The July cover story,"Refocusing on the Family," was so encouraging. My policy was to listen to Focus when its hosts were talking about biblical principles for building up the Christian family, and to turn it off when they started talking about politics. Not that I don't agree with some of their political stances, but I can get those perspectives from a million other places.
Sadly, very few Christians are talking about the true cultural crisis that is the foundation of all the others: the demise of the godly family. That is the source of all the other issues.
Insight into India
"India's Grassroots Revival" was the best I have read on the subject. Tim Stafford demonstrated an amazing grasp of the complexities and multifaceted dynamics of the caste system, church planting, and the movement of God in India. It has taken me many years and multiple trips to India to understand what Stafford seemingly grasped in three weeks. The dynamic indigenous movement of God is almost unimaginable for those of us in the West.
President, Empart USA
Whenever I visit India, I am struck by the immensity of the task at hand, but come back encouraged by the faith, love, and devotion to Jesus exhibited by the brethren there. Our family is involved in missions and can attest to the fact that a revival is sweeping through the land, especially among the historically downtrodden. However, there are always hype and wild claims relating to church growth stats. It's good to welcome the reports, but with a grain of salt.
Thanks for "A Liberating Woman" , Christianity Today's tribute to Catherine Clark Kroeger. Years ago I felt a call to ministry and was devastated when I was put down by male church leaders. It haunted my spiritual life for years. When I found Christians for Biblical Equality and met Cathy, it changed my life. I became a news broadcaster, meeting many hardcore feminists over the years. Many of them came from churched backgrounds, and the women's issue fueled much of their hatred for the church.
Traditionalists refuse to see what a stumbling block this has been to the gospel by their refusal to study and consider the merits of Kroeger's scholarship.
Coleen Cook Klecic
What Paul Meant
In "The Paul We Think We Know" , Timothy Gombis stated that "[f]irst century Judaism didn't have a legalism problem." Instead, "it had an ethnocentrism problem." Nobody doubts the existence of ethnocentrism.
But readers of CT shouldn't infer that all scholars deny legalism. To be sure, Gombis notes that in a Dead Sea Scroll, Jews recognized "the absolute need of divine grace for salvation." But the question is whether they thought meritorious works on their part were needed to supplement God's grace. Yes, they did, as another Dead Sea Scroll attests: "Now we have written to you some of the works of the Law …. And to your own benefit and that of Israel, it will be credited to you as righteousness when you do what is right and good before him [God]" (contrast with Rom. 4:1-6).
Prior to his conversion, Paul himself considered his Pharisaic behavior meritorious: "as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness in the Law, having become blameless," in which works he put "confidence" because he considered them "gains" (Phil. 3:4-7).
So at least in this respect "The Paul We Think We Know" arises out of correct thinking after all.
Robert H. Gundry
Scholar-in-Residence, Westmont College
Santa Barbara, California
When Harry Met CT
In "Harry Is Here to Stay" , John Granger writes, "Harry Potter revealed rather than created the great spiritual hunger of our time." I can't think of a better way to summarize the cultural phenomenon. I have enjoyed the imaginative stories and solid good over evil triumphs.
Anyone who feels that these stories threaten Christian values should take comfort in the fact that their appeal is simply a mask for the real hunger that is devouring our world. Imagine the result if we now showed them the Real Thing.
Ruler of All
John Witte Jr.'s article had some insightful comments ["No Ordinary King," July]. I disagree, however, that popular sovereignty is "a reflection of the absolute sovereignty of God the Father." Popular sovereignty is the polar opposite of the sovereignty of God.
Many believe God has revealed principles that serve as the foundation of our political, juridical, and economic systems. Within the framework of these principles, governments should govern with the consent of the governed. The people should have the right to elect their representatives and, through them, in accordance with the Constitution, make the laws under which they live.
This is far from a philosophy that regards the people as sovereign. If popular sovereignty is valid, then the Israelites were right to abandon God and worship a golden calf, since the decision was sanctioned by the majority. Right and wrong are not determined by numbers.
John M. Pafford
I appreciated the thoughtful Village Green discussion ["Dying Decisions"]. Robert Orr suggests intervention may be appropriate when a patient refuses care because of cost concerns. If Orr is correct, then surely medical providers are ethically responsible to set fair prices.
The cost of treatment does not, indeed cannot, reflect the value of human life. Treatment costs are the value the providers place on their goods and services. Providers regularly refuse treatment to people who cannot pay, while the business of medicine makes many wealthy.
Most public discussion seeks to develop strategies for paying the price. I keep wondering why no one challenges the prices.
Cape Coral, Florida
What got the most comments in July's CT
29% Harry Is Here to Stay John Granger
11% Refocusing on the Family Sarah Pulliam Bailey
11% The Paul We Think We Know Timothy Gombis
The most praised piece in July's CT
A Liberating Woman
Worth Repeating, Compiled by Elissa CooperCompiled by Elissa Cooper
"When one investigates this further, one learns this isn't a once-off foot-in-mouth incident."
Karen, citing the care she puts into her speech and e-mails amid discussion of Mark Driscoll's Facebook post on "effeminate" worship leaders. He later removed the post, saying it was "flippant."
Her.meneutics: "Much Ado About Mark Driscoll," by Sharon Hodde Miller
"It seems that feminism has been perverted into a political tool by one side and no longer serves its original intent."
Bob, expressing concern about the definition of "feminism" within politics and how it does not further women's rights and opportunities.
Her.meneutics: "Bachmann, Palin, and the Trouble with 'Evangelical Feminism,'" by Caryn Rivadeneira
"Opposing homosexual practice and gay marriage does not constitute hate. It constitutes a difference of opinion."
Clark Dunlap, after TOMS Shoes came under fire for its relationship with Focus on the Family. Organizations protested the affiliation, referring to Focus as an "anti-gay, anti-choice" group, causing toms to break away.
CT Politics Blog: "TOMS Shoes Founder Distances Himself from Focus on the Family," by Sarah Pulliam Bailey
"There is no debate. There are two sides shouting at each other and doing political maneuvering."
Chuck, about the recent statements on the nature of homosexuality and same-sex marriage by conservative Christian leaders.
CT Politics Blog: "The Surge in Sexuality Debates," by Tobin Grant
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