Discerning the Body
Re “Discerning the Body”: 1 Corinthians 10:16 and 11:24-28 speak of the body and blood of Christ together, referring the the bread and cup at the Lord’s Supper. Likewise, “eating” and “drinking” in verse 29 refer to the bread and cup of communion, which must be discerned from other food. Paul compares the church to a field and building (3:9) but not to a body; that metaphor comes in chapter 12, a new section on spiritual gifts.
In love and respect for Christ, the church should put differences aside at the Lord’s table and unite around Christ, who gave his body and blood to pay our debt of sin. Honoring Christ, not the church, should be the highest motive for our church unity. Love for one another must then follow.
Jacob Van Zyl
The Paris Accord (“Climate Witness Project Moves Focus to Congregations”) will encourage energy-saving devices and practices. That is fine and I agree. But the Accord deals mainly with treating symptoms of the problem and fails to address the real issues.
In the past several hundred years, the human population has gone from 1 billion in the early 1800s to almost 8 billion people today. In an effort to feed all these people, there have been significant advances in agriculture, including mechanization, herbicides, fungicides, genetic engineering, and irrigation. But land is still needed. In the past several hundred years we have cut down 65 percent of the world's forests. Millions of people are starving and lack clean drinking water. The surging population and our disappearing forests are probably two of the real reasons behind the recent global warmup.
Robert W. Lubbers
Spring Lake, Mich.
Why are we spending precious resources on this divisive issue (“Climate Witness Project Moves Focus to Congregations”)? I agree with Doug Vande Griend that no one should decide for CRC members what conclusions we should come to, and denominational agencies should not waste our money on non-ecclesiastical matters.
New Sharon, Iowa
Peter Vander Meulen reported that the delegation to Paris (“Climate Witness Project Moves Focus to Congregations”) was budgeted at over $50,000. This clearly shows that while the CRC has no money to pay its missionaries, it has funds for controversial trips. I suggest the Office of Social Justice repay the ministry shares and hand them to the missions agency. Then churches who are bothered by this politicizing of the denomination should refrain from sending funds in an undesignated way but instead send their funds directly to the missions agencies.
Rimmer De Vries
Camano Island, Wash.
Helping a Grieving Person
If you have not read Kari Poortinga’s article (“How to Help a Grieving Person”), I urge you to do so. Already a widow, two of my adult children have died. When my son took his life, after the initial time of death and the memorial service, I felt very alone. Folks were uncomfortable with this, and so were not there when I needed them. Finally I called my church and boldly told the secretary how I felt, and then got some attention from elders and pastor.
Why is it so difficult for the body of believers to comfort one another? I am grateful to be living in a Christian retirement home where I am surrounded by friends.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed Leonard Vander Zee’s perspective on Mary in “Our Lady Too.” She was a willing vessel despite the certainty that sneers and judgment would be part of her future. Yes, the real miracle was that she believed.
There was one part I disagreed with, but with a chuckle, remembering that a man wrote the article. Rev. Vander Zee writes, “. . . until finally [the baby] pushed its way out into the world.” I respectfully disagree! The dear child is not doing the pushing by any means. Instead, the rigorous pushing is done completely by the sweaty mother.
I imagine I have many female supporters on this point!
Maple Ridge, B.C.
Rev. Vander Zee seems to suggest God’s plan for salvation could have been frustrated by a young Jewish virgin (“Our Lady Too”). The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to let her know God had highly favored her because she was to become the mother of the Savior. He wasn’t asking permission. Abraham, Moses, and other biblical figures were not asked if they were willing to go along with God’s plans. The apostle Paul wasn’t asked if he was willing to become the great missionary apostle to the Gentiles. Jesus told Peter to follow him. That’s God’s irresistible grace. I know it firsthand. I didn’t decide to follow Jesus; the Holy Spirit gently brought me to saving faith.
I question Vander Zee’s view of Mary being “preeminent among the saints.” God is no respecter of persons. God’s love for all whom Jesus went to Calvary’s cross to save is no less than God’s love of Mary.
Joe A. Serge
Franklin DeHaan called Galileo's excommunication from the Catholic church an “error” (“It's Time to Seek Other Seas” because he said it placed Scripture above science in order to reach ultimate truth. Actually, the church's real error was that it had placed “modern science” (which then promoted an earth-centered universe) above Scripture. Indeed, Isaiah 40:22 says “he sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.”
By its own definition, modern science changes while Scripture is modern in every age, and as the Belgic Confession says, God “makes himself known to us 'more openly' by his holy and divine Word” thereby putting it above any human constructs.
We know from Romans 7:12 that the law is holy and righteous and good. But if we look at the verses preceding and following it, we find that the “law” produced death in me. Can we consider that there has been a misconception of the use of “law” in our churches (“Whatever Happened to the Ten Commandments”)?
I grew up in the CRC, well schooled in the “law.” I became riddled with guilt and shame, feeling that I could never measure up. Then, in my despair, God grabbed hold of me and began showing me that my identity was not wrapped up in what I do, according to the law, but in who I am, according to grace. He showed me that I died with him at the cross and rose to new life in Christ. Resurrection power, my friends.