"Meanwhile, Love the Sojourner" [September] did a superb job of highlighting the personal challenges faced by immigrants in Phoenix, the ministry dilemma posed by immigrants present unlawfully, the unique burden that Hispanic churches bear, and the courage of many evangelical leaders—both Latino and Caucasian—in standing with immigrants in ways consistent with biblical values of compassion and hospitality, despite pushback.
Given that you're likely getting some pushback of your own for running the article, I wanted to express how much I appreciated it. In working with evangelical churches on immigration issues—and based on discussions with legislators—I know that those most opposed to immigration are far more likely to complain than the majority of both white evangelicals and the American population as a whole who agree with a more balanced approach to immigration policy.
In regards to "Orthodox Moves" [September], Metropolitan Jonah was not the head of the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) long enough to have much of an impact. He was elected as the best candidate available at the time. But Met. Jonah had never been a hierarch and his actions in a unilateral mode with his own agenda did not work.
He was a former Episcopalian who had been well indoctrinated in Russian Orthodox practice while in Russia. As the head of a very small monastery, he matured in understanding an Orthodox monastic life, but as the head of a major Orthodox Church, he just wasn't ready. This action only proves that the OCA works in the manner in which all Orthodox churches should operate. That is, the Orthodox Church is conciliar. A head of an Orthodox church cannot act unilaterally imposing their authority on all.
Faith, Not Works
I cannot share the apparent position in "What's His Is Ours" [September] that salvation is "all of God and none of man." Surely we must consider Jesus' own gospel in comprehending salvation. Jesus said, "Repent and believe" (Mark 1:15). John the Baptist and Peter said the same thing.
Concerning faith, Jesus said to the woman who anointed his feet with perfume, "Your faith has saved you" (Luke 7:50). There does not appear to be anything "passive" in accomplishing salvation from Jesus' statements or encounters.
Does this challenge Paul? Frankly, when it comes to scriptural interpretation, I would rather attempt to construe Ephesians 2:8-9 consistently with what Jesus said repeatedly, rather than the other way around. And this can be done. What is by the grace of God is not that we have faith, but that it is faith that saves us instead of works. For works to save us, we could never sin (James 2:10). So God is willing to take our faith in place of perfect works—which would allow for boasting—by his grace.
Thomas F. Harkins Jr.
Fort Worth, Texas
No Undue Influence
In the past decade, a number of organizations, foundations, churches, and individuals have aligned themselves with the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), providing leadership and support. Contrary to the implication of "The Second Coming Christ Controversy" [September], our funding is so broadly based as to defy undue influence of any person or group.
David Jang, founder of the Olivet University, is an honored member of the WEA's North American Council. As a body within WEA, the council was not unaware of the rumors alleged by the authors of the CT article. However, in making this appointment we trusted the wisdom and advice of our alliance in South Korea with respect to his character and theology.
From time to time, institutions find within their vision to support the calling of bodies such as the WEA. Some Olivet University graduates provide outstanding administrative and technical support. To besmirch them with a disingenuous assumption that they are under control by their former president or out of line with WEA's Statement of Faith is quite unfair.
Secretary General, World Evangelical Alliance New York, New York
More Than a Prayer
Such a sentimental defense of the cherished Sinner's Prayer ["The Evangelical Jesus Prayer," September], appealing as it may be in simplicity and immediacy! But we shouldn't wonder that it often "fails to stick"—the Sinner's Prayer is normative neither of the New Testament conversion narratives nor of believers' practice throughout history. Ironic that in the same issue was an appeal to rediscover catechism ["Getting to Know Him"].
What about sola fide? Luther's noble appeal was a corrective to a corrupted gospel, but does it say all that needs to be said?
Grace is surely an incomparable and undeserved gift we accept by faith (Eph. 2:8-9), yet verse 5 points to one more critical factor: From dead in sin, to alive in Christ. And that is where we discover how critical it is to die to the old life and be raised to the new. Without baptism as expounded in Romans 6, "born again" is a featherweight phrase. In re-enacting his resurrection, we find our deepest connection to the Christ story, and clothe ourselves with Christ himself.
The Mormon Question
I am a long-time subscriber and really appreciate your magazine. But I must admit mild disappointment with September's The
Village Green ["Is there anything wrong with voting for a Mormon for President?"]. The three views were all approaches to the same "no, it's not a problem" answer. I have been deeply contemplating this question, and am leaning toward not voting for Mitt Romney in large part because of his Mormon faith.
Furthermore, I think there are better "yes, it's a problem" answers than the featured writers hypothesized. I thought CT would help me think through this issue more than I already have and address some of my concerns. Some of it was helpful; I just wish I would have read about the other side as well.
Daniel L. Christensen
What got the most comments in September's CT
40% Meanwhile, Love the Sojourner by Katelyn Beaty and Skye Jethani
20% The Village Green: Religion and Politics by Stephen Mansfield, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, and Richard Mouw
17% The Evangelical Jesus Prayer a CT Editorial
The most praised piece in September's CT
Meanwhile, Love the Sojourner by Katelyn Beaty and Skye Jethani
Worth RepeatingCompiled by Elissa Cooper
"I do not look forward to 'farewell' tweets that I am sure are coming. Even if I agree with them."
Matt, predicting the response to evangelical progressive Brian McLaren performing his son's same-sex commitment ceremony.
CT Liveblog: "Brian McLaren Leads Commitment Ceremony at Son's Same-Sex Wedding," by Melissa Steffan
"This is Christianity at work—taking the gospel outside the four walls of the church to the streets and under the bridges."
Edwina Cowgill, praising comedian and TV personality Jeff Foxworthy.
"Jeff Foxworthy: 'You Know I'm an Idiot,'" interview by Mark Moring
"There are always two sides to any story; you can't rely on one."
Jason Lee, defending David Jang and his followers. A follow-up online article to the September article contains interviews with former Jang associates.
"The Second Coming Christ Controversy: More Leaders Speak Out," by Ted Olsen and Ken Smith
"Christ is Living Truth, not bound by any thought system."
Paul Schryba, on how political ideologies are not biblical. Dinesh D'Souza's documentary—criticized by some for its biased approach—on President Barack Obama's ideological heritage has been an unexpected hit at the box office.
CT Entertainment: "2016: Obama's America," by Brett McCracken
"Aloneness without Christ is loneliness indeed."
Mary Lou, discussing how being one's own best friend is realizing that Christ is the best friend we've sought all along.
Her.meneutics, "Why Friends Disappear When You Reach Midlife," by Michelle Van Loon
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