Revival in Nigeria
I am thrilled to read your recent cover story ("Nigeria's Miracle" by J. Lee Grady, May). I have subscribed to Charisma for years and wondered why you had not noticed what God was doing in my country. What you have reported is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands the Lord has raised up in the rural areas of Nigeria who are involved in missions and miracle ministries.
Rev. Francis Ejiroghene Waive
Praise God for those in Nigeria with the courage to question much of the American prosperity doctrine. Some of the fund-raising techniques associated with sermons are astounding. Do we honestly believe we can give an offering to see a relative saved or healed? Can we add to the finished work of Jesus Christ?
I disagree with labeling the "prosperity message" an "American import." When Christianity came to Nigeria, this truth had not yet been discovered in Scripture. That some Nigerian men learned of this truth and started teaching it in Nigeria does not mean it was invented in the United States.
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Your cover story on Nigeria was extensive. The indigenous Christian leaders who were interviewed said it all. As pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre in London said: "God has given us a word that our ministers will go out and shake the world." A number of non-Nigerian prophets and evangelists have said that Africans will evangelize not only Africa, but also the world.
Queens, New York
Jesus in Hollywood?
Dean Batali of the screenwriting ministry called Act One says he wishes to teach writers how to inject a Christian worldview into Hollywood scripts (People & Events, May). However, Batali is a writer-producer for one of the lewdest and crudest shows on television, That '70s Show, and a former writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a program that glamorizes demonism.
Am I the only one picking up a contradiction here? A "Christian worldview" is the last thing being communicated in those abominations.
I'm tired of reading about how "the Spirit is moving" in Hollywood. I think it's great that so many actors are saved, but you fail to recognize the pastor's role in this. Why don't you focus on churches where the stars supposedly attend? I think you should find out who is really submitted to a pastor and who is allowing sound moral guidance into their lives.
Mike LeGardeur Jr.
Beverly Hills, California
I anticipate that you'll probably get some negative feedback regarding your article about Christians living out their faith while working on daytime soap operas ("Saints of Our Lives" by Steven Lawson, May). I'll be honest: When I began reading the article I thought, I can't wait to see how these actors try to justify working in an industry that produces so much corruption and filth.
However, as I read the article I found myself encouraged by their testimonies of maintaining individual integrity while working in this field. I'm in law school, and some people don't understand how I could go into the corrupt field of law. But just because there's corruption in my chosen line of work doesn't mean I'll make the individual choice to be corrupt. The same applies to these actors.
The Church's Blunders
I was so pleased to read J. Lee Grady's "Big Blunders" (First Word, May). I'm sure many toes will be stepped on. But if Jesus is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle, we need to address our mistakes and repent.
Los Angeles, California
I'd add to Grady's list of blunders the ear-splitting music in many churches. God isn't deaf, but if the musicians have their way, the rest of us will be. A decibel reading of 104, when 80 is reasonable, shows what a rebellious attitude there can be in churches.
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Although I agree with Grady's eight points, his subject was approached from a negative viewpoint. He should have written, "Eight Things the American Church Did Right." For every point he made, positive examples could have been given.
Rev. Brent Williams
Boulder City, Nevada
Grady criticized the superstar syndrome in the American church. But I find his point confusing since most of Charisma's ads include those same superstars who are promoting their own "super events." Isn't that a case of the dog biting the hand that feeds it? Who attends those events, anyway?
I want to thank Charisma for printing the truth. I have passed several editorials on to my pastors: "Stop the Sideshows," "Sin in the Camp" and "Big Blunders." They had stopped subscribing to the magazine because of all the hype. Their response is to subscribe again since this is the type of material Charisma publishes.
Asheville, North Carolina
I too have been deeply concerned that the charismatic wing of the church has lost all of its moorings and is totally adrift. Confrontation that leads to confession is long overdue. It is the only path to healing and revival.
Rev. Richard A. Foust
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Finally, someone with the courage of conviction is speaking out about sin in the camp. Where is the fear of God today? Where is preaching against sin? Where are godly character and integrity?
My husband and I no longer attend church. We fellowship with other couples. There's no hype, no entertainment and no one hammers us for money. God help the body of Christ.
