Letters to the Editor for April 4, 2007

Dear Editor,

What&8217;s the difference between &8220;English first&8221; and &8220;English only&8221;?

Eighty-five percent of the American people support English as the official language of government. With support like that, you&8217;d think that the promotion of English would be on the agenda of every elected official, but it&8217;s not. Instead, talking about English as a unifying bond for America &8212; and the importance of learning English for success here &8212; is off limits.

Why? Because the left labels anyone who talks about the importance of learning English as bigoted against immigrants.

But there&8217;s an important distinction between those who believe in English first and others who advocate English only.

Those who want English-only policies would like to outlaw all languages other than English in America.

But English first recognizes that there have always been other languages in America. We welcome these languages in our communities and our commerce. We simply believe that English should be the language of our government.

It&8217;s the difference between wanting to shut our doors to new Americans, and wanting to strengthen our nation by helping newcomers assimilate into American culture.

The left and the mainstream media like to blur this very real difference. But Americans deserve to know the truth: Promoting English first is the smart &8212; and the right &8212; thing to do. It is better for immigrants just like it is better for America. Any reform in Alabama dealing with illegal immigration and assimilation of legal immigrants begins with the recognition that English is paramount as the foundation.

Michael Ciamarra / Birmingham

Dear Editor,

I am responding to guest columnist Pastor Lee Roy Dutton (March 14, From the pulpit). Though Paul wrote Timothy to have nothing to do with foolish and stupid arguments, God&8217;s Word does instruct us to expose darkness (error) to light (truth). Pastor Dutton quoted scripture when he wrote, &8220;But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.&8221; Why then does he have trouble believing that God is using foolishness (worldly athletes, singers and entertainers now regenerated) to confound the wise (pastors, preachers and any others who think they have a corner on the spiritual market)? He stated that God takes His pastors and preachers and equips them for that purpose He has called them.

Pastor Dutton, you are in error. God takes whoever He wants and equips them for the edification of the Body of Christ, not just pastors and preachers. All believers are able ministers of the new covenant, including born again athletes, singers, and entertainers. The letter (religious rules and laws) kills, but the Spirit give life. Pastor Dutton follows the law of religion that God opposes. John the Revelator exposed the practice of the Nicolaitans within the church walls in the first century, less than 100 years after Christ&8217;s death. The Lord hates the work of Nicolaitans. This word is the composition of two Greek words- niko and laos. Niko means to conquer, laos means common people, secular people or laity. So it means conquering the common people, climbing above laity. This is the hierarchy followed and established by Catholicism and Protestantism. The Nicolaitan hierarchy prevails in both practice and teaching today.

Most church services are not Spirit led. They are a rote liturgy led by seminary graduates who preach their denominational beliefs while Jesus stands at the door and knocks. Churches are full of knowledge, but lack the presence of the Lord.

Rather than the Body acting as an organism, it functions as an organization full of worldly theology and practices. The proper church life allows the function of all members, not an elite group with a title, and it encourages all members to participate in a way that the Body might be built up. First Corinthians 14:26-40 defines the order of worship. It is Spirit led, not pastor led. In fact, pastors are not even mentioned in the worship service. The service is subject to God&8217;s prophets. Of course, that spiritual gift may not be recognized by his denomination.

God never appointed pastors or preachers to take the place of the Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are called to build up and equip the Body, but we are to follow no man.

Martin Luther nailed his intolerance of the Roman Catholic Church&8217;s corruption to the Wittenberg Church door in 1517. Today there are hundreds of Martin Luther&8217;s who have been set free from religious bondage. Like Luther, they suffer at the hands of religious leaders who are afraid of losing their titles and salaries. The pastor is correct in saying that he is not sufficient of himself in handling the Word of God. Owning the title of pastor gives no more advantage or sufficiency than celebrities invited to speak at a church service. Pastors are not the answer either.

Mollie Brown / Caler