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Letters to the Editor: January 2014

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Noblesse Oblige
A couple of readers wrote in response to Bob De Moor’s “Noblesse Oblige” editorial to attribute the story to Queen Wilhelmina, not Queen Victoria. Either way, we think it’s a great story!

Promoting Dialogue
As a Christian psychologist, I am deeply troubled by the reactive stance of the Board of Trustees and their “disappointment” with The Banner’s decision to print the controversial articles by Van Belle and Walhout (“Board Expresses Disappointment”). Are we not supposed to be a Reformed denomination that engages with the world in a meaningful yet transformative way? By shutting down public conversation on these topics, the CRC sends a message that they are not truly interested in authentic Christian dialogue on these issues.

Personally, I send a sincere thank you to both Van Belle and Walhout for their courage to speak with intellectual integrity on these issues, and to De Moor for having the courage to print them.

—Michael Stolte
Edmonton, Alberta

Just a short note to say that I think that you are doing your job properly (“Board Expresses Disappointment”) and that there is no need to apologize about the two eminently defensible articles (written by Edwin Walhout and by Harry Van Belle) that have caused some controversy, because one of your clearly-stated responsibilities is “to stimulate critical thinking about issues related to the Christian faith and the culture of which we are a part” (Acts of Synod 1998, p. 370). If The Banner is to remain relevant in our day, the editor has to be free to pose timely and challenging questions to its readers.

Please keep up the good work.

—Gary N. Knoppers
State College, Penn.

I hope for every disgruntled letter Mr. De Moor received (“Board Expresses Disappointment”) he got one acknowledging his courage. It is time to get our head out of the sand and acknowledge that our reluctance to address or even discuss certain issues in the church is about fear. Why so much fear? Read Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

We all claim to know the will of God. I say that the very reason we need God’s direction in our lives is because we do not know.

—Nikki Rekman
Chilliwack, British Columbia

For too long we have failed to address the issues that the discoveries of the 20th and 21st centuries have raised. If the Scriptures are all we claim them to be, and if God is as faithful as we insist he is, why are we so reluctant to tackle the issues of the day, and why do we continue to undermine the scholars among us because we are afraid of what they might find out? (“Board Expresses Disappointment”).

If in our official church paper we are only allowed to read what we are already convinced of, what is the point? Let’s be courageous and engage those who dare to challenge us.

—May Drost
Sarnia, Ontario

I am happy to express my encouragement for the wonderful job you are doing as editor of The Banner (“Expresses Disappointment”). I have read the publication regularly in the past 57 years and still eagerly anticipate the news and views presented in each issue.

—Bruce Cooke
Holland, Mich.

It saddens me that it is necessary to apologize to the readership for publishing relevant, thoughtful articles. I am very frustrated with the CRC being afraid to discuss topics that are thoughtful and may, in fact, increase our understanding of the world we live in and how we are to relate to it and each other. The God I believe in is great enough to handle the questions and scrutiny. Keep the conversations coming.

—Anne Drost
Norton Shores, Mich.

Letting Your Light Shine
In thinking about Halloween, we agree that it is a good time to get to know neighbors and their children better (“This Little Light of Mine”). We also like to distribute tracts from The Tract League; they are an additional way to let our light shine.

—Mary Vander Werp
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Thank you for publishing “This Little Light of Mine.” It’s too bad that much of Halloween glorifies things dead, gory, and evil. But we can simply focus on the good things: pumpkins from our garden, the fall harvest, caramel apples, costumes, and kids having fun.

—Rebecca Roosma
Port Alberni, British Columbia

Inspired by Samantha
My compliments on the publication of the news item “Eleven Months in Eleven Countries” about Samantha Francart. This kind of reporting inspires young and old and brings into brilliant focus the central issue of the church: its mission to call people to the Lord and to display our allegiance to him through showing Christ's love.

The personal, dedicated association of young people with people who are as yet unaware of the call and concern of our Lord Jesus Christ is a profound inspiration and encouragement.

For years I have been privileged to see this dedication in our International Ministry to Seafarers, which has led participants to commit themselves to a life of service in countries where the hearts of people are crying out to our God.

Congratulations, Samantha.

—Hans Uittenbosch
Brampton, Ontario

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