No More Idols
It is wonderful how God is moving in the strongholds of Buddhism, Hinduism and other areas of paganism, as you reported in your Holy Spirit Around the World issue (January). But did you have to use pictures of pagan idols on the cover and inside the magazine?
The Bible warns us about pagan idols. Your Christian readers now have occult pictures in their homes because of your magazine. You could have made the same point by showing photographs of people who are getting saved.
I disagree with your January report from the Dominican Republic ("Removing the Island Idols," by Andy Butcher). It states that Dominicans have mixed occult practices with Christianity, implying that Catholicism is a Christian practice. Catholicism is a religion of idol worship. People should know that Jesus is the one who saves, not good works, rituals or traditions.
I noticed that you did not include Catholicism in your special issue on false religions. As a missionary I have worked with almost all of the different religions that were mentioned, and I now work in a Catholic country. It is the most lost and spiritually dark nation of any I have ever seen.
We often talk about the Hindus and Buddhists who are lost and who worship idols. But what about those who pray to statues of saints and the Virgin Mary?
In your explanation of syncretism, Charisma said that the apostle Paul warned against "the influences of Judaism...and other pagan religions." How can you include Judaism with paganism? The roots of our Christian faith are buried deep in the soil of Judaism. If anything, the church has moved so far from "The Way" that I doubt Jesus or any of His first disciples would recognize it.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Miss America: Too Holy?
This letter is in regard to the article on Miss America, Erika Harold (People & Events, January). Erika stated that her choice to abstain from sex until marriage has been instrumental in her success. I disagree with Erika's statement.
I have had three sexual partners outside of marriage, but I asked God to forgive me. I am not a virgin, but today I am successful in my life and in doing God's work. I have helped many people get saved and blessed. Rahab, Mary of Magdalene, Tamar and the wife of Hosea are examples of former prostitutes in the Bible who were used by God.
Erika also stated that her virginity has given her freedom, power and self-respect. I am not a virgin, but I have freedom, power and self-respect through the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Erika should also minister to promiscuous youth and let them know they can be pure as snow and worthy of Christ's love.
Thanks for Courtney McBath's article on the prolific use of titles in the church (Rock the Boat, January). My denomination is infamous for issuing titles as a way of increasing revenue and inflating the egos of men.
We are to be Christlike! Jesus fought for no office or title. Yet today labels are being lauded in the marketplace. This is sickening, especially when the conduct does not mirror the respect of the title. We seem to forget that the Scriptures call us to be humble.
Maple Grove, Minnesota
Who Is Tammy Faye Fooling?
I was very troubled when I read about Tammy Faye Messner's new ministry outreach to homosexuals (People & Events, December). How can she not come out and say that the gay lifestyle is wrong? We are not to judge, but if we tell homosexuals that God loves them--without warning them about their sin--then we are not doing our job as believers.
She is condoning their lifestyle. Time is short so we must speak the truth. To appear at gay-pride events and have Tammy Faye look-alike contests is too much. It is sin, and they need to know that.
Although all issues of Charisma are good, I would like to especially compliment you on your December issue, which featured profiles of 12 unsung heroes ("The 12 Lights of Christmas"). It was both moving and humbling to read of how these wonderful people are serving God in such marvelous ways--with little or no outside help.
James A. Canning
I was blessed to read in your December issue about ordinary people and the work they are doing. It was truly a breath of fresh air to read about such selfless people, such as the pastor in Chicago who feeds 100 people a week and yet has no salary.
Santa Ana, California
We, as pastors, appreciated your article featuring selfless saints who are serving our Lord. We read the entire issue from cover to cover while we were on a mission trip to Ghana, West Africa, for two weeks. We also shared the magazine with our mission team.
What inspiration it was while we too were serving quietly "behind the scenes" and witnessing to people so desperately in need. All we can say is, please publish more articles like this!
Revs. Allen and Carolyn Lee
Greensboro, North Carolina
I have been an on-again, off-again subscriber to Charisma. I was "off" when I felt your articles were irrelevant or focused too much on the "stars" of the church. Lately, however, I've been reading the magazine with great joy. You are on the cutting edge where you should be!
