It seems amazing—and more than a little disheartening—to find that apparently no one has given thought to what seems like an inevitable eventuality: if we do confirm the Belhar as a full and formal confession of the CRC, what will we do with pastors (like myself) who cannot in good conscience submit to its authority by signing the Form of Subscription, which is prerequisite to ordination in the CRC (see “No Need to Adopt Belhar,” IMHO, November 2009)?
The decision to accept the Belhar as a confession necessarily includes with it the decision to exclude those who cannot accept it on those terms—a truly strange starting point for a document whose stated purpose is unity, reconciliation, and justice.
—Rev. Bob CumingsMountain View CRCLynden, Wash.
As a lifelong CRC member, old enough to remember when music was public and phone calls were private, I find it ironic that there is a movement to adopt another form of unity when the three we have already are generally ignored. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a thought-provoking sermon or read a thought-provoking article in The Banner on the great theological doctrines of our denomination.
—John PousmaDenver, Colo.
I want to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to Cheryl Kroll, who wrote “Nothing to Fear,” and Rev. Phil Reinders, who wrote “The Promise of God’s Guidance” (October 2009) for the love, comfort, and joy of God they showed to me.
—Bev OvereinerGrand Rapids, Mich.
I enjoyed “Was the Reformation Necessary?” (October 2009) on the Reformation and the resulting rift between Catholics and Protestants 500 years ago. I have been teaching in a Catholic school for the past seven years and can attest that Catholic beliefs are very similar to our own. We are more alike than we are different!
So why do we focus so much on the differences? In my opinion, our criticism of Catholics is rooted in both ignorance and arrogance. By their own admission, my Catholic colleagues say the Reformation was necessary to correct church corruption. They also say that Vatican II, in the early 1960s, was a pivotal event in “Christianizing” the Catholic Church.
Are there issues in Catholic doctrine that I have a hard time reconciling? Of course. But the fundamental, core belief that Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins is foundational to both our faiths and should unite us as brothers and sisters in Christ!
—Kent ZevenbergenHull, Iowa
I am by and large disappointed with the replies given by Brother Mouw to the four questions raised in the article, in particular question three. Surely more in-depth answers could have been given. The three Roman Catholic colleagues were far more candid and specific with their replies.
—Klaas BrobbelOakville, Ontario
I am proud of my father for writing “A Letter to Rev. Veenema” (IMHO, June 2009). It was a difficult letter to write. My father could never be described as left wing, liberal, or accepting of the latest trend or fad, but he has learned to live with compassion and to question some of the CRC rules. His article and Rev. Veenema’s (March) were not about [pushing] the church to accept and embrace homosexuality. Rather, they were about the need for fathers to understand what they need to do to help their sons embrace their Lord. (In the CRC’s 1973 report on homosexuality, does it not demand that everyone is responsible to minister to gays within the church? What about those who have a loved one who is gay? How do you minister to them?)
I have been gay my entire life. I fought it when I was young, questioned it as a teen, and have accepted it ever since, and God has stood beside me every step of the way. The CRC has taken my church life away from me, but it cannot touch my relationship with God. My parents raised me above all to love our Lord. I will be eternally thankful for that . . . even if we do not agree on church theology.
—Mark VaanderingLondon, Ontario
Enjoyed this article?
Don’t miss this week’s must-read articles:
- Feature: Tending God’s Creation
- Exposing Harassment of OSJ Raises Questions, Hope for Humility
- Book Review: Something’s Not Right