Is Santa Real?
Regarding “Why I Believe in Santa Claus” (December 2011): We told our sons the truth from the beginning: God is real; Santa is a stranger in a costume. When he was five years old our oldest said, “I’m sure glad Santa’s not real. Nobody would get any presents.”
“Mom, everybody sins.”
Thank you, Jesus, for giving us what we could never deserve!
—Betsy VanZytveld Grand Rapids, Mich.
Together Doing More
Thank you for your detailed ministry shares report this year (December 2011). I was moved to tears by the story of Maimuna’s restaurant (“Where to Eat in Kwikuba”), as I often am by regular Banner reporting on CRWRC and BGTMI throughout the year. I am proud to be part of a church that collects and uses ministry share the way we do, and humbled to see how God multiplies our efforts throughout the world.
—Elizabeth Knighton Seattle, Wash.
Young Adult Exodus
I was saddened to read that the Roels feel that there is in the CRC an unofficial anti-intellectualism driving out educated young people (“Evolution and the Young Adult Exodus,” December 2011). They cite the evolution issue as a microcosm of this problem.
At least as often I hear the opposite—that we are too intellectual. So we need diluted doctrine, lite worship, and emotional entertainment to soothe our young people into staying with us.
Here’s my plea to the Roels: Don’t give up on us. We make mistakes, but we are not anti-intellectual. We are not hostile to scholarship. Use your educated gifts faithfully, patiently, and gently to exegete for us the universe—that beautiful book which our Belgic Confession says is the first means by which we know God.
—Syl Gerritsma St. Catharines, Ontario
I have sat in church classrooms with youth leaders leading Bible studies who misinterpret and misquote to make the Bible more comfortable. Well-meaning volunteers who need guidance themselves should not have to be accountable to giving youth guidance by themselves.
Perhaps to keep young adults in our churches we should give them a better foundation and more discipleship before we send them off to secular universities and colleges. Maybe then they will be able to resist temptations and attacks on their faith and beliefs by professors and peers, and thus return to the CRC as young adults.
—Erin Couperus Brighton, Ontario
I believe that young people are not moving away from the CRC because of fundamentalist views of Scripture but because we are not demonstrating to our children a belief in an all-powerful God. Jesus calls his followers to leave everything behind, including our god of learning and intellect (this does not mean to cease learning, but to embrace it within the context of God’s call on our life). When we show our children a life of commitment first to Christ, then to whatever follows, God will breathe life into his church.
—Tim Van Hoffen Fenwick, Ontario
I am heartened that my church’s publication takes this global concern seriously (“Global Warning(s), November 2011). Scientific facts aside, can we honestly say that we don’t see the piles of garbage and dirty air our excessive living have produced? When glacial change is noticeable in one lifetime, we as Christians should be alarmed. If the result of all this getting is making our planet sick, is that not an indication of where our hearts lie?
I want to discuss these things in church. I don’t want to talk so much of heaven that I am of no earthly good.
—Carmen Los Edmonton, Alberta
Kudos to Brian Martin for his thoughtful article on our environment. There is nothing wrong with trying to better our environment and protect creation, whether you believe in global warming or not. I, along with my solar panels and Chevy Volt, stand behind him!
—Barbara Kamps Placitas, New Mexico
I am most thankful for Brian Martin's the article on the science behind climate change (“Global Warning(s),” November 2011) and for the accompanying editorial. I am a climatologist (now retired) who has spent more than 25 years of my career studying and communicating this same science to Canadian government officials and the public, including church and Christian school groups. However, I have also experienced considerable skepticism and even open hostility to this information from fellow Christians.
Article 2 of the Belgic Confession, reminds us that we know God first ‘by the creation, preservation and government of the universe’ (general revelation), and second through Scriptures (special revelation). Thus, we are called to know him better both through the study of Scriptures and of his creation.
Recent surveys show that more than 95 percent of researchers from around the world actively involved in studying the earth’s climate system—a remarkable component of that creation that allows life on Earth—agree with the conclusions put forward by Dr. Martin. We are experimenting with the very life support system that God has put in place for our benefit with potentially calamitous consequences.
Let’s stop the denial and move forward in fulfilling our original mandate of caring for the earth and all that is in it.
—Henry Hengeveld Willowdale, Ontario
Why Play Favorites?
Thanks for your editorial (“Why Play Favorites?” November 2011). Colossians 1 says that we have been brought into the kingdom of the beloved Son. Dare we acknowledge that in the kingdom we are all called to a certain kind of politics that flows directly from the character of our King? Our King calls us to follow him out of the politics of self-interest and entitlement that are corrupting democracies in Canada, the United States, and around the world.
—John Luth St. Albert, Alberta
Are you kidding me? After telling us that the matter of climate change is so dire and so inarguable that it should not be challenged (“Why Play Favorites,” November 2011), the only practical advice offered is to “write to your political representatives and encourage them to ‘do the right thing’”! I can’t think of anything more hopeless than to entrust such a weighty matter to our politicians, especially right now.
Therefore, I offer four suggestions to add to a long list of practical, stewardly steps that we all can take toward reversing environmental degradation in a prudent manner: Avoid being lured into buying manufactured things at mega-stores. These giants foster careless consumerism and fuel the environmentally reckless manufacturing machines of foreign countries.
Encourage your sons and daughters to know and understand Genesis 1, to be in awe of a beautiful sunset, and to be cheered by the song of a bird in springtime. Teach them that they cannot depend upon government policies or economic structures to defend and protect these sources of beauty. Cultivate redemptive wisdom in them so that they make judicious decisions in light of their convictions. Also encourage them to take their love of creation into the fields of science and engineering; we need engineers that have Psalm 104 on their lips when they show up at work to design algae bioreactors and carburetors.
Buy locally grown food, or grow your own if you can. Consider how much fuel it takes to get pears from Argentina, lettuce from California, pineapple from Hawaii, and beef from Australia to the kitchen tables of Michigan.
Try not to go a year without planting at least one tree, no matter where you live. And whenever possible buy things made from wood, not plastic.
—Donald Voogt PE Hilbert, Wisconsin
The problem with the proposition for biblical interpretation forwarded by Rev. Vos and others (“How Should We Read the Bible,” November 2011) is not the Genome Project. It is not geology or the fossil record. It is not biochemistry, physics, biology, or anything else in God’s natural revelation. The problem lies in interpreting special revelation (the Bible) via natural revelation as though it can supersede the special revelation. The Bible must always trump a human interpretation of natural revelation, since the Bible is the very Word of God and human interpretations are simply human interpretations.
—Ross van Bostelen Edson, Alberta