- I was impressed by the prophetic and sacrificial ministry of Eugene Rivers and feel he deserves the utmost respect and support from the evangelical community ["Separate and Equal," Feb. 5]. His incarnational ministry and Christian world-view scholarship set an excellent example for anyone.

I was disappointed CT put a controversial "spin" on this article. Rivers is outspoken, does not follow exactly in the tradition of King, and dares to be critical of integration as a means of progress for the black community. A reading of the article reveals, of course, that his emphasis is on biblical faith and spiritual transformation rather than on politics, he is not opposed to integration per se, and he is both a clear thinker and committed disciple of Jesus Christ.

- Skip Rung
Corvallis, Oreg.

Eugene Rivers's "dream" has helped crystallize the vision for my life's work recently impressed upon my heart. I now know more clearly than ever that I've been called to participate in the process of producing and practicing "state-of-the-art policy," which embodies the authentic, sacrificial call to follow Jesus. Rivers's poignant insights, practical wisdom, and courageous example provide more than enough conviction for us all to stop playing the church and start being the church.

- John Loren Dotson
Powder Springs, Ga.

James Cone writes in "Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare:" "No black thinker has been a pure integrationist or a pure nationalist, but rather all black intellectuals have represented aspects of each." Martin Luther King, Jr., and Eugene Rivers are no exceptions. Therefore, to present their views on your cover and in the article as polar opposites is misleading at best, and sensationalistic journalism at worst.

- Kirk Byron Jones
Andover Newton Theological School
Newton Centre, Mass.

I spent one afternoon talking with two young men who had been rescued from the gangs by Pastor Rivers's ministry. They were full of the joy of the Lord and clearly articulated their new-found faith. Both were returning to the streets, compelled by God's love and this man's ministry, to rescue others. Isn't this what Christianity's to be about?

- Pastor Wayne Hoag
Sierra Bible Church
Truckee, Calif.


"Muriel's Blessing" [Feb. 5] is such a beautiful and disturbing story. It is disturbing to our culture of self-fulfillment, which says, "I don't have to take this. I'm going to get on with my life." Disturbing because the vow, "in sickness and in health … till death do us part," was made with no crossed fingers. It is actually being kept. Beautiful, because Robertson McQuilkin knows him who says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love."

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- David Manzano
Rockwood, Tenn.

McQuilkin's allowing us to partake to a degree of his most moving and sacred experience is overwhelming.

As a young pastor's wife a few years ago, one morning, at the crack of dawn, I looked out our kitchen window and saw a very elderly woman in our congregation, likewise afflicted, walking down our alley in a downpour of rain. In her hands was a glass filled with water containing a few cut flowers. She was looking for me with a gift from her heart. I learned more about love that morning than ever before.

- Gladys Teague
York, Pa.

- I teach physics at Tamalpais High School, a small secular high school in Marin County, California, where the rudder seems often to be missing from the lives of students. For the past several years, I have read excerpts from Robertson McQuilkin's article "Living by Vows" [CT, Oct. 8, 1990]. My aim has been to tell about the life of a man who lives excellently—that is, living a life of honor and commitment. So when I looked through the latest issue of CT, his article was the first that I read. I was struck and driven to tears when I read "Muriel's Blessing." My next move was to read it to my students. There weren't many dry eyes. Thanks to Robertson McQuilkin and his wife, Muriel, I have an example of true love and devotion that my students can relate to—and, hopefully, emulate.

- David R. Lapp
Petaluma, Calif.

McQuilkin wanted to know why God took him out of the game and put him on the bench. Reading his account, I wanted to know the same thing. As I pondered the situation, it came to me that God had not put McQuilkin on the bench. God had switched him to another playing field. Perhaps the reason has something to do with God being more concerned about the ministry he accomplishes in a person than the ministry he accomplishes through a person.

God's valuation of what is and is not important is radically different from our own. We think the work that changes the world is the work of the greatest value to God. But if God should want to change the world, he could do so without us, through us, or in spite of us. God does not need us. Furthermore, it is only the work that we do by the power and grace of God that counts for anything.

