I can sympathize Tom Ascol, executive director of Founders Ministries, whose concerns include "members" on the rolls of Southern Baptist Convention churches who no longer attend, "shallow evangelism" resulting in unconverted members, members who lack a true spiritual commitment, and lack of church discipline ("Choosing Calvinism?" June 19). We in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church have those same problems. I pray that our denominations would preach more than Jesus loves us, that we would have more substantive evangelism and discipline in the pews, along with "biblical reformation of members." We as Christians-Lutherans or Baptists-need to stop leading people astray by our timidity and preoccupation with growth for growth's sake. - Ronald E. Gottschalk, Chicago, Ill.
Ed Plowman's article titled "Choosing Calvinism?" caught our eye when it suggested that we two had "locked horns on the issue." He further suggested that we had conferred about our differences and the result was a conciliatory message delivered at Southern Seminary. Actually, we have never really discussed the subject, although we intuitively know that we do not see the order of salvation events and some aspects of election exactly the same. We have, nevertheless, maintained our friendship and compatibility. We do agree that salvation is the act of God from beginning to end and that God is sovereign over all creation and history. We are also convinced that one may not forfeit his salvation once he has been born again, because God would never lose any of the elect. The bottom line is that someone at WORLD failed to do his homework, which disappoints us. But we remain avid supporters of WORLD. - R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Southern Baptist Seminary
Wake Forest, N.C.,
As a nearly fanatical King's X fan since the late 1980s, I have been dismayed to observe the band's slow morphing ("Too cool for God," June 19). Most telling of the change was a recent interview in which lead singer Doug Pinnick revealed his struggle with homosexuality. From what I could tell, he has decided to stop fighting it and condemning himself. It saddens me to observe a talented man reveal a core rotten from years of sin with apparently little victory. I pray for him and his bandmates. - Shannon Stowell, Monroe, Wash.
Yes, Doug Pinnick has sent out mixed messages about his faith. This is troubling, but to characterize this as an attempt to be "cool" and to boost record sales is simply a pot shot. - Dan Walsh, Nunda, N.Y.
Religion changes nothing
Just because Doug Pinnick starts being honest in his songs for the band King's X, you're going to say they're no good. Just because he changed his religion doesn't change anything. Yeah, I'm a Christian, but now I see why atheists are the way they are. They can't act honest around you. - Grant Coleman, Marion, Ark.
Thank you for your wonderful profiles of Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and recently Dan Quayle ("Round 2," June 19). I like all three, but I wish they could agree on one conservative candidate and two ardent supporters. - Karen Pyros, Winter Park, Fla.
Wait a minute
Momentarily I rejoiced to be reminded that Murphy Brown is gone and Dan Quayle is "alive and well." Then I said to myself, "Wait a minute-the media has put a fictional TV star on a credibility par with our former vice president." And I am happy to know that Dan Quayle won? What have we come to? I know that I am the proverbial frog in the tub of heating water. I know I should jump, but where? - Robert K. Morris, Doraville, Ga.
I am 14 and have always enjoyed Star Wars. My parents have always said that they were a little uneasy about the whole Star Wars thing, but I tried to shrug it off because I liked it. Well, not anymore. I've always known the Star Wars theology was weird and I just tried to deny it, but J. Budziszewski got it right on the money ("Star Wars redux," June 19). Some will say that we can look past the bad to see the good, but my mom calls that "getting too close to the mud puddle." - J. Charles, Lancaster, Pa.
Bleh, bleh, yuck
My reaction to the review of girls' and womens' magazines in the June 19 WORLD ("'Zine watch") was, "Bleh, bleh, yuck." It's good to know what to avoid, but it would be great to hear also about positive alternatives. - Brian Schwartz, Wichita, Kan.
Marvin Olasky's article "To see or not to see" (June 19) reminded me again of many Christians' strategy of understanding the world around us to successfully minister the gospel. Perhaps with more balanced, thinking Christians out here in the world, we'll be less offensive to those who don't know or understand the gospel in its grace. - Jim Kay, Olney, Md.
Regarding "To see or not to see," I refuse to finance the movie industry that is roaring about and seeking to devour my wife, my kids, and me. I have seen one movie in the last 10 years and that was the latest Star Wars. However, I am in the minority even among my Christian friends, who seem to enjoy being entertained by immorality or just plain trash. - Greg Rice, S. Charleston, Ohio
Regarding the National Gambling Impact Study ("No dice," June 19), I suggest that gambling, alcohol, and tobacco all have in common the fact that their purveyors direct their sales efforts to the excessive user and the addict. Have you ever seen an ad for "The one beer to have when you're having only one"? Most religions agree with Christianity in condemning those who put a stumbling block before a blind man. It is a most reprehensible way to make a profit. - Joseph G. Kelley, Fountain Valley, Calif.
Not Notting Hill
Why is the view of our neighbors watching movies like Notting Hill ("Depravity, meet common grace," June 19) not bad, as you say? Are our neighbors really praising this movie because of the "benefits" you mention, or because they are suckers for a heart-tugging love story with a touch of fornication and the normal, unnecessary obscenity and profanity? A movie like this is not a point of departure for great Christian dialogue, but a point of departure for a Christian's descent into temptation and sin. - Don Muscarella, Mercer, Pa.
In the June 26 "Mailbag" I noticed four letters criticizing your endorsement of the Harry Potter series of children's books because they contain wizards, witches, and ghosts. Is this good logic? If these letters are correct, then we must also toss out King Arthur and his Knights, the classic Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, and many of C.S. Lewis's works such as Till We Have Faces, not to mention The Chronicles of Narnia. Fictionalized wizardry is not necessarily incompatible with the Christian worldview. - Katie Shelt, Jackson, Miss.
Lead by serving
Thank you for your June 12 article, "Another day at the office," on the bombing campaign in Serbia. I am currently deployed to southern Italy, where my squadron has been providing search-and-rescue support for the NATO air campaign. If an aircraft gets shot down, our job is to rescue the pilot. As the Director of Operations for the 41st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, I, like Brigadier General Leaf, have attempted to lead from the front. To me, it's the only way to follow Jesus' example of leading by serving. - Lt. Col. R. Schultz-Rathbun, Via the Internet
Thank you for the excellent editorial, "Not to be served" (June 12). Tremendous amounts of money are raised to send youngsters all over the world when some would-be career missionaries cannot go because they lack support. Perhaps some short-termers do return to the field as career missionaries, but some ministries are succumbing to attrition because there are no replacements. When my wife and I left for Africa 30 years ago, we were informed that the earliest missionaries in our society packed all their belongings in coffins, not expecting to see their home country again. We need more of a "coffin mentality" to get the Word to the lost. - LeRoy Judd, Windhoek, Namibia