It has been far too long since I have put together a collection of Letters to the Editor. I am remedying that today by sharing just a few of the many letters that have poured in over the last few weeks. I hope you enjoy them.
My wife and I have the same convictions about no sleep overs. Once you let the genie out of the bottle, so to speak, you can never get it back in. The world is trying to do everything it can to make our kids in its image, and we as parents must remain vigilant. Something that was interesting to me about the ABC article, is if you replaced sleepover with homeschool it is the exact same argument. The world wants to shame us for our convictions. We homeschool and you public school, and we both are trying to raise our kids and lead our families in the best way we know how. In the way we believe the Lord would have us lead. So as a brother in Christ I affirm your convictions in regards to sleepovers (and even public schooling), and I pray that we would follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and stay firmly grounded in His Word.
—Chris R, Spokane, WA
Letters on Where Did All These Calvinists Come From?
I fully agree with your analysis tracing the movement and its burgeoning results worldwide and I feel it is a vital phenomenon induced by the Holy Spirit in leading the flock. However, I feel that this movement is not all encompassing-meaning it has its effect and meaning only on a part of the world we identify as Christendom. Beyond this realm of Christendom is a vast body of other believers-people who do not subscribe to the Christian faith, people who have inherited over the centuries and ages their deep traditions, customs and beliefs through their own scriptures, people who worship other deities. The Church, to be effective has to address this segment also, an activity we can call as evangelism. It is this context churches have to refine themselves more indigenously according to their regional moorings and translate the gospel to people of other faiths in a meaningful way. Here, we need to be sensitive, because we shall be confronting great traditions and philosophy where we simple cannot take a supremacist stand.
We need to translate the Biblical truths and the Gospel through basic ethical concerns like love, forgiveness, alleviation from suffering, justice, mercy and sin. This translation cannot of course be merely in the form of communication but should be embedded in our our lifestyle and daily living where our actions will demonstrate the inherent truths and evidence our convictions. The Church in this area therefore needs to be a church in unceasing prayer willing to carry the burden of the word in flesh and deed so that people are drawn to it. So far I feel we have seen very leaders splintered among remote groups, in the sense that there has been no conspicuous movement to define the outreach with a unity of Spirit. If we can recall that God says that “I am the God of all flesh” we can well understand that we are duty bound to be also evangelical churches having indigenous identities by region and by peoples.
—Paul T, Mumbai, IN
I briefly scanned your post and wanted to mention a movement that most certainly contributed to the rise of New Calvinism. That would be Passion led by Louie Giglio. I’ll never forget listening to John Piper at one of the very first Passion conferences in 1996. I bought the CASSETTE of his message! And could quote his message (“Satan and his fiery darts!”) almost verbatim after wearing out the cassette which I later converted to CD so I could have a digital copy. I was a college pastor then and Piper’s influence was monumental in college student’s lives. The Passion platform gave Piper an audience. I remember being in a meeting with Louie and at the time he said he would always have John Piper speak in the hope that some of the students would be able to reach up and grab some of what he was teaching. Thousands did, me included.
—Eric R, AR
My husband and I (and our 4 kids) moved from Texas to Australia almost 2 years ago so he could take a call at a church here. We have been so blessed by our Australian church family, but we’ve also seen just how blessed Americans are to have Reformed Christianity be so readily accessible to them. My husband and I both graduated from Westminster Seminary in California and have been able to use our education to bless the believers here. But we’ve also been blessed by American pastors who come over here to speak and give conferences. The books American Christians publish are widely used in the churches here, and the music American Christians compose are a blessing to the local churches as well. Growing up in America, I wasn’t as aware of how much God has given American Christians as I am now that I live here. Things American Evangelical Christians take for granted are not readily available all over the world, but we are very thankful for what God has given America, and how often American Christians are willing and able to bless others all over the world with those God-given resources.
—Katie, Wollongong, AU
Letters on What I Want from the News
I agree with you on what I want from the news! I have really enjoyed getting the majority of my news from World News Group (WORLD magazine and The World and Everything In It daily podcast). Of course it’s not perfect because it’s produced by humans but I enjoy their emphasis on big stories and in depth analysis (both domestically and, more often overlooked, internationally). I couldn’t pass up the article without reminding you of a news source that I’ve appreciated for the exact reasons you mention in your article.
