Losses of the Heart
Please convey my sincere thanks to Nathan Sneller for his beautifully honest article “Losses of the Heart” (November 2006). My husband and I lost our first child in November 2005 to miscarriage. Until that point we were completely unaware of how devastating such a loss would be. As I read this article I found myself nodding in agreement with every sentence. Though so many couples go through this tragedy, it is something so many are afraid to talk about. Our appreciation goes out to Nathan and his wife for sharing their story so others can gain a better understanding of this painful occurrence and offer more appropriate, loving responses. We are expecting our second child in November 2006, but we’ll never forget the little one we never got to baptize.
—Jean De VriesPella, Iowa
FAITH vs. TULIP
Regarding the article by Rev. Jim Osterhouse on the Reformed acronym TULIP vs. FAITH (“The Trouble with Tulip,” October 2006)—hooray, I love it! The word FAITH takes all the mystery out of TULIP. This article is written in clear, everyday language that anyone can understand. I hope everyone reads it. Let’s bury the TULIP and stick with FAITH.
—Ralph NienhouseWaldwick, N.J.
Perhaps Rev. Osterhouse’s new acrostic will serve to rekindle interest in the basics of Reformed Christianity and combat the wave of semi-pelagianism that pervades the evangelical Christian church today. Our congregations blithely sing lyrics that blatantly espouse Arminian doctrine, and series of sermons on various 40-day initiatives do little to explain the glorious truths of Scripture rediscovered in the Reformation. Although FAITH is also subject to misinterpretation (for example, “Fallen Humanity” might suggest a mere mishap rather than a fatal event), perhaps its novelty will help many realize that God, not human beings, is sovereign in the universe.
—Peter B. SchipmaLemont, Ill.
The trouble with both the acronyms TULIP and FAITH is that they do not cover the so-called five points of Calvinism in the same order as they are explained in the Canons of Dort. The order of the canons is ULTIP. The canons do not begin with our depravity or fallenness; rather, the first point is about God’s sheer grace in rescuing from sin those he has chosen in Christ and who subsequently believe in him. Perhaps if we began by focusing on God, as the Canons do, rather than on ourselves, these particular five points of Calvinism would be less troublesome and become the more grace-filled “witnessing tool” Rev. Osterhouse is looking for.
—Rev. Stanley J. GroothofTelkwa, British Columbia
Trouble with a Sister
In his editorial “Discipleship vs. Discipline” (October 2006), Rev. Bob De Moor puts a negative face on Synod 2006’s decision to maintain a restricted relationship with the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. He suggests that to maintain the restrictions is to treat a sister denomination the way a carpenter treats lumber—violently cutting it with power tools. De Moor also describes as “ham-fisted” those who see the need to guard the CRC from error, and puts them in the same category as the Pharisees whom Jesus denounces in Matthew 23. Such things are easy to say but difficult to prove. Also, it should be noted that it wasn’t Peter but the Holy Spirit who punished Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.
—Roger SparksLuverne, Minn.
I felt sad to read that our CRC is pointing fingers at the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, as Bob De Moor said so well in his editorial. We have our own problems!
When I emigrated from the Netherlands in 1956, I left my family behind. During our visits through the years I had to deal with different and often challenging views from my relatives. But we kept our communication lines open at all times. And that kept me on my spiritual toes! Had I stopped talking and judgmentally closed the door on them, our relationships and opportunities for Christian discussion would have been greatly hampered. Today I can say the Lord blessed our talks.
—Alice KostelykAbbotsford, British Columbia
Regarding “Remembering the Saints” (CRC News, November 2006), All Saints Day and All Souls Day are separate dates—with separate meanings—on the historic church calendar.