Synod 2006 and Women
I’m 25 and attended a Christian Reformed church for the first time five years ago, becoming a member a year later. This year I went to Calvin College to listen to Synod for the first time (see July 2006 Banner). I was appalled and horrified by what I saw.
The delegates were discussing deleting the word male from our Church Order [allowing for the ordination of women denominationwide]. I saw at least 35 different elders and pastors get up to speak. Of these, maybe five briefly brought up what the Bible might say about this topic. One took a passage so far out of context, my sixth-grade Sunday school class could point out his error.
Synod ’95 was wrong! The Bible can’t say two different things on one issue. It’s God’s Word, without error or contradiction. I heard much discussion of unity at Synod 2006, but unity is never more important than truth.
If what I saw is what it means to be CRC, count me out.
—Lloyd HemstreetGrand Rapids, Mich.
I would encourage all synod delegates to explain to their mothers and/or daughters the decision on women as delegates.
Female officebearers, who are called “to guard . . . the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, . . . to be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood, . . . to truly give spiritual leadership in the household of faith,
. . . to encourage with words that create hope in their hearts and with deeds that bring joy to their lives, . . . to be prophetic critics of the waste, injustice, and selfishness in our society” (from the CRC’s Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons)—these officebearers are barred from representing their local church at the denominational level or even being deputies.
In his Banner article “Synod: Our Family Reunion” (June 2005), Rev. Emmett Harrison states, “Until all members of our family are assured that they matter, that they belong and are needed, we will be impoverished.” Synod 2006 decided that more than half the family does not matter and is not welcome.
—Giny HoekmanHolland, Mich.
The Spirit’s Role
Laura Smit makes some excellent observations about the risen Christ and how that affects our relationship with God and our future (“The Big Deal About Jesus’ Ascension,” May 2006). But I’m intrigued by the almost complete absence of discussion about the Holy Spirit’s role.
Jesus is not the point of contact between us and the Father, the Holy Spirit is. It is the Holy Spirit who searches out the mind of God and teaches us God’s will (1 Cor. 2:1013). Jesus stated that the reason for the Ascension was so that the Holy Spirit could be sent to live within us (John 16:7).
I do not downplay the work or the position of Jesus Christ, but by his decree the Holy Spirit is the effective power of God in the world. And without the Holy Spirit the church is just another organization with highsounding mission statements, serving and professing the true God impotently.
—Tim JasperseHudsonville, Mich.
My parents sent me your May 2006 Banner editorial about youth leaders. I’m so glad you wrote it, and I completely agree with it in all but one respect. You say, “We wouldn’t have to make young elders out of them,” but from personal experience, I think, in fact, we do.
I grew up in the CRC, but for reasons as much geographical as theological now belong to the Presbyterian Church (USA). This year our 16yearold daughter was ordained as a youth elder in our 1,600member congregation. The sole concession to her youth is that her term is one year, instead of the usual adult term of three.
Seeing the absolutely wonderful effect this experience has had on my daughter, and the deeply delighted reactions of the adults who serve with her, has thoroughly convinced me of the necessity of making a youth elder a “real” elder if the position is to have any meaning.
True, not all teens are up to serving as elders, but then not all adults are either. That’s why churches choose them carefully.
—Ruth van Baak GriffioenWilliamsburg, Va.
We very much appreciate the “FAQ” question about whether “good people in other religions . . . go to hell” (June 2006, p. 29). Sadly, we feel The Banner published an answer that in the following ways erroneously removes the urgent need for the spread of the gospel of Jesus:
• The answer fails to address the depravity of all people and that all people are without excuse.
• The answer states, “We don’t really even know what ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ are!”
• The answer suggests that people can be saved “anonymously” and that one can be saved without knowingly trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We wonder what the state of our missions ministries will someday be if The Banner continues to print such answers.
—Rev. Glenn Gerdes, Henry Perez, and several members of Racine (Wis.) Christian Reformed Church
Christians and the Climate Debate
As a CRC member who writes for a conservation group in New Jersey, I found the “World News” item on the debate about global warming among Christians especially compelling (June 2006, p. 16).
Since the success of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren seems to have used his fame to promote global social justice causes we often myopic Western faithful ignore. I trust the Evangelical Climate Initiative to have its facts straight. James Dobson’s Interfaith Stewardship Alliance is using the world’s poorest in an attempt to justify a bad public policy and should be ashamed.
Improving the environment and beating back global poverty are not mutually exclusive goals. If we truly believe the earth is the Lord’s, and all therein, we must acknowledge the stakes are too high for us not to be vigilant in our stewardship of all God’s creation.
—Dave ZuidemaNorth Haledon, N.J.
I seriously doubt the global-warming issue, if it does exist, will be on anyone’s Top 5 list after the comet/asteroid collision of Isaiah 24:19-20 occurs.
—Ronald D. RutgersLynden, Wash.