When I read your Christmas cover story ("The 12 Lights of Christmas," December) I had tears in my eyes for most of the time. I remember reading the First Word column when J. Lee Grady said Charisma was going to stop highlighting flashy ministries and start writing about "unknown" ministries. At the time I thought: Yeah, sure. I'll believe that when I see it. But the articles in December revealed the truth behind Grady's earlier comment.
Rus D. Jeffrey
Newark, New York
Thanks for including Frank and Anita Worthen in your Christmas issue featuring humble heroes. I went through their live-in program almost 13 years ago. I've since gotten married, and I have two children. That would not be if it weren't for the Worthens. Their integrity, commitment and genuine love for those who are affected by homosexuality radiates from them.
In your story on Diane Dunne, who is reaching homeless people in New York City, you mentioned that churches will not allow her to use their facilities. I want to challenge church leaders: You should open the doors of your church for this pastor when your building is not being used. We are going to meet these homeless in heaven. What will we say to them?
Rev. Bob Brewer
In your profile of drug addiction counselor Bob Ferguson, you mentioned that he uses the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I spent 12 years as a member of AA, plus I took the courses necessary to become an alcoholism counselor.
AA doesn't allow the Bible to be used. In AA, "God" or "higher power" refers to any god or creative force. I believe Bob is right to minister to addicts, but wrong to use the 12 steps of AA in Christian work.
Fayetteville, New York
Dealing With Iraq
I read your article on how Christians view the possibility of war with Iraq (People & Events, December). Are we so gullible to believe that the United States has been commissioned to eradicate evil from the world? If we consider ourselves a Christian nation, eradicating evil should follow Christian principles. The Christian principle for eradicating evil is to do good, not to murder people.
God said, "You shall not murder." When our president wants to take out a leader of another country when that leader has not declared war on us (and the real reason is to gain control of vast oil resources), then I think God would call that murder also.
Kings Park, New York
It is troubling that we even have to discuss whether or not confessing Jesus is necessary for salvation, as is debated in the Carlton Pearson controversy. This is a troubling indication that our postmodern society has only a "form of godliness." There should be no question among Christians about this. Ever.
Carlton Pearson wrongly claims that "universal reconciliation" was the position generally held by the first fathers of the church. This doctrine is dangerous! Please don't let Carlton get a message to your readers that would plant doubt concerning the belief that identification with Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is the only way to the Father!
Rev. Rosemary Barnes
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I hope and pray that Carlton Pearson will return to faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot compromise the truth to accommodate unbelievers. There is only one name by which we can be saved: Jesus.
I totally agree with Lee Grady's recent First Word, "Greasy Grace" (November). I am greatly disturbed by so-called bishops who teach false doctrine. It is also disturbing that ministers are divorcing their wives, yet there's no form of discipline from the owners of Christian TV networks. If wives were guilty of adultery, it would be a different matter!
It was refreshing to read "Greasy Grace." I think Charisma should help to make the body of Christ aware of unhealthy ministries that damage the kingdom of God. Proverbs 24:23-25 says blessings will be showered on those who rebuke sin fearlessly.
Rev. Al Horta
End Time Ministries
Howell, New Jersey
I am a mainline pastor who is part of the charismatic renewal, and I have read Charisma for years. I have deeply appreciated the growing maturity in your articles. It is so refreshing that you are not afraid to tell it like it is.
I, too, cringe at the downright dishonesty that sometimes operates under the umbrella of "Spirit-led." In our zeal to honor our own ministries, we attach titles to ourselves that have no biblical basis. Worst of all we use horrendously manipulative hucksterism to support our own extravagant lifestyles.
Please keep telling it like it is!
In Defense of T.B. Joshua
Your recent report on Nigerian minister T.B. Joshua was unfair (People & Events, November). Joshua is a humble man. He lives in a little house with his wife and two children and drives a 1982 car. His teachings are anointed, scriptural and awesome. The presence of God is unparalleled in his meetings. When he prays, he claims Jesus alone is the healer. The Holy Spirit enables Joshua to perform outstanding miracles. He has fasted 40 days for each major disease.
Thousands of people have been healed of AIDS, cancer and tumors. Cripples walk, and demons are cast out in the name of Jesus. The accusation that Joshua mixes witchcraft with Christianity when performing miracles and casting out demons is impossible. How can Satan cast out Satan? (See Matt. 12:24-26.) The sick openly confess their sin before he prays for them. After they are healed, he asks them, "Will you follow Jesus Christ all the days of your life?" They agree, and Joshua says, "Go and sin no more."
Witch doctors who have brought people into spiritual bondage find their arms and legs locked until they repent. Joshua invites visiting ministers to pray for the sick and preach the Word. The church is in a mosquito-invested swamp, yet no one is bitten. Between 50,000 and 70,000 people are attending daily. Joshua believes God has called him to minister among the 17 million people who live in Lagos.
I read your article criticizing T.B. Joshua. I recently returned from a 30-day investigative tour of Africa, and 15 of those days were spent in Lagos, Nigeria. I spent eight days on what you call the church compound.
Who forms the litmus test here? I heard T.B. Joshua with my own ears use the name of Jesus more than I've heard Kenneth Copeland repeat it at a convention.
Do we let the golden cuff-link charismatic club determine if the blind eyes were opened or if AIDS was reversed? If so, then we need to question everyone who uses the name of Jesus to believe God for healing and miracles. Because you make a disclaimer statement, does that exempt your magazine from investigating the truth?
Bishop Eddy Brown
International Gospel Outreach
Granite City, Illinois
The Bible and Gender
In reference to the Today's New International Version of the Bible ("Battle for the Bible," November), why are we only concerned about women who are offended by gender-specific statements in the Bible? What about men who might be offended by being called "the bride of Christ"?
Rev. Paul Flotho
I am in favor of making the Bible more inclusive of women. But I am against writing to make changes in the Bible's meaning. We cannot update the Scriptures to remove what may be offensive to some or be "inclusive" to the point of not knowing the gender of God. We need an arbitrator for the two sides of this controversy.
I am for the TNIV. Those who support the TNIV do not use the phrase "gender neutral" to describe it. This would support the idea of androgyny, which is ridiculous. We believe the TNIV translation is more "gender accurate" than the NIV. This distinction is critical to the debate.
God's Word has been attacked since the Garden of Eden, and this "new translation" is no exception. These latter days are not the time to tamper with the Bible just to give in to the whims of some American women. Are you trying to tell us that God made a mistake where His holy Word is concerned?
On the rare occasion that the Lord speaks to me, He speaks in my own language in the modern tongue. To those who are "King James only," I remind you that it is only another translation of Scripture. Read the history of King James of England, whose name is on this version. Is this the kind of man you revere?
Orange Cove, California