In the editorial “Don’t Be So Sure” (April 2013), creation is suggested to be one of many Bible mysteries that we should not be sure about. I suggest that God nailed it down and the only reason it is a mystery is because we thought it politically correct not to be sure. For many, [the creation story in] Genesis is a fable with any number of interpretations, all of which are thought to be more viable than the literal account God says it is in Ex. 31:17; Ps. 33:6, 9; 1 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5; and more.
I believe a good number of those young in faith have spiraled into unbelief because we allowed the discussion to make Genesis look silly, and therefore the rest of the Bible suspect as well.
Certainly when God speaks and later confirms, one can be sure, and discussion to the contrary is disrespectful.
Is there room for questions about our beliefs (“Don’t Be So Sure”)? Absolutely. But the answers don’t come from ourselves or others—they come from the Scriptures. Do we need to understand everything? Absolutely not. But we believe his Word without a shadow of doubt, knowing that all things will be revealed when we see our Savior face to face.
Are creation, the flood, Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection a mystery? (“Don’t Be So Sure”). Of course, who among us has not had to pray, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” But the mystery is lifted when the Holy Spirit again and again prompts us to turn to the infallible Scriptures (see Rom. 1:19-21).
How I wish Synod 2012 had practiced some of the “holy hesitancy” about doctrinal expressions recommended by Clarence Vos (“A Holy Hesitancy” April 2013) and Bob DeMoor (“Don’t Be So Sure”) instead of reinserting the unhesitant phrase “fully agrees with” to the new Covenant for Office-bearers at the last moment. This decision left me to stumble over the phrase at my ordination despite 10 years of Form of Subscription revision committee work to be more “reverently reserved.” We are not yet ready to “risk the conversation” and bring doctrinal subscription to the more hesitant place Vos and DeMoor suggest, and our denomination’s witness is less authentic because of it.
—Wilma van der Leek
Surrey, British Columbia
How could six-day creation be mere dogma when it is clearly recorded in the Genesis account and the fourth commandment (“A Holy Hesitancy”)? Responsible hermeneutics means (1) the Bible is its own interpreter, being true to the text; (2) general revelation, God’s world, must be interpreted in the light of special revelation (God’s Word); (3) the authority of Scripture is not to be subordinate to external evidences or influences; and (4) the text can only have one correct interpretation.
Postmodern liberalism, on the other hand, replaces creation days with evolutionary ages (what we think is true rather than biblical truth) and human dogma based on opinion.
Guys with Guns
After reading that NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s statement (taken out of context) “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is “morally mistaken” and “religiously repugnant” (“Religious Coalition Takes on the Gun Lobby,” March 2013), I am looking forward to a full exposé that includes the other side of this issue.
It is very easy to join in liberal rhetoric [and] the politics of intellectuals and pursue false solutions to societal challenges. I trust The Banner will not fall victim to such misleading populist thinking.
The statement made by NRA head Wayne LaPierre about “good guys” and “bad guys” with guns, taken in context of his entire speech, is essentially correct (“Religious Coalition Takes on Gun Lobby”). He could have chosen better adjectives and elaborated a little more, but was not, as Jim Wallis characterized, “morally mistaken” and “religiously repugnant.”
The clergy’s response to this issue comes from their perspective of being exposed to inner city gang and drug violence, a vastly different perspective than that of millions of Americans who are responsible owners of firearms.
Consider that if the second amendment were to be repealed, it would not be long before we lost the first.
Comstock Park, Mich.
The story “His Blue Marble—and Mine” (March 2013) reminded me of a time when the late Rev. Eppinga was to be the featured speaker at one of the “Ladies’ Rallies” held for many years in the Thunder Bay church community. He spoke about his blue marble and why he carried it in his pocket. Afterward the ladies were invited to take home their own blue marbles and follow his example.
A year later the featured speaker, a friend of Rev. Eppinga’s, asked about the marbles. A show of hands indicated that many were faithfully carrying them.
“Good,” he quipped. “Rev. Eppinga will be happy to know you haven’t lost all your marbles!”
As a busy college student, I often feel that everything is out of control. Reading “His Blue Marble—and Mine” reminded me that God is always in control. He never forgets about me or about his creation. Angie Soloman’s article was a great reminder for me.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
I appreciated Lloyd Rang’s concise history of the church (“Church History Highlights,” March 2013). However, I would like to point out two areas of possible improvement. First, the Reformed tradition starts church history with Adam, and the history of Old Testament Israel is part of the church’s history. So a better title might have been “New Testament Church History.” Second, there were several councils of Ephesus debating the nature of Christ. Other than that, I found the format very useful.
Thank you to Lloyd Rang for “Church History Highlights.” In addition to the meaningful years and explanations of events in church history, we were provided with witty cartoons and fine humorous responses such as “the earth revolves around Toronto, Ontario,” the “subcommittees appointed by the Reformed Church,” and many more.
Surrey, British Columbia
I was impressed by the prophetic Genesis 15 message of your March Banner cover. The snake (serpent) depicted on it appears to be the Banded Krait (Bungarus Fasciatus), whose bite delivers a neurotoxin that can result in respiratory failure and death. However, this snake does not have fangs growing from the lower mandible.
Abbotsford, British Columbia
Together Doing More
Christians follow Christ, who is full of grace and truth. In sharing the gospel we lack grace when we simply try to defeat the unbeliever with argumentation. We lack truth when we fail to correct the unbeliever’s misunderstanding. An example of the latter is found in “Learning from the Edges” (March 2013). Ibrahim may be a dear friend, but as a professing Muslim he should not be identified as a “Christ-follower.” Let’s confess that none of us perfectly witnesses in grace and truth. We need to pray to Christ, who alone helps his followers to be fishers of lost sinners.
The article “Learning from the Edges,” about John Brouwer’s interaction with two Muslim males, contains the disturbing statement “Ibrahim is, in all but name, a Christ-follower.” A Christ-follower (Christian) is a person who has accepted Christ.
I believe we should present the gospel to Muslims. The Muslim religion is growing very fast. They are not trying to become relevant or culturally diverse. They present their religion in the Western world and we as infidels are free to believe it or leave it. In countries controlled by Muslims, Christ-followers are mercilessly persecuted, some paying the ultimate price for their love of Christ.
Redeemer Class Action Lawsuit
The recent News article concerning this matter was somewhat misleading “Redeemer University College Settles Class Action Lawsuit,” April 2013). It is not the case that 450 persons filed a lawsuit against the college. Rather, Canadian tax authorities challenged a charitable giving scheme in which some 450 Redeemer supporters had participated. A handful of these retained counsel and commenced a class action lawsuit. Under the rules of our court, if one has a possible claim and does not opt out of the class, one technically is part of the lawsuit—but that hardly means that 450 people are actively suing the college.
—John A. Tamming
Owen Sound, Ontario
Frankly, I have never heard nor read a sermon that I could plagiarize (“I Think the Pastor Stole That Sermon,” February 2013). Thoughts? Yes. Ideas? Yes. Illustrations? Yes. But because they arise out of me as a person, what is said and how it is said needs to be true to who I am. The Spirit needs to speak through me. I want that sense of connection with the Word and don’t want to be channeling someone else’s words or experiences. I presume that I am who I am for a reason.