- Rebecca Merrill Groothuis
Littleton, Colo.


Indeed, Richard Foster ["Becoming Like Christ," Feb. 5] may think work is the most fundamental experiential means that shapes us spiritually. But how like a man he thinks!

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Certainly family life is still more foundational than paid labor or daily chores. Each of us is sculpted spiritually by those who raise us, and the dynamics of having to learn to live with others shapes our ability (or lack of it) to share, to compromise, and to play fair long before we have to learn to work with others.

Those who are serious about spiritual disciplines need to begin at Deuteronomy 6: In the heart of Israel's great confession of faith is the conciousness of family as the center for spiritual growth.

- Stephen Fredericks
Wheaton, Ill.

- I want you to know that God has used Richard Foster and CT to powerfully touch me and my church. The article came at "just the right time." God's timing is perfect.

- Dave Bodin
Kelso, Wash.


- Thank you for the excellent article "Nursing's New Age?" [News, Feb. 5]. Only in a time of amazing gullibility and lack of discernment can Christians embrace these techniques. In her original work, Deloris Krieger recommended the use of mandalas and divination, consulting the I Ching as a most useful aid to the practice of therapeutic touch (TT). Nurses at a major medical center at which I served as a chaplain do "sun salutes" in preparation for practicing TT. It is paganism through and through.

- Daniel E. Deaton
San Marcos, Calif.

It seems to me CT is more interested in raising controversy than creating a forum for dialogue. Labeling therapeutic touch as a New Age practice was like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

When I agreed to be interviewed, I never dreamed my support for TT would lead to the assumption that I was a New Age nurse. I am not a New Age adherent. I do think, however, the practice of TT by nurses needs thoughtful consideration and prayerful discussion within the Christian community. Here are some reasons: (1) Although some TT research is better than others, there is enough empirical evidence to convince me that clients benefit from TT. I do not think God is absent when healing occurs, whether it is a result of penicillin or TT. (2) Healing by touch falls in the category of human gifts that Calvin would call "common grace." Humans have been healing by touch in this manner for centuries. (3) Healing by touch is not a new controversy in the church: eighth-century church fathers usurped common touch healing practices for their own power agenda; women who healed by touch were banned as witches; religious groups using touch healing have been labeled "cultish." (4) An exploration of the history of Christian contemplation provides the common ground needed for dialogue with tt practitioners. Who can blame TT practitioners for turning to other traditions for practical guidance in meditation when most of evangelical Christianity seems to have forgotten how?

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- Dr. Sara Wuthnow
Princeton, N.J.

As a student nurse in the sixties, one of the first things we learned was how to give a back rub. Thus, the mystical spin now associated with therapeutic touch would be laughable if the Theosophical influence were not so serious. By the way, the only reason the emphasis on back rubs was devalued in nursing practice was to cut costs.

- Kathleen R. Kuhns
Wyomissing, Pa.


After reading your February 5 lead editorial, "Mad at the Mouse," I feel compelled to say that I don't think author Roberto Rivera successfully made his point that boycotts are not Christian. He himself suggests, "A simple changing of the television channel or choosing not to enter a turnstile may be the best Christian response to a questionable Disney production." Does he not see that as a boycott? Personally, I like the way the boycotters are doing it better than the way Rivera is not doing it!

- Albert C. Osborn
Miami, Fla.


- Thank you for your article on John Stott ["Basic Stott," Jan. 8]. He is truly a model of biblical depth, practicality, balance, and godliness. Would that the entire body of Christ exhibited such characteristics in our own articulation and defense of the faith "once for all handed down."

- Pastor Tim Lane
Clemson Presbyterian Church
Clemson, S.C.

Regarding Stott's reference to "headship" referring to responsibility rather than authority: I have always understood that the cardinal rule for mental health is never to accept responsibility for something over which you have no authority.

If Christ and the church are the model for husband and wife, I see "saviorship" as Christ's gift to the bride and "lordship" as the gift of the bride to Christ. I can't imagine anyone understanding the awesomeness of "saviorship" and not willingly making Christ Lord.

