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January 18, 2011 - 

I like the Banner editor’s list of hopes for the future of the Christian Reformed Church and share almost all of them (“Now What?” November 2007). But I do have some questions about the one concerning merging back with the Reformed Church in America.

Ideally, I would like to see that also. But what we like ideally should not blind us to some realities. What I have read about the RCA’s ecumenical ties should make us raise some concerns. And can we speak about a healthy Kuyperian, Reformed world-and-life view in the RCA? The RCA seems to have left far more room for theological liberalism, and perhaps for fundamentalism as well—more than we might care to embrace.

I’m sure we could warmly welcome some sectors of the RCAt. I certainly feel very comfortable with our local RCA congregation. And perhaps the CRC in Michigan feels comfortable with the RCA there, but that isn’t all that matters.

In the same Banner issue, Gayla Postma writes, “The biggest issue that still divides the two denominations is support for Christian day schools” (“The RCA: Our Closest Friend,”

p. 16). Isn’t that perhaps symptomatic of something more deeply rooted? Aren’t we sweeping too many issues under the rug when we mention only our difference regarding support for Christian day schools, as if resolving that question removes all obstacles?

I’m not sure how much leadership on exploring these issues with the RCA we can expect from the Banner editor in light of his belief that we should never have broken away from the RCA in the first place. That, incidentally, raises the question of how much we should have celebrated the CRC’s 150th birthday. Perhaps we should have mourned 150 years of schism instead.

But where would we have been had there not been a CRC these 150 years? Where would a never-separated Reformed Church have been today? I doubt if that would have been a more orthodox church. And would undoing this split make us increasingly more bland—which I believe we have become too much already? Are we content to settle for a lower common denominator to make it work?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pursue closer ties with the RCA or that we shouldn’t pursue the possibility of an eventual merger. But let it never be at the cost of truth or at the cost of being truly biblical and Reformed.

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