Top 10 Letters
Readers comment on the passing of Pope John Paul II and Terri Schiavo.
12:00 AM, Apr 13, 2005
THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.
WILLIAM KRISTOL's article, like many other articles about Pope John Paul II, correctly lauds his bravery, his intellectualism, his leadership, and his accomplishments. But you have overlooked the main player. John Paul was God's instrument. The pope, like all of us, was flawed and made mistakes as he tried to accomplish God's will. But, according to the Bible, God takes part in the affairs of men through believers such as John Paul.
One must consider that God wanted to end Communism's reign of terror in Eastern Europe, and that God speaks through the Bible and through his preachers, such as John Paul, about divorce, abortion, poverty, and other issues.
I recognize that it makes people nervous to raise the issue of God's intervention in world affairs because then we may be victimized by a person who leads us astray with "the word of the Lord." But believers who, having prayed for years for the end to Communist evil, then see Communism's end in Eastern Europe, must recognize that God has answered their prayers. Pope John Paul was a great man in achieving God's purposes.
I AM GRATEFUL for Fred Barnes's article about John Paul II. We should emphasize his importance to evangelical Protestantism. Perhaps The Weekly Standard is not the best place to talk about God, evangelism, conservative Christianity, and such; but Barnes made an exception this time. And I hope he will do it again soon.
THE WORLD MOURNS the loss of a great leader and humanitarian in Pope John Paul II. And while he was a great fighter for peace, human dignity, and freedom, the gospel he proclaimed was not the gospel of Jesus Christ as understood by Protestants--as understood from the Bible alone. The gospel he preached was not that of "Bible-based Christianity," and should not be confused with it.
Evangelicals have no place for Mary (faith alone); our sacraments have no bearing upon our actual salvation (grace alone); we need no intercessor in heaven other than the Intercessor--Jesus Christ (Christ alone). We derive these beliefs from the Bible (Scripture alone); not the Bible plus tradition, not the Bible plus the church, and not the Bible plus the pope.
The Roman Catholic and Protestant gospels are incompatible (Council of Trent); and not to recognize this is to miss the point of the Reformation; to miss why we are Protestants, not Catholics. While it surely is welcome for evangelicals and Catholics to work together on social issues, we shouldn't confuse social issues with the gospel.
Let us mourn the loss of a great humanitarian, but not a great leader of evangelical Christianity.
IRWIN STELZER writes: American residences are now worth almost $17 trillion, and mortgages against them come to only a bit more than $7 trillion, leaving what Greenspan calls a "fairly large buffer against price declines." So homeowners can relax.
I'd like to call Stelzer on that one. My mortgage and my debt, all at under 6 percent fixed, comes to about 1/3 of my home value. My sister-in-law has a new house purchased with an 80 percent mortgage, variable rate, and no buffer in her budget. Together we average close to the 7/17 ratio Stelzer mentioned, but only one of us is relaxed at the moment about interest rates and housing bubbles.
Stelzer knows better: Individuals are not averages.
--Stan in Flyover, CA
RACHEL DICARLO gives an excellent summary of an American Dreams. Perhaps only those of us who lived those lives are interested in reliving them. There was, after all, considerable pain accompanying those years. Present-day television is more interested in inflicting pain (embarrassing others by highlighting faults, weaknesses, and failures) than in learning from real, historical pain. Canceling this show will cause some pain, but it is a sign of the times.