The Mail Room
Letters from Volume 10
Welcome to the Mail Room for Present Truth Magazine! This is where we post some of the interesting letters which we receive from our viewers. All of our viewers are invited to E-mail us your comments and views and we will post these views for all to consider!
More, sir! Please, more! and soon!—especially the promised material on the historical view of prophecy as against the currently popular futuristic view. It seems to us that excessive charismatic subjectivism and futurism are twin evils in the church today, and we are eagerly awaiting your comments on the latter.
I am interested in your projected material on the issue of "futurism" (as it is often called). All of these latter-day millennial cults (some within evangelical Christianity, i.e., Scofieldism, and some without, i.e., Armstrongism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, etc.) have the following in common: that the great goal of history is a carnal golden age of fleshly peace, plenty and comfort—along with Jewish supremacy in some cases—on this present earth, in almost total contradistinction to the uniform teaching of the New Testament.
I trust that this "carnal golden age" idea will be one of the points, if not the focal point, of your upcoming material. Such an era involves a list of Scriptural contradictions and absurdities, e.g.:
(1) a second humiliation of our Lord;
(2) death, pain, suffering and tears after the "last enemy" has been destroyed;
(3) a restoration (just like the Romish mass) of Old Testament sacrifices;
(4) a supposed "golden age" in which a multitude worship the Lord "with their lips, but their heart is far from Him" in surly obedience to His "iron rod rule"!
A Call to Question
The following statement in your masthead is of particular interest to me: "These principles [sola gratia, solo Christo, sola fide and sola Scriptura] call all traditions into question and all statements about the truth into question—even the ones set forth in this magazine." If you are so sure of your ground and have the courage to criticize yourselves and accept or invite criticisms from others, such attitudes and courage are Christian, objective, scientific and rather rare.
The Protestant Era at an End!
I realize the desired response you wish one to have to the title of your brochure, "The Protestant Era at an End!" is one of shock and dismay. However, I find myself currently reacting to the title with, "At last!" and, "Praise God it's over!" You seem to take a great deal of pride in Protestant history and tradition, and apparently limit truth to this tradition alone. This is a grave mistake for at least two reasons: (1) there are some truly fine prayers and observations by early Roman Catholic theologians; (2) within Protestantism there is much false doctrine as well. Don't misunderstand—I'm not making a stand for Roman Catholicism. But it seems some of your writers are happier to be "Protestant" than to be Christian! Is Christ divided? Were they baptized in the name of Luther or Calvin? 1 Corinthians 1 does apply to this, I believe. And in making the Protestant fathers the authoritative interpreters of doctrine, you may run into the same heresy the Roman Catholics did in making the church equal to Scripture in its teaching.
I wish to commend your staff on its scholarly and fundamental approach to religious journalism. It is indeed rare to find such an objective viewpoint, particularly on such controversial topics, coming out of a twentieth century magazine.
In a time when men of good will from all religious denominations are making the first efforts in 500 years to patch the cracks of fine doctrinal distinctions and emphasize the unifying effects of Christ's simple message to all ages, "Love God and love your neighbor," your shrill and brassy sound is a good example of man's suspicious and baser nature earlier exemplified.
In these days of "cheap ecumenism," when there is so much loose talk of how all differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants have been resolved, your articles ring a note of truth and honesty which is sorely needed.
Your issues of Present Truth Magazine are of much help and interest in undergirding the Biblical truths of our Reformation heritage.
I've made a notebook of your publications and am enjoying getting an education in the doctrines of the Reformed faith. I have shared some of the points of difference between objective and subjective religion with my senior high Sunday School class, and they were receptive to such a discussion, surprisingly. After having been the Campus Crusade route, it is so refreshing to hit at last upon the truth of justification by faith alone and the all-sufficiency of Christ.
Life in Christ
I trust that your emphasis will help many see clearly that wonder and blessing of life in Christ as it is, and as it is based on the objective reality of the gospel, in contrast to the subjectivism that is so strong in many quarters.
I picked up a copy of Present Truth Magazine in our school library, and was greatly blessed and edified by your handling of the Biblical doctrine of imputation.
The Charismatic Movement
In what I have seen of the charismatic movement, the focus is on Christ and His atoning work, who happens to pour out increasing joy in the Spirit—not, as you put it, on a "frantic effort to find satisfaction in some sort of religious experience."
The point of contention and trouble, it seems to me, is not upon salvation which has already been won for Christians but upon the use of the gifts with the proper guidance of the Holy Spirit. These gifts can be grossly misused and abused, just as the Lord's Supper has been misused and abused down through the centuries.
