Grief for the Unborn
I was thrilled to finally see an article on the grief of miscarriage (“Losses of the Heart,” November 2006). It’s so unfortunate that it takes a loss to find compassion for those of us who have had unborn babies die. My husband and I mourn the loss of four of our seven babies. Those children are safe in the arms of Jesus now, but how we wish we could have met them. Thank you for publishing this article.
—Robyn Bezuyen Beamsville, Ontario
Eight Days of Silence
Kudos to The Banner for running “Eight Days of Silence” (November 2006). The integration of silence, prayer, and soul care is a highly effective and moving experience to deepen one’s inner prayer life and relationship with God. Rev. Phil Reinders’s description echoed my own experience.
Just in case anyone in western Canada is interested in experiencing this, Glad Tidings CRC of Edmonton, Alberta, regularly coordinates silent-oriented weekend prayer retreats at Providence Renewal Center. These weekends provide a sampling of a richer, deeper prayer life and also allow opportunity to meet with a spiritual director. Please contact our pastor, Rev. Ron Klok, if you would like more information (780—454 —1936).
—Michael Stolte Edmonton, Alberta
After reading this article I was left to wonder why brother Reinders would encourage us to go back to the monasteries and mystical teachings of the Roman Church. Martin Luther proclaimed these things to be in complete contradiction to the clear teachings of God’s Word. Jesus was not a monastic. He told us that he is the Way and the Truth and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through him. He called us to proclaim the gospel to every nation (Matt 28:16 -20). It concerns me greatly to see The Banner present an article like this that I believe has the potential to lead us away from the doctrines of grace. Especially at a time when we are supposed to celebrate them as God’s gift to the church.
—Ron Triemstra Hawkestone, Ontario
A Gay Son’s Visit
To address all the profound issues involved in being the parents of an adult gay child is impossible in a brief response. But when I read the answer to the couple that wrote for advice in regard to their gay son (FAQs, November 2006), I thought they probably felt shamed by the terse “No” to their question “Our son is gay. Should we refuse to meet his partner?”
I believe it would have been far more helpful to begin by recognizing the intense pain the couple must feel because of their son’s lifestyle, then to give them gentle direction for dealing with their heart-wrenching situation. Both the parents and the son are caught up in the quagmire of sin and need direction for dealing with their pain and brokenness.
Also, to suggest that the parents should treat him the same as a son or daughter who brought home a heterosexual significant other is to downplay his sin and their pain and loss. I hope the parents and their son will receive the compassionate Christian counseling that they undoubtedly need.
—Rev. Paul Hoekstra Bellflower, Calif.
Faith and Happiness
In the November issue, Banner editor Bob DeMoor put these two sentences together: “[Jesus] didn’t come down to make us happy. He came to bring us back to our Father” (Editorial, “Give Thanks for What Exactly?”). While I agree that Jesus’ ultimate goal was to bring us to the Father (1 Pet. 3:18), these sentences together suggest that coming to the Father has nothing to do with or is the opposite of making people happy. To say that Jesus did not come down to make us happy rips the center out of the Christian faith and out of human life. “All [people] seek happiness,” said philosopher Blaise Pascal ( Pensees, thought No. 425). That’s the way God created us. The human problem is not that we seek joy and happiness, but that we seek it in the wrong places. Jesus came so we would find our happiness in God.
—Rev. Johannes Schouten Edmonton, Alberta
Thanks so much for running a review of a computer game in the “Tuned In” section of The Banner (November 2006). Re—Mission is an obvious redemptive use of technology and specifically video games. Popular Christian opinion needs to change with respect to the realm of video-game technology. These games are a way to play with technology—creative exploration of God’s creation. We don’t dismiss magazines just because there are a host of pornographic and other troublesome publications. Why do we do this with video games? Perhaps it’s time we stopped being scared of this new realm and started working to redeem it for the gift it really is and can be!
—Kevin Huinink Guelph, Ontario
Shiao Chong’s response to a question regarding the situation of souls after death (FAQs, October 2006) rightly counseled caution in speculating about the afterlife and was on good grounds in pointing to the first half of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 57 (and related biblical texts) in defense of the view that dead Christians are presently with Christ.
Noticeably and distressingly absent, however, was any mention of the fact that the prevailing biblical and creedal focus in eschatological matters is the resurrection of the body, rather than the location of disembodied souls. In other words, the second half of Q&A 57 should also have received attention.
—Matthew D. Lundberg Grand Rapids, Mich.Fresh FAITH
Perhaps Rev. Jim Osterhouse’s new acrostic (“The Trouble with TULIP,” October 2006) will serve to rekindle interest in the basics of Reformed Christianity and combat the wave of semi—Pelagianism that pervades the evangelical Christian church today. Our congregations blithely sing lyrics that blatantly espouse Arminian doctrine, and sermons on various 40—day initiatives do little to explain the glorious truths of Scripture rediscovered in the Reformation.
Although FAITH is also subject to misinterpretation (for example, Fallen Humanity might suggest a mere mishap rather than a fatal event), perhaps its novelty will help many realize that God, not human beings, is Sovereign in the universe.
—Peter B. Schipma Lemont, Ill.