After reading the editorial “Glenda’s Revelation” in the February Banner, I support even more the recent proposal to republish Kuyper’s volumes on common grace and have them translated. The way you treated this subject was not up to Banner or Reformed standards.
—Rimmer De Vries
Camano Island, Wash.
I just read your February editorial. It’s a keeper for sure. You said a lot in very few words. No small feat. So basic. So Reformed. I also appreciated your January editorial, “Times and Seasons,” very much. Another keeper. The editorials provide a path to help us figure our way through the difficult issues that threaten to divide. Both pieces made me laugh too. That never hurts.
Note: My editorial was obviously read in two very different ways. My intent was not to ridicule but to strongly support Dr. Oppewal’s contention that we need to carefully study both “books”: creation and Scripture. I intended only to signal one (minor) hesitation. I’m not as confident as Oppewal that carefully examining both books (as we should) will actually lead us to greater unity on controversial issues. On that I sincerely hope that he is right and I am wrong.
Conversation About Revelation
I am a social scientist, and I teach at an evangelical college. I found Donald Oppewal’s article “General and Special Revelation in Conversation” (February 2006) engaging and reaffirming. To hear again the terms “special revelation” and “general revelation” was good, reminding me of a Reformed framework for understanding God and the people of God. Although many evangelicals would use both types of revelation in answering many questions of life, I have yet to hear this helpful terminology and do not hear of “general revelation” in any doctrinal sense. No doubt Oppewal’s argument and examples will garner the attention of many (for and against). But I affirm this viewpoint, that we see the “two sources as interdependent,” that we see them as complements.
I was somewhat dismayed by Dr. Oppewal’s ideas about general revelation. He seemed to be saying that general revelation should be equal with special revelation. But he forgets that we live in a fallen world. Therefore, although general revelation does tell us something about God and his moral commands, it does so in a very imperfect manner. Oppewal seems to suggest that homosexuality could be justified on the basis of general revelation. That is flawed reasoning because if that were the case we could justify every deviant behavior imaginable. Special revelation is a superior revelation and should always trump the revelation we receive from a fallen world, irrespective of what Berkhof might say.
Note: We received a much longer letter on this topic from Calvin DeWitt, an environmental scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that we could not include here but did want to make available as we continue this discussion. You can find it online at www.thebanner.org.
War and Peace
I disagree strongly with the findings of the Christian Reformed Church’s Committee on War and Peace (“Committee on War and Peace Reports,” February 2006). According to the committee, “Preventive war, initiating military action against a country that poses no near-term threat, is little more than illegitimate aggression.” So, apparently, the invasion of Iraq is now morally on the same level as the invasion of Poland in 1939. Let’s be very clear: aggression is warfare without a just cause, for the sole purpose of conquest. Aggression is what Osama bin Laden did to us on 9/11. Aggression is what his buddy Saddam Hussein was planning to do against Israel and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as soon as he became strong enough. So that threat wasn’t “near-term.” Why would it be more moral to risk millions of lives by waiting until it was “near-term” to take him out? I fear that the CRC is losing its moral compass in a time when it is most desperately needed.
Faith and Sports
I enjoyed reading the article “Going to the Extreme” (January 2006). When my son raced in motocross for a few years, I didn’t approve. But we went to his races, even during my chemo treatments for cancer. My fears diminished as I prayed for myself, him, and others. The one thing that really hit me the most was when he told me he invited Jesus to ride with him, and “He did!”
Jesus wants to use all of us in different ways of life. How is the message of Jesus going to reach young people involved in these sports unless Christians get involved? So I say, “Jesus, ride with them, and use them to reach the lost.”
Grand Rapids, Mich.
The article titled “Going to the Extreme” was an extremely informative article.
All of the younger brothers and sisters interviewed practiced safety and, better yet, had an awareness of the need for God in their lives.
Is what they do dangerous? Absolutely. But the extreme-sports participants have an acute sense of how fragile they really are. Knowing that makes them realize that they are not their own but belong body and soul to our Savior, Jesus Christ! Because they know that fact, I am confident that they are all ready, willing, and able to share their faith with the same confidence that they show while running full throttle over whoop-de-do’s on a motocross course or 15 feet in the air on a free-style BMX bike!