I thoroughly enjoyed your article on hip-hop music ("Get Ready for the Hip-Hop Revolution" by Adrienne S. Gaines, August). I am a white guy who grew up in the 'burbs--but I absolutely love rap music. In my day it was Grandmaster Flash, The Furious Five, West Street Mob, Kurtis Blow and of course The Sugarhill Gang.
I fell in love with Jesus in 1987, and He became my life. I immediately began attending church and listening to Christian music. As much as I loved Jesus, Christian music just didn't do it for me. I then discovered dcTalk, Carman, MC RG, and things changed for me. I was starving for someone to rap how I felt about Jesus, and they did.
Rap has a way of touching some people in a way no other format can. I in no way endorse today's secular rap. Most of it is sex, hatred and violence. As for Christian artists speaking positive, Christ-centered messages to a funky bass beat and touching unsaved people...rap on!
Sugar Hill, Georgia
It saddens me that you can condone a musical style that is obviously fleshly and demonic. God is not using hip-hop to reach youth. This is clearly a situation in which young people don't want to separate themselves from the world.
Christian leaders need to show some leadership and remove this ungodly music from their churches. Shame on them if they don't. And shame on Charisma for promoting music that is corrupting our youth.
It is a blessing to hear that rap artists are coming to Christ and using their talents to bring the gospel. I shared your article with some teenagers I take to a Youth Explosion concert, where God's message is brought each week through hip-hop music. It is such a blessing to see youth saved every Friday night as they respond to the altar calls.
Kew Gardens, New York
Hip-hop music is decidedly hypnotic and in the long run could not contribute to any real growth in Christ. I would think that young people who come to Christ through this music should be encouraged to "graduate" to a higher form of worship and praise. There are so many great contemporary praise songs out there that bring the presence of a holy God.
Gloria M. Vittner
Middleburg Heights, Ohio
This hip-hop revolution is ordained of Satan to destroy our youth. Any minister worth his calling knows that! You can't show me anywhere in the Word where Jesus identified with hip-hop music. We don't need any loud, strong beat or unorthodox music to reach a generation for Christ.
Come on, Charisma! Begin to draw the line. If you don't, you won't have to worry about me burning your magazine because I will no longer subscribe to it.
The world is not trying to be like Christ or the church, so why should the church try to be like the world? If God could reach Paul on the road to Damascus, He can surely meet our youth on Hip-Hop Street. Anybody can write songs and throw in a few words about Jesus, but does that mean that Jesus is in the song?
Brooklyn, New York
Thanks for helping get the word out on a powerful tool God is using to touch many young souls. I have never checked out Charisma magazine before, but I am going out today and purchase a copy. It is great to see how God is moving.
Eddie Cortes, president
Carriers of the Cross Ministries
Patterson, New Jersey
My main concern about Christian hip-hop is that it might lose its creative edge. We don't need hip hop to be Protestant evangelism with baggie pants. A part of what it means to be a hip-hopper is "keep'n it real."
If Christian hip-hoppers are just puppets, then "real" hip-hoppers will see it a million miles away.
Charlotte, North Carolina
The only concern I have with your article on hip-hop is that you painted it as an urban phenomenon and as a key to reaching more souls in the 'hood. In reality, hip-hop is mostly reaching suburban white kids. This aspect should have gotten more play.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Praise God for your article on holy hip-hop. God tapped Charisma to open the eyes of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. This is the best article ever written about hip-hop because it covers all elements of the movement.
We Won't Burn Charisma
Thanks to J. Lee Grady for expressing what I have felt for years ("Don't Burn This," First Word, August). God does not judge by the outward appearance, but by the inward heart. The lost, especially the younger generation, are more prone to listen to rappers and Goths because they identify with pop culture. Variety is the spice of life!
Grady wrote about one of your readers who burned his copy of Charisma because it had a photo of Goths on the cover. Not only was a self-righteous hypocrite stupid enough to burn a magazine, he felt he had to tell you about it. I am sick of high-and-mighty Christians who think God wears Izod shirts and drives a Bimmer! I hope to see more tattoos and T-shirts in future issues. Keep up the good work.
Fort Myers, Florida
I wouldn't dress like a Goth, and I don't care for the piercings or tattoos, but it's not about what I like. The lost don't need our condescending looks. They need the love of Jesus.
Young people can spot a fake right away. We need to be real with them. Charisma is relevant, and it extends itself to a broad range of believers.
Don't Burn This" was enlightening. I too have been shocked by many of the attitudes and mind-sets in the body of Christ. It continually teaches me to look to Jesus instead of people. It takes courage to continue your approach in the face of opposition. For every critic, there are probably 20 or more who love your magazine.
Christians are offended when you put "the sick" on your cover? Jesus welcomed the worship of a sinful woman. And yet some pastors don't have time for sinners?
Who are we, and what are we here for? If we are "too good" to reach out to those Jesus touched, then that is scary. Bless you for speaking the truth in love.
