Catholics and The Holy Spirit
I read your report on charismatic Roman Catholics ("Holy Spirit, Visit Us Again" by Maarit Eronen, February). Our prayer groups were "outside the loop" of what you might call normal Catholic circles. Those who were touched by the charismatic renewal and were deeply rooted in their Catholic faith are still here. The renewal augmented what they already had established through the sacraments.
Some joined other churches because they did not have roots. I could be wrong, but I think if more priests had embraced the charismatic renewal, you would see fewer people leaving the Catholic Church.
Vinson Synan was quoted as saying that charismatic renewal has become "old hat" in Catholic churches. I simply think it became misused because it was not always allowed to break into the liturgy and worship--like Father Bob Bedard allowed it to do in his parish.
I believe the key to revival is for pastors to pray for and teach their people, as Father Bob did. I am praying for pastors to get educated regarding the charismatic renewal and to follow Father Bob's example. Charismatic renewal needs to be valued as optimal life in the Holy Spirit!
Judith A. Vermurlen
Grand Haven, Michigan
How long will Charisma continue to indirectly endorse charismatic Catholics? I realize you have a sense of responsibility to report what is going on in the world, but I can't understand why you would publish an article like this. Why would you present it favorably or even with a neutral attitude? It only seems to endorse the world's largest cult.
Do you honestly not know that the Catholic Church is not Christian and never has been nor will be? Catholics pray to idols and Mary. Their materials openly admit there is no salvation outside Mary. Please have the courage to tell the truth.
Rev. Don Tobias
Falls Church, Virginia
Christians ... Dancing?
I'm a 17-year-old Christian, and I was really disturbed by your recent article on Christian dance clubs ("Our Love Is Loud" by Sandra K. Chambers, February). You can call it lots of things, but please don't call it worship.
What does a pulsating beat do? It stirs up the sex drive. What does "deafening" music do? It makes you go deaf. Maybe people don't think it's wrong, but observe a dance floor sometime. It's not the godliest place.
I know the sincerest heart can sometimes do things the wrong way. God knows I've done that! It's never my intention to judge. But this generation is begging for something different. I want to help them find Jesus because He is different.
Kicked Out for Opposing Abortion
Regarding your report on pastor Mark Holick, who was kicked out of the Rhema church network for protesting abortion (People & Events, February), I am tired of Christians labeling other Christians "disobedient." Are we going to label a pastor who is protesting a great evil in the world "disobedient" just because we are afraid of being sued? This is unbiblical!
Constance Rockwell Cooke
Lima, New York
I've been a supporter of Kenneth Hagin's ministry for many years. I also know Mark Holick. I know Kenneth Hagin Sr. did not have anything to do with making this decision. Since when are Christians not to take a stand against sin? Pastor Mark was not disobedient to the Word of God.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
As a Rhema graduate, I was very disturbed to read about the pastor from Wichita, Kansas, who was expelled for protesting in front of an abortion clinic. The details of the issue did not bother me as much as the lack of response from Rhema. To take action without any attempt to communicate is very unwise. I do not agree with Rhema's attorney who said, "The best way to handle this situation was to sever the relationship." I am disappointed in this ministry.
I was disappointed to read about Mark Holick having his ordination revoked, and I am shocked by Rhema's actions. I cannot believe Ken Hagin Sr. would go along with such a thing! I would suggest to the attorney who is afraid Rhema could potentially be sued that he look at Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah--who boldly protested when the Israelites sacrificed their babies to idols. The prophets were afraid, but they spoke up.
Chaplain R. Erick
It was sad to read how Rhema treated Mark Holick. He appears to be doing the Lord's work, but Rhema, on advice of their attorney, has expelled him for disobedience. My Bible tells me we should obey God rather than man.
Otis D. Rackley Jr.
When I read of Mark Holick's expulsion, I was reminded of Peter in the courtyard when he was deciding whether to serve his fear or his God. The Bible has quite a bit to say about fear. Proverbs 29:25 says it well, "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."
The good news is that Peter repented and was forgiven. The same can happen with Rhema and those pastors across the country who have compromised on abortion.
