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Gracious Lutherans

When I saw the April Banner, I was pleased to see the Christus Rex from the chapel of Valparaiso University, my Lutheran alma mater, featured on the cover. (I have since found a welcome home in the CRC.) Depicting the resurrected Christ ascending off the cross into his rightful role as King of Kings, it is certainly the perfect illustration for your cover article “The Kingdom on Earth or in Heaven? Living into the reality of the resurrection we await.” (The motto of VU is “In thy light we see light,” from Psalm 36:9).

I bet it was just a simple oversight, but nowhere in the magazine did this photo receive attribution as that of VU’s sculpture.

—Gregg Shewan
Big Rapids, Mich.

You really should credit the photos you use. I am a Lutheran pastor in Iowa. When the post office accidentally delivered the recent Banner to me instead of to the local CRC congregation, imagine my amazement at your cover photo. That particular graven image graces the chapel of my alma mater, Valparaiso University, a good Lutheran school. I was drawn to read the magazine, which I found informative and delightful. I am blessed to be sharing a community with CRC folk.

—Rev. John Wolf
Inwood, Iowa

Editor’s note: Oops! Please see our correction below.

Global Warming Bandwagon

Regarding “Get Off the Environmental Bandwagon” (IMHO, April 2011), I encourage Paul Rhoda to look deeper at Christian environmentalism. While I fully acknowledge the challenges of weeding through science, there are still deep issues of stewardship and social justice involved. Sure, let’s not make decisions based on alarmist rhetoric, but let us thoughtfully acknowledge how our food, transportation, and living choices affect others both locally and globally.

Reducing such choices to an issue of scientific argument at best selfishly forgets the deeper social effects of how our consumption often comes at the expense of others—and highlights our privilege of discussing this topic without experiencing its direct effects.

—Kyle Wigboldy
Chicago

Muslim-Christian Chasm

The article “The Muslim-Christian Chasm” by Rev. Paul Hansen (IMHO, April 2011) is one of the best I have read in The Banner! I would like to add a small correction: the email address recommended for the two-day seminar offered by Rev. Marvin Heyboer should be drmarvinw@yahoo.com.

—Bill Kooman
Red Deer, Alberta

While the Crusades were initially motivated by a pious desire to reclaim Jerusalem, they were largely fought by men seeking personal gain (wealth and land), a convenient way to be absolved of their sins, or an escape from punishment for being on the wrong side of a power struggle in the never-ending cycle of intrigue and murder that constituted politics in medieval Christendom. There was no unified “Islamic empire” against which the Crusaders fought.

Moreover, Rev. Hansen writes of Islam and Muslims as if they constitute one unified, unchanging entity. Rather, the differences between Calvinists, Baptists, and Catholics mirror the differences between Sunnis, Shias, and Sufis—and each of their sub-denominations. The debate over how literally to read, interpret, and implement sacred texts exists in both Islam and Christianity.

—Matthew de Zoete
Dundas, Ontario

I recommend Rev. Hansen and all to read A World Without Islam. You may gain further insights as to why the Eastern Orthodox Church and non-Western peoples have great suspicion of the motives and actions of Western Christians.

Also, I take exception to paragraph three of the article, which states, “Most of the Crusades were efforts to throw back the Islamic empire.” If we could have only been present in Constantinople during the Crusades when the crusaders demanded that this Christian city and its Christian people surrender and promised to spare all. When those poor people agreed, the crusaders plundered the city and killed all. On the other hand, years later, the Muslims also came to this city and demanded surrender with a promise to spare all—and honored their word.

Let’s realize that much darkness, at its root, stems from factors such as culture, geopolitics, and the pursuit of power and not religion.

—David Daugharty
London, Ontario

Help Regarding Homosexuality

The author of “Talking Biblically about Homosexuality” (March 2011) implies that this is a controversial subject much like women in church office. Is it? I think the Bible is pretty clear in calling homosexuality a sin.

I do believe that most CRC pastors don’t know how to help people who struggle with homosexuality. But wouldn’t it be more helpful to refer the latter to counselors who could help (such as at Baxter Community Center and Life Center, Grand Rapids, Mich.), rather than come up with a new theological position on homosexuality?

—Dan Vander Kodde
Grand Rapids, Mich.

It isn’t really clear to me what sort of conviction the author of this article, Rev. David Kromminga, has regarding this issue. Is he asking the CRC synod to reaffirm its 1973 and 2002 decisions, or is he suggesting that we change them?

