Letters to the Editor

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Who Are the Vulnerable?

I appreciate Kate Kooyman's concern for “the vulnerable” (“Can We Talk First?” October 2012) or humans in need she mentions several times in her discussion with Edward Gabrielse. However, I’m curious to know how she feels about the most vulnerable among us: the unborn children the Obama administration has shown little or no concern for. The official Democratic Party platform calls for abortion on demand and opposes “any and all” efforts to restrict abortions. Their official language also states that the party “strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 Supreme Court decision effectively legalizing most abortions.

Kate’s argument for supporting the Obama administration because she believes they do more to protect the vulnerable from a life of poverty ignores the larger injustice [of] preventing life at all. Like Kate, I too hope to vote for a candidate who does not forget the vulnerable.

—Joel Feekes
Oklahoma City, Okla.

The political dialogue in the October Banner (“Can We Talk First?”) spoke of jobs, capitalism, and entitlements. Discussion about the vulnerable was about the poor. We live in a country that aborts over 1 million truly vulnerable lives a year. They did not volunteer to be aborted. We have a president and a political party that claim to believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. To date, they have given us only the first two goals. Until the CRC attacks this issue head on from both the pulpit and The Banner, our denomination will, at best, lead from behind.

—Gary J. Tenpas
Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

I noticed that neither Edward Gabrielse nor Kate Kooyman discussed the “life” issue in their article (“Can We Talk First?”). For me the very first criterion when I choose a candidate is whether he or she is pro-life or pro-abortion.

Jim Kuipers
Newaygo, Mich.

I appreciate the thoughts expressed by the authors (“Can We Talk First?”) but feel they missed the point. The Bible is emphatic about the fact that God’s desire was to have Israel serve and worship him as the supreme King of kings. Whenever they disobeyed God, he permitted heathen nations to take them captive.

God is undoubtedly concerned about the worldwide economy and social issues. However, I feel the article would have been more relevant to the Christian community if it had addressed which candidate would do the best job of orchestrating a nation that glorifies and praises the Supreme Ruler of the universe.

—Harv Brouwer
Grand Rapids, Mich.

What Would Jesus Do?

Kathy Vandergrift’s comment “Silence is also a political choice” (“FAQs,” September 2012) says much about our church today. By our silence we are choosing to be politically impotent in a world that is teeming with poor and powerless people, the very people about whom Jesus had so much to say.

Our ministers rarely say anything about our wars and other oppression. They, and we in the congregation, never seem to even pray about war, except for our own soldiers. What about all innocent victims? And what about the causes of war, which certainly include domination and oppression?

I’ve asked a couple of ministers, with little result, to please be more prophetic in these troubled times. To the extent that they and we do not at least speak out, we are rapidly losing our Reformed (and reforming) potential.

Could we still renew our Reformed potential (in the tradition of John Calvin and Abraham Kuyper)? Jesus spoke out vehemently on the issue of the powerful and powerless. What would he have us do?

—Ron Vander Kooi
Arvada, Col.


Mr. Selles’ brand of introversion strikes me as a bit extreme (“Negotiating Coffee Time,” September 2012).  But there are degrees in everything, and you can just as well be an introvert with a score of 17 (mine) as with a score of 71. Not everything he writes about introversion need apply to you, and you don’t need to worry about being weird because you are more socially inclined than he is.

Still, it might be worthwhile for congregations to offer their members the opportunity to take the MBTI [Myers Briggs Type Indicator] inventory. I remember feeling that the results validated my differences tremendously.

—Michèle Gyselinck
Montreal, Quebec

Adam and Eve

Like a refreshing rain on a drought-stressed land your article lifted my spirit (“Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?” August 2012). Thank you, Bernard Van Ee, for so simply and concisely articulating and reinforcing the very foundation of God’s Word.

When we meddle with Genesis, we also meddle with the entire gospel. As a denomination let us never waver in stressing the historicity of Genesis.

—Ray Dykstra
Listowel, Ontario

I appreciate the stand Bernard Van Ee takes (“Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?”). Science is an excellent tool to discover how awesome our God’s creation is, but science today seems limited because many scientists do not accept the existence of a Creator. Even some Christian scientists who accept the existence of a Creator seem to have a difficult time believing that the Creator can work outside the laws that he created. This can result in ignoring or marginalizing much of God’s supernatural work in the Bible, including the miraculous redemptive work and story of our Lord Jesus Christ. If God’s miraculous intervention in his history is removed from the Bible, God’s story in his Word is incomplete.

—Dick Van Eck
Yorba Linda, California

A Covenant Economy

Chandra Pasma states that ancient Israel’s laws mandated periodic redistribution of wealth to the poor and needy (“Abundance in a Covenant Economy,” September 2012). She referred to debt forgiveness and slaves being freed in Deuteronomy 15:1-18 and also to the Year of Jubilee mentioned in Leviticus 25:8-55.

There is no evidence that this ever took place. Did Abraham, Job, Solomon, David, and other wealthy, godly men redistribute their wealth to the poor?

There have been countries that have tried to redistribute abundance in wealth. Russia collapsed, and Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy are on the verge of collapse. We have a U.S. president piling up massive debt that will eventually cause a collapse in the American economy.

