Truth above peace
At last someone speaks up for Franklin Graham ("Hurrah for Franklin Graham," Dec. 1). Of course, we must love Muslims in our midst, and try to convert them to faith in Jesus. At least when we try to convert Muslims here, we are not persecuted, tortured, and killed, as has been done to our Christian brothers in other countries. Shame on those churches that are just trying to keep peace. It reminds me of Neville Chamberlain, prime minister of Great Britain, just before World War II trying to keep "peace at any price," and the great price the world paid for that. - Gwen Rice Clark, Kettering, Ohio
I greatly appreciated Marvin Olasky's defense of Franklin Graham's statements regarding Christianity and Islam. True peace and understanding cannot be achieved when truth itself is compromised. Truth begins by recognizing who God is, and who He is not. I am amazed at the many Christian ministers who are willing to play down the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ, as they eliminate His holy name from public prayer lest they offend those of another faith. There simply is no other Savior from sin. - H. Leverne Rosenberger, Uxbridge, Mass.
I agree wholeheartedly with Marvin Olasky and Mr. Graham. The God of Islam is not the same God I worship, the Lord God Jehovah, who is a triune God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In this time of religious liberalism, we must be "instant in season and out of season" with the truth. - Bobby W. Holt, El Paso, Texas
Reflecting on Gene Edward Veith's excellent contrast of Islam and Christianity, I wince to acknowledge where those freedoms have taken us ("Freedom vs. legalism," Dec. 1). How evil can it be to cherish a society where purity and piety are the model, rather than to crave personal freedom when the result has inverted right to wrong? My Islamic friends have me cornered on that point. - Lane Walker, St. Louis, Mo.
Thank you for "Freedom vs. legalism." It never ceases to amaze me how our nature as humans is to desire a life of ease and luxury, with everything handed over on a silver platter, except when it comes to the salvation of our souls. Then, the mentality shifts from refusing the free gift to attempting to earn it by hard effort. Your column clearly presents this dichotomy and displays the difference between Christianity and Islam, the former providing free salvation and the latter demanding adherence to rules. The fact that the Afghans changed their outward appearance and behavior immediately after the demise of the rules-imposing Taliban shows how only Jesus can perform this miracle of true and lasting transformation, while Satan, the master deceiver, can only force a superficial and short-term change. - Sheri Klopfenstein, Bluffton, Ind.
Who's the man?
Thank you for Andree Seu's take on King Saul ("Cobelligerents," Dec. 1). I can't say I agree, but she has tweaked me beyond the Sunday school stereotype. If manliness is to boldly take things in hand, then Saul's the man. But if manliness is to wait on God before acting with boldness, then David is the man to emulate. Saul had no sense of God's timing. However, I fully agree with her take on cobelligerents. In fact, we should be evangelizing our cobelligerents even now as we rub shoulders with them. When I hear the call, "God bless America," I think of Acts 3:26 and add that God sent Jesus "first to bless you by turning everyone of you from your wicked ways." - Jay Hood, Philadelphia, Pa.
It was just wonderful to see a real man-an American warrior-on the front cover of WORLD instead of some leftist intellectual that we find so often on the front of other periodicals ("No time to celebrate," Dec. 1). - Hadley Robinson, El Paso, Texas
Why is everyone so "Wild about Harry" (Dec. 1)? I recall WORLD's 1999 review of the book ("More clay than potter," Oct. 30). Now that we have read the books and seen the film, I still beg to differ with your assessment, particularly that it's "bad by virtue of putting a smiling face on witchcraft, and [establishing] a world without solid and steadfast rules where nothing is as it appears." We're rather taken aback by all the fuss. Harry Potter is a fantasy story set in a fantasy world. It is entertaining, creative, well-paced and carefully thought out-hardly "boring." Ultimately, Harry finds his greatest powers deriving from the knowledge of his mother's sacrificial love for him; she died so that he could live. How's that for a Christian metaphor? - Judy Glass, Elkins Park, Pa.