I’m in favor of open discussion on this issue, even though “it may not necessarily be easy or safe.” I do think it would be courageous, comforting, reassuring, and gratifying if synod would do the following:

  • Reaffirm what we believe the Bible says about moral and immoral sexual behavior.
  • Reaffirm the scriptural definition of marriage as being restricted to a legal, spiritual, connubial covenant between a man and a woman.
  • Reaffirm our commitment to compassionate counsel and support of those who struggle with wrongful sexual inclinations and/or behavior.

—Harry Vriend
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Corrections

In a rather incredible oversight, we neglected to credit our Lutheran brothers and sisters for the wonderful image on our April (Easter) cover. The Christus Rex (Christ the King) is the focal point in the Chapel of the Resurrection on the campus of Valparaiso University, Indiana.

Speaking of oversights, we mistakenly changed the church membership of Susan Collins in our review of her book Starting from Scratch (April, p. 37). She belongs to Rochester (N.Y.) CRC. Ironically, an article by her husband, Tim, appears on pp. 38-39 of that issue, and he’s pastor of Rochester CRC!

The Banner humbly apologizes for the errors.

See comments (5)

Comments

After reading the article in The Banner about the Poel family, MICHIGAN FAMILY GOES PUBLIC WITH ADDICTION STORY, and actually meeting both Ross and his father Bill, I can tell you as a 17 year young woman that Ross will impact many of my peers!I was just there and did a treatment for 7 days, I had the most unbelievable and unforgettable experience at CMI! I had a blast and never would expected it. I meet Ross before I left from Argentina, and I fell in love with his story, after I meet him I do believe people can be cured! Please watch the video and contact CMI or Ross. Thanks everyone, I apperciate it!

RE: "Jihad" article.

Let’s not waste Christian reader’s time with Muslim apologists’ “PR” tactics in quibbling over jihad terminology. In the big picture, it’s irrelevant as practiced worldwide. The paralleling of Muslims’ murderous interfactional behaviors versus our denominational squabbling is a stretch, also. Go back a couple centuries, and the stretch becomes worse.
Pandering to Liberal theology’s distinctly anti-Christian journalism is rampant enough in all western news media without insulting and wasting the time of your Christian readers.
Liberal college professors aside, there are numerous sources of factual and objective information on the true nature of jihad and all else Islam including: International Christian Concern, Dr. Daniel Pipes’ “Middle East Forum”, “World” magazine, or Mat Staver’s “Liberty Counsel Action”.
The biased western news media’s total silence on Muslim behavior in Europe, and beginning here and in Canada, is terribly criminal. If reported, it would absolutely belie the testimony of people like Mr. Oosterhuis’ Zacharia Al Khatib. And, don’t get me started on Muslims’ literally thousands of heinous atrocities against Christians in ALL Muslim controlled countries in only the past half dozen years alone.
Our Bible makes God’s thinking very clear on liars, hypocrites, and false religions especially those that distort and corrupt the very Word of God.

I notice that in electronic version of the banner, the writer of a letter on homosexuality is Harry Vriend, Grand Rapids, Mich. while in the published version, the writer is Harry Vriend, Edmonton, AB. I have a cousin in G.R. and I presume that cousin Harry is the author. Harry Vriend, Edmonton, AB

After reading "Get Off the Global Warming Bandwagon," I noticed a block referring readers to another article as if it were an opposing viewpoint. The Christian stewardship bandwagon and the global warming bandwagon are entirely different bandwagons. You can be a good Christian Steward of God's earth and it's resources and not believe the global warming theory which is just a theory.

Joseph Yoder makes a good point about the hoax of man-made global warming. We can be good stewards of the earth God gave us without falling for the greed-driven agenda of the left on man-made global warming. Science shows that nothing man has done has effected the temperature or climate on God's earth. The earth has been cooler in the past, and has been warmer in the past, and has heated up over a time when man was not burning fossil fuels and putting carbon dioxide into the air. Man currently also puts carbon dioxide into the air by breathing out, and this CO2 is used by plants. The Petition Project has obtained the support and signatures of more than 31,000 American scientists for a petition opposed to the hypothesis of "human-caused global warming." This opposition is based entirely on scientific grounds and is published in peer reviewed journals.

Yes, we should all personally take care of God's good earth but we should also ignore the man-made global warming hoax, since it is only an attempt to redistribute private property obtained by hard working people. God commands us to stop taking from others, and to get to work, so we will have something to share with those in need: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)

So the greedy global warming hoaxers should stop trying to take from others, and get to work doing something useful on their own.

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