There is nothing sinful about abundance and wealth. When you have it, you should be responsible in your spending and help those in need.

—Harold D. Van Wyk
Monroe, Iowa


I greatly appreciated Professor Wolterstorff’s article (“The Art of Lament,” August 2012). He and I share a common experience in the loss of a son. A faith that incorporates grief is certainly stronger and richer than a faith that sings only praise songs.

—Harvey R. Heerspink
Jenison, Mich.

Just War

I was disappointed in the recent article by Lee Hollaar (“Just War, Not Just Another War,” October 2012). I would like to respond briefly to three points he raises.

Regarding his questioning the relevance of synod’s position on Just War theory in today’s complex world, I would refer readers to synod’s 2006 report, which addresses issues aligned with current U.S. National Security Strategy doctrine and calls for continued action in response to the nation’s current military action.

Regarding his characterization of current military service members as “the poorest and least empowered segments of our society,” I suggest that our current all-volunteer force is by far the most experienced, best resourced, most capable, and most highly educated military in the history of the world. Certainly some who are poor and poorly empowered enter the service, but in an all-volunteer force there are a number of standards that separate out the bottom 25 percent of society from those eligible to serve. All individuals seeking enlistment or a commissioning must meet the requirements for a security clearance, must be free of all major medical or psychological conditions, and are required to have a high school diploma (or equivalent) or a Bachelor’s degree. Currently, 50 percent of those accepted have college degrees and 40 percent have graduate degrees.

Regarding the 1927 synod report concerning ethical decision-making and war cited by Mr. Hollaar, I must disagree with his contention that war “is inconsistent with the gospel” and that “all militaristic ideologies are to be challenged.” He, in fact, suggests that we draw a parallel from our own nation’s experience (silence from the church during the Iraq war) with that of the church in Germany during the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Such a comparison is beyond the pale. To suggest that the CRC’s corporate silence during the Iraq War is comparable to the silence of the church in Germany during the rise of Hitler is disturbing. In attempting to draw such a comparison, Mr. Hollaar appears to be implying that the genocidal atrocities committed at the hands of German soldiers under the orders of their superiors are in some way comparable to how our own service members have conducted themselves under the direction of their leaders. This idea is not only offensive but baseless.

Mr. Hollaar raises a number of reasonable questions and rightly challenges the church concerning her corporate response to war; unfortunately, his arguments often fall short of the mark and are clouded by inaccuracies, poor assumptions, and faulty logic.

—Mark Staal, Lt Col, USAF
Southern Pines, NC

See comments (4)


It was refreshingh to read the responds from Joel Feekes, Gary Tenpas and Jim Kuiper. We also have been raising our voice from time to time. But it seems it was most often a cry in the wilderness.However, this seems to be changing. It was also great to see that the office of social justice is starting to get involved.

If you go to the CRCNA NETWORK in January you should find the prayer guide: "Supporting Life wth Prayer."

This prayer guide was written with the prayer and hope that many people in our denomination will read it and be encouraged to take a stand and get active in defending th life of the unborn.

At our local church, First Cutlerville CRC MI, we will have a ombined vesper service January 20 Dr Joel Nedehood will be our guest praecher , This service is a combination of 5 of the Cutlerville Churches. if you are interested and live in the area we invite you to join us in remembering the 50 million babies who have been aborted in the last 40 years. But we also will give thanks to God for His faithful nes. For we have seen many ladies who came to the abortion clinic turn around and save their babies after our sidewalk counselors talked with them. But it was always God's spirit who made the change. Glory and praise to Him. Hallelujah

bert vandentop

Reply to “Who Are the Vulnerable?”


As I read the letters in response to the article, “Who Are the Vulnerable?”, I felt I add to ask this question which I ask everyone who is adamant about Right to Life issues and want Roe vs. Wade repealed:    Are you willing to have your taxes raised to help all the unwanted children have a productive and meaningful life?   Or are you just concerned that they are born? Then they are often mistreated, abused, or even killed?   I realize we have Bethany Christian Services which does a wonderful job, but it can only help a small percentage of these children.  As Christians, we have to consider all facets of this issue and be responsible for the consequences.


Jeni Hoekstra

Grand Rapids, Michigan

So Jeni, Are you saying that unless everyone agrees to a tax increase we should continue killing babies?  Next will it be raise taxes more or we will kill Grandma?  Funny how money is no object when it comes to the pet projects of the left but mention abortion and all of a sudden we can't afford live babies.  Unbelievable. 

Jeni, those who are pro-life, are pro-life in evey way.  They are the ones who support the single moms even thru their difficulties, they are the ones who are foster parents, who adopt children, who donate to the local women's shelter, and who provide meals and hospitality for single moms and single dads.   Before a life can be productive and meaningful, it must first be protected;  it must exist.  A dead child can certainly not have a productive and meaningful life, so abortion destroys every life, and prevents productive and meaningful lives. 

In our case, our small church of less than 100 people has 14 adopted children in it.  In my own family, my own children have adopted four children from foreign countries and we have adopted one from here.   My father and mother-in-law used to take in single mothers for several years to live with them.   It is true that more is needed than just preventing destruction of unborn humans.   But it is inaccurate and unjust to suggest that pro-life people do not put their money where their mouth is.