I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article titled "Punching Prejudice," by Adrienne S.
Gaines (July/August). Pastor Scott and Karen Hagan should be commended for the leadership that they have provided in addressing prejudice at the local and national level. I believe that Grand Rapids First Assembly will become a model that pastors will be able to see how a church can become an instrument for racial healing. I encourage your magazine to provide readers with a future update on Grand Rapids First's transition from being a predominantly white church to becoming a church that looks like heaven.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Wigglesworth Was Unique
In his article "The Amazing Faith of Smith Wigglesworth" (July/August), Rod Parsley concludes: "The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. In other words, He doesn't play favorites ... He will do for you what He did for Wigglesworth." Does that mean that at the next funeral service I attend, I should go over to the casket and take the cadaver out of the casket and follow the procedure as Parsley describes in his article? Wigglesworth had the uncanny ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and a track record of being used of God in a mighty way. Not everyone wants to pay the price or has the Holy Spirit anointing on his or her life as he did.
Say 'No' to Church Debt
In the May/June issue, there were several articles dealing with the building of a new facility. There is absolutely no scriptural basis for a church borrowing money. Scripture teaches that everything is to be in place before construction is started. Today, many churches are so severely hampered by debt that pastors cannot be paid. In my opinion, we need to quit copying the world and its sophisticated ways, and go back to God's way. If He gives a vision, He will certainly provide.
I was shocked as I read Lori Chaffer's advice to church leaders to "accept postmodernity" ("Looking for Reality" by Cameron Strang, May/June). Scripture and the foundation of Christianity state that there is absolute truth, and that is Jesus Christ--the way, the truth and the life. Postmodernity, on the other hand, tells us that there are no absolutes, no real truth. And we are supposed to accept this? Our job is to accept the truth only and claim it unashamedly to our world.
Rebecca L. Craft
We asked our readers online to comment on the state of praise and worship music in the church. Here are some highlights from the discussion:
SpiritualMadMan: I have often stood in what was supposed to be a praise and worship service only to leave exhausted from the exuberant exercise of praise, having never entered into worship. Too busy with a frenetic pace of music, and challenged with catchy phrases and difficult tonal patterns to ever relax and enjoy God. Praise and worship music is drifting far from its purpose: the worship of God and the enjoyment of His presence.
Availablelight: I understand your concern about worship music. I had to question the worship music, written in its own "Christianese" slang, with words and phrases non-Christians cannot understand. It got to where the only songs being sung at many of the renewal services were songs about the river, getting drunk in the Spirit, the wind, the rain, etc. The faster the pace, the better, and the more the people ran around the church and created a party atmosphere in the house of God. I began to wonder if we were beginning to shift from worshiping Jesus Christ to worshiping worship itself.
Super Beast: You praise as you're going into His courts, and you worship once you get there. As a member of our praise and worship team, typically we will begin with upbeat praise songs. The people have joy and dance before the Lord, then we move into worship time, where the response of the people is different. It's not my job to bring the congregation into worship. My job is to worship my God.
SpiritualMadMan: I agree. However, a worship leader has a responsibility to provide an ambience that is conducive to them entering into worship. Being a member of a worship team is a privilege and responsibility.