CALLING ALL SKEPTICS
I was very pleased to see Craig Keener’s article “He Still Heals” in the August issue. Keener, a New Testament scholar, is very much a man of the Word. The article showed that he is also a man who believes in the reality and power of the Holy Spirit. The fact that someone with such high academic credentials affirms the reality of miracles may cause people who are skeptical of the miraculous to give the subject some serious consideration.
ENJOYING THE HOLY SPIRIT
I am enjoying so much your August issue on the Holy Spirit. I go back again and again and read the articles, including your Editor’s Note—it’s refreshing and sincere. I think it was a miracle concerning Steve Strang and Charisma. God blessed and is still blessing this extraordinary magazine. I am 80-plus years old. I pray the young people enjoy this magazine also.
TO SPEAK OR NOT TO SPEAK
I take issue with Rachel Burchfield’s answer to the question, “Can I be Spirit-filled and not speak in tongues?” in her article “Baptism 2.0 Basics” (August). She answers, “Yes, I believe they are Spirit-filled—just not Spirit-full.” Where in Scripture is this distinction of a “Spirit-filled” and “Spirit-full” Christian? What about those who prophesy but don’t speak in tongues? In Scripture, prophesying is referred to as the greater gift (see 1 Cor. 14:5). I guess they are only 51 percent full. As 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 asks: “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?”
Reading Rachel Burchfield’s article in the August issue was eye-opening and a blessing for me. I have been able to speak in tongues since I was a child, but never knew why I had this ability. I thought it was the Holy Spirit, but I was not sure. After reading your article I put some of it into practice, like praying in tongues to help me go to sleep. I’ve always talked in tongues when I get tired from working hard. It just comes out naturally.
Fort Ashby, W.Va.
EVIDENCE OF THE GIFT (AND GIVER)
“Tongues is the greatest gift that Jesus could give the church,” states Mr. Hamon (“Evidence of the Gift” by Bill Hamon, August). The apostle Paul declares: “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.” He concludes: “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Cor. 13:4-5, 19; NIV).
While Mr. Hamon’s article affirms the benefits of a personal prayer language, I believe a more accurate statement is, “The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift that Jesus could give the church.” After all, that is the gift Jesus instructed His followers to wait for. Without the Holy Spirit there would be no lesser gifts.
SUICIDE SAVES LIVES?
I am writing regarding the Inspire article “A Suicide Saves Lives” (August). I have struggled with suicidal tendencies, self-mutilation and severe depression for more than 20 years. If someone read this article during a low point, it might seem easy to get out of the pain.
Coming from an emotional and depressed individual, I could hear the following: “The pain is so great, and God will save me. I will end it now and be in paradise for eternity.” Who wouldn’t do it if they had gone through 20-plus years of severe depression, abuse, etc., and knew that there was a quick and easy way to be with their Savior in paradise today and away from the pain here?
I am happy that Mark Canfora Sr. was able to receive peace from what the Lord spoke to him. I just have a passion to help those struggling with the kind of pain that leads to suicidal thoughts and actions. Telling someone that you can kill yourself and go to heaven is not an encouragement to remain alive and surrender to the Lord.
DELIVERANCE (NOT THE MOVIE)
Thank you for publishing the article “Help! I Think I’m Possessed!” (by Ron Phillips, July). Jesus Christ came to preach the gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons. If Christianity leaves out deliverance, it is leaving out one-third of Christ’s ministry. It’s easy to see why some Christians are having problems in this area.
Baton Rouge, La.
HEARTS FOR RADICAL CHANGE
The article by David Platt (“Calling All Radicals”; June) really broke my heart. While all our churches are preaching, “Get your Mercedes-Benz and your new house and your fine clothes,” people in other countries are heartbroken because their brothers and sisters are having their tongues cut out. I hate to see what is going to have to come upon America to break us of all this false teaching, but it is not going to be pretty.
Thank you for the article by David Platt. I find myself growing dissatisfied with people who care more for their personal needs than for those of others. We all must care for ourselves, but we must also look to this world and take the gospel to it in thought, word and deed.
‘WITH THIS RING,’ I DO DISAGREE
To Claire Henderson’s comment on the article “With This Ring … I Give to the Poor” (Feedback, August), I would suggest that she doesn’t understand the true meaning of sacrifice. Sacrifice is giving unselfishly for the benefit of others. Not everyone is willing to go to that length for a God who gave us everything.
CORRECTION: Our September article “A Professor With Spirit” incorrectly reported that Seattle Pacific University is an Assemblies of God school. It is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church.