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Promoting Peace

It was good to read Rev. Brian Berghoef’s “Reflection for Independence Day” (June 2009). Berghoef raises important questions about our patriotic observances and how our casual acceptance of war and violence in the campaign against terror are contrary to Christ’s teachings.

There is, of course, a place for a moderate defense of life and property, but we have gone far beyond that into a Rome-like international posture of power and dominance.

We have “nationalized” our Christianity and forgotten (or ignored) Jesus’ teachings on love and peace and a kingdom that “is not of this world.” That nationalism has co-opted our faith so that we no longer detect the fundamental difference between the two.

—George De Vries Jr.Orange City, Iowa

I had been wondering these years, Where are the prophets in the CRC?

Thank you.

—Jake PrinsGrand Rapids, Mich.

I was incredibly surprised and dismayed that The Banner would print such a skewed line of thinking. Rev. Berghoef asks, “Is our confidence for well-being based on our military might?” No, it is not, which is why we pray to God for the safety of our soldiers and for men and women of any country who are killed as bystanders to war.

“Shouldn’t our prayers go out for peace rather than victory (which equals peace at the cost of more deaths)?” Yes and no. Peace can sometimes be achieved only through victory. Ask those who suffered slavery but were freed through the Civil War. Ask those who suffered under Hitler but were liberated by soldiers with weapons. Do we pray for peace? Yes, but we also sometimes must pray for victory.

—Rose FrasierGrand Rapids, Mich.

I appreciated this article and “The Presence of Christ in a War Zone” by Rev. Gordon Terpstra, also in the June Banner. Iraq is no longer a front-page story. I believe that it is important for the CRC to remember that currently there are more than 2 million Iraqi refugees and displaced persons. Among them is a high percentage of Iraqi Christians. Before the 2003 American invasion, Iraq had between 800,000 to 1 million Christians. The invasion has been a disaster for the Iraqi Christian church. For a long time now, I have encouraged the CRC to at least offer a cup of cold water to the displaced Iraqi civilians, which includes a good percentage of Iraqi Christians. It is the least that we can do, and it is what Jesus would have us do.

—Neal BierlingAda, Mich.

Thank you. We plan to run a special report on the Iraqi church in the next few months.


Youths at Synod

The editorial “More Bounce in Our Step” (July 2009) encourages the Christian Reformed Church to turn youth observers into youth advisers at synod. I agree wholeheartedly! However, when they reach age 24 and perhaps are serving as deacons in their home churches, who will tell them they are no longer welcome at synod?  When will this discrimination be dealt with? When will the CRC properly recognize the importance of this vast work of mercy and its essential influence in synodical decision making? (And how will the average age of representatives to synod ever drop below age 60?)

—Greta LuimesStittsville, Ontario

I totally agree with you that our younger members need to be given the opportunity to speak and be heard at synod (and in many of our other ministries as well). I’m hoping this can move forward quickly rather than take years to provide, as that is one of the concerns of our younger folks—that the CRC moves much too slowly and doesn’t always respond toward positive changes very quickly, while the world and other parts of the church are changing and adapting much more rapidly.

—Cal JenGrand Rapids, Mich.

The Belhar

Our first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, and, second, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.  (Mark 12:30-31). If Christians won’t obey these commands, what audacity makes some feel that the manmade doctrine of the Belhar Confession is superior and thus more likely to be honored and obeyed?

—Janet DunningKentwood, Mich.

Since we are considering the adoption of a new confession (the Belhar), it seems good to mention the Accra Confession adopted by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. Since it has been adopted by the WARC, might it not be a good time to get on board?  

—William (Bill) SteeleToronto, Ontario

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