Letters

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Communion Confusion

Regarding “What Happens at the Lord’s Supper?” (January 2007), Synod 2006’s decision about allowing baptized children to participate in communion left out an important ingredient at the Lord’s Supper: regeneration. Conversion, being born again, repentance, and faith are no longer necessary to sit at the table of the Lord. Water baptism is the only requirement. What about saving faith, circumcision of the heart (Jer. 9:25-26), and baptism of the heart (Rom. 10:9-10)?

—Kevin Hoekman
Caledonia, Mich.

Darfur

I sat dejectedly in my dorm room with tears streaming down my face after reading the article “Darfur: The Cost of Silence” by Ryan Reed (December 2006). Recognizing the intense human suffering that God’s people endure is heartbreaking. However, mourning alone does not fulfill Christ’s command to “take care of my sheep” (John 21:16). Reed included practical ways we can help alleviate the pain on the other side of the world. Now we have to act (John 13:17).

—Amber Hubers-KolkEdmonton, Alberta

Dear Santa

The Christian Reformed church, of which The Banner is the official magazine, would never confuse Santa with Jesus. Yet you have placed a letter to Santa on the Editorial page (“Dear Santa,” December 2006). What were you thinking?

—Nellie M. DeHaan
Smithville, Ontario

Although the tragedies of Darfur and AIDS orphans in Africa demand our attention, such human misery shouldn’t be a topic for an imaginary letter to a fictional Christmas story character. Santa Claus has no place in a Christ-centered publication.

—Joe A. Serge
Oshawa, Ontario

Western Gift Giving

As a Christian Reformed World Missions missionary for 17 years in a country near to where Mary Crickmore is based, I have to say that I can’t remember reading a better short article (“Bread, Stone, or Snake,” November 2006) on how we Westerners should give to the poor in the rest of the world. In counseling us to listen humbly, think hard, and discern carefully, Mary’s years of learning and service in West Africa show. Thanks for printing this piece along with its fine layout and illustration.

—Dave Campbell
Dalaba, Guinea, West Africa

Former Sem Prof Responds

As a well-qualified Calvin Theological Seminary professor, I was, without warning, removed from tenure track. The administration cites “confidentiality” (“Seminary Accused of Gender Discrimination,” December 2006), yet the board president states, “We made a point . . . that this was aired in front of everyone.” You can’t have it both ways. Also, I have never been offered “retroactive pay to 2003,” as the mediators called for. I have sought to have all the evidence opened. I believe the denomination should become involved in setting the record straight.

—Ruth Tucker, Ph.D.Grand Rapids, Mich.

Corrections

Calvin Seminary did not grant back wages to Dr. Ruth Tucker, nor is Tucker an ordained minister in the CRC. The Banner apologizes for the errors.

Disciplining a Sister Church

I was part author of an overture to synod years ago to terminate our ecclesiastical fellowship with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (GKN) on the grounds of their departure from some basic Reformed tenets. Synod decided not to terminate, but limit. I came to see its wisdom. A plea in the October 2006 Banner, “Don’t Turn Away,” written by a member of the PCN, together with the editorial “Discipleship vs. Discipline,” touches me. Nevertheless I believe Synod 2006 was right to maintain limited fellowship with the PCN, which includes the former GKN. I doubt the PCN will listen to its conservative wing, but with God all things are possible. This is not the time to terminate, but to pray that the Lord will lead our Interchurch Committee, and future synods, to bring the right closure to this matter in his time.

—Rev. J.D. EppingaGrand Rapids, Mich.

Never of One Mind

Speaking of the variety of viewpoints within denominations today, Rev. Scott Hoezee says, “Denominations are not the monoliths they once were” (“New CRC History Traces the Path of God’s Grace,” December 2006). They never were! Since its start with King Henry VIII, the Anglican Church, for instance, has always struggled with Catholic, Puritan, and liberal wings. And since its inception the Reformed Church in the Netherlands was similarly divided, as the Canons of Dort indicate. In the 19th century this diversity resulted in several splits. In Dutch Calvinism in Modern America,  author James Bratt adequately shows the division within the CRC long before the present diversity.

—Bert den Boggende
Brooks, Alberta

Re Homosexual Loved Ones

I was surprised and dismayed at the FAQ response given to the parents of a gay son (December 2006). In her answer as to whether they should meet their son’s partner, Judy Cook makes no mention of the spiritual or biblical aspects of being homosexual.

I was married for many years, and my husband left me because he is gay. He is now living with a man. Am I now expected to include the two of them in our family gatherings? What kind of message does that send to our children and grandchildren?

As I understand the Bible, pursuing a homosexual lifestyle is wrong (1 Cor. 6:9). If we truly love someone who is gay, shouldn’t we point him toward what God says, and encourage him to seek help with those feelings?

—Catherine DeJong
North Augusta, Ontario

Unhappiness OK

Your November editorial “Give Thanks for What Exactly?” was right on target. God allows his children to be human.

—Rev. Robert S. Vander SchaafOrange City, Iowa

Not Your Mother’s Coffee Break Convention

I was disappointed in the above titled article in your October issue. Why were comparisons made to the former Coffee Break conventions? This wasn’t a Coffee Break Convention but a Small Group Evangelism Conference. I got the impression from the article that the author was upset the SGE Conference wasn’t a Coffee Break Convention for women only. I, for one, had a wonderful, Spirit-filled experience.

—Mitzi WhiteLong Beach, Calif.

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