- Dave Grant
Encino, Calif.

McCloughry's article quoted Stott as saying, "because one (i.e., Catholicism) seems to major on authority with little room for liberty… ." After learning to admire the man so much, his statement fell like a dull thud, much to my dismay. He should know better that I, as a Catholic, am required to hold firm belief only in the articles of the Creed. All else is up for grabs as far as dispute, interpretation, and disagreement are concerned. There are no anathemas for those who choose to discuss controversial theological points. In fact, I don't know a time I felt intellectually constrained. Shame on him for bringing up this old shibboleth.

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I have enjoyed an intellectual freedom in exploring theology and philosophy, and even reading CT regularly without fear of papal disapproval. In fact, John Paul would commend me for my efforts. I feel I'm a better Catholic for it.

- L. Petrus
Rocky River, Ohio

Does Stott really want us to believe the Holy Spirit makes people fall only on their faces, never on their backs? Having attended a recent Toronto Vineyard conference (I thought of myself as a sympathetic but detached observer), I spent many hours on my back, and I have not the slightest doubt Who it was holding me there, blessing me and flooding me with his love.

- Rev. Philip Pearce
Seaside, Calif.

While most of us have been grateful for Stott's books, his agnosticism in the area of eternal punishment disqualifies him from being our premier teacher.

- Gary L. Hamburger
Albuquerque, N.Mex.

While the world looks to Hollywood for heroes, those of us who recognize the hero, the spiritual giant, we have in John Stott are deeply encouraged by your interview. I join CT's managing editor Maudlin in claiming Stott as one worthy of imitation, just as early Christians were asked to "be imitators" of the apostle Paul.

- Dana Wichterman
Washington, D.C.


I do not know Darrell Bock, but my spirit resonated with his gentle article, "My Un-American Faith" [Jan. 8]. I am amazed how progressively, over the last 20 years, North American churches, parachurch organizations, and "Christian" corporations and businesses have inculcated and co-mingled North American cultural values with biblical principles into their agendas. This "mission statement" is then offered as God's plan for them. The result is a Christian community, and many of its leaders, confused as to what God requires of them. Every Christian educational institution in this country desiring to train leaders to influence our society needs a Darrell Bock on its faculty to gently, but forthrightly, confront them in these critical days.

- Victor L. Oliver
President, Oliver Nelson
Atlanta, Ga.


I read with interest the interview with Brother Andrew [Conversations, Dec. 11]. There is much that Brother Andrew spoke about with which I agree. I did notice the statement that he "cannot find any Christians who are willing" to dialogue with Islamic groups in Lebanon and Gaza. Mennonite Central Committee has had programs and people in Lebanon, including the war-torn south, for the last 17 years. We have had people and programs in the West Bank and Gaza for 40 years. Our policy has been not only to work with people at the level of basic human needs, but also to live in those very communities. In doing so we participate in an ongoing, living dialogue with people, including Islamic people.

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I also commend Brother Andrew for his statement that new initiatives need to be supported by the "local church." Too often Western evangelicals forget that there is a local church in the Middle East. Our efforts must take into account their lives, history, and community witness. Without support and input from local Christians, our efforts are a form of religious colonialism.

- Ed Epp
Mennonite Central Committee
Winnipeg, Man., Canada


- My heart sank as I read the article on evangelist Reinhard Bonnke's plan to target the U.S. and Canada with the booklet "From Minus to Plus" ["Bonnke Targets 285 Million," News, Dec. 11]. My wife and I moved from California to work in England and were here when the initiative came to Britain. Our church was one of a large number that participated in the distribution of the booklet here in Great Britain. Regardless of the official statistics, the "results" were dismal. In our town of 50,000, only 5 people responded by asking for more information. I work for an organization that places me in contact with church leaders around the country, and I have heard similar stories.

I am an enthusiastic believer in evangelism, but I do not believe that this is the answer. In my mind, the $10 million that was spent did not deliver on the promises.

- Rick Bartlett
Bewdley, Worcs., England


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