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New Reformed Body

The new Reformed body constitution (February, World News) reminds me of the signing of the United Religions Initiative that took place in June of 2000, which gave birth to uniting religions under one organization (umbrella). In past decades our churches have been and are making sweeping doctrinal changes to the point of political correctness. We are removing so- called “offenses” as it relates to church office, communion, the Ten Commandments, sexual diversity, and other religions—not to mention words like judgment, hell, and repentance. Could the CRC be on the path to the one-world religious system, perhaps unknowingly?

— Kevin Hoekman
Caledonia, Mich.

Movie Reviews

What is the obsession with movies in The Banner? The February issue has four pages on movies/DVDs, plus letters to the editor on Harry Potter.

Are movies the most pressing issue in the CRC now?

—Dawn Gibben
Ripon, Calif.

Obtaining a Visa

Thanks for reporting the frustrating visa problems faced by Rev. Joyce Borger.

Visa problems also affected the January 2008 Symposium on Worship at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) in Grand Rapids, Mich.: 73 pastors and church leaders from 17 countries were denied visas at U.S. embassies and so were unable to attend (120 from 38 countries overseas did get visas, attending along with about 1,400 from the United States and Canada). The denial of visas seemed arbitrary in many cases, to the great frustration of applicants who often spent significant time and money to travel to the embassy and pay the application fees. While fear of terrorism requires caution on the part of embassy officials, arbitrary treatment does not win any friends for the U.S. and is a very sad comment on this country.

—Emily R. BrinkGrand Rapids, Mich.Senior research fellow at CICW

Note: We are pleased to report that Joyce Borger’s visa was approved in early March.  

The Golden Compass

While I appreciated the direction Dr. Bruinsma followed in his cautions against the works of Philip Pullman (Finding Our Way with The Golden Compass,

February), especially the virus metaphor, I was worried by his mistakes in critiquing them. He states that the events of the film take place in “our world in an indeterminate time” when in fact they occur in an alternate universe—a key fact when debating this movie. Far more grievously, Bruinsma states that it is Satan who is contemplating the use of “dark materials to create more worlds” when in fact it is God (in the works of Milton—note the capitalization of “His”) who wields that power. This is another point that stresses the approach of Pullman, who is attempting to metaphorically re-write Genesis (through the works of John Milton) from an atheist perspective.

As we all know, when marching into a spiritual battle it is paramount that we wear the proper armor. In this manner, when defending our beliefs against the attacks of this world we must have all the facts clearly researched before giving our enemies holes through which they can take the advantage.

Please, when mounting an argument either for or against something, make sure you have researched both sides! Do not allow yourself to be overcome by a weak virus because you have refused to build up your immunity!  

—Kevin Otter
Cobourg, Ontario

What a disappointment to read the article from Dr.  Bruinsma on The Golden Compass. Christians are to be informed on all the evils of Satan, but to be informed does not mean to immerse oneself in the culture of Satan. If Pullman is the avowed atheist he claims to be, then we, as Christians, are to separate ourselves from him. God states in the Bible that we are not to expose ourselves to that which would separate us from God (Rom.12:2, 21). I believe that is what Pullman is trying to do with The Golden Compass and his other books (Matt.18:6-7).

—Paula Blauwkamp
Jenison, Mich.

I was very happy to see my former professor take a look at The Golden Compass from a thoughtful Christian perspective. His conclusions were logical and well-constructed, and I appreciate how he took the time to provide some context to the movie and to his explanations.

I want to believe the Christian readers of The Banner will contribute a thought-filled critique of the article and not simply give a knee-jerk reaction. If we want to break the stereotypes that some non-Christians have of Christians (unthinking, mindless, unreasonable drones), it is our responsibility to start thinking and reasoning. We can, after all, love our neighbor and have an intelligent, logical discussion about our faith with them.

—Remco Dalmaijer
Edmonton, Alberta

I would like to commend Dr. Bruinsma for his perspective on dealing with controversial material like The Golden Compass. It is easy to take a moral high road and stand our ground, but defenses are strengthened by knowledge and wisdom.

Whether it’s The Golden Compass, Harry Potter, or any other issue, we need to know three things to sustain ourselves: First and foremost is a thorough understanding of what we believe in and why. More than simply knowing the doctrinal standpoint, we must truly understand the cornerstones of our faith and why we have and live out the values we do. Second is to know and engage the controversy full on. Jesus and the disciples never shied away from those who confronted them; instead they addressed them with surety of faith, always maintaining strength through knowledge, humility, and respect.

And finally, we must remember to extend Christian love and grace to others, regardless of their position. Jesus loved those that the society and the church of his day condemned. We should do no less.

—Rev. Dave Sutherland
Chaplain to 1 Combat Engineer Regiment
CFB Edmonton, Alberta

I applaud the statement of Dr. Bruinsma that says we should help Christians to “develop critical tools to discern the spirits of the ages so they can discuss issues.”

I have not read The Golden Compass nor have I seen the movie. I have heard and read all the hype concerning Pullman’s work, and the first mistake we make when we hear of something new such as The Golden Compass or any of the Harry Potter books is to believe what others tell us. For anything and everything in this world we must make up our own minds and not spout off on things we have not seen or read. I do believe that we should be able to read anything we so desire, no matter who wrote or created it. What could we be afraid of? New ideas, controversy, argument?

—John Bood
Nepean, Ontario

Law of Love?

What a revolutionary proposal—to radically examine our traditions (February, Editorial).

I have a few questions about our annual Easter too. Why that name? Why that date? Why color eggs? Why play hide and seek with those same eggs? Why ham dinner? When was the original resurrection? To what holiday did God attach the Lamb’s once-for-all sacrifice? What if we reinstituted only holidays that God, in his love, gave us? It certainly would set the church apart from society! Thanks for your radical suggestion.

—Jill BakerMcBain, Mich.

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