Racism and the Bible
All my life, The Banner has seemed a frequent source of enlightenment in seas of controversy. Editor Shiao Chong's “Racism and the Bible” (February 2021) is such a ray of light.
Bruce A. Scholten // Durham, England
Bethany Christian Services
The Council of Delegates’ decision to rescind its support of Bethany Christian Services is misguided and ill-advised (“Bethany Christian Services No Longer Recommended for Offerings,” online). The purpose of BCS is to serve foster families, children, and others in need. It does this effectively, lovingly, and with great care. As such, it should be encouraged and supported, not only by individuals but also as a church endeavor. I am aware of the recent controversy; however, considering themes expressed throughout the Bible (e.g., James 2:13, “Mercy triumphs over judgment”) and the importance of what they do, I believe that decision should be reconsidered and rescinded.
Stewart Treiling // Sun Valley, Calif.
Sanctity of Human Life
I was pleased to read the article "Learning Mercy from Down Syndrome" (January 2022). Doug certainly is a fellow image-bearer of God and has no less value in God's sight than any other human being. What about advocating mercy for the unborn? I was disappointed by the absence of any mention of abortion in the January issue, since January is Sanctity of Human Life Month. Around 73 million induced abortions take place worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. Instead of wasting precious resources on weather, which God controls, please advocate for restored protections for the unborn and highlight the many organizations working to save lives.
Carmen Reitsma // New Sharon, Iowa
Sin No More
I appreciate greatly your interpretation of the John 8 telling of the interaction between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery and the pastoral nature of your editorial (“Sin No More,” January 2022). It is a welcome antidote to the Calvinist inclination to position sinners in the hands of an angry God. I agree that we need both non-condemnation and encouragement to sin no more. I disagree, however, with your characterization of those who affirm same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church as "not talking about sin at all" and "distorting Christian discipleship." The nub of the present debate is that Side A and Side B disagree about what sin is. It is not that some of us don't want to talk about sin, but the Human Sexuality Report talks predominantly of sin and of exclusion rather than embrace. That is a grave error and not the face of God I want people to see.
Thomas B. Hoeksema Sr. // Grand Rapids, Mich.
Thank you for your pastoral posture toward LGBTQ+ people in the Christian Reformed Church in your editorial. Your superb articulation notwithstanding, your editorial makes the underlying assumption that practicing homosexuality is a sin. It is my view, shared by many who have left the CRC in part because of their position on LGBTQ+, that Scripture does not teach a normative form of gender complementarity. Furthermore, moral logic underpinning the negative portrayal of same-sex eroticism in Scripture does not address loving, committed, and consecrated same-sex relationships (J.V. Brownson, Bible, Gender, Sexuality, 2013). “Sin no more” is condemnation and should not be the final word. Please continue to be pastoral, but also promote change; the CRC can do better than 1973.
Wendell Wierenga // Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Amanda (Benckhuysen), many thanks for your article on forgiveness and its relationship to repentance, reconciliation, and trust (“Let’s Get Serious About Forgiveness,” January 2022). It has helped me understand better what has sometimes gone on in my head and has explained what I have seen over the years and have heard regarding these in the lives of others.
Dave Learned // Ann Arbor, Mich.
Children of God
Chris Schoon, very nice article (“Are All People Children of God?”, November 2021). I kept waiting for one of my favorite Scripture passages, but it did not happen. If I were your editor, I would have suggested this: In your last paragraph, where you say, “The light of these passages prompts us to ask additional questions,” follow that with this: “The first question you should ask should be, ‘How does a person become a child of God?’ John 1:12 tells us, ‘Yet to all who did receive him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’”
Russ Hoekman // Cypress, Calif.