April 5 Church leaders and congregants who observe immorality and do nothing, hoping their “star” leader isn’t really as tarnished as they suspect, only encourage a bad situation to get worse. Those who write letters of sympathy and thanks to a person who has cheated on his wife and family for almost a decade are foolish.
—B.L. Wiedenbeck, Oregon, Wis.
Jamie Dean’s comment—personal sin doesn’t necessarily “invalidate” the ideals of systems that encourage protecting women and children—was refreshing. Doug Phillips’ sin confirmed his teachings with Vision Forum. He did exactly what he plainly warned against, and he suffered those exact consequences.
—Michael E. Owens, Denver, Pa.
I was stunned to hear of Phillips. We are thankful that you expose the sin of prominent leaders to help us be more discerning, and to point us back to Jesus. As a practical step, my husband and I burned our set of Vision Forum CDs on biblical fatherhood. We want nothing to do with those who preach one thing and live another.
—Rachel Jamieson, Harrisville, Mich.
I’m very disappointed with this story. I’m weighing the costs of your excellent journalistic techniques against the harm you did to the body of Christ. Was it worth it?
—Ron Davitt, London, Ohio
I grew up under Vision Forum teachings and see among my friends the damage that Vision Forum has caused. I won’t be shedding any tears over Phillips’ demise, and I hope that it is a wake-up call for those still ensnared in the legalism and hypocrisy he created.
—Dave Kuntz, Denton, Texas
April 5 I appreciated your informative article, and the insights regarding what we can learn by the failures of so many Christian leaders. As a homeschooler, I know many families who have esteemed Phillips and Bill Gothard as all but above reproach. I agree that this is a “human problem,” but I think that leaders within the biblical patriarchy movement are particularly vulnerable.
—Heidi Smid, Travelers Rest, S.C.
Our leaders are a reflection of us. It is our nature to put confidence in the flesh, both our own and that of our leaders. We want to believe that by following the right man, with the right plan, that we will then be righteous too. But that place belongs to Christ alone.
—Jerome Vandewalle, Costa Mesa, Calif.
April 5 I do not rejoice in the shame that such cases bring on the name of Christ and am sad for their effects, but I am so thankful that you are committed to bringing these cases to our attention. Through your ministry, may fallen leaders repent, current leaders heed the warnings, and people come alongside their leaders to fight these sins together.
—Erick Loh, Louisville, Ky.
I was stunned by the assertion that Elevation’s document is “biblically odd” because it says, “We serve a lead pastor who goes first.” The meaning is that as leader he will be the first to do hard things. Many in the American church take a “don’t I get a vote?” attitude, but God’s Word exhorts us to “obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls.”
—Joe Stillone, Grafton, Wis.
I have long thought that having the “lead pastor” determine the vision and direction of a church by himself is dangerous and stems from two main factors: a lack of humility on the pastor’s part and biblical illiteracy in the congregation. May God grant us a humble zeal to submit to His Word and to one another.
—Ted McCann, Chula Vista, Calif.
April 5 Andrée Seu Peterson captures the problem of dialogue with gay groups: Christians are not being asked to “listen” and so offer compassion and understanding but, through emotional personal stories, to reconsider the Bible’s fundamental moral laws involving parenting, gender, and sexuality. Activists claim, “Who are you to say homosexuality is sinful when you are a gossip or a glutton?” But we’re not trying to have those behaviors redefined as part of our God-given, created design.
—Linda Ames Nicolosi, Encino, Calif.
More trigger words to add to “conversation” and “dialogue” are “reframing the debate” and “reimagining” Scripture. My father frequently cautioned me to let Scripture speak for itself.
—Jim Schultz, Taylorville, Ill.
I greatly appreciate your journalistic integrity and biblical worldview, but it’s frustrating to read so much news about the gay agenda. WORLD has nothing to apologize for, as your reporting is great. I think I’m becoming more Amish every day as I wean myself of this culture that celebrates sin.
—Murl Green, Tallahassee, Fla.
April 5 It was wonderful to hear Janie B. Cheaney stand up for the necessity of God’s Word. As someone once said, no matter what, the Bible will still have all the answers.
—Barb Vaske, Algona, Iowa
April 5 The primary problem with Brownson’s view of Scripture is the assertion that Moses and Paul were expressing their own ideas when condemning homosexual practice. The Spirit of God inspired them to write the very thoughts of our Creator. Brownson has unwittingly discounted the whole of Scripture in the way he “reframes” its parts.
—Catherine Segars, Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
April 5 Kudos to Georgia Purdom and to biology professor Paul Madtes, who is proof that not all Nazarenes have fallen for the notion that putting the word “theistic” before “evolution” somehow gives the lie validity. This issue is all about the authority of Scripture.
—Norma Lambert, Katy, Texas
April 5 Thank you for your articles on The Episcopal Church. I have used them to counter some Facebook posts by a friend from high school who works for the denomination and is married to his partner. I pray I was able to do so with the love of Christ.
—Mark Norton, San Antonio, Texas
April 5 Our dependence on and unrealistic expectations of government have crippled this nation. So many of our federal social programs should be the church’s or a community’s responsibility. We rely on people we can’t trust for something they can’t deliver and then wonder why we’re disappointed and unsympathetic to those in need.
—Kirk Kraft, Marysville, Wash.
March 22 Not mentioned in the article on tattoos are the health risks. Tattoos and body piercings carry the risk of transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and many other bacteria and viruses if the equipment is not properly sterilized. That is why anyone who has had a body piercing or a tattoo may not donate blood for a year.
—Carol Blair, Gladewater, Texas
March 22 Seeing the movie and then coming home to read WORLD’s tepid review was very disappointing. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy in places but the message is rock solid. WORLD should wholeheartedly support it because it just might challenge someone who thinks there is no God to think otherwise.
—Ted Ludlow, Georgetown, Texas
Ahuachapan, El Salvador
Submitted by Barbara Huff
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