Ignorance and Conviction
Intellectual humility is a virtue (“Ignorant of Ignorance,” Nov. 2019). If we’re smart, then we ought also to be wary of theologians who shout, “The Bible is absolutely clear!” And yet, to refrain from agreeing that Scripture is absolutely clear on some things—such as “there is a God,” “he created the world,” “murder is wrong”—would not, it seems, be intellectual humility but intellectual dishonesty.
The reality is that intellectual humility and religious conviction are both biblical virtues. Where God has not clearly revealed himself, the former virtue is called for (Job 28). Where God has clearly revealed himself, the latter virtue is called for, even if it means much suffering and death (Heb. 11:1-35).
Columnist Judy Cook believes unity in the CRC will only be preserved if intellectual humility reigns (Big Questions, Nov. 2019). The difficulty for many, however, is that the virtue to be embraced in this instance is not intellectual humility but religious conviction. For this reason, and with deep sorrow, I agree with Ms. Cook’s leading assessment: Will the CRC split over this? “But for the grace of God ... yes.”
Ed Gerber // Willoughby, B.C.
Me and the Black Dog
I just finished reading the unbelievably open, informative article by Theresa Miedema (“Me and the Black Dog,” May 2019). The way she described chronic major depression—you feel the pain, sadness, frustration like nobody has ever been able to describe it! I lost a friend to suicide [and] had a sister-in-law battling (depression). Miedema showed us in her article the horrible struggle it is to stay on top of it. I am so happy for her that she has the amazing support needed. I am thankful that she shared this misunderstood sickness with us. Wishing her health and peace of mind for many years to come!
Tineke Bosch // Abbotsford, B.C.
Children in Church
I couldn’t believe what I read about “pray-grounds” (Big Questions, Sept. 2019). A worship service is a time that children should be seated with their parents and taught how we listen to God speaking to us through our minister. It is one hour of our Sunday morning that children should be quiet and respectful to others who are also listening to what is being said. Parents bring quiet objects for younger children because attention spans are shorter. Children should be disciplined or taken out if noisy. How distracting to have children playing up front with toys, books, or each other, causing people to watch them instead of listening to God’s word. A worship service should not be a performance or an informal Bible Study, but a serious, important lesson of life. Children belong in the pew with their parents, who I hope are teaching them this is how we worship our Creator, Lord, and Savior.
Jeannene Veenstra // Oskaloosa, Iowa
Redemption in Movies
I have run into a problem with the article “How Redemption Runs Through the Marvel Cinematic Universe” (Oct. 2019). I believe this article promotes movies too much and that they are poor examples of redemption. They might be good stories, but are movies where the church should find its values? I believe that real redemption comes from God’s word and that it is the only source of salvation.
Gare Mejeur // Portage, Mich.
Revisionist views often involve a selective retelling or twisting of historical facts to suit a current narrative (“Revisionism,” Oct. 2019). Jesus points us to God’s purposes for marriage being clear in the creation account (Matt. 19). He points to this as God’s pattern for marriage. Embracing what God calls an abomination (Lev. 18:22; 20:13) is not the way of Christ (Matt. 5:17-19). The Leviticus passages make it clear that the homosexual act itself, not violence or lack of commitment, is what God calls an abomination. Romans 1:24-27 similarly describes homosexual relationships even by mutual consent as opposed to God’s design.
So what does the church say to people struggling with gay orientation? For one thing, we should teach that sexual identity does not define us. Character defines us. But we also need to affirm that God has designed human sexuality for male/female partnership. This is not an invention of humans, and gender is God’s gift to embrace, not the accident of a Godless universe. And we need to acknowledge that all of us at some level struggle with living in a way that honors God.
Edward Field // Duncan, B.C.