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Mailbag

Issue: "Osama bin Ashcroft?," April 27, 2002

No gloat, no complaint

I just read the article about the looming Protestant sexual abuse crisis. I am very glad that you are not gloating over the Catholic church's crisis, but have exposed what is happening in Protestant churches. With stuff like this happening, and continuing to happen, why are we complaining about the decline of our culture? - Trudy Klassen, Prince George, British Columbia

I salute Lynn Vincent, Marvin Olasky, and those at WORLD for the courageous and loving decision to publish "Clergy sexual abuse: the Protestant problem." I was shocked and angry. After I cooled down I prayed for the victims and victimizers. I am so thankful that the Lord is using you to educate and help churches do the loving thing: to discipline in love. - David W. Locke, Wall Township, N.J.

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Although the conduct of those pastors is unconscionable, I was even more disturbed by the condition of our evangelical churches. How effective can a church be when its congregants agree to use pornography in "counseling"? When such pastors are "ministering" in the pulpit? How effective can our evangelical churches be when some of them refuse to take allegations of such blatant sin seriously? It is heartbreaking. Being involved in congregational care ministry, I am well aware that the stories featured in your article are not unique, unfortunately, but all too common. - Lauri Krentz, Williamsburg, Kan.

Thank you so much for your courageous article. It is easy to blame other religions for their shortcomings while ignoring injustices and abuses within our own congregations and denominations. As a church we fail the victim, congregation, and community by not holding the leaders of our flocks accountable for their safety. We fail those who abuse others by not bringing their misdeeds to light. We fail God by "turning the other cheek" because we have a responsibility to stop these crimes. - Jayme Cherry, McKinney, Texas

Ignoring sin in the church doesn't make it go away. Too many of our leaders are overcome with the power, prestige, and position afforded them by complacent congregants. Church leadership is made up of regular men who face everyday temptation. This knowledge should encourage peer accountability and increase fervent prayer. - Tim Leiphart, Red Lion, Pa.

Thank you for this article. Eight months ago, God called me into a prayer ministry in the area of sexual bondage, and I have discovered the hidden presence and paralyzing shame of this in our churches. Exposure is the first step to defeating this enemy and bringing the great healing that is truly available through Christ alone. - Marilyn Amburgy, Duluth, Ga.

"Clergy sexual abuse: the Protestant problem" made for unpleasant reading, and I'm sure the decision to run it was not made lightly. I think it's a topic that needs to be discussed, and the statistics you cited are compelling evidence of this. - David Taylor, Easton, Md.

Your article about clergy sexual abuse was appropriate, and I want to encourage you to continue to tell the truth in love. - Susan Wampler, Austin, Texas

Center it

Thank you for the informative article on clergy sexual abuse. It was well done. Next time, however, could you please print such subject matter on the center pages so I can rip it out without damaging the rest of the magazine before handing it over to the kids. - Jean Crocco, Harvard, Ill.

I love WORLD. I frequently urge people to subscribe and I keep copies in the reception room of my dental office. But the March 30 issue goes in the trash. We just don't need to know that much. - Robert E. Carpenter, Kerrville, Texas

The March 30 cover story article was timely and informative, but, in my view, it was too informative. I realize that you placed warnings on the front cover and the start of the article, but why should a Christian magazine have to place that type of warning on their material? We don't need to have our heads in the sand regarding unpleasant issues, but please consider the number of people, men in particular, who are fighting to keep their minds pure. - Elaine Parsley, Arlington, Texas

I applaud you for taking on the tough issue of sexual abuse in the church. I thought you handled the issue with clarity, grace, and truth. The church should not be shocked by such sin, but amazed at the grace of our God. Hopefully, it will cause elder boards and denominational leadership to keep this kind of sin from ruining more local churches. Also, may I recommend that, when you have an issue with questionable content for young readers, you wrap the magazine in paper. My 13-year-old son sometimes gets our mail. I encourage him to read WORLD and we have had many meaningful discussions about articles and columns. This issue is one I am not so sure I want him reading about yet. - Tom McKnight, St. Louis, Mo.

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