Editor’s Note: Because we have received so many letters to the editor on the topic of Synod 2022 and the decisions made there, we have decided to devote this month’s “Reply All” to this topic.
As I watched synod’s decision on the human sexuality report, I cried for those who identify as different with the hope for affirmation (“Synod 2022 Upholds Traditional Stance on Same-sex Relationships,” July/August 2022) and for the anguish of synod in guiding an unruly flock. The report on human sexuality includes the many ways we sadly may hinder God’s love living in and through us. Jesus said we would suffer in following him. When tempted he simply quoted Scripture. Some today seem to read into the text for a way out. Thank you, synod, for staying true to God’s Word and guiding us in the Christian Reformed Church that I love.
Alice De Hooge // Mississauga, Ont.
The Banner editor warned members of the Christian Reformed Church about “loveless orthodoxy” in his recent editorial (“Beware Loveless Orthodoxy,” July/August 2022). The timing of it leaves an underlying insinuation, and the insinuation is that the recent decision by synod approving the sexuality report was not “loving orthodoxy” … while other organizations have praised the CRC for staying biblical and orthodox. I thank God for the delegates who voted for the pastoral sexuality report and who also will continue to humbly minister to all church members.
Marion D. Van Soelen // Hull, Iowa
In its treatment of human sexuality, Synod 2022 has settled for simplicity before complexity instead of pressing for simplicity beyond complexity, which is what Reformed thinking does best.
Rev. Phil Apol // Eaton Rapids, Mich.
Synod’s recent decision regarding human sexuality seemed to clearly place its delegates’ understanding of this issue—about which there is legitimate disagreement among faithful followers of Christ—over the love and unity which Christ commanded (John 13:34-35) and for which he prayed (John 17:3, 20-21). Commenting on these passages in The Mark of the Christian, Francis Schaeffer observed, “Love—and the unity it attests to—is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father.”
Jack Kooyman // Grand Rapids, Mich.
After reading much of the large Banner yesterday, I feel heavy with some of the burden of decision making that obviously weighed on the delegates from the time they were appointed. I express deep gratitude to those who struggled through those weighty choices and did come through with a decision. As individuals, our hearts go back and forth with conflicting stories and facts, but with so many prayers of so many Christians, God did guide synod to a decision right for this time. Thank you to you all! Also to the Banner staff for such excellent reporting—of feelings, conflicts, and joys along with the facts. You deserve the awards you receive!
Dawn Gebben // Grand Rapids, Mich.
Synod’s decision is unacceptable and regrettable to me and to many others. I’ve been a member of the CRC for 74 years, but this is a step way too far. I’m not sure which version of the Bible you are reading, but my version talks about a God with unconditional love even for such reprobates as lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors (meaning swindlers, cheaters, etc.), and sinners (probably all the unclean people of that day). To move into the direction of exclusivity is not acceptable to me and obviously to God either. … Let’s not judge, lest we be judged.
Joel Veldheer // Grand Rapids, Mich.
I read the recent synodical report on human sexuality with sadness. After much thought, prayer, and speaking with a CRC minister friend, my prime concerns are: 1. If the pagan lifestyle the apostle Paul describes in Romans 1 and in other New Testament verses was applicable to the Neland Ave. CRC couple, there is no way the congregation/council would have voted to add one of them to their diaconate. Clearly, the couple exemplifies a long-lasting, loving, Christian relationship. I think God is pleased with them (I have seen agreement from notable theologians on this point) and with Neland Ave. CRC ministering to the LGBTQ+ community. I suggest we give Neland Ave. CRC the benefit of the doubt and support them in prayer. 2. I’m appalled that synod voted to gag the CRC leadership through the confessional route. If you are that fearful of any criticism or other viewpoints, you should have tabled or voted down the motion.
Frank De Haan // Escondido, Calif.
Approximately 23 years ago our daughter Stephanie sat us down and told us she was a lesbian. Know that our entire family loves our daughter unconditionally. Stephanie is fully aware of the dilemma Synod 2022 had to deal with. We have discussed the possible ramifications of the decision. She has one opinion to share: “Please don’t let whatever decision is made divide this church! In a world where division is now more prevalent and hateful than ever, please remain a united church that believes Jesus died for my sins. Please don’t let Satan win by tearing this church of God apart. The world needs a united church that believes in Christ’s love, now more than ever!"
Sylvia Hooft // Edmonton, Alta.