33 Under 33

“33 Under 33” is breathtaking, to say the least. There has been too much gloom and doom from too many pulpits and books. After all, there is no set way to do church in the New Testament except for meeting together in Jesus’ name and with the gifts of the Spirit to lead.

Of those featured, Wesley Hill stands out. Many of us gay Christians have had a hard road to walk. We desired to be able to speak freely of our struggles and to have prayer with others. We desired to be Christ’s servants in many areas but were denied because of fear that even having thoughts and desires was evil.

Hill’s openness should have been a part of church life from the days of Paul.

Ted Adams
Gresham, Oregon

I was greatly inspired by “33 Under 33.” Now how about a sequel featuring the Abrahams of this world, who, instead of resigning themselves to puttering in the garden and taking cruises, use their golden years creatively to “do exploits” for the kingdom of God?

I recently visited Mount Rushmore and learned that its sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, began the work at age 58. Abraham heard God’s call at 65, and the work that began in him continues to this day. Our churches are loaded with senior citizens. Many know they have some purpose yet in life. Can we encourage them?

Greg Moore
Rainier, Oregon


I don’t know when I have felt as stunned as when I read “Immoral Minority,” on how many evangelical and born-again churchgoers would do heinous acts for money. Are we sitting next to a fellow churchgoer who would kick a dog hard in the head, cheat, demean, and flip off others for the right amount of money?

Corinne Golden
Carlsbad, California

Editor’s Note: In “Learning Who Latino Evangelicals Are” under News, we should have pictured the flag of the Dominican Republic. We apologize for this error, and thank Yanira Molina for her correction.

Staying Alive in a Suicidal World

To add to CT’s Where We Stand, one way to help further reduce depression and suicide in the world, especially in our Christian communities, is by republishing an old idea: practicing intrinsic religion.

Gordon Allport described intrinsic religion as, in part, “practicing what one . . . deep down believes is true, characterized by the ability to not be overwhelmed by inconsistencies, staying open-minded.” Staying open-minded does not mean rejecting the Bible. Rather, it means that since God does not change, we must. It also means that, if we want to avoid depression and suicide, we have to be entirely honest with ourselves and what we truly believe. Every mistaken belief we have is an opportunity for God to show his power by changing us for the better.

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My work is so much easier when I depend on God to do the internal work. We cannot find God without God revealing himself to us, and when he does, we will know intrinsic religion.

I encourage everyone to keep trying different approaches to treating their depression, and to never give up.

Robert D. Neve
Executive Director, The Clearview Center


“The Hidden Blessing of Infertility” was thoughtful, but I was disappointed that author Karen Swallow Prior did not mention adoption as way to become a parent. Adoption is not for everyone, and I am glad that Prior has found fulfillment through other blessings provided by the Lord. But for many, adoption is a way to parenthood, a way mentioned many times in the Bible: Our Savior Jesus Christ was adopted by his earthly father; Moses by Pharaoh’s daughter; Esther by her uncle, etc. And of course, we as believers are adopted into God’s family.

Nancy Dubois
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Open Question

I really enjoy the Open Question section. This past issue’s question, “Would Jesus hang out in a strip club?” was particularly thought-provoking.

What all three respondents would agree on—and every Christian should agree on—is that no person is off-limits from the pursuit of God. He graciously comes for every one of us. The differences in the answers weren’t so much about the people of the mission, but the location of the mission. And this is where I struggled.

I appreciated how Mike Foster said “no place is off-limits to the gospel.” But then he says, “There is no context, environment, or event that Jesus would choose not to be in.” I wonder if it is significant that when Jesus “ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners,” it was in their own homes or the homes of friends, away from their place of business. Jesus goes after the people, but not always into the locations of their sin. Yes, the darkest places need the light, but strippers are still as lost when they leave the club as when they are in the middle of the stage.

Jake Chitouras
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Water Works

In the Global Gospel Project, it is a bit harsh to say that the Salvation Army “rejects baptism entirely.” It is mostly our fault because we have not explained often or well enough our position, taken when William Booth discontinued the ceremony with water. This was mainly because of conflictive beliefs among his coworkers on the subject, which drove him to his Bible, where he found justification for his decision.

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Basically, the Army sees baptism as a public and unambiguous testimony of one’s new faith in Christ. We have always urged such witnessing, though not using any of the traditional ceremonies with water.

A Baptist theology professor gave me the best (short) statement of our position when he asked me, “Do you all still spiritualize baptism?” I like that. Understood thus, the repentant thief on the cross did get baptized: In front of others he expressed his admission of sinfulness and showed his faith in Christ, and Christ confirmed his faith.

Larry Repass
Newnan, Georgia

The Most Troubling Parable

Like author Alec Hill, I too have been troubled and puzzled by the “slave” parable in Luke. However, the example of Takashi Nagai—a godly man who survived the bombing of Nagasaki and went on to serve others, offering spiritual wisdom to millions—has helped me understand the spirit of being a slave to Christ. On Nagai’s tombstone, it says, “We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17:10). His life is a testimony to the meaning of that parable.

Cheryl Touryan
Indian Hills, Colorado

A Grief Transformed

This is a beautiful testimony by Tara Edelschick. I find it interesting, though, that when faced with an open Communion table, Edelschick still realized the defining distinction of what it means to take Communion and follow Christ (you are either with him or against him), which seems to be one of the main defenses for a closed Communion table as well.

Andrea Ruffner Cavanaugh

Net Gain

Responses from the Web.

“All work has dignity because it belongs to our God-given cultural mandate (Gen. 1:28). Some people are suited for the trades, others for higher education. One is not better than another. The mistake is to turn higher education into vocational training, whether that’s for white-collar or blue-collar jobs.”
Christopher Benson,
The Work of Their Hands,” by Jeff Haanen and Chris Horst.

“This keeps on happening over and over, dimming the light in more ways than one. This is not a comment on what and if Driscoll did, but a comment on our Christian love affair with celebrity Christians and big ministries.”
Chip M Anderson, Facebook.
Gleanings: “Acts 29 Removes Mars Hill, Asks Mark Driscoll To Step Down and Seek Help,” by Ruth Moon.

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“I’m preaching on it this Sunday. Thanks for the exhortation.”
Matt Orth @lesswithoutyou
Her.meneutics: “Why Pastors Should Preach About Body Image,” by Sharon Hodde Miller.

“As always, John Perkins nails it. It is long past time our churches pretend that racism no longer exists.”
Robert J Mayer, CT online comment.
Thin Places: “John Perkins: The Sin of Racism Made Ferguson Escalate So Quickly,” interview by Amy Julia Becker.

“The funny thing about Scripture is a woman would do everything Ed exhorts men to do and come out perfectly feminine. It’s not about replicating a certain portrait of your gender. It’s about doing what God asks you to do.”
Christopher T Casberg, CT online comment.
The Exchange: “Act Like Men: What It Means to Fight Like a Man,” by Ed Stetzer.

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