The photos on the covers of your magazine are reality. There are Goths, homosexuals, rappers, atheists, agnostics and hippies who need to hear the Word. I can't believe that so many Christians don't get it. How can we show Christ's love if we don't embrace those who are different from us?
Forgive me for not saying this sooner. I am so thankful that you bring to us the needs of the unreached. Thank you for encouraging your readers to reach surfers, the homeless and New Age followers.
There are many parents and grandparents who want their children and grandchildren to know Jesus--and they are praising the Lord that there are people who try to reach their loved ones. We are thankful that Charisma lets others know about them so that someone will go to them with the message of Jesus' love.
Nichols, New York
Grady's editorial, along with Scott Hinkle's column ("Just One Thing," August), embrace what Christianity is all about--evangelism. We've had our fill of teaching, prophecies and conferences. If the church is to move forward, hasten Jesus' return and bring Him the glory He deserves, we need to do what these articles outline.
Please continue to sound the alarm. Grady's articles in the last several months have been like a breath of fresh air. I commend Charisma for your courageous stand in exposing the shameless attitudes toward sin among leaders in the charismatic and Pentecostal movements.
Baldwin, New York
It's hard to believe that Charisma magazine gets "hate mail" from Christians. How sad. I would like to thank you for keeping your articles honest and relevant in the face of unpopular feedback. I am always stretched and blessed by your articles. My husband and I use them as discussion starters in our home Bible studies.
Bigheads in the Pulpit
The article "God Doesn't Bless Bigheads" (by Larry Tomczak, August) was great. I hope that the Christian mega-personalities who advertise in Charisma each month will read it. It amuses me to see how you "bite the hand that feeds you" each month. Keep fighting the good fight.
World Missions Foundation
Latta, South Carolina
I really get a kick out of the fact that you blast bigheads, self-made titles, flashy and shallow ministers, prosperity preachers, and leaders with low morals, and yet these people still pay to support your magazine with expensive ads. Way to go!
The Debate About Israel
Stephen Strang's editorial about supporting our Jewish friends was great ("Let's Stand With Israel," June). But then I read the letters to the editor in August, and I was shocked by the ignorance of some of your readers. One of them said, "Calling Christians to support Israel today in light of its own failings...is not right." That does not negate the responsibility we have to support God's people.
Tara Lee Blood
I am appalled at the reader responses to Stephen Strang's column. Where do American Christians get their theology? How much blood will have to be spilled before true believers cry out? How long before charismatic Christian blood flows at the hands of suicide bombers in America? There is an Islamic saying, "First the Saturday people and then the Sunday people."
Elizabeth Janicki & Susan Miller
Estes Park, Colorado
It was sad to read letters from readers who expressed disapproval of Stephen Strang's call to support Israel. Israel will realize that Jesus is her Messiah. In the meantime, Israel has to survive. If the Palestinians dropped their weapons, they'd have peace. If the Israelis dropped their weapons, they'd be annihilated. The last thing Israel needs is a stab from us.
Simi Valley, California
I was grieved to read the letters from readers concerning Israel. It is clear that a great number of your readers are receiving lies from our common enemy, Satan. I pray for and encourage your readers to study the Scriptures carefully and to pray for the Lord to speak the truth to their hearts.
Bloomfield, New Jersey
Maybe you should write about how Jewish and Arab believers in Jesus are helping one another. There are a group of us who are supporting each other during these times. The group is called Musalaha, an Arabic word that means "reconciliation." Our main emphasis is not where we stand politically, but where we stand as brothers or sisters in Christ.
As an Israeli, I wish to inform your readers that there are many believers in Jesus in Israel. Not only are there many Israeli Christians (Arab and non-Arab), but there are many Jews (from Orthodox to secular) who are professing disciples of Yeshua, or Jesus, in every level of Israeli society. Christians who stand with Israel in this time of her need are also standing with their brothers and sisters there.
The vast majority of Palestinians are Muslim, and their Christian minority is under great pressure from their predominantly Muslim and corrupt leaders. I hope these facts will counter your misinformed letter writers who state that "most of the Christians there are Palestinians," or who allude to the "spiritual failings" of the Jewish people.
I was sad when I read the four letters you printed in response to Stephen Strang's column in support of Israel. I hope they reflected a minority, and that the vast majority agreed with the article. But I think that is probably wishful thinking on my part.
Long Beach, California
Don't Blame Women!
I disagree with Anne Graham Lotz, who said that the reason there is prejudice against women preachers is because some women "have grabbed for positions and power." Blaming women for prejudice is like blaming ambitious blacks for racism. Most women simply want to use their gifts. Why would God give preaching gifts to women, only to have them shelved?
Correction: In the article on Argentina's financial collapse ("Faith in the Midst of Crisis," July), Jorge Gonzales should have been identified as Jorge Yepez.