Letters to the Editor

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Origins

It seems as though Mr. DuMez believes his views are rooted in a “literal” reading of Genesis 1 (“Speaking of Jurassic Ark”). But why should this be?

Discovering the “literal” meaning of a biblical text does not necessarily mean approaching it with straightforward chronological assumptions. “Literal” in its traditional sense refers to “the original intent of the author.” Even Augustine in The Literal Meaning of Genesis recognized this, concluding that a faithful exegesis of Genesis 1 need not demand a six 24-hour day creation period. Furthermore, one can hardly suggest that Augustine (writing in a.d . 415), was motivated by a compromising pressure to “accommodate” Scripture with our current scientific theories!

—Jon VanHulzen
Lynden, Wash.

Regarding “We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur”, I wish to comment that the author mixes truth with unverifiable data: “. . . the discovery of a 68-million-year-old dinosaur in Alberta”; “. . . hold a 30-million-year-old fossil”; “. . . hike into a meteor crater that is 50 thousand years old,” etc.

This is science? Unfortunately many people aren’t aware of how truth and unverifiable data are mixed like this and simply accept it because of the truth elements.

—Julia Dieterman
Fort Worth, Texas

Revival

Re “These Bones Can Live!” by Henry Wildeboer.
“Perhaps our denomination is in need of revival.”
A Holy Spirit revival in the Christian Reformed Church?
Yes, please!

—Alic Anderson
Calgary, Alberta

In his article “These Bones Can Live!” Henry Wildeboer talks about the decline in CRC membership from 316,000 in 1992 to 245,000 in 2014. He asks, “Where do we look for a road map that can lead us out of this morass?”

Pastor Wildeboer had some great suggestions for the church and the members. It seems to me he is talking to the members who are still attending, but will his suggestions reach the “lost sheep”?

In the Reformed churches, we used to have a rich and strong tradition of family visits by the pastor and elders. In many churches this practice has fallen out of favor. Could part of the solution be bringing back this practice? Active members can grow stronger through personal contact. Inactive members could be contacted to find out the reasons for their withdrawal and to indicate that they are missed. A loving contact, including Scripture and prayer, can be made in the home or coffee shop.

—Bram Wiersma
Grimsby, Ontario

Revival, yes (“These Bones Can Live!).

In 2013, after many decades, my wife and I became part of the 22 percent that left the CRC. We and others worked hard and prayed continuously for a revival in our church. Sadly it wasn’t to be. For years our energies had been consumed by the existing congregation. We finally had to connect with other Christians to move beyond that.

CRC roots and doctrine run deep, though. Will we be transplanted back into the CRC at  some point?

Looking forward to the revival. . . .

—Raymond Drost
Queensville, Ontario

These Bones Can Live!” notes that the CRC has lost 71,000 members in the last 22 years. It is critical to remember what caused that loss. Most was due to the CRC’s acceptance of women in the offices of elder and pastor on shaky grounds. We are now faced with a very similar situation: the homosexual agenda.

Will the CRC once again supersede “Thus says the Lord”?

—Neal Vanderwerff
Seattle, Wash.

Humor

I have enjoyed reading The Banner for years. The multiple topics throughout the years have provided the church a way to address the questions on many of our minds, which, in turn, continues to provide a forum for the church to discuss multiple subjects.

Additionally, I have always enjoyed the “Punch Lines” humor page containing jokes and comical anecdotes.

—Robert Hoekstra
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Over the last number of months, the humor page has drifted away from punch lines, jokes, laughter, and true humor, and instead we have a number of stories about cute children as told by parents and grandparents. I really miss the real jokes and punch lines.

—Ben Vanderlugt
Komoka, Ontario

All One Body

I’m very disturbed by the News article regarding the views of Dr. Amy Plantinga Pauw (“Grand Rapids Event Advocates Full Participation of Practicing Gay Church Members,” Nov. 2014). Her statement that “ideas written then do not necessarily equate to the human experience now” seems to put into question the inerrancy of God’s Word. The example of Paul speaking of men having long hair is very narrow in scope. We need to look at the whole of Scripture. How often is this mandate repeated? I’m able to find many passages in the Old and New Testaments where the practice of homosexuality is spoken against by God in clear language.

We aren’t intended to look at “the human experience now” and try to conform Scripture to that, but just the opposite. As Matthew 5:13 tells us, if “salt loses its saltiness . . . it is no longer good for anything.”

—Nancy VanDerLaan
Comstock Park, Mich.

Correction

In the Ministry Report 2014 inserted into the December issue of The Banner, financial information for Calvin College was incomplete; the graphs did not reflect the final, year-end results. For a complete copy of Calvin's audited financial statements, please go to http://www.calvin.edu/financialservices/reports/.

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Comments

In response to Jon VanHuizen, here is a quote about Augustine:  "Despite the Christian training of his youth, by the age of 19, Augustine was persuaded against Christianity by Manichean arguments, which were often focused on Genesis 1 (Augustine 2002, I.2.3). He soon became a member of the sect but later began to have doubts about Manichean claims and came under the influence of Neo-Platonism. St. Ambrose’s spiritual interpretations of the text eventually convinced Augustine of the reliability of the biblical account. Realizing Manichaeism and Neo-Platonism did not provide the answers which he sought, Augustine converted to Christianity and set out to critique his former beliefs which were a threat to other believers in Hippo (Fiedrowicz 2002, p. 105)