I am so tired of the gilt and glitz of Christian TV. Please keep it up, Charisma. Keep proclaiming the standard of integrity for those who are in the spotlight. And thank you for focusing on the ordinary folks who are accomplishing extraordinary things while walking humbly with their God!
Rome, New York
I have not had so much enjoyment reading a Charisma magazine in a long time. The December issue was so uplifting and encouraging. I pray this is going to be a new trend with Charisma. We need uplifting news more than the bad stuff. Face it, all the garbage just lines up with the signs that we are in the last days.
Editor's note: Charisma would like to thank all of our readers who contributed to the ministries we featured in our December issue. Thanks to you, we have collected more than $30,000 for these little-known ministers. It is not too late to send a special offering now. Send your tax-deductible gifts to Christian Life Missions, P.O. Box 952248, Lake Mary, FL 32795-2248. Please designate the gift as being for "The 12 Lights of Christmas."
The Church and Single Moms
Thank you for your recent articles about single mothers ("Mom Is Raising Them Alone" and "When Abortion Hits Home" by Valerie G. Lowe, November). I cried as I read that more than 42 million babies have died since abortion was legalized in 1973.
I have a young child who is so much joy to watch as she learns new things every day! I cannot imagine missing life without her, now that she is here.
It is sad to know that Christian women consider abortion an alternative. But it is even sadder to know these women claim to be Christians. Why should a Christian woman get pregnant out of wedlock?
Benin City, Nigeria
Get on the Front Lines
Thanks for J. Lee Grady's call to get ready for spiritual battle ("Combat Ready," First Word, January). As a former Marine infantry officer, I have always wondered why we can take 75 young men or women from diverse backgrounds, send them to Parris Island, relentlessly push them to their limits, and 12 weeks later produce motivated individuals willing to die for their mission, country and Corps. In contrast, the Lord's army spends its time showing off its weapons and producing soldiers who haven't the slightest understanding of the mission.
Rev. Roger Brooks
The Village Church
West Swanzey, New Hampshire
Grady's column about being "combat ready" was refreshing and confirming. The church has been fighting a defensive rather than an offensive battle far too long. The
trumpet is sounding, and the church is sleeping. May God shake us into battle-mode for the sake of souls!
God bless J. Lee Grady for his courage and tenacity to speak the truth. May we all wake up and prepare for war--in the church--to boot out the real enemy.
Amen to "Combat Ready." How many Christian leaders must make the same cry before the church listens? May we all wake up and reclaim what has been stolen from us before the Lord returns. Souls hang in the balance, and we are satisfied just playing church. We are so busy pursuing our own happiness that we forget God's holiness.
Rejoice Marriage Ministries
Pompano Beach, Florida
I am so thankful Grady is speaking up about the hyperprosperity message. Yes, God does prosper His children. But the purpose is to know Him and do His will. If wealth is the purpose, then are Christians who are being persecuted out of God's divine will?
Isn't it somewhat hypocritical to have advertising in your magazine that contradicts J. Lee Grady's message in First Word? I have noticed on a couple of occasions a disclaimer saying that advertisements do not imply your endorsement. Do you really think making such a statement justifies placing the offending advertisement?
Rev. Mark Johnson
Jubilee Worship Center
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Does the Devil Own Rock Music?
It greatly angered me to see your October 2002 cover story about the acceptance of Christian rock music ("Up From the Underground" by Lindy Warren). How can you represent this demonic music as something positive?
Tattoos, body piercings, chains and vividly dyed hair are blatant signs of rebellion and flesh. For church leaders to condone this in the name of "evangelism" is total blindness to the schemes and strategies of the enemy. God is not calling us to sink to the devil's level to win souls to Christ.
Please separate yourselves from this ungodliness and see what God will do through music with melodies, harmonies and lyrics that come only from Him.
Thanks for your cover story on creative outreach for youth. The New Union Club in Minneapolis has been entertaining the "alternative Christian youth culture" with concerts and DJs for the last 14 years. Interesting how it can be labeled the "alternative" youth culture when it's pretty much the only youth culture!
You can't judge music by its tone or style, and you can't judge people by their clothes or hair. It is good to know that there are some churches out there that are doing something dramatically different to reach the youth. It is crucial in this hour.
The New Union