Do Synods Remember?
I was a synodical delegate in 2016 and 2017 and a member of the subcommittee that authored the recommendations referenced by Clayton Libolt in his article “Do Synods Remember? A Look at Ministry Shares” (Oct. 2018).
As I remember it, I was the delegate that suggested the wording “shrinking the institutional footprint,” an action I dearly regret. In hindsight, I recognize that the phrasing is ambiguous, and I would like to clarify my meaning. I meant the phrase to reflect a desire to do more with less; respectfully, Rev. Libolt, I think this is precisely what the CRC, institutionally, is attempting to do. As for our request for a complete review, this too was undertaken and duly reported. Synodical memory is invested in our leadership, namely Dr. Timmermans, Dee Recker, and the Council of Delegates, and I think they've done a fine job of interpreting the will of synods.
Gina Taylor Lunshof // online comment
Things You May Not Know about Hell
Bob De Moor wrote about 13 things we may not know about hell (“13 Things You May Not Know about Hell,” Sept. 2018). I wonder if the 14th thing we may not know is this: Hell could very well be a devilish brew concocted by manipulative religious reactionaries. Not all biblical writers knew what they were talking about when they talked about the afterlife. Other than God, who really knows what happens next? And God’s not telling. “Bedrock of biblical fact” sounds suspiciously oxymoronic.
William R. Lenters // Rockford, Ill.
Editor’s Note: The CRC’s Reformed confessions supports the biblical teaching of hell and presupposes its reality.
In Bob De Moor’s article “13 Things You May Not Know about Hell,” De Moor gives his opinion: “We shouldn’t scare people into heaven by making them fear hell.” He fails to point out that Jesus often spoke about hell. Perhaps he does not know of the American Calvinist theologian Jonathan Edwards, whose sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was the catalyst for one of the great revivals in the 1700s. I wonder if there is a correlation between the fact that modern ministers preach far fewer “hellfire sermons” and the fact that the church in North America is in decline.
Bill Hoogland // Wyoming, Mich.
Religious Freedom in Canada
The religious freedom of institutions is an important right; other rights are also important, particularly in a Reformed approach to life. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Trinity Western University case (“Moving Forward after Canadian Supreme Court’s Law School Ruling,” Sept. 2018) is a fine balancing of various important rights, including careful consideration of the situation and impact for all rights holders. The subsequent decision to make its community covenant voluntary (“Trinity Western University’s Change on Mandatory Covenant Emphasizes Welcome,” Oct. 2018) is a rights-respecting step that recognizes the moral agency of all students. I hope Reformed Christians will pay as much attention to respecting important rights of others as to preserving the rights of our churches and schools.
Kathy Vandergrift // Ottawa, Ont.
I was moved by the divorced woman who wrote about judging and the pain she and her children experience alone (“Reach Out,” Sept. 2019). I so identified with that because my husband has early-stage Alzheimer’s. He mostly sits alone all day. Though most of the people in his church live nearby, no one comes. They did visit and bring meals when he had to be in the hospital with stroke, cancer surgery, and heart surgery. And they provide a ride to church every Sunday morning. I have asked the elders if some of the older members could come to visit, especially when I have to be away. But nothing has happened so far.
It would mean so much. It might even impress our daughter and family, who are not believers. Doesn’t Jesus’ prayer in John 17 talk about being in Christ and one with one another so that the world would see him and know him?
Bertha Kramlich // Portland, Ore.
To the woman who wrote this article: If you were in my vicinity, I would certainly walk with you, look you in the eye, listen to you, and care about you and your children (“Reach Out”). You do not need to be ashamed. I am so sorry for your sad experiences. As a recently divorced woman, I can relate to a lot of the issues you mentioned. I wish you peace, and I hope someone special finds you and shows you sincere love again.
Carolyn Loewen // Salmon Arm, B.C.
September Banner Cover
Loved your cover pic—I have many of that same lake in my photo collection, as we go there often. Its beauty is astounding in any and all conditions/seasons/weather. However, you identified it “Peyton Lake,” but it’s really “Peyto Lake.” And it’s pronounced PEEtoh.
Why exercise myself over such trivia? Merely to honor the explorer/mountaineer/guide after whom it was named. Honor where honor is due!
Bob De Moor // Agassiz, B.C.