Reply All: June 2022

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Is a Split Inevitable? 

A wise response from Judy Cook (“Big Questions,” February 2022). We cannot predict the future. I fully believe that Christ-centered unity in the Christian Reformed Church can win out! There are many imitable Reformed denominations that have made very conscious decisions to maintain unity through Biblical fidelity in this LGBT issue (such as the United Reformed Church in North America). And sadly there are denominations who, through unwillingness to hold fast to biblical truth and unwillingness to prune off the dead branches, have chosen the path that leads to splitting (such as the Reformed Church in America). A pruning would almost certainly be required here in the CRC for the denomination to continue to exist. Without this commitment to God’s Word, the sad reality is that our own history is filled with Bible-believing congregations making the exile en masse that always follows the infidelity of those who should be God’s people.

Trevor Mouw // Sioux Center, Iowa

Canada as Distinct Ministry

I highly commend Peter Schuurman’s article “A Letter to our American Partners: Canada as a Distinct Ministry” (March 2022). It lays out in logical and meaningful detail the realities we face in this David and Goliath relationship. Recognizing us as “a distinct culture” with “a distinct way of doing ministry” gives me hope that we will listen and be open to celebrate our faith in harmony without seeing the world through the same lenses.

Mary Kooy // Toronto, Ont.

Schuurman’s “A Letter to Our American Partners” could have been written by “Western Canadians to our Ontario Partners” just as easily. Our political and cultural differences are vast within our own country. Focusing on differences between our countries to support our wanting to separate is anyone’s easy game. Rather, it is precisely because of our differences that Christ calls us to work together in unison to represent the body of Christ to the world. Perhaps putting all of our time and energy into how we can thrive binationally to fully represent Christ’s body would be the more stewardly use of our God-given resources of gifts and time.

Karen Van Niejenhuis // Edmonton, Alta.

As a Quebecois member of the only CRC congregation in Quebec, I read this letter with mixed feelings because, whereas I don’t agree with all the decisions made by our provincial government, Canadian CRC members in the rest of Canada should admit that some of the tensions between Quebec and the rest of Canada have been caused by lack of sensitivity on their part, not to say outright hostility and indifference. A late CRC pastor told me many years ago that members of his congregation in Stratford drove through the U.S. to avoid Quebec, as if we were leprous or something. That hurt, and it still does. If you experience frustration in dealing with American CRC members, imagine how we feel dealing with Canadian CRC members who consider us as nothing more than troublemakers because they never made the effort to learn about our culture and our anxiety about being roughly 7 million francophones in a sea of 360 million North American Anglos. 

Michèle Gyselinck // Montreal, Que.

Inclusive Worship

Thanks to Ann Bezemer for her Vantage Point (“Inclusive Praise and Worship,” February 2022), to which we say AMEN! We too love singing hymns accompanied by the organ! As we age, the familiar tunes and words of the hymns we learned in our youth are often sung (or spoken) by us, bringing peace, comfort, and thankfulness to our wearying bodies and minds. With today’s repetitive praise music, those modern hymn alternatives won’t impart much lasting biblical knowledge, especially for future recall. By not learning the old hymn words and tunes, our children and grandchildren will be the losers, missing out on that lasting inheritance. If today’s young people desire praise bands and praise music, please allow the inclusion of some congregation-sung hymns (yes, with organ accompaniment) as a part of those same worship services.Muriel & Fritz Kolk // Grand Rapids, Mich.

Bethany Christian Services

I am a grateful adoptive parent thanks to Bethany Christian Services, who greatly subsidized our adoptions with the help of churches from the CRC (“Bethany Christian Services No Longer Recommended for Offerings,” online). It saddened me that other families in need of extra support were one vote away from this help. … Family comes in many forms, I am well aware, and today’s modern family does not always mirror our denomination’s ideal view of family. Nor does marriage. It might not be part of God’s original design to have same-sex unions or parenting units, but I believe he can work through all situations. … I believe we should support all people in every walk of life—whether that means a divorced person or children who might be deprived of a dependable family. It is my hope we can extend love and grace in our differences and learn from each other.

Yvonne Linton // Sunnyvale, Calif.

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