Almost every Friday evening my wife and I share a takeout lake perch dinner that costs $18.39. After dinner last week, I picked up The Banner and read Melissa Holtrop’s article “You add. God multiplies” (News, February 2012). With a quick calculation my wife and I determined that our weekly church budget contribution for CRC ministry shares is only $12.18. Wow! That’s $6.00 less than the cost of our takeout dinner and covers so many worthy, kingdom-building efforts across the globe. It’s as if Jesus is letting us break up our few perch and helping to feed the five thousand. Thank you, Lord.
Palos Heights, Ill.
The author says “people don’t expect relevant advice for their sexual lives from their church” (“Mom, We’re Living Together,” February 2012). But why is that the case?
Perhaps church leaders have shied away from teaching clearly that God has given commands in Scripture that are for our protection and blessing. . . . What we refuse to publicly preach will, in the space of one generation, no longer be believed or practiced by those in the pews. If the theology and teaching of Scripture are not made known and held up as the standard, in short order people will get their theology and practice from the culture. And the consequences will not be pretty.
Just because the culture is awash in sexual immortality doesn’t mean the church has to bend and become like the culture. We have been given the light of truth. May we be bold as well as loving in holding up that light to a darkened world. Our children are counting on us.
Encouraging others to “avoid biblical proof texts” while discussing cohabitation is poor advice. God’s Word [has] perfect instructions for how we should live, and we need to be louder about this topic rather than lukewarm. As Christians we are called to be different, not blend into the world.
I’ve never regretted my decision to get married before living together, and I encourage all couples to follow God’s way.
Caring for Scientists
I would like to thank Rev. Reinders for his recent article “Caring for Our Scientists” (February 2012).
I am scientist. I am a science teacher. I have committed the majority of my adult life to revealing to my students not only the wonder and complexity of the natural and physical world, but also the dynamic process in which we seek truth through science. I am also deeply rooted in the Reformed tradition, and the tension between my profession and my church has burdened me beyond what I can share here. It takes much more courage to walk into church, sit in a pew with my family, and be honest about who I am than it does to share my Christian faith with students in a secular school.
Playing by the Rules
Thank you for publishing Pastor Vander Weit’s article “Playing by the Rules” (February 2012).
I love Calvinism’s teachings, its form of church government. However, John Calvin was not infallible. To think that somehow a congregational type of church government is antithetical to the Bible is a stretch. I am not advocating in any way the abolishing of the church council, classis, or synods. These have their place. But too much power resides in too few people. Vander Weit would restrict free speech by those who are not in favor of yet another confession—the Belhar.
—Peter J. Sluys
Gayla Postma’s article (“Academic Freedom and Confessional Integrity: A Delicate Dance,” February 2012) captured well the essence of academic struggle and purpose: we need our Christian colleges to help us think through the difficult issues that confront us.
I thank God for professors who are able to summarize and clearly delineate what the issues are; they help me continue these discussions in my own community with a clearer direction. Grateful, careful listening and reading will take us much further than quickly jumping to conclusions and defending our pet theories. It’s exciting to be part of the dance in the CRC.
We are part of the “brothers and sisters” in the Pella area who do have “the time and luxury” to think.
If a scholar’s work contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible, his human interpretation is wrong and should not be celebrated, as Prof. Loren Haarsma suggests doing. Psalm 119:160 declares, “Thy Word is true from the beginning.” Proverbs 3:5b says, “lean not unto thine own understanding.”
—Frank and Carmen Reitsma
New Sharon, Iowa
Regarding “Over the Line: Why We Need to Say No to the Belhar,” January 2012): The narrow objection to the Belhar neglects the place of confessions in the broader Reformed world-and-life view.
The Belhar opposes a culture of Afrikaner superiority and nationalistic point of view informed by Kuyperian teachings. It provides a biblical narrative that strengthens and anchors a Reformed world-and-life view in its divine call to unify and reconcile an ethnically diverse community. Not adopting this confession endorses the painful racism and brutality that took place under a religious pretext. The Dutch Reformed Church understood and adopted the Belhar in 1986. It is time we do the same.
Moreno Valley, Calif.
I have read several articles in The Banner from time to time, the latest by Nick Monsma (“Over the Line,” January 2012), who is opposed to adopting the Belhar, and Mike Van Boom (“Why We Should Adopt the Belhar,” February 2012), who is in favor.
Why do we have to discuss this at synod? Why do we not ask our pastors to preach about our existing confessions? I have not heard a sermon about them in years. Have we forgotten how great and rich they are?
Most churches have only one service on Sunday. Pastors preach on different subjects. Is it old-fashioned to preach about the Heidelberg catechism?
If the people in the pews are rusty, let the oil come from the pulpit to renew their faith.