Memories Of U2

Congratulations on a great front cover for the October issue featuring U2. I love the ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ reference (don’t worry, I can’t translate Latin, but Google can!).

I remember being at college in 1980 and a red-haired guy called Neville in the Christian Union raving about a new Christian band from Ireland. U2 played our freshers’ gig that autumn. Bono and the boys were larking around during the support band’s set and then came on. The by now drunken support band charged on during the U2 set, put a mail sack over The Edge and started to drag him backwards, still standing, off stage. The bouncers batted them off and took the mail sack off The Edge who continued playing and never missed a beat!

I saw them the next year at Greenbelt, then ten years ago for my son’s 16th birthday, we saw U2 at Cardiff supported by Starsailor and Killers. Happy days!

Andy Gilbert


Responding To Derren Brown

Derren Brown’s comments on the resurrection of Jesus show a surprising lack of knowledge of source materials (‘Profile’, September). As everyone knows, the four Gospel accounts were written no more than 70 years after the events described and certainly before Pliny the Younger’s mention of them. To be unaware of their existence or to deny their authenticity would be like questioning the words of a World War Two serviceman as he related his experiences to someone at the turn of the 21st century.

Perhaps Derren is unaware how many atheists have come to the accounts of the resurrection determined to disprove them no matter what, only to go away firmly convinced of its historical veracity.

Derren seems to be saying that all that matters is to make up a good story to keep us going, especially towards the end of life. This is not a very comfortable or reassuring stance on which to base one’s life and career!

David Taylor


God of Wrath

It was a great delight to see David Instone-Brewer express such a sensible middle way between God being eternally loving and forgiving, or eternally wrathful against the tiniest infraction in ‘Unoriginal Sin’ (October). His article underlined the need to replace the doctrine of Original Sin, which condemns us all because Adam ate a forbidden fruit. As Abélard asked, “If we cannot be forgiven for eating an apple, how can we be forgiven for killing the Son of God?”

The article dealt well with the pastoral aspects, without ignoring the universal problem of sin. We need a sinless, completely human saviour for our salvation, but the doctrine of original sin blocks that possibility. Either Jesus was completely human with the inherent taint of original guilt, or he was a special case and not inherently a sinner. Or, as David argues, the doctrine is wrong. We are judged for our own sin, which is only inseparable from us if we remain unrepentant at the final judgement.

Ken Tottle


Church Conflict

I enjoyed reading ‘When Christians clash’ (October) and am glad that the subject was discussed in your magazine.

I think that conflict is universal and absolutely to be expected whenever people hold strongly held views or have strong emotions concerning a subject.

I do not think that there is more conflict in churches than in other organisations. I have worked in the field of nursing for 30 years and have seen far more conflict at work than I have witnessed in the churches I have attended.

There is no need to blame the devil in most cases because this is normal human behaviour. The devil may, however, be involved within a church conflict where a person or group perpetuate the conflict by thinking God is on their side, they are right and fail to show any grace or mercy to others. They are invoking God, acting as unbelievers do without grace and mercy, and they can be very convincing and persuasive, although they may not be as agreeable to be persuaded themselves.

George Chwalibogowski


When Leaders Fall, Don’t Forget the Families

Thank you for your article in the September issue, ‘When leaders fall’. Leaders are often counselled and reinstated but their wives and children struggle on. My experience was of being happily married to a church elder for nearly 25 years. His inappropriate friendship with a female member of the music group was happening at the same time that a fellow elder was also having an inappropriate friendship with another member of the group. The church pastor seemed to turn a blind eye to what was going on, and certainly did not either speak to them, or to their wives! There were no affairs in the popular sense of the word, but a gradual dying of two marriages while two vulnerable men were becoming entangled in friendships which were totally inappropriate.

Those men went on to divorce their wives, marry their friends and eventually returned to minister in churches (though not as leaders). Their actions resulted in six out of the nine wives and children turning their back on Christianity because of all the hypocrisy involved.

Name withheld


Gobsmacked By Metaxas

I’m gobsmacked by Eric Metaxas being able to say, and presumably keeping a straight face while he said it, that he is fascinated that people take what Trump says literally; and that private morality is not important (‘Profile’, October). As to the future of the republic I am less concerned with Clinton becoming president than I am with a Church that feels it has to support a particular candidate rather than being salt and light, holding any and all candidates to account on their integrity and policies.

Steve Lineham


In Defence of Formulas

The comments on the move of God in Reading were interesting (‘News’, August). The criticism that the methodology was formulaic made me laugh! Step into any church service and that's what you will find - method and formula!

Remember Jesus had his method and formula - preach the kingdom of God is near, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons.

Peter had his too. When asked "what must we do to be saved?" he replied, "Repent, believe, be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts 16:30-31)

Methods and formula act as guide posts for us, let’s not be afraid of them. Let's rejoice that people are awakening to their need of the Lord Jesus.

Paul Morley


Leaving The Rapture Behind?

I was most interested by the In My Opinion item on ‘Tim LaHaye's Rapture Theology’ (October) or dispensational pre-millenialism to give it the correct theological description.

I was interested to read of all the major theologians who disagree with LaHaye. However, try to read about alternative End Times theological views and you will find little on the shelves of the average Christian bookshop. Apart from David Pawson's excellent When Jesus Returns or a 45-year old two part series from Premier Christianity's original title Buzz magazine there is nothing on the shelves but dispensational pre-millenialism.

Jeremy Wright


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