Taking a Closer Look at Reviews
However, I question whether it's useful to the cause of Christ to contrast his book with mine by noting that one book is "far easier to read, warmer, and more personal in tone." I guess that's a rather subjective judgment. But I would hate to see us pitting one missions book against another when in fact there are so few, anyhow, especially those that address the issue of being World Christians.
Also, I would suggest that the two books are very different in terms of their purpose. You mentioned that they both had "virtually the same purpose" but my reading of his book shows me that they are very different in their overall objectives.
Mr. Bryant caught me in an embarrassing position. I appreciate the gentle tone of his letter. The fact is, I had not done as thorough an evaluation of his book as I should have prior to my writing the lines that offended him. It turns out his book is far warmer and more personal than a cursory review led me to believe. For my failure in this area, I beg forgiveness of my readers and Mr. Bryant.
I promise to do a more thorough evaluation of In the Gap as well as explain the principles on which I base my reviews in an upcoming issue of Mission Frontiers.
Czechoslovakia Article Misleading
I want to correct some information that appeared in your September-October 1986 issue (p. 10) concerning religion in Czechoslovakia. I have developed Christian contacts in the country over the past seven years of ministry.
It is true that more than 100,000 Czechs and Slovaks gathered for a rally in honor of St. Methodius. There is a rise in religious interest (not necessarily Christian interest, but certainly religious interest). There is an increasing openness to the Gospel.
The last statement in the article, though, is quite misleading. It says, "Official figures released last year showed that 36 percent of Czechs over 15 years of age are believers." This statement is misleading.
1. Most likely the government report wasn't just about Czechs. There are roughly 10 million Czechs in Czechoslovakia, but there are 5 million proud and in many ways different Slovaks, and about 500,000 nationalistic Hungarians.
2. Officials in government don't know what a believer is in biblical terms. To them, "believer" means simply, "Someone who has some belief in the existence of some kind of supernatural being." I would assume all of your readers consider a "believer" to be one who believes in the Christian God and most would have an "evangelical, born-again" concept.
So the government report should be most accurately interpreted as saying that 36 percent of Czechs and Slovaks over the age of 15 believe in the existence of some kind of God.
Thirty-six percent are not born again believers. Probably only three to four percent, if that, would be born again, and most of those would be very poorly taught in the Scriptures.