The greater threat
So Harry Potter is a danger because our children may be tempted into witchcraft or magic? Well, maybe we should be concerned about this, but shouldn't we be a little bit more concerned about evolution? How many of our prophets complained when Jurassic Park taught evolution to our children? Let's save our breath for the greater threat. - Mark Boone, Dallas, Texas
We have enjoyed our first copy of WORLD, the Nov. 24 issue. I have always enjoyed Norman Rockwell's work since our childhood days. We couldn't wait for the next issue of Saturday Evening Post to see what he had captured for us to enjoy. My favorite was "Freedom from Want," which brings back the Thanksgiving dinners my Mom would prepare for us and our relatives (and 30-pound turkeys are realistic, not idealistic). I have very fond memories of 20 or more jovial family members around the table, very thankful to be together. "Freedom from Fear" also provokes memories of my childhood. My parents would tuck us in and say goodnight and were always there if we were afraid. Thank you for stirring up thoughts that are very realistic. - Leah M. Roach, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
After the last
Kevin Chiarot's article drove this new, first-time parent to her knees ("Dark night of the soul," Nov. 24). He wrote that "we are a heartbeat from death, spared only to worship and serve the living God." The pain of this last year in our lives personally and as a nation make this statement so incredibly vivid, so that the chills and tears come every time I read that sentence. How true it is and what joy there is to know that after that last heartbeat, whenever it may come, we can spend eternity worshipping him in heaven. - Sara Anderson, Prior Lake, Minn.
Seeing God build
I appreciate the editorial thoughtfulness and wisdom of putting John Piper's column, "Building the church," together with the articles about Elizabeth Chiarot and Ryan McMullen ("Dark night of the soul," "Ryan's hope," Nov. 24). I rejoice in the mercy of God sparing Elizabeth's life and giving Ryan an apparently normal outcome despite his tough beginning. However, we have seen too many times when God's mercy did not fit with our plans, when covenant children died of bizarre accidents or illnesses despite the faithful prayers of God's people, or when Christian parents have adopted children in faith only to find illnesses and developmental delays that were unanticipated. May God's church gain Mr. Piper's perspective in seeing God's faithfulness, mercy, and love in all circumstances of our lives, whether the outcome is like that of Elizabeth and Ryan or like that of Sept. 11. - Clarke McIntosh, Asheville, N.C.
18 years later
I read "Ryan's hope" with particular interest. Our son was also born prematurely, with an estimated gestation period of 26 to 28 weeks. He weighed in at 2 pounds, 6 ounces and was about 13.5 inches long. He did not have the advantages of a neonatal unit, arriving into this world in Calcutta, India. He survived those first difficult months, and except for some respiratory problems as a baby has enjoyed excellent health. On Thanksgiving Day Gabriel celebrated his 18th birthday. We thank God for him and his sister Ruth, who was also born prematurely in India. They are the joys of our lives. - Rhonda R. Johnson, Miramar, Fla.
After reading your Nov. 17 cover story, "The wrong stuff," and pondering the conservative debacle in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races, I do see some clear lessons. The culture war that has been raging in America since the 1960s has been one of the best things to happen to the Democratic Party since FDR. Over social issues there has been a turf war for the heart and soul of the GOP between the pro-life Christian conservatives and the pro-choice moderates. It almost seems that the moderate establishment would rather lose to Democrats than lose control of the GOP, at least on the state level. If Republicans aren't careful, in 2002 and then 2004 we can say hello to Democratic control in both Houses of Congress and the White House. - Bill Caldwell, Elizabeth City, N.C.
Pulling it all together
WORLD was recently recommended to me by several friends. I like the simple and clear layout of the pages. The articles are not too long (I don't feel like I need two weeks to read it all) and well-written. Thank you for articles that give the facts with a Christian perspective that pulls it all together, and for columns that are thought-provoking and, at least to me, right on target. - John D. Bardakjy, Hawthorne, N.J.
"Close to the plate" in the Nov. 3 issue, about terrorist attacks that might befall our country, is very thought-provoking. Americans have liked to think they are safe, but now is the time to face the facts. We aren't safe. Knowing that someone else feels that people should look at the potential for severe biological warfare has in many ways put my mind at ease. We also need to recognize the presence of God in all this. No matter what happens, we don't need to fear. - Josie Sillampa, St. Paul, Minn.
In a country where men are basically becoming wimps, Mr. Olasky's point about courage in sports is excellent. Athletics can be a great training ground for developing Christian soldiers for Christ. Second, I appreciated how he emphasized that there are more important battles for the Christian than the pragmatic concern for the outcome of the moment, that conquering fear via a strikeout is more important than getting a hit. - Pete Andreas, Pella, Iowa