demons.
Patrice LaDon Gordon
Healing After Divorce
Your interview with Melva Lea ("A Journey Toward Healing," Carol Stertzer, February) really brought home the power of God's love working in her and through her as she covered her husband, Larry Lea, with love and forgiveness. Thanks, Melva, for being an example to the church on how to overcome your personal trial without bitterness and unforgiveness. Role models like you show that weakness in the church can be overcome.
I wish Melva Lea all the best in her process toward healing. But I have a question. Was Melva in a coma when Larry was exposed on ABC's Prime Time Live? Or perhaps she thought we had forgotten. Larry wasn't convincing when he talked about his personal finances and his organization's.
It utterly amazes me how powerful prayer is on the second or third round [of marriage]. My point is, prayer can't keep a first marriage together? Isn't it easy to blame depression and say you don't know what caused the failure in your first marriage? You find a new partner, however, and you suddenly have peace with God. Shame on you so-called Christian leaders!
Larry Lea should have sought medical help. It is bad he had bipolar disorder. That still doesn't excuse his actions.
I was dismayed to see your interview with Melva Lea in which she blames the media for much of her misfortune. I interviewed Larry and Melva Lea in the late 1980s when I was a religion reporter for The Houston Chronicle. Even then I was amazed at the opulence of their lifestyle.
Televangelists were crashing and burning all over the landscape in those days. Yet Lea wasn't taking some of the simplest precautions to head off disaster. While talking with them, I had this horrible feeling of an oncoming train wreck.
The Washington Times
Controversy in Nigeria
I was troubled by your article about Nigerian healing evangelist T.B. Joshua, in which you call him an occult healer (People & Events, March). I am not sure why so many Nigerian Christians attack him. Perhaps it is envy.
Twice I have been to Joshua's church, The Synagogue for All Nations. For the last eight years foreign visitors have been fed and housed in his dormitories in Nigeria--free of charge. Sorcerers take money. They don't give money.
When I was there I saw the sick gloriously healed, and several people on my own team were healed too. One person who had a detached retina was healed instantly. One had hearing restored to one ear. A Dutch man who had multiple sclerosis was completely healed. This is not faked.
Gim Hock Thio
I agree with the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria that T.B. Joshua is not of God. I believe he uses witchcraft to do miracles.
I have done a lot of research on him, talked with people in Nigeria and read nine of his sermons. Not one sermon contained any teaching on salvation or how to be saved. Mostly they were about how healing of the body is salvation.
Many Christians believe that because Joshua says "Jesus is the healer" that he has to be of God. That is not true. Jesus said there would be those who would use the name of Jesus to deceive.
I have seen this man parade people totally nude in his meetings, showing their private parts. Jesus would not humiliate people like that. Many here in the United States say, "Well, that is just their culture." I don't believe it. These are modest people.
Thousands of people spend large amounts of money to fly to Nigeria to see a miracle. Satan does not care if you receive a temporary cure if it will lead others astray.
In Defense of Roberts Liardon
Thanks for your report on Roberts Liardon (People & Events, March). We all have areas of the flesh to deal with. It strengthens me to see how Liardon is willing to deal with his problems.
I was sad to hear about Roberts Liardon's situation. His ministry materials have nourished and blessed me greatly. We cannot turn our backs on a wounded brother.
Roberts has done a great work for the Lord. That is why the warfare against him is so fierce. We must realize that the same trap the enemy set for him, he also has set for each of us.
Rebecca V. Ruffin
New York, New York