Listen to Critics
I applaud Ted Haggard's remarks concerning the vital need for church leaders to listen to their critics (Simply Put, January/February 2002), but he failed to mention that most of the problems with the "bin Laden"-type of leaders today are the result of the so-called apostolic movement.
I served for several years on a staff of a large charismatic church where the pastor enclosed himself within an impenetrable self-made cocoon. To shield himself from critics, he established a fallacious "presbytery" of hand-picked "apostles" who never challenged his leadership but backed his every decision. Staff pastors who voiced concerns over ministry decisions were systematically driven off or moved to positions meant to demean them. This, in turn, adversely affected many of the more mature members of the congregation, who have left in droves.
If today's leaders would be mature enough to see criticism of their decisions not as rebellion, but as a reliable gauge in determining the mind of Christ, then perhaps we would see fewer "Pastor bin Ladens" as well as devastated members of the body of Christ.
Ricky A. Roubique
San Jose, California
I recently read "Power Praying to Reach the Lost" by Larry Keefauver (November/December 2001). It has left me feeling somewhat uneasy, in that it seems to ignore the "whosoever will" principle. Ephesians 6 does not support calling those for whom we pray "believers" before they become believers.
I feel compelled to express my disagreement with this interpretation, unless you can show me where Abraham (an example in Ephesians 6) said to God that he had fathered a nation prior to Isaac's or Ishmael's births; where Joseph claimed he was second to Pharaoh before he was elevated from prison; where Isaac claimed to be the father of nations before Esau and Jacob were born; or where Sarah claimed to have a child before Isaac was born.
Michelle M. Levandowsky
Please register my vote for you to carry articles dedicated to house churches (which I prefer to speak of as "restored Christianity"). What people are hungering for is a restoration of New Testament Christianity expressed in forms that are relevant to our postmodern era.