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I agree with Dr. Steve Robbins that reducing our definition of racism to person-to-person acts helps us scapegoat and further alienate those among us who are poor or powerless (“Are We Wrong About Racism?” September 2006).

Focusing our outrage on the actions of people serves to divert our attention so that our strategic choices about the location of our homes, churches, and schools can remain whitewashed as racially irrelevant, and our leaders can remain esteemed for their wise stewardship of our assets.

—Jessica GroenHammond, Ind.

Pastoral Care

Rev. Dirk Evans says in his article “Correcting a Structural Heresy,” September 2006, that “ministers aren’t supposed to be the only ones providing pastoral care.” May I suggest that one method to correct this heresy is to revise the Church Order of the Christian Reformed Church 2006, Article 65, which is in almost direct conflict as it states that “the officebearers of the church shall extend pastoral care to all members of the congregation and to others whenever possible by calling and encouraging them to live by faith, conducting annual home visitation, seeking to restore those who err in doctrine or life, and comforting and giving assistance in adversity”?

Replacing the phrase “conducting the annual home visitation” with “implementing the (local church) care delivery plan” and adding at the end “as well as by facilitating and organizing, training and empowering the membership” would go a long way toward improvement.

The general denominational attitude/practice represented by Article 65 is quite a distance from Kuyper’s service of love concept.

—John LemstraAncaster, Ontario

Christian Service

I just read Rev. Jerry Dykstra’s article in the September issue (“Dear Reader,” Church@Work). It strongly underscores the Christian Reformed Church’s commitment to service. That’s a high calling.

However, service has a dark side also. As one in Christian service, I know it all too well.

Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost for His Highest said, “Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. . . .  The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. . . . Are we more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?” If so, we have lost our first love.

—John SpanCRWM, Guinea


As Wesley Heersink’s victim advocate, several things remain of great concern to me (“Abuse Victim Dies, Leaves Legacy,” September 2006).

As a denomination we (1) do not understand the horrendous damage that comes from childhood sexual abuse, (2) do not understand well that childhood sexual abuse done by a church leader complicates and compounds the healing process of the victim, (3) do not know how to appropriately respond to abuse victims, and (4) emphasize “process and procedure” at the cost of revictimizing the victim.

Because Wesley did not find justice by presenting his case to the church, he intended to look at civil suits to find what he needed to heal. But then God intervened and gave to Wesley what we chose not to: peace.

—Judy De WitFridley, Minn.


When you wrote “Allah Akbar” in your September editorial you promoted a false god.

In their book Unveiling Islam, Erguna and Emir Caner, former Muslims and now Christian ministers write, “Is Allah triune? Does Allah have a Son? Is Allah the vicarious Redeemer and atoning Lamb of God, taking away the sins of the world? If not, then we are not talking about the same God.”

Allah is not Yahweh, the God of the Bible. Muslims do not believe in the Trinity. They do not believe Christ is Yahweh’s son. They do not believe in salvation by grace. They believe in salvation—attaining heaven—by works.

Let us not, in our church magazine, promote political correctness. There is only one true God—Yahweh, Jehovah—and only one way to eternal salvation, Christ the Son, who is “the way, the truth, and the life.”

—Douglas DeVriesAnchorage, Alaska

War on Terrorism

I have grown increasingly disturbed by the large number of columns, letters, and denominational papers against the U.S. war on Islamic terrorism that have been published by The Banner lately (for example, see “Synod Calls Church to Work for Peace, Shalom,” July 2006). While some may be well-meaning, it seems obvious that many are partisan and political, while dishonestly hiding behind a “just war” cloak.

For example, during the U.S.’s actions in Kosovo in 1999, Human Rights Watch estimates that 3,000 to 5,000 innocent civilians were killed in the bombing, while scattering hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Can I assume that these same writers were writing similar letters and columns questioning whether that was a “just war”? Did our synod that year spend many hours discussing U.S. policy and voting on a resolution to publicly question it?

 —Marc PetersonGrand Rapids, Mich.

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