Your special issue of Present Truth Magazine gives the best presentation of "Justification by Faith and the Charismatic Movement." It deserves as wide a distribution as possible.
I am sorry you feel that you have to start a new publication just to be anticharismatic. I have glanced through Present Truth Magazine, and I see that you have done a lot of twisting of the truth. I think you could find more profitable things to do than to attack others and would strongly suggest you search for the truth rather than try to make everyone believe the way you do.
I read your Present Truth Magazine and consider it a masterpiece in word manipulation and distortion of Scripture.
Christ told Nicodemus that he had to be born again!—that unless you are baptized of the water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. These are two separate baptisms and do not necessarily occur simultaneously.
I recently received a copy of your special issue on "Justification by Faith and the Charismatic Movement." I appreciated the basically level-headed and scholarly tone of the magazine.
The Scriptural message of justification by faith is never irrelevant. Perhaps your magazine will make some Christians, who have not known before, aware of the issues of the Reformation. Something many Protestants need to hear today is that depending upon feelings for one's salvation is simply another form of salvation by works. I personally grew up in that trap and am eager to help others avoid it.
I have had opportunity to read the special issue of Present Truth Magazine entitled "Justification by Faith and the Charismatic Movement," and I am very impressed. Your magazine was received in sufficient time for me to gain a lot of good thoughts from it in my presentation of our Sunday School lesson on "The Promise of the Comforter."
I am excited about Present Truth Magazine, having just examined a copy of the special issue entitled "Justification by Faith and the Charismatic Movement" which was mailed to a former partner at this law office. I heartily approve of the stand you take against the charismatic movement and of the emphasis you place on justification by faith.
I have read your special issue, "Justification by Faith and the Charismatic Movement," and find it well grounded in true Protestantism.
I have been an organist and choir director in the Lutheran Church for twenty years. My current efforts include a battle to keep music of the so-called charismatic movement out of the church I serve. That music is immature, uninteresting and irreverent. The people who "write" and "compose" it have little knowledge of the Bible or of music.
On the Lookout!
I just devoured the entire special issue entitled "Justification by Faith and the Charismatic Movement." It is exciting and challenging. It seems just what is needed.
I am wondering just how much of the popular Lay Witness and Faith at Work and similar materials—also, the contemporary worship movement—will be seen to come within the deplored subjectivism. Certainly I shall be forced now to be more on the lookout.
Days of Confusion
A simple word of thanks is totally inadequate to convey my appreciation for your articulate voice in this day of confusion. Present Truth Magazine has been a real encouragement and support to me in my ministry.
Every Wind of Doctrine
In this day when men are being "tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine," it is good to know that some men are anchored in sound doctrine and are willing to share their knowledge with others.
It is my own conviction that in these present times when people neither believe nor think theologically, a Scriptural and Reformed publication such as Present Truth Magazine is sorely needed.
A New Reformation
I read your issue on "The Question of Authority," with interest, and I find myself sharing in your longing that God in His sovereignty will revive us again and restore New Testament Christianity in this generation. May the Lord bless your efforts to bring about a new Reformation.
I'm only fifteen years old. I've read some of your material, and it's mind blowing! I've been depending upon God's work in me instead of God's work for me, but am now being delivered from the subjective experience trip. Praise God for His objective revealed truth! Present Truth Magazine is deep yet so simple. I am sharing this truth, and I hope the Lord uses you to start a great new Reformation.
I started out as a dispensational fundamentalist, changed to a neo-Pentecostal, and then to a neo-evangelical, and have finally found a "home in Reformed theology. Your magazine has helped greatly in clarifying in my mind just what the distinguishing doctrines of Reformed theology are. Many of the local preachers here are swept away by "evangelical" subjectivism.
It seems to me that subjectivism has gone another step with the modern evangelists, who contend that God loves everyone with no vengeance for sin, and that salvation is a matter of "giving one's heart to Jesus"—this being just about whatever the person might conceive it to be in his own unilluminated mind. They get millions of "decisions" that way.
A Voice in the Wilderness
I teach a Sunday School class, but it wasn't until I saw a copy of Present Truth Magazine that I began to understand anything correctly. I look at your magazine as the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
I have, in the past, naturally shied away from almost everything interdenominational or non-denominational. In most of the publications sponsored by these groups, I've found the Word of God so watered down that it was a waste of time to read it. I found Present Truth Magazine very different and wonderfully bold in its contents.
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