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Obeying the Great Commission

Jason De Vries rightly urges us to rethink the Great Commission because it is a succinct description of the church’s mission on earth (“Reapplying the Great Commission,” October 2008). When Jesus commissioned his followers to disciple the nations of the world, he told us to do two things. First, we must call sinners to a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins because a day is coming when God will judge the world. Second, we must teach each other to obey everything that Jesus commanded us. These two things are missing from this article, and I suspect they are also missing from the way we do evangelism today. If so, that is a profound source of weakness.

—Rev. Norman ShepherdHolland, Mich.

Sack The Shack?

I enjoyed the book review by Syd Hielema of The Shack (“Meeting God at the Shack,” September 2008). I too enjoyed the book and recommend it. It has evoked many pleasing conversations and interesting questions. Our church (Rosewood CRC of Bellflower, Calif.) offered a class on it for five weeks, and I’m sure God was pleased with the discussions that took place. But I also suggest that before you read any book, ask God to open your eyes to see what he has for you and close them to what he doesn’t.

—Pat VerhoevenArtesia, Calif.

The Shack came highly recommended, but after reading more than 100 pages, I saw a god of man’s making rather than the holy and awesome God of the Bible.

—Harley TenElshofGrant, Mich.

Whether the book is an allegory makes no difference. It makes a graven image by humanizing the Trinity. I fear that many good people will misunderstand the true nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Shame on The Banner for encouraging Christians to read such a misleading and deceptive book.

—Mike SimmonsCawker City, Kan.

Christian Schools

I appreciated the sensitive article “Questions for Christian Schools” by Sue Hasseler (September 2008). Still, I cannot agree that the primary aim of Christian education should be the bringing of shalom.

Although it is a laudatory by-product, Christian schools are not, ought not be, set up with the purpose of producing shalom and “bringing joy and justice to the world.” What then, are they all about? Few have said it better than Nicholas Wolterstorff in an address titled “Curriculum by What Standard?” given at the 1966 Principals Conference at Calvin Theological Seminary:

“The curriculum for Christian education is for Christian life. It is not for the training of theological sophisticates, not for the continuation of the evangelical churches, not for the preservation of Christian enclaves, not for getting to heaven, not for service to the state, not for defeating the Communists, not for preserving the United States or Canada, not for life adjustment, not for cultivating the life of the mind, not for producing learned and cultured [people]. Christian education is for Christian life.”

—Frank DeVries,Richmond, British Columbia

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