June 26, 2013 — Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Two recent articles in The Banner have caused concern because they argue for a modification of present Christian Reformed doctrinal and ethical understandings: notably of doctrinal formulations related to human origins and of our ethical position regarding sexuality and marriage. We allowed these articles first of all because we believe that the authors represent more than just a few voices within our denomination and so, rather than ignoring these voices, we believe that they should be heard and responded to in truth and love (Eph. 4:15). We also allowed them because in both instances they address serious challenges that many of us face, such as pastorally dealing with those who attend secular universities and those who live in common-law relationships. We were convinced that, whether we agreed or disagreed with them, the authors genuinely seek to apply their Reformed understanding to difficult issues.
In both articles we sought to alert you, the reader, to the fact that they do not represent an official position of the denomination. We did so by adding a synodical pronouncement to the first article and by running two articles back to back with respect to the second—the lead article in this second instance addressing the issue from our more commonly-held perspective.
In coming months we will publish articles by those among us who can respond meaningfully to the concerns and challenges raised. In September we hope to publish an article by a biologist who cautions us against too readily adopting an evolutionist perspective. In that same issue I hope to offer an editorial that will argue for the strength of our currently prevailing understanding of sexuality and marriage--these in the hope of continuing a respectful and fruitful dialog.
However, your frank responses, as well as a good heart-to-heart conversation with our executive director, who expressed serious concerns, have made me realize, perhaps too late, that the manner and timing of publishing these articles has led to significant doubt about the magazine’s direction. For this I sincerely apologize. While we should allow many voices to speak around our denominational “kitchen table,” we ought not to do so in ways that calls into question our common commitment. I continue to affirm my love for the Christian Reformed Church, its creeds and confessions, and its commitment to the infallibility of Scripture. As we continue in our communal task of “speaking the truth in love,” I ask you for your forgiveness, patience, understanding, and goodwill as we continue these painful but necessary conversations.
Yours in Christ
Bob De Moor