—Jillisa S, Glen, MT
Letters on No Better (or Worse) Time To Be Disabled
I agree absolutely with what you are saying; the most dangerous place in the world for an unborn child is in the womb of its mother, and even more for those whose disabilities are apparent in utero. But have a heart, Tim. Women have been lied to for over forty years about abortion; to date they are still not informed of the emotional, spiritual, and even physical consequences of “removing a little piece of tissue, that won’t hurt at all, you’ll just feel a little pinch.” The truth, of course, is that as soon as a woman becomes pregnant, she is a mother. Forever after, she will always be a mother: whether she has an abortion, a miscarriage, or her child dies after birth, she will forever be a mother. This has lasting psychological repercussions, yet women are not warned of this. They are not told they will have nightmares, deep unrelenting grief, and endless guilt over this one decision: a decision that many of them make without parental knowledge or guidance, or support from any quarter. There is plenty of support for the abortion! But none afterwards; they are expected to pick up and move on as if they had a wart removed (which, by the way, would have warranted every possible warning of any number of side-effects and unwanted outcomes). Yes, it’s terrible any time a woman chooses an abortion, but can’t we be compassionate towards them for the reasons they made that choice? “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”
It seems to me this is an issue where we must hate the sin, but love the sinner, and show them compassion and the love of Christ. So speak against abortion, and speak against abortion of those unborn with disabilities, but speak gently of and to those who were driven to such madness.
—Cathie, Timberville, VA
I am a lactation consultant in a large hospital in the American South. Within the past year, while perusing online professional forums, I kept encountering the word “chestfeeding”-others of my profession were using this word without qualification or definition, as if this has become an accepted term for us. I finally realized this term was coined for transgender men who were breastfeeding, but since men are not supposed to have breasts, they must be chestfeeding (and people with gender dysphoria are uncomfortable to call those organs breasts); or, the people chestfeeding are transwomen who formerly were thought to have chests, but they are feeding babies with them now. There is a move in my profession to come up with some kind of inclusive term for the act of feeding infants with the mammary glands, to avoid offense for those who are not cisgender (another new word I am supposed to be using, meaning one who is identifying as the gender they were assigned at birth). Brother Tim, our hospital has a Breast Center for mammograms and treatment of cancer; our physicians and nurses use the term “breast” in their physical exams. I am in my 60s now and while I hope to continue to practice for years to come, I dread making myself call human organs by different names because it is now politically correct to do so. God help us. Come, Lord Jesus!
—Wendy N, Savannah, GA
Letters on So Who Was Praying?
I, in a similar manner as your wife, am the only believer in my family. And I am fairly certain that I can look back on my life and note a variety of believers who likely prayed for my salvation, but I cannot be certain this is true. Not all of my children are believers (ages 19-28) although, I see evidence of belief and spiritual fruit in 4 of 5 of them and like you, I have prayed likely well over 2000 times for the salvation of the one who is lost at present.
Yet, understanding the doctrine of election and God’s sovereignty over all things, I am often perplexed at the idea of praying for another’s salvation (and this sense could be extended to include just about any topic of prayer). Is prayer really about bringing the one praying to greater faith and dependence upon God? Certainly we cannot change his mind about something.
The vehicle of prayer can voice praise, give glory, lament, as well as plead for an outcome. It is this function of prayer that leads me to wonder if God’s greater purpose in our praying is that we glorify him in demonstrating faith to seek him in all things acknowledging his sovereignty and our dependence upon him. In this line of thinking, I am wondering if perhaps some are regenerate without a single prayer uttered on their behalf…
—Ken B, Vancouver, WA
I have of late pondered prayer especially when I hear people say that a prayer of faith is what heals people. So, I have to ask them, if hundreds of people (or even a handful) are praying for someone and that person dies rather than gets healed, who did them in? On the flip side, if that person lives after hundreds (or even a few) pray for them, whose prayer gets the credit? Who had the faith to make it happen and who lacked it? All I can say is that God is sovereign but He works through prayer in ways I don’t fully understand. What a wonderful plan he had in your wife’s life and all the ways He worked it out!
—Shelli R, Peabody, KS