I just read Larry Keefauver's column, "Sacrilegious Offerings" (Editor's Note, May/June). I am delighted at the character of a magazine that has obvious marketing roots in the charismatic community, yet deals so forthrightly with the inappropriate way some individuals take up an offering.
It is a shame that modern ministers of the gospel don't take their cues from the apostle Paul, who worked making tents to pay his own way. If we become dependent on gimmicks and emotional pleas to earn our keep, we are very poor examples of being "bondslaves of Jesus." Thank you for having the integrity to call sin what it is.
The article by Thomson K. Mathew ("We Still Need Seminaries," May/June) was supposed to be a rebuttal to a previous article written by C. Peter Wagner ("Are Seminaries Making the Grade?" September/October 2000) regarding the opinion that the seminary system is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Instead, Mathew spilled much ink extolling the virtues of the school at which he is employed, Oral Roberts University (ORU). While ORU has earned a reputation as an excellent school, Mathew's defense of his school did nothing to advance his supposed "rebuttal."
While I disagree with Wagner more than I agree with him, he is correct in implying that seminary training is and has been inadequate in reaching the lost and adapting to the direction where I believe the church is turning: the home. It is the recognition and release of the ministry gifts of every believer that will effectively reach the lost, disciple new believers and equip the body of Christ, not teaching the false doctrine of the "five-fold ministry" of a select few "leaders." My prayer is that seminaries will become a thing of the past and be viewed as a great mistake in Christendom.
Leaving the Church
A recent feature, "Why People Leave the Church" by Bill Smalt (May/June), presented five primary reasons why people leave a church and how pastors should deal with the associated pain and grief.
Smalt said that individuals leave "when they never really connect to the vision and direction of that particular church." In the New Testament, specific churches are referred to, such as "the church in Antioch," "the church in Jerusalem," and so on. These reference the entire body of believers in a specific city, not individual congregations. Maybe churches in America are competing rather than looking to be part of the vision which comes from Jesus for the body in a city or town.