Henry De Moor has an unfortunate swing-and-a-miss in his answer to the question about Adam and Eve’s offspring (FAQ, “Church”). The Bible may not be a science, history, or genetics textbook, but the answer to the question he addressed is right there. God created Adam and Eve. They had Cain, Abel, and Seth—all boys. Genesis 5:4 tells us that Adam also had other sons and daughters. So the first human offspring were the result of brothers and sisters marrying one another. It’s the only way it could have been, since we are all descended from Adam. In the beginning, this was allowed by God; indeed, it was necessary. However, he eventually forbade the practice of close relations marrying one another (see Lev. 18), so we no longer practice this.
—Rev. Aaron Gunsaulus
Telling Our Stories
I’m delighted to read about the need to tell our personal faith stories within church families (FAQ “Faith Formation”). We have discovered the rich nurturing benefit of faith stories as published in our church journal, The Gleanings. Each issue features a focus theme, and participants write about their faith journey blended with some unique perspective on church life. The storytelling is personalized for all age groups. As God’s people, we are his witnesses to this generation that an invisible God is made visible through his work in our lives. Writing affirms the faith experiences of the author and is nurturing to the readers.
Women in the CRC
Sallie Ann Borrink is correct that the CRC is walking a narrow and somewhat lonely path on this issue (“A Beautiful Gift”). Unfortunately, there are forces that seek to push us off the path.
We will be feeling more of that pressure very soon as we continue to get closer to a denomination that recently abandoned the path we have been on since 1995. I happen to think that the path we chose in 1995 was the correct one, and I hope that we resist any pressure to abandon it.
I believe that a religious organization like the Christian Reformed Church should have religious uniformity but encourage diversity in politics, ethnicity, class, etc., just as I believe there should be political uniformity in a political organization that encourages religious, political, and class diversity.
Kathy Vandergrift disagrees with me politically on the issue of how to address hunger (FAQ: “Justice”). I work very hard in my church’s food pantry. She thinks food pantries should close. But I appreciated what she had to say in response to the “liberal’s” lament about her opponents’ behavior. Instead of “an unhealthy polarization,” we should have a healthy diversity with honest, humble, even passionate dialogue about our differences that helps us learn from each other and appreciate the maddening complexity of our world.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
In response to the news story “Board Expresses Disappointment,” letters published fault the Board of Trustees for “shutting down public conversation of these topics” [origins and sexuality] and state that “we continue to undermine the scholars among us.”
The real problem, it seems to me, is not that these issues are dealt with in The Banner but how they are dealt with. We need scholars who are rooted in the Scriptures, who help us form a biblical “understanding of the world we live in and how we are to relate to it and to each other.” We need scholars who hold firmly to the sovereignty of God over all things, a God whose knowledge and wisdom immeasurably exceeds that of humans, a God who has given us timeless truth in his Word to guide us.
—Adrian Van Geest
Mount Hope, Ontario
Just a word of appreciation for the thought-provoking articles that have been in The Banner the last few months! They have been the reason I have gone back to reading it on a regular basis.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Regarding the discussions about evolution, I was glad to see in the December issue someone mention God’s other book, the book of nature, through which he reveals what a wonderful and mighty God he is (Letters). Because of that beautiful book I have no trouble believing the mysteries in God’s written Book, the Bible.
There are Christian Reformed readers like me who greatly appreciate Bob De Moor’s leadership at The Banner. I did scripturally disagree with several portions of the arguments presented in the two articles that resulted in controversy (“Board Expresses Disappointment”). Whether they were appropriate for The Banner [to publish] or not is not my place to decide, but I want to thank Bob for allowing me to be challenged by them (and by many others over the years).
Truth be told, I come up against similar opinions from Christians and non-Christians alike these days, and I appreciate the chance to wrestle with controversial opinions in print and compare them to Scripture before I get into an on-the-spot discussion with a growing Christian or curious non-Christian and say something stupid or false in the heat of the moment.