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Letters to the Editor: September 2017

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Our apologies to Peter Vander Meulen and his family for spelling his name incorrectly in the news story “Social Justice Coordinator to Retire After 44 years of Serving CRC” (Jul/Aug. 2017). After 44 years, we certainly should have known better!

Synod Reporting

I was at Synod this year, and upon reading the reports in the July/August Banner, I was very impressed with the balanced reporting even covering some polarized debates. Thank you for your work in this regard!

Jonathan Fischer
Atlantic Northeast

Doing Justice

Your editorial “Let Justice Roll” (July/Aug) was much appreciated. You will have undoubtedly taken note of the writings of Bert Hielema who for some years now has pointed out the great need for justice with a view to earthkeeping.
I consider him one of the  most visionary thinkers of the Christian Reformed Church.

Louis Tamminga
Grand Rapids, Mich.

I welcome the series on justice launched by the editor as well as the content of the first article (“Let Justice Roll”). But the question you pose for the third article presents a false choice: Is justice the work of the institutional church or only of individual Christians?

There is a third choice: justice is the work, indeed the calling, of the government and citizens who serve in government, who elect others to do so, and who join in organizations to promote justice, such as the Center for Public Justice, International Justice Mission, political parties, and so on. As Christian citizens, we are called to promote justice; we fulfill this calling not primarily through the institutional church nor just as individuals but through political organizations and holding office in the government.

Yes, the institutional church must teach and preach the biblical call to do justice and to live justly. Yes, individual Christians must live justly and vote. But establishing and maintaining justice is the primary task of government; Christians need to relate to and serve in government as citizens, not as member of churches. In doing so they should promote biblical justice.

Joyce Ribbens Campbell
Greenbelt, Md. 

New Name

The CRC’s new mission agency is getting a new name (“A New Name for a New Agency,” Jul/Aug 2017). The new name (Resonate) is supposed to illustrate and resonate with God's mission through villages and towns and cities. Research led to this decision, but what research? [It seems] somewhat similar to renaming Christian Reformed World Relief Committee with no mention of a Christian connection.

It seems to accommodate non-Christians: not to offend but to be politically correct. Trustee Cal Hoogendoorn said the new name captures the essence of the new mission agency. I believe the opposite is true. I really hope the delegates will revisit this idea and at least leave the word “Christian” in a proposed new name.

George VandenBrink
Red Deer, Alta.

I am sorely disappointed that the synod of the CRC approved the name Resonate Global Mission for the new mission agency (“A New Name for a New Agency”). I would have preferred that my church as it seeks to win souls for Christ march under an unfurled banner bearing the name Christian Reformed Global Mission. Similarly, when my country becomes involved in a humanitarian enterprise, it flies the Stars and Stripes rather than a flag that would give the world no idea which nation is extending the hand of kindness and mercy.

Robert Bolt
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Editor's note: Please see the letter from the New Mission Agency board printed on page 8 of the July/Aug issue for the rationale for the agency's new name, which includes the inability to protect the name "Christian Reformed Global Missions" in Canadian patent court and security for some of our missionaries.

If I Had a Hammer

As a denomination it appears we’re constantly looking at the steady decline of membership in our churches. Your editorial (“If I Had a Hammer,” June 2017) cites a number of efforts made at revitalizing or renewal.

What I find disheartening is that we don’t take our direction from God’s Word. In Deuteronomy 6 and 8 God warns his people not to forget him when they end up being abundantly blessed in the Promised Land.
Our denomination has been richly blessed in every way. In our affluence, have we lost the vertical contact with God? Are we more focused on the material? Are we still being called to repentance, as did the Old Testament prophets?

Do we need to do more reforming to get back to our roots?

John Rustenburg
Whitby, Ont.

I have noticed that churches that are increasing their membership are more biblical than traditional; more concerned about being Christian than being Reformed, more concerned about obedience than religion (“If I Had a Hammer”). Churches that encourage us, through all programs and the pulpit every Sunday, to live our faith (not just knowledge but action based on that knowledge). Churches that every Sunday repeat their mission—a reminder that their church belongs to Jesus and his mission, not their social club. A personal relationship with God, not just knowledge of him.

Alice Anderson
Calgary, Alta.

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