Your selection of Generation WWJD as "Daniels of the Year" (Dec. 18) is tremendously encouraging. Daniel and his friends did not accept the norms of their day when asked to imitate the culture around them. Likewise, your Daniels are looking deeper than many of their Christian contemporaries. It will be wonderful when these who want to know Jesus as deeply as He has been revealed in the Word of God are the leaders of tomorrow's churches. - Greg Leaman, Ft. Collins, Colo.
I was excited to see an article in WORLD about agriculture ("Farm reform fumble," Dec. 11). I was less excited about your simplistic answer to solving the problems farmers face; namely, let free enterprise run its course so the taxpayers' burden can be relieved and so the poor can afford to buy food. The Freedom To Farm Act may have worked if we on the land were protected from the near-monopolies of corporate agriculture, whom we buy our supplies from and sell our products to. Note that although the price of some commodities recently dropped 60 percent, prices at the store didn't drop and in many cases probably rose. - Brent Kalfell, Terry, Mont.
Then and now
Farmers are receiving late 1970s prices for their commodities but facing 1999-level expenses. Government assistance would not be needed if farmers were getting prices for their farm commodities that reflected 1999 operating realities. - Larry Dick, Fort Mill, S.C.
Life and death
I read "Now no condemnation?" (Dec. 25/Jan. 1) regarding the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with avid interest. Thank God for cool heads and theologically trained minds that can analyze and comment with what appears to be a sense of detachment, a cerebral, dispassionate, and doctrinal perspective. Not so for me. For me the issue is life and death and whether I can live each hour in peace or not. Either I am justified entirely by His grace without reference to the merit of my works, or I am not justified at all. If justification requires any merit on my part then I am certainly finished. Thank God that I am justified by faith apart from the works of the law and that by grace I am saved through faith. - Keith Budge, Singapore
Thank you for a clear, concise essay on the recent Roman Catholic/Quasi-Lutheran Joint Declaration ("On earth peace?" Dec. 25/Jan. 1). As a Missouri Synod Lutheran I detest being lumped together with the other Lutherans who compromised their faith in order to reconcile with Rome. What happened this past Reformation Day was nothing more than a warm-fuzzy photo-op for both sides. - Steven C. Ward, Niskayuna, N.Y.
You state that "For Catholics, salvation is a matter of human works" and elsewhere that Catholics believe that good works "merit forgiveness." These are gross misrepresentations. Catholics believe in death-bed conversions, even when the dying are unable to do "good works." Faith is the key, not works, but hanging onto the key requires the good work of responding to the grace of faith. - D. Reardon, Springfield, Ill.
God knows his own
Satan has been deceiving mankind since the Garden of Eden by questioning and distorting the words of God. How comforting it is to know, therefore, that God examines hearts and knows those who are His. - Lynn Metier, Rochester, N.Y.
I found "On earth peace?" to be alarming. Thank you for exposing this agreement and explaining the crucial distinction between imputation and infusion of righteousness. - Jeffrey P. Kharoufeh, State College, Pa.
What we see on film has tremendous power for evil or for good ("Simulated sin," Dec. 25/Jan. 1). It captivates the mind and subtly shapes our perceptions. As we see sin acted out countless times (in the ostensibly benign name of entertainment), often without consequences, wouldn't the natural effect be that our thinking would lose precision and our consciences would become dull to what was once obvious evil? - Joli Howard, Libertytown, Md.
Just say no
In the second century A.D., Athenagoras, an early Christian, wrote a letter to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in which he explained the Christian attitude toward watching gladiators as follows: "Who does not reckon among the things of greatest interest the contests of gladiators and wild beasts? ... But we Christians, deeming that to see a man put to death is as much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles." - Edward W. Farrar, Hamilton, Ontario
Thank you so much for "Simulated sin." My parents allow me to watch only G-rated and very select PG movies for the same reasons Mr. Belz pointed out. Sometimes people think it's strange when I object to a certain movie, but I agree with my parents. - Rachel Henning, 16, Coopersburg, Pa.
Every week I look forward to reading your magazine cover to cover as soon as it lands in my mailbox. For years I subscribed to Time and U.S. News & World Report because I didn't see much of an alternative. Thanks for filling a big void. However, I have one criticism. The advertisement sections are not consistent with your basic Christian philosophy. - Buster Williams, Newport News, Va.
Mormonism thrives on what is often unwitting cooperation by Christians. But President Dwight Baker of Baker Book House is without excuse when he tries to justify the publication of Mormon material because it is largely innocuous, or because it sells well among Christians ("Faithful expressions?" Dec. 25/Jan. 1). I hope Baker's coffee-table book Expressions of Faith will be its last act of cooperation with Mormons. - Robert E. Tozier, Fairfax, Va.
Olsen and Rembrandt
I would be the first to tell you Greg Olsen's theology is flawed, but the guy can paint. I once stood in front of an original painting by Rembrandt titled "The Rabbi." I can't say that I agreed with the theology of the artist or the subject, but I sure enjoyed the creation. - Ken Stuckey, Napa Valley, Calif.
Officer Obie immortalized
I loved seeing the Rockwell rendering of the young runaway seated at the lunch counter next to the cop ("Norman Rockwell is now shocking and daring," Dec. 25/Jan. 1). Rockwell was a longtime resident of Stockbridge, Mass., and often used local residents as subjects for his art. I have visited this lunch counter and think I recognized the cop as past Stockbridge police Chief Obanheimer, who seemed to be a permanent fixture there most mornings. This is the same "Officer Obie" of Alice's Restaurant fame who arrested Arlo Guthrie for "litterin'." I show my age. - Jim Faucett, Akron, Ohio
Like tarot cards
Marvin Olasky's comments regarding The Omega Code (Dec. 25/Jan. 1) were superb, but he could have gone further. The film is, at best, a class-B fictionalization of what one group wishes the Bible taught. My wife and I left the theater saddened because it trivializes the Scriptures as though they are in the same category as astrology and tarot cards. - Gale Hency, Portland, Ore.
Upon reading your review of The Omega Code, I concluded that we must have seen different movies. I found it to be well-acted and well-plotted and with excellent special effects. I would see it again just for the last four minutes which portrayed the Second Coming in a unique and powerful way. - Mary C. Koestner, Phoenix, Ariz.
Others helping in Chechnya
In "War without end, alas" (Dec. 25/Jan. 1) you say that the Salvation Army is the only evangelical group assisting the Chechens. The Baptist church of the Republic of Georgia is helping feed, clothe, and house the roughly 10,000 Chechen refugees who have spilled into northern Georgia, as well as the Georgians in this area who have opened their community. In addition, Seattle-based World Concern is providing funding to build bath and toilet facilities. Both groups are seeking ways to become involved spiritually as well. While much more is needed, at least some items are being addressed. It is practically impossible for foreigners cross the border, and travel to northern Georgia can be hazardous at best. - Jay A. Lykins, World Concern, Tbilisi, Georgia