T.B. Joshua Controversy
The article about T.B. Joshua from Nigeria (People & Events, March) is not the truth. T.B. Joshua is a true man of God, and I think you had better check it out and interview him. Where are you getting your information? I have personally attended The Synagogue Church of All Nations, and the Holy Spirit is doing the work there. People are healed, and he gives God all the glory.
New Paris, Ohio
I was disappointed in your article on T.B. Joshua. I have been to Nigeria to see him twice, once with a party of 28, and the next time with a group of 48 people. Many in both groups were healed. I listened and watched him very closely, and I never saw any of the things that I read in your article.
Editor's note: Please see our latest report on T.B. Joshua (People & Events, page 18). A charismatic woman from Colorado claims she was held against her will at his compound in Lagos.
Gospel of Inclusion
Hello, Earth to Carlton Pearson. Earth to Carlton. What planet is he living on? His "gospel of inclusion," it is an erroneous doctrine designed to deceive, defraud,
mislead, hoodwink and bamboozle.
I read about Carlton Pearson embracing the "gospel of inclusion." What caught my eye was the reference to Pearson saying "he first started thinking about the inclusive doctrine after reading E.W. Kenyon's writings."
The implication is that Kenyon taught this "gospel of inclusion." Actually Kenyon never taught it. Pearson misunderstood Kenyon and drew the wrong conclusion.
What Kenyon taught was "unlimited atonement." This doctrine states that Christ died for the whole world, and salvation is available to whosoever will receive it. The price has been paid for the salvation of all, but each individual must personally receive Christ as Savior and confess Him as Lord.
Joe McIntyre, President
Kenyon's Gospel Publishing Society
You printed four letters that basically defended Roberts Liardon and debunked Charisma for exposing Liardon's "poor choices" (Letters, May). Did anyone defend you? If not, I applaud your reporting, which was not "tabloid journalism."
Of course we should pray for fallen Christians, but God is the one who has been sinned against. The Bible names the names of those who violated His Word. You've done the same. Obedience requires nothing less.
Rev. Jeffrey L. Barclay
Concerning Roberts Liardon, it is sad that the truth of this matter is danced around because of religious politics. I have seen the effect of this firsthand in my life.
This issue deals with more than a man of God falling. This man took many with him. When I heard the news, I felt like someone had ripped my heart out. Here a man I trusted, believed in with all my heart and had dedicated five years of my life to serving was nothing more than a hypocrite and a liar.
I have followed the reports on Liardon and other ministries. I feel deeply for any man or woman of God who has fallen into the satanic traps of divorce, adultery, fornication or homosexual perversion.
But I am appalled at God's people who want everything swept under the carpet. The Bible states that these people should be rebuked openly so that others would fear and not follow their practices.
Creal Springs, Illinois
While I was deeply grieved to read your report on Roberts Liardon, I was not offended, as many seemed to be. Sin that removes a minister from ministry, even for a season, isn't personal and private; it's public. And if a minister advertises his meetings in Charisma, I respect your right to publicize the cause of an interruption in that ministry.
Your factual, nonjudgmental report is a wake-up call, reminding us that as long as we are on this earth, not one of us is so close to God that we cannot fall.
I have been hurt by the failures of so many of the pastors reported about in your magazine. When we preach being baptized in the Spirit, people have a right to expect more than what is happening. It gives people a right to wonder if there's any validity to what they're hearing.
I can't understand a person allowing the devil to control them when they have the Spirit of God. Makes one wonder who we can believe in besides God.
Mrs. Max Roberts
Ramseur, North Carolina
Our Lord forgives those who repent, but He does not excuse their sin. For too long people have mistakenly believed that God overlooked their sins because they were still anointed to minister.
The truth is, God will use any vessel because it fulfills His purpose, not because the vessel is great. Remember, He used a donkey to get Balaam's attention.
Charisma's editors need to give serious thought to whether or not it is always necessary to give commentary on the shortcomings of others. Your dangerous flirtation with yellow journalism is cruel, and it threatens to invite sin into your camp.
Bibleman Is Back!
Editor's note: Our report on Willie Aames ("Not Your Average Action Hero," June) stated that Bibleman's live stage shows have been canceled because of a lack of funding. The show has now been revived. An updated tour schedule is currently available online at www.bibleman.com.