9-11 After 5
I have problems with the editorial “9-11 After 5” (September 2006), especially with the analysis expressed in “reaps the whirlwind.” Yes, much has been and is wrong in Western society. But to posit that, after all, 9-11 was the United States’ or the West’s own fault, we had it coming, is simplistic in the extreme. Reading, among other writings, Paul Marshall’s Islam at the Crossroads has led me to a different conclusion.
—Hank KuntzEtobicoke, Ontario
Team Ministry that Works
I was delighted to read that Rev. Peter Jonker and Rev. Mike Abma get along so well and minister to each other and their congregation as a team (“An Impossible Dream?” August 2006).
After working as a consultant for 35 years in team-management building, partnership development, and organizational development for many ministries, churches, and corporations, I would like to add one key factor among many: What is a must in team ministry is that two people, as in any good marriage, must have a natural chemistry match with each other, like each other, and enjoy each other’s company. I have rarely seen it work for any length of time in any other manner.
—Marten A. MolAurora, Ontario
Is God Responsible?
Regarding “Is God Responsible?” (August 2006), God reveals over and over in Scripture that he actively governs all he created.
Human reason cannot answer the paradox of God’s control and our responsibility, nor why God acts as he does (except to glorify his name), nor why he gives Satan such a long leash. Hard as it is for us Western rationalists to admit, we don’t need those answers. We need only to know that God assures us that he will never leave or forsake those who trust in him. Our job is not first of all the pursuit of happiness but to take up our cross and follow him. “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord” is a disdained confession in an age when the sovereignty of the self is the operational doctrine.
—Marian Van TilYoungstown, N.Y.
I think it’s great that Cara Daining encourages Banner readers to consider computer games and Christianity (July 2006, p. 22). Unfortunately, just because those games are prettier doesn’t mean they’re better than they used to be.
Computer game culture needs Christians to do more than just take existing games and slap on cheesy, simplified spiritual themes. We need Christian gamemakers who are not overly worried about the rich, middleclass evangelicals who represent only part of their potential market. We need an alternative creative vision, one that takes the medium seriously and produces games that impress both people who belong to our community and people outside of it. Robyn and Rand Miller did this with the smash hit Myst in the early 1990s, but since then we’ve seen precious few games as strikingly artistic and entertaining that provide a real alternative to the mechanical, poweroriented gameworlds that dominate today’s market. Something that did would be a Christian game worth playing.
—Kevin SchutTrinity Western UniversityLangley, British Columbia
I wanted to write a note of praise for the July 2006 issue of The Banner in which the traditional church was recognized in two separate articles. In both “In Praise of Traditional Worship” by Rev. Stan Mast and “Roots” by Rev. Jacob D. Eppinga, the blessings of traditional worship were recognized as a viable option for many Christian worshipers. We are often swept away with the push for change. Embracing all worship styles, even traditional worship, was a wonderful reminder of a different kind of diversity in the CRC.
—Roy VisserCoopersville, Mich.
War & Peace
The decisions of Synod 2006 on the issues of war and peace are surely a step in the right direction (July 2006). It’s encouraging to see a greater emphasis on issues of peace.
My concern is this: the original recommendation of the synodical committee still accepts the just-war theory. While the Christian church has generally remained consistent to its definitions of the just-war theory through the years, we have witnessed the way governments have been continually redefining the theory.
So here is the problem: Synod condemns preventive military actions. Synod approves an impressive decision on peacemaking. So how will these decisions trickle down to the typical member of the Christian Reformed Church? Drive through some church parking lots on a typical Sunday morning. Do the bumper stickers reflect these decisions on peacemaking?
—Marvin Van WyckPalos Heights, Ill.
Why are we as a denomination spending so much time addressing the “pre-emptive strike” issue in our country?
To say it’s wrong to make a pre-emptive strike on a country is plainly a political issue, which really doesn’t belong in meetings such as synod. What really is going on here is a statement that you are against the president and his policies. If this country would stand behind our president during this time of war, our soldiers wouldn’t be getting all these mixed messages from home.
Do we just stand by and allow the terrorists’ tyranny and killing of innocent victims, or do we rally around a president who chooses to stand up to this evil and by doing so, spread freedom to these tormented countries?
—Lois HoekemaEverson, Wash.
The Synod Banner states that “Synod 2006 maintained an overt sense of unity.” The question is, “Unity for whom?”
It seems that those who have a conviction against women in church office are the only ones who are to “bow to each other in gratitude and humility,” despite going against what we believe the Bible tells us. For example, every communion station during synod’s opening worship service had at least one woman serving, causing some delegates to refrain from participating—unity?!
The definition of compromise is “a settling of matters by mutual adjustment, each side making some concessions.” By allowing women to serve in the offices of minister, elder, and ministry associate, the concession is wholly on the part of those who are against it.
—John and Karen van MeggelenHolland Marsh, Ontario