PRAISE FOR JANUARY ISSUE
January’s issue was even more stimulating, encouraging and challenging than usual. I found it a delight. I loved the ‘Premier Christianity guide to Star Wars’ – a great ‘prequel’ to a stupendous film. I ached for Andy and his lovely wife Emma in ‘Locked-in but not abandoned’. I was thrilled by the passion and vision of Gavin and Anne Calver in the ‘Profile’ interview, and was quietly refreshed by Ishmael’s reflection on the liturgical year (‘How a happy-clappy charismatic rediscovered the liturgical seasons’). The stark contrast of the ISIS News Analysis with the radically creative approaches of the Craftivist movement and of Bethel church stood out to highlight an underlying theme of spiritual warfare. Rev Eric Delve Receiving your magazine is the highlight of the month! It provides a refreshing view of the way our faith penetrates every aspect of life, and reminds us that at least parts of the Church are alive. That revives the hope that tends to fade to a degree in the local situation, especially amid the challenges we face in this country, which shows so little evidence of godly government and leadership. If only the leaders of the worldwide Church would read your magazine – and act! Peter Mackie I was delighted to see a Storm Trooper on your front cover. My children and I are avid Star Wars enthusiasts. I was really keen to see what your article would reveal about the new film – sadly no spoilers at all! But it did get me thinking about the secrecy surrounding the film and how people were concerned about spoilers leaking before they’d had a chance to watch the film. What a contrast this is with the Old Testament, which is littered with spoilers. We know where Jesus would be born, how he would die, that he would rise again. Do these spoilers lessen our anticipation of the coming king? Not at all, if anything they add wonder to the knowledge that our loving Father planned our salvation through Jesus Christ. And we don’t have to wait for the next installment at the cinema to see what happens, we just have to open our Bibles.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
An otherwise very positive review (January) of Elaine Storkey’s Scars Across Humanity is critical of the fact that the book focuses on violence against women rather than men and women. But the scale of sexual and domestic violence against women is vast, affecting one in three women worldwide, so it deserves separate attention.
In 2013, 164 women were murdered in Britain, 86 of whom (52%) were killed by their male partner or ex-partner. In that same year, 381 men were murdered in Britain, 12 of whom (3%) were killed by a female partner or ex-partner.
As Christians, there are distinct theological issues around the way in which men relate to women, and the way in which the scriptures have been used to justify male power and control, which we need to address.
Brain surgeons are rarely criticised for not operating on hearts as well. Let us not criticise those seeking to address violence against women on a similar basis.
Peter Grant, co-director of Restored
MARTIN LUTHER’S ANTI-SEMITISM
Karen Murderasi’s brief summary of Martin Luther’s life and achievements (January) does not, sadly, tell the whole truth. Relatively few evangelical Christians are aware of Luther’s anti-Semitism, which led him to write a vitriolic book entitled The Jews and Their Lies. This book inspired Adolf Hitler to commit many of his atrocities against the Jewish people. The link between Luther and Hitler is substantiated by Dr Michael Brown, a Messianic Jew, in his volume Our Hands are Stained with Blood, which also traces the history of anti-Semitism in the Church from the fourth century to the Holocaust. After reading this horrific account I felt ashamed of many leaders I had previously been taught to regard as great saints, including Martin Luther.
BETHEL: CONTROVERSIAL TEACHING
I feel I must give a warning in response to ‘Bethel Church: Heaven on Earth?’ (January) about some of the things being taught there. They are teaching that Jesus in some way ceased to be God while on Earth so that he could rely on the power of the Spirit and do miracles; so he could experience our humanity and so that he could be our example. This is a dangerous lie. God by definition cannot cease from being God. He is eternal.
Martin R Gough
I think the confusion is when a group pursues signs and wonders that are outside of scripture – hearings, words of knowledge, yes. But where does gold dust, laughter, feathers fit into the biblical narrative? Once we go outside of scripture, we can fall for anything.
Why must people try to contain God? He does as he pleases. He is no respecter of persons. Why decry the glorious work that he is doing in Bethel and other churches? Is God still able to save? Yes. Is he still able to heal? Yes, and I can testify to this personally having been taken from a bed of sickness, with bleeding from the bowel, to soundness within a one hour period of asking for prayer. The fullness of God’s love is still available…Stop trying to out-think God.
Dear editor, I had hoped, following last month’s correspondence, that you might have more prayerfully considered the contents of this month’s magazine, but a cursory glance through the edition, with a cup of decaffeinated tea and the Holy Spirit by my side, has sadly proven otherwise. Now, I like cinema as much as the next man, but I’m not very keen on a lot of modern films. How Bambi got through the censor with all that violence, I’ve no idea. And when I last went to the cinema, to see some film about an extraterrestrial phoning home, I was extremely unimpressed. Obviously aliens do not exist, as Genesis 1 tells us: we stand centre-stage in God’s creation. Also, bicycles cannot fly. Imagine my consternation at seeing so many pages dedicated to some film called Star Wars. It seems that this contains aliens as well as many other unsavoury elements. I have no idea what a lightsabre is, but it doesn’t sound very noble, right or pure. Has ‘Luke Skywalker’ read Philippians 4:8? I doubt it, and he has the temerity to take the name of one of the Gospel writers. The biggest abomination, though, were the pictures. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you had mocked them up. I find it very unlikely that Steve Chalke, Joyce Meyer and Pope Francis have ever met up, certainly dressed like that. Much as those buns suit Joyce, Paul tells us to ‘put away falsehood’, not put a false hood on Mark Driscoll. May the Lord be with you.
Rev Roger D Votional
@claireylegs If Church leaders were Star Wars characters – excellent from @JamieCutteridge in @Christianitymag @Ross1982 @crafts_lovely @Craftivists great to see the amazing work of the Craftivists getting out there since the article in @Christianitymag #crafts
@TimmyBech @jeffreylucas Reminded of Martha & Mary story last night; read your article in @Christianitymag today. God clearly having words with me!
@swdoherty Excellent article on the Bible and money: 6 things the Bible doesn’t say about money.
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