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It Is a Toy

I just read the article “Actually, It Is a Toy,” Jan. 2019). Your picture and emotional attachment to treasures as a metaphor is so good, right on. God help us to keep transforming the Christian Reformed Church for what Jesus needs and wants to get done in our generation.

Vern Vander Zee // Miami, Fla.

Pro-Life Discipleship

I would like to add a thought to the article “Pro-Life Discipleship” (Jan. 2019). Through my work as a chaplain, I have discovered the importance of keeping the doors of communication open with women and families who are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. It may be counterintuitive, but more compassion can be shown if abortion is legal, because it keeps the door of communication open and the discovery of options available. If abortion is made illegal, then the many channels of help will be closed; the professional would be required to report an illegal action rather than discuss options of hope.

Mary Sandord // Camarillo, Calif.

Missional Temptations

Well said (“Missional Temptations,” Jan. 2019). We too often do fall into the erroneous thinking of God’s work as empire-driven. May we cease from looking to saviors that cannot save and powers that cannot rescue. Faithfulness to God will pave the street to greater missional endeavors.

Pete Byma // online comment

Commemorating the Canons?

The 400th anniversary would be an excellent time to ditch the rigid, exclusionary, and insular Canons of Dort. The article “Commemorating the Canons” (Jan. 2019) and a previous editorial argue it still has value because of the emphasis on God’s grace; however, that doctrine is sufficiently covered in the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession. Let’s put the Canons on the history book shelf and look to address contemporary issues such as reconciliation among people of different races and to stand by people experiencing any form of suffering and need. A good place to start would be the adoption of the Belhar Confession as a confession of faith. Our sister denomination, the Reformed Church in America, did so in 2016. We should move forward in faith and unity.

James van Hemert // Cowichan Bay, B.C.

Worldly Amusements

Sometimes the question is wrong (“Big Questions,” Jan. 2019). It is not the case (as the question indicates), that card playing, dancing and movie attendance were "forbidden." As this answer correctly states, Synod 1928 warned about those worldly amusements (as well as drinking I believe), and I would suggest the warning was appropriate given the "newness" of those cultural phenomena.

Not much has really changed from 1928 in many ways. Card playing can result in plenty of bad (illustrated by gambling addiction), as can dancing (some kinds of dancing by non-spouses are pretty racy and should be avoided), as can movie attendance (or watching the equivalent, porn videos, which are essentially movies). So have things really changed all that much?

Doug Vande Griend // online comment

Rebaptism

I was alarmed by the comments about rebaptism (“Big Questions,” Dec. 2018) stating that rebaptism “casts doubt on what God has done.” I was rebaptized after a lifetime in the church. The Lord led me through unwanted spaces to change my heart. What a witness to my children and grandchildren when my testimony was read aloud! To me, rebaptism is a public statement that the Lord will call, change hearts, and refocus pathways when hearts open to his call.

Douglas J. Elenbaas // Grand Rapids, Mich.

Creation

Each time I read about the controversy surrounding the creation story, my heart breaks. A recent example is the response to the Faith Formation question (“Big Questions,” Nov. 2018). The Genesis teaching of how God created things does not stand alone; confirmation by God of its literal truth is ample. Second Peter 3:5 confirms creation by spoken words in the context of describing some “last days” conditions. It tells of scoffers who deliberately forget how God created things. Is that the road we are on? Or will we join the heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 by embracing the Genesis creation story as truth?

Gene Zoerhof // Holland, Mich.

Editor’s Note: The CRC’s official position on creation and science can be found online:

www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/position-statements/creation-science

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Comments

Mr. James van Hemert characterizes the Canons of Dort as being "rigid, exclusionary, and insular" (March issue-Reply All)

The author of "Commorating the Canons" makes the following statement:

"The Canons teach that not all will receive the gift of saving faith, but they speak of this with caution and restraint. In particular, we must never make assumptions about who might not be saved. Dispelling the myth that Calvinism dampens evangelism, the Canons strongly encourage us to proclaim Christ indiscriminately to everyone. Who knows whether the Spirit will lead someone to faith through our testimony? Even so, the writers of the Canons realize that this can be a troubling doctrine, so they offer considerable pastoral comfort, including for those going through times of doubt or even apparent loss of faith."

I would refer Mr. van Hemert to the Second Head, Articles 3, and 5 and Fifth Head  Articles 5 and 7, as just some instances of the Canons being warm, embracing and comforting.

I believe "diligently working out our salvation with fear and trembling" (Fifth Head, Article 7) should include "reconciliation among people of different races and to stand by people experiencing any form of suffering and need."

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