Brevard, North Carolina
Time for Discernment
I couldn't agree more with Lee Grady's First Word column on the dangers of false doctrine ("Learn to Discern," February). He hit the nail on the head in identifying unhealthy trends in the church today. I have seen many pastors load their church boards with close friends and staff members who are not likely to challenge "the boss." Church boards should serve as a check-and-balance system for pastoral leadership, but this is often not the case.
I was disappointed that J. Lee Grady has entered the fray to condemn Carlton Pearson's teaching. I don't think Grady understands what Pearson is preaching.
He isn't preaching Universalism. Pearson definitely believes Jesus is the only way. Universalists don't believe that.
The Bible says hell was created for the devil and his angels--not for people who don't accept Jesus. There isn't a place in the Bible that says you have to accept Jesus the way we tell people they have to do.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Grady's column described exactly what happened to a church we were part of. What started as a Spirit-filled church gradually became a cult. The five unhealthy trends he listed created a breeding ground for heresy. Egotism, authoritarianism, elitism, legalism and mysticism gradually crept in.
When I read your February issue I nearly jumped out of my chair. There aren't many who will venture to correct and point out false doctrine. Our churches are in serious trouble as these false preachers think of more creative ways to dip into our pockets.
Even when our spiritual leaders get full of themselves and go off track, Charisma tells the truth. I know many people say you shouldn't print the negative stuff since we have enough trouble to deal with. But I thank you because it makes us all know that we are to be held accountable not only to God, but also to other believers.
Rev. F. Allen Jones Sr.
Mount Zion Ministries
In his column on discernment, Grady took another swipe at Oneness Pentecostals and a few other groups that teach modesty of dress. He termed it "elitism" and "legalism." Yet, though Grady has problems with Oneness groups and attempts to portray us as "backwater Pentecostals," he has no problem publishing an article about charismatic Catholics.
He seems to have no problem with these people who bow to idols, pray the rosary to the Virgin Mary and say Masses for the dead. It begs the question: What is his agenda? It seems he needs to stop "discerning" and start studying the Bible.
Healing at Brownsville
The reconciliation between pastors John Kilpatrick and Michael Brown (People & Events, February) is a fresh breath of hope for the body of Christ. If a division as deep as this could be so miraculously and thoroughly healed by the grace of God, then there is hope for reconciliation in other parts of the church.
The public celebration of reconciliation on January 12 at Brownsville Assembly of God was awesome. We believe this is a sign from God of great things to come for the whole church in this hour.
Revs. Charles and Dotty Schmitt
Silver Spring, Maryland
The War on Saddam
I read your report on Iraqis and their fears of war ("Iraqi Christians Call for Prayer, Not War," People & Events, February). We Americans can freely practice whatever religion we choose and not be persecuted. Others aren't as fortunate.
Instead of looking down on them, we need to come together as a nation and pray for those nations where the gospel is restricted. Declaring war on Iraq is not going to get rid of Saddam Hussein. It will only bring more trouble to them and to us.
Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania
So many Americans are screaming out: "I want peace! Let the other nations worry about war!" Meanwhile our enemies are laughing at us. They want to kill all of us who will not bow down to their god.
Are we going to have to have terrorist bombs in our backyards before we wake up? Saddam Hussein pays money to the families of those who are willing to blow themselves up in order to kill innocent Jews. Our president knows this, and we should get behind him. Let President Bush know that you are depending on him to lead us correctly. Then pray that God will handle the outcome.
Neptune Beach, Florida
In the 1930s, Catholic and Protestant leaders were duped by Hitler into believing that he was Germany's "savior," and that if they would leave him alone he would leave them alone. They did, and we know what happened. If church leaders had stood against Hitler, 6 million Jews may not have been murdered.
We should thank God for a president who is willing in the short-term to eradicate some evil from this world--and perhaps prevent a much more sinister outcome later.
York R. Gresser Ocala, Florida
Correction: In an article on atheism in our January issue, we identified agnosticism as "the theory that God exists but is uninvolved in human affairs." Actually, agnosticism is the philosophy that God might exist, but that man can never know for sure. Charisma regrets the error, and we pray that none of our readers ever become agnostics.
Know an Unsung Hero?
Because of the glowing response we received from readers about our December 2002 issue, we will be publishing another special issue focused on a new group of "Unsung Heroes." But we need your help.