"The Jonesboro Puzzle" (April 11) seems a fitting sequel to your previous issue's story on capital punishment. God has spoken clearly about the punishment for homicide. After condemning almost all of mankind to death for corruption and violence, God immediately gave explicit instructions to Noah and his family-"Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man" (Genesis 9:6). This formula is clarified elsewhere, but nowhere is provision made for age or mental capacity. Anyone with the capacity to premeditate and carry out the taking of another human life is to have his life ended. Period. The sooner our culture earnestly obeys God's instruction about this, the sooner we will begin to abate the horrific and increasingly prevalent curse of innocent bloodshed. - Wade Lineberger, Safford, Ariz.
Don't blame guns
Thank God for your publication, which looks deeper into situations than the "popular" press. "Too close to the edge" and "Westside story" (April 11) took different approaches to the causes of the Jonesboro killings. Neither blamed the tools used by these two troubled youth to do the deed-guns. As an avid sportsman myself and an east Texan who grew up using guns at an early age, I cringe at the media's biased violent-crime/ gun-control mantra. - Mike E. Russell, Paris, Texas
Playing with fire
Why are so many Christians living "Too close to the edge"? J. Gresham Machen had one answer: "We are accustomed to condone self-indulgence if it's coupled with benevolence." We fool ourselves into believing that hearing plenty of Bible teaching, giving abundantly, or doing good deeds can atone for living at the edge. This attitude is encouraged when postmodern thought infiltrates the church; there are no wrongs as far as these areas are concerned. If someone dares to suggest that possibly we are being self-indulgent or playing with fire, he is quickly shut down as legalistic, unloving, judgmental, or intolerant. We forget, or maybe we never understood, that it's a blessing to be turned from our wicked ways (Acts 3:26). - Linda Sanders, Indianapolis, Ind.
Game's not over
Congressional Republicans are lucky to get anything past Democrat obstructionists and a contrary president ("Tom, Dick, and harried," April 11). Their majority, while welcome, is not sufficient to force policy changes beloved of the Christian Right (of which I consider myself a part), necessitating the concessions and compromises that so irk Mr. Dobson in order to accomplish anything. The electorate must send more conservatives to Congress if conservative goals are to triumph. If the votes are not there, complaining or "taking the ball and going home" won't change the head count. Stick around, sir, it's early in the game. - Pat Parker, Los Angeles, Ca.
Rooting for Celts
One line in the article "Music: Celtic or cultic" (April 11) said, "While Christians should be on the lookout for New Age and neo-pagan influences, they are not obvious in the more authentic recordings." There are many quality Celtic bands out there with deep Christian roots. (A helpful Web site for finding such groups is: http://www.open.org/curtis/celtxian.htm). An excellent band that digs deep into the Celtic Christian heritage is Iona. Others worth looking into are The Crossing, Jeff Johnson, and Michelle Tumes. - Ned Bustard, Lancaster, Pa.
Pray and do
I agree we must pray for our persecuted brethren as the first priority ("Saving a drowning man," April 11). We are also called into the political arena to do spiritual battle there. Though our elected representatives may disagree with us about such issues as Most Favored Nation trading status for Communist China (an abomination) and the necessity for the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act, we should be contacting them. We can also tell others what's going on in thug regimes all over the world, and join with one of the Christian organizations supporting the persecuted church (Hebrews 13:3 and James 2:15-16 and 4:17). - Bob Ahlers, Fredericksburg, Va.