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Letters: February 2011

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The Banner invites letters in response to articles that have appeared in this magazine. All letters will be considered for publication (both print and online) unless marked “Not for Publication.” They should be no longer than 100 words and may be edited for length or clarity. We will not publish anonymous letters; however, we may withhold names upon request. Letters may be mailed to Rev. Bob De Moor at The Banner, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560; faxed to 616-224-0834; or e-mailed to editorial@thebanner.org. Please include your full name and location. Letters printed on these pages or online do not necessarily express the views of The Banner or the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

Don’t Burn Your Shoes

In your editorial in the November Banner, you mention your hope that “we will have succeeded in ‘burning our wooden shoes’” (“Now What?”). I hope that never happens. Our church’s past is predominately Dutch. However our “Dutchness” need not define where we are going. I too hope the CRC will become more representative of the throngs gathered around Christ’s throne (Rev. 7:9). But let’s us recognize our past and appreciate it. We can put the wooden shoes on a shelf and look at them, not idolize or idealize them but recognize them as part of where we have come from.

—Andrew ZomermanGrand Rapids, Mich.

The “wooden shoe attitude” is one (formerly) of staunch conservatism that held fast to our beliefs. Since the initial “burn the wooden shoes” Banner in the 1970s, the CRC appears to have given up what is scriptural for political correctness. We have begun to question infant baptism and to allow quasi-Pentecostal movements. Many churches’ worship consists of a form of fast-food Jesus pep-talk complete with musical and theological garbage.  How, exactly, has this burning of the wooden shoes benefited the denomination?

A few years ago we visited a church in the Southwest U.S. Had it not had the CRC name still on the sign, we would have had no idea it was part of our denomination. (And the pastor was well known for complaining about Dutch people bringing Dutch dishes and desserts to the church suppers, as this was not his heritage.)

It is unfair and shameful to demand we give up our heritage and meaningful traditions, as they are an integral part of who we are.

—Kevin DeYagerPeoria, Ariz.

CRC-RCA Merger?

Editor De Moor writes of his hopes for 150 years from now, “I hope we’ll have merged back with the Reformed Church in America, from whom we should never have broken away in the first place” (“Now What?” November, p. 6). Then News Editor Gayla Postma applauds our steps toward unity, downplaying the Masonic Lodge issue as “seem[ing] trivial today” (“The RCA: Our Closest Friend,” p. 16). Yet any perusal of the cult section in a typical Christian bookstore reveals that the Masonic Lodge (and similar groups) is truly a cult from a biblical perspective. Entire Christian denominations and schools, not to mention local churches, have been eroded or devastated by nondiscerning acceptance of Masonic Lodge members.

So important questions remain: Will unity/merger talks require the RCA to clean house and desist from this cultic acceptance? Or will the CRC compromise on such an important gospel issue (see Gal. 1:6-9)? This is far from trivial.

—Rev. Stephen WhatleyFaith Evangelical SeminaryTacoma, Wash.

CorrectionsThe last part of Barbara Carvill’s article “Christmas 1947” was inadvertently cut off in the December issue. The final sentence should have ended, “I knew that Someone in heaven saw me, a 7-year-old German girl racing jubilantly with her new scooter through the dark and deserted streets of her village, feeling blessed, chosen, and gifted with a present much too large to grasp.” Regarding John and Ruth Hoekwater’s coffee shop ministry in Chicago (p. 32, December), Rogers Park is not a suburb of Chicago but one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the actual city.The Banner apologizes for the errors.

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