Letters January 2013

A blessed pause

Re “Conversations that ring true” (Editorial, November). I had to smile as I opened the Herald and saw a familiar sight – Winnipeg’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. My smile grew as I discovered that editor Laura Kalmar lives near enough to hear the same church bells that I enjoy. Much like her, I find the music to be a great opportunity to pause for a brief moment, and just “be,” whether I’m working in the yard, carrying groceries into the house, or zipping around doing errands. Thanks for the reminder and the many great articles you share!

Teresa Zehr

Winnipeg, Man.

Sorrow over the silencing of bells

Re “Conversations that ring true” (Editorial, November). Laura Kalmar’s editorial caught my attention. I grew up in a small town in southern Ontario, and Sunday mornings were a symphony of church bells. We had three churches competing for worshippers, and it all started just before 11 a.m. Stated in the article was a description of church bells as, “the voice of God.” I miss that “voice,” as I’m sure others do. I was also intrigued by Phill Butler’s story on kingdom partnerships (“Join hands with others and change your community” Features), questioning our 21st-century Christian isolation.

Paul Mckeown,
Mission, B.C

Guard against cheap grace

Re “More than just sorry: Forgiveness under the umbrella of God’s love” (Features, November). Is God’s forgiveness unconditional? Yes, God loves all he created unconditionally. However, God instituted some conditions for happy living in all of his Word.

Jesus came to do away with sin (Matthew 1:21; 1 John 3:5). Why then is sin so rampant worldwide? Governments tend to legalize sinful activities to keep themselves in power, and religious authorities bend rules of morality and modesty. This helps fill pews with people paying dues under the outward umbrella of love for all.

Jesus didn’t preach to the nations but to individuals who were willing to follow immediately when he called them. He led them to a change of thinking, to pick up their cross, to suffer and die. It was a call to pure faith and obedience, and change in character.

In contrast, church leaders tend to preach cheap grace, which doesn’t require obedience except for local rules. Congregants hear much about forgiveness; past, present, and future misdeeds are shelved, as long people believe that Jesus suffered and died in our stead as the perfect sacrifice, and forgave all sins. Regrettably this makes discipleship irrelevant.

Max Woerlen

Fenwick, Ont.

Drifting away from Scripture?

Re “Consider context when interpreting Scripture” (Letters, November). Heidi Martens writes that “the tough part is finding out which Scriptures are cross-cultural… and which pieces were written for a specific place and time.” All Scripture was written for every time and place, specifically when it relates to doctrine and God’s commands.

Let’s be careful how we mince God’s Word, mixing it up with culture. His Word – every word – will not pass away. To suggest parts of Scripture were for another time and not for us today is perilous. Let us guard against Satan’s voice: “Hath God said?”

In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah asks, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” As a conference, how long will we waver between many opinions? Are we indeed drifting more and more away from Scripture?

Henry Klassen,
Simcoe, Ont.

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