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Place hope before truth

Re “Ears like a fish” (Features, November). I agree with Paul Cumin that evangelicals need to be better at listening in cross-cultural conversations. Recently, while reading 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” I noticed Peter used “hope” rather than “truth.” Could it be, in their witness, evangelical Christians place too much emphasis on the truth of the gospel rather than the hope?

Furthermore, I reflected on the account of Christ’s birth in Luke 2: The angel’s message to the shepherds was one of “good news.” Would the shepherds have come to the manger if the angels simply announced the fact of Jesus’ birth? Perhaps evangelicals would do better to present the gospel as “good news” or “hope” to non-Christians before declaring it to be truth. Otherwise, we risk appearing arrogant.

Roland Derksen
Vancouver, B.C

Pastoral thank you

Re “Willingdon celebrates 50 years” (P&E, November). I would like to acknowledge the ministry of Willingdon’s first full-time pastor couple George and Carol Braun (1962–1966). Under their leadership, many accepted Christ as Saviour, and members were nurtured spiritually. It was during that time I learned to reach out to my community.

Katie Giesbrecht
Charter member, Willingdon

Richmond, B.C.

No pagan worship in the sanctuary

Re “Loving with ears wide open” (Editorial, November). Braun lauds the pastor who opened his church’s sanctuary to local Muslims for their prayers during Ramadan. Jesus drove out the money changers in his temple. His sanctuary is not to be used for pagan worship, but rather to learn about his love.

Ernie Konrad
Kitchener, Ont.

Balance of separating and mixing

Re “Loving with ears wide open” (Editorial, November). While I agree with most of Karla Braun’s editorial, I’m uncomfortable over close fellowship and shared facilities with any religion that doesn’t follow what the Bible teaches. We are to be careful about allowing any yeast to infiltrate the loaf (1 Corinthians 5); at the same time, if we didn’t mix with people who are unsaved, no one would be exposed to the gospel. I interpret the Word to mean there is a fine line when we are dealing with other faiths. We aren’t the only ones interested in evangelizing; other faiths are every bit as fervent.

Bertrand Ouimet
Chilliwack, B.C.

Can’t believe my ears

Re “Loving with ears wide open” (Editorial, November). Is it okay to allow the worship of foreign gods in our churches? The nation of Israel was chastised, even punished, for allowing such syncretism. I’m disappointed such an event would be advocated, or at least implied, by our denomination’s magazine. In our efforts to evangelize the lost and minister to others, we have to maintain some lines that should not be crossed.

Derek Lehman
Manitou, Man.

Radical Islam not family-friendly

Re “A beautiful collision” (Features, November). I was shocked when the author insinuated that Islam shares some of the same biblical heroes and family values with Christianity, as that is not the case at all. Under Islam, a Muslim is allowed four wives by custom, but many men have several more. In Iran, in one of the more “enlightened” Muslim countries, their laws permit girls to marry when 9 and boys at 14! When you compare this with how a Christian is supposed to treat his wife by being willing to die to protect her, there is a vast difference between Islam and Christianity.

Tim Tessier
Chilliwack, B.C.

Colombian reflections provocative

Re “Harper and I mark the new Canada–Colombia FTA” (Viewpoint, November). Thank you for printing Adrienne Wiebe’s article on Canada’s free trade agreement with Colombia. Excellent writing, provocative perspectives, accurate reflections on Colombian dilemmas – I appreciate the MB Herald carrying this kind of article.

Dorothy Siebert
Pender Island, B.C.

Rant requires evidence

Re “Harper and I…” I enjoyed Wiebe’s contrast between her visit to Colombia and Steven Harper’s; however, I took exception to her rant against NAFTA.

There’s nothing wrong with an argument against NAFTA, but a statement on such a complex issue must be supported. Wiebe implies cause and effect between NAFTA and the “increases in out-migration, organized crime, human rights violations, and social instability.”

I believe free trade is much better than trade barriers. Further, I see trade barriers compounding the very social issues that the article lists. Since I don’t have time to build my case in this letter, without doing so I would also be loath to imply that my view on NAFTA had some inherent kingdom merit.

James Toews
Nanaimo, B.C.

Response to “Rant requires evidence”

I agree the cause-and-effect relationships between free trade and social problems, like out-migration and violence, are very complex. However, in the case of Mexico and NAFTA, the impacts have been well-documented since it came into effect in 1994.

For example, subsidized corn from the U.S. that was sold at below cost flooded the Mexican market, and put an estimated 2 million small-scale Mexican farmers out of work, pushing them to migrate north to work.

Most of the jobs created after NAFTA were in export assembly factories, located along the border, so U.S. companies could access lower-cost Mexican labour. Today, more than 3,000 factories employ over 1 million with wages under $10 per day.

Mexican migration to the U.S. has tripled since NAFTA as a result of the loss of livelihoods. More than 12 million Mexicans work in the U.S., and send $20–25 billion in remittances back to their families in Mexico each year. About seven million of the Mexicans in U.S. are “illegal.” Open borders have allowed the legal free flow of capital and goods, but not people.

From my perspective here in Latin America, free trade agreements can stimulate international trade and some types of economic growth, but they rarely improve the lives of the majority of people. For those interested to learn more, please see MCC’s website on issues in Latin America, http://lacaadvocacy.wordpress.com, or better yet, come for a visit to learn more about how Canadian and American policies impact, for better or worse, the lives of people in this part of the world.

Adrienne Wiebe
Policy Analyst and Educator

MCC Latin America


Why not MCC?

Why was Food for the Hungry’s brochure included in the November issue? MCC offers many of the same gifts, their overhead is among the lowest of NGOs in Canada, and they have a socio-historical connection for many Herald subscribers.

Ruth Derksen
Vancouver, B.C.

I was disappointed to receive the Food for the Hungry gift guide with the Herald. If MCC is facing the same financial pressures, why invite an organization with which we have no accountability relationship to harvest our fields?

Dave Hubert
Edmonton, Alta.

Editor’s note: The gift guide was paid advertising, as are all inserts in the Herald, and does not necessarily carry editorial endorsement. MCC has chosen not to include their Christmas gift catalogue in the Herald. However, the MB Herald and CCMBC continue to support MCC and all their programs.

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