The Bigger Picture
In "Picking Up the Prophetic Pieces" (November/December) Eddie and Alice Smith dealt only with the mess left by the prophet/prophecy but did not address the traveling prophet who was mentioned at the beginning of the article. I believe that prophet should have been confronted and the legacy of his ministry shared with other churches, so that he would not be allowed to ravage the flock beyond that local church. To just seek to heal the local flock and have no regard for the big picture does a disservice to the body of Christ.
I've seen Marty Baker's Secure Give system covered in various media outlets, and I'm still wondering what all the "ethical" fuss is about ("Direct Donations," November/December). Your article established that we live in an increasingly cashless society, and it also clarified that Baker has made it advantageous for churches to only offer debit transactions through his system. Just as credit cards cost more in the long-run with interest rates, his system essentially charges more for credit transactions.
If Baker were making money off those who can't tithe without using their credit cards, that would be one issue. But first, this is a pastor who created this out of his own church's need; and second, he's encouraging other churches to teach money-management courses that can help people get out of debt. Meanwhile, he's helping churches save money with paperless administration. In my opinion, there's no ethical quandary to discuss.
One Nation Under Dissent
No serious Christian who has ever studied the Bible would deny God's choice of the nation of Israel as the biological and spiritual stream through which Christ the Messiah would enter the world. The role of historic, national, ethnic Israel in God's plan of redemption is clearly articulated throughout the entirety of Scripture.
But to characterize Christians who do not support the views of Robert Stearns ("Become a Watchman," November/December) and other leaders as mired in "poor theology" at best or at worst as "ignorant" is, in my opinion, demonstrative of the height of arrogance and self-righteousness. What gives Stearns the right to judge or discredit other Christians who do not share his views or politics concerning Israel? What people like him fail to comprehend is that many anointed, well-informed and equally sincere Christians also earnestly desire peace for Jerusalem. However, we have not overlooked the fact that Ishmael was also Abraham's son, or that God is against injustice of any kind. Nor do we believe that peace—real peace—can ever be accomplished as long as American foreign policy—which receives unequivocal support from Christian Zionists—continues to advocate for Israel's right to maintain an apartheid wall while displacing millions of Palestinians from their homes, land and country in defiance of international laws.
Linda K. Robertson
New Windsor, N.Y.
Ed Young Jr. is one of my favorite leaders and speakers. So to see him on the cover of one of my favorite magazines—but one that hasn't always featured guys like him—was an extra bonus. Kudos not only for expanding your horizons with one of our country's most innovative communicators and pastors, but also for picking his brain for the rest of us.