Learning from Timothy
The most complete account of this chapter in Timothy [Christian School]’s history is in the book Dutch Chicago by Robert P. Swierenga (“Learning from Timothy,” July 2013).
To those who felt Timothy did the expedient thing rather than the godly thing, I have one question: Did your children attend the school that Cicero residents threatened to bomb?
The author states that a federal court declined to rule on the lawsuit, saying that it had no control over private schools. Synod should have done the same thing. The most important lesson from Timothy? The separation of Christian church and Christian school governance.
The remarks about Mr. Ramsey in “Money Matters” (July 2013) are inaccurate. In his book The Financial Peace Planner, Mr. Ramsey informs his readers that they should be donating a portion of their income to charity, and if his readers are Christians, should be tithing 10 percent to their church. He also says as your income increases so should your contribution to your church and/or charity. Does this mean followers of Mr. Ramsey’s teachings are good stewards? Some are and some are not, but Dave Ramsey is not responsible for the life choices of his readers.
According to Mr. Ramsey, the end result of using his method is financial peace and responsibility, not “fun.” He doesn’t exclude fun, but that certainly is not the main purpose.
I read with disappointment the decision to have missionaries with Christian Reformed World Missions raise 90 percent of their support (News, July 2013). Think about what this means. Missionaries agree to a long-term commitment that includes learning a new language and culture, separation from family, dealing with unstable governments, personal and family safety, disease, and transportation far from our own comfort zones.
We overlook the fact that good fundraisers may not be good missionaries, and vice versa.
Who will raise the voice that missionary work is important? Or do we continue by our default actions saying it is not?
—Lloyd W. Bierma
Sioux Center, Iowa
Drawing the Line
The July 2013 issue of The Banner has done a disservice to the denomination by printing Harry Van Belle’s “Where Do We Draw the Line?” (“Sex, Intimacy, and the Single Person”). The article does not demonstrate a serious attempt to understand biblical guidelines.
According to the editorial in the same issues, articles may be printed “provided they are within the bounds of Scripture, don’t directly advocate against the doctrines taught in the creeds and confessions, and remain reasonable and respectful.” In my opinion Van Belle’s article fails on all three counts.
—William T. Koopmans
Thank you for publishing Harry Van Belle’s challenging article (“Where Do We Draw the Line?”). I agree that “waiting until marriage” has turned into something different for young adults today. But I challenge his suggestion that we use “maturity and commitment” as the criteria for sexual relationship instead of marriage. If young adults are mature and committed enough for sex, why aren’t they mature and committed enough for marriage? Perhaps we as a church need to support and equip young adults for earlier marriage instead of simply asking them to delay sex.
Marriage was created by God and is used to describe the love between Christ and the church. Before marriage, focus on the relationship, have fun, and grow close, but sexual experiences can wait. In the confines of marriage there is freedom, safety, and openness. As Adam and Eve believed the lie that God was withholding something good, so too sin can appear so tempting. The biblical laws governing marriage are to protect and to bring life, not to be a burden. It’s not easy. I often hate rules like my dog hates leashes, but I can say that God’s law is good.
By choosing to publish “Tomorrow’s Theology” (June 2013), The Banner has given voice and credibility to a line of reasoning that questions the very core of the gospel: the life and work of Jesus Christ. Who can measure the damage done by such an article to someone struggling to reconcile science and the gospel? How many young people will now yield to the temptation to interpret the Bible through the lens of science instead of vice versa? What impact will such “conversation starters” have on my children in the years to come?
While asking questions is good, not all questions are created equal, and certainly not all are fit to print.
Thank you, Edwin Walhout (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). I have been waiting for the leadership in the CRC to address the theory of evolution and its implications for believers.
For years there have been discussions about various aspects of evolution and for years ministers have continued to preach the “old-time religion.”
In the last decade there has been an explosion of scientific knowledge and information as God has allowed humans to discover ever more of the intricacies of creation (revelation). Our continuing refusal to engage with this new knowledge and understanding just might be an insult to the Creator.
Walhout appears ready to embark on a new openness, to explore a new theology. I find it an exhilarating prospect and am ready to listen and learn.
The premise of Mr. Walhout’s article (“Tomorrow’s Theology”) that new scientific discoveries don’t change the truths of the Bible, just the way we understand them, is thought-provoking. However, the “discovery” he is considering—that evolution is fact—left me disappointed.
Walhout accepts that “the findings of modern science are reliable and must be taken as fact.” I would argue that the teachings of the Bible are reliable and true, while “modern science” must be rigorously tested against observable facts and biblical truths.
Science is constantly changing (Christians aren’t the only ones shaking their heads at some of the practices of 500 years ago), and what seemed impossible even 50 years ago is now done regularly. To put more faith in science than in God’s Word is apostasy. Perhaps Walhout should consider the Bible’s implications for scientific “discoveries” before jumping to evolution’s implications for theology.
Walhout’s venting against a straw man he calls traditional understanding is deeply troubling (“Tomorrow’s Theology”).
Sixty years ago my father, a layman with an eighth-grade education, explained three or four alternative Christian perspectives on evolution. He cautioned against any hasty decisions on how God decided to make this world and people in his image.
Someday we will know for sure. Until then I am content to wait. And while waiting, look suspiciously at those who would discard 2,000 years of inspiration by the Spirit.
St. Charles, Ill.