Reply All: April 2022

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Women in the CRC

I appreciated very much Will Katerberg’s article “Women’s Suffrage and the CRC (January 2022) as well as the whole series of which it is a part. Learning from the past is essential. It was ironic, however, to notice that five men who contributed to the outcome of that controversy were named, but none of the women, though surely it must be a matter of public record who was “the woman from Indiana” who bravely protested at classis.

Wilma van der Leek // Surrey, B.C.

The ‘Curse of Ham’

My brother, Dr. Donald Bouma, one of the first sociology professors at Calvin College (now University), had several favorite lectures. One gave these same arguments for rejecting the “Curse of Ham” (“Racism and the Bible,” February 2022). Since this was new and against current beliefs at that time (1950s), the lecture was popular but also controversial, of course. Obviously we need to be reminded of these facts again.

Dawn Bouma Gebben // Grand Rapids, Mich.

The publication of “Racism and the Bible” refers to the “curse of Ham.” Perhaps a more apt naming would be the “curse of Canaan,” as Canaan was the only one of Noah’s grandsons who was issued such a demise. In reality, the curse God put on Canaan and his descendants displayed God's sovereignty. The land of Canaan was the same area that God promised to the Israelites when he brought them out of Egypt. But when Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land, the Canaanites were still living there. The Canaanites would have spent years clearing and tilling the land, planting orchards and vineyards, constructing houses, and building fences for pasture. Just as God prepared the land of rest for the Israelites, we are told that a “Promised Land” is being prepared for all believers too. A new heaven, and a new earth, a land without darkness and without night, for God and Jesus will be dwelling among us and be our light (Rev. 21). Hallelujah!

Nicole Strampel // Sarnia, Ont.

Inclusive Praise and Worship

In response to the article “Inclusive Praise and Worship” in the February Banner, her words are so very true. A few years ago, after being members of our church for more than 70 years and always being a part of the music program, suddenly our council decided to go with all contemporary music. We went through all the proper channels to make our voice heard, but it was to no avail. Even if a familiar-sounding hymn was chosen it was sung in the contemporary version and not the way the hymnist intended it to be sung with beautiful harmonization. After much prayer and tears we left our church and now worship where we can once again sing our beautiful hymns.

Cliff & Helengene Doornbos // Grand Rapids, Mich.

I totally agree with Ms. Bezemer in her article. We seniors truly miss hymns in the worship services, and we really don't care if it's accompanied by an organ. We would actually recommend at least two hymns per service.                              

Dale Vander Ploeg // Hudson, Fla.

The description of hymns and praise songs in this article is shared by many, but the delineation is arbitrary at best. All music in a worship setting could be categorized as both hymns and songs of praise, regardless of style or instrumentation. This article seems more about familiarity than measurable genre. To be transparent, I would also love my worship gathering to reflect personal preferences. However, I am reminded that worship is not about me, and that I have many hours throughout the week to commune with God through different modes of worship. Like the author, I attend a congregation that has historically been known for exuberant singing, but I pray fervently that in the surrounding community we will be known for exuberant loving and embodiment of Christ. There is richness and depth to many expressions of worship music, both old and new, and across cultures. Perhaps an appreciation for styles is not gained by splitting the difference in corporate worship, but through dialogue between generations and cultures so that insights on worship can be shared.    

Todd Pheifer // Lakewood, Calif.

Sin No More

We were gratified and thankful for Shiao Chong's challenge to our churches to reach out to our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters with compassion and grace rather than a judgmental and condemning “sin no more” approach. Please allow us to go one step further and add the challenge to not apply the old “bait and switch” trick either, where we draw them into fellowship and then tell them how unacceptable they are and set about restricting their service. This trick is unloving and Pharisaical. Jesus invited ALL to come to him, to be baptized, to gather in his name, to work in his kingdom, and to use our spiritual gifts. The invitation to follow Jesus is not predicated upon another’s, or the church’s, approval. It is predicated on God’s unconditional love and invitation to each of us.

Steve and Laurie Scholten // Horicon, Wisc.

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