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Synod 2007

As a confessionally committed pastor in the Christian Reformed Church, I’m grieved by Synod 2007’s action in keeping with previous decisions about women in church office, especially with the opening of synodical delegation to women elders (“Synod Opens the Way for Women,” July 2007).

As disappointed as I am, I appreciate the recognition of conscience that synod retained for office-holders like myself. It makes me still feel welcome in a denomination that continues to change in directions that I would not prefer. This church taught me the Reformed faith, and though she is imperfect—just as I am an imperfect servant—I will still have her, as long as she will have me.

—Rev. Jeff VoorheesHolland, Mich.

I have been reading the decisions of Synod 2007 and found one item that somewhat surprised me regarding the new hymnal to be ready for 2013 (“New Hymnal Planned,” July). The new hymnal will not include the “Heidelberg Catechism,” one of the three confessions of the CRC. Just because the Reformed Church in America uses a different version of the catechism, we are to exclude one of the most-used and loved doctrines of our church? Surely a way can be found to include it that will please both denominations.

—Jess VanderveenAbbotsford, British Columbia

Thank you for your well-balanced reflection on the relationship of synod to our churches (“Our Widest Assembly,” June 2007). This editorial is timely in reminding us of the value and place that synod has in the life of our denomination. I pray that others will be of the same mind and heart as well.

—Rev. Chris SchoonGrand Rapids, Mich.

Remembering the Military

I was truly privileged to attend the 150th anniversary worship service June 12 in Grand Rapids, Mich. (“Celebrating 150 Years,” July). It was uplifting and moving—a tremendous testament of God’s faithfulness to the CRC. My congratulations and thanks to all who were involved in planning and implementing it.

It was unfortunate, though, that nothing was mentioned about our men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. There were, no doubt, many people in attendance who had family and friends directly affected by this war and who would have appreciated acknowledgement and prayers for their loved ones.

—Dianne AlgeraOntario Chaplain AdvisorPort Hope, Ontario

Unworthy Recommendations

I believe the June issue of The Banner is the second issue in the past two or three months to feature a book review that stated a reviewed book contains profanity. This month the review for Rasputin’s Daughter also stated it contains sexually explicit scenes. I see no value in printing reviews of books that contain foul language or graphic sexual references. To print a review is to recommend a book to your readers. At all times we need to set a good example to our young people. This is not a good example.

—Ken ChambersBrighton, Ontario

Mourning a Miscarriage

While I found Dr. Herman Borkent’s answer informative, I felt it didn’t answer the heart of the young woman’s question regarding her miscarriage (FAQs, June). I think she wasn’t seeking a biological answer so much as a spiritual one. It’s natural to wonder what has happened to the baby and also how to deal with her disappointment and sorrow. People don’t know how to address you afterward. Instead of expressing sorrow for your loss, many pretend the baby never happened. I hope this goes better for her than it did for me 29 years ago.  

The Bible doesn’t directly address what happens to these children, but I have no doubt my child is in heaven. I found comfort in William Hendriksen’s book The Bible and the Life Hereafter. One of the best things someone did say to me was, “Your baby has gone from the security of the womb to the security of heaven.”

—Linda TerborgTinley Park, Ill.

If you are going to give medical information, you might as well be complete. More than 60 percent of miscarriages result from chromosomal defects in the fetus due to maternal or paternal factors. Chromosomal abnormalities occur in 26 percent of human oocytes (eggs) and 10 percent of sperm. (See www.drkoop.com, healthcentral.com, healthscout.com, and http://members.tripod.com/airtech/infertility.htm.)

—Anna L. WuerfelGrosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

Children and Communion

I was delighted to read Syd Hielema’s advocacy of covenant communion (“Deep-in-the-Bones Belonging,” June). For far too long Reformed practice has failed to match its theology. We believe that our children belong to God, that they are heirs of the covenant and members of the church of Jesus Christ. That’s why we baptize them. Through baptism, we gain access to the Table. I most heartily commend the practice of covenant communion because our children’s need to feed on Jesus is just as great as our own.

—Rev. Garry VanderveenLangley, British Columbia

I am an ordained pastor who is both a civilian and military chaplain with the CRC. I have long believed that children of all ages should be permitted at the Lord’s Table, and that to exclude them not only violates our covenant theology but withholds from them the means of grace.

—Rev. Dale D. EllensRock Valley, Iowa

The CRC does not practice believer’s baptism upon one’s conversion (Mark 16:16) but profession of faith instead, fulfilling the promise of baptism (same truth and conclusion, different method and emphases). See Romans 10:9-10. Either way, being born again through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ alone is essential for salvation (Acts 20:21, Gal. 3:22-24). The new teaching being embraced in the CRC is that any baptized person can participate in communion regardless of whether they have been regenerated. This assumes you are saved until proven otherwise, undermining the whole redemption plan of salvation and forsaking, “By grace you have been saved, through faith” (Eph. 2:8). Is Scripture not clear?

—Kevin HoekmanCaledonia, MI

See “No Communion Without Profession,” July Banner (p. 32) to find out what Synod 2007 decided regarding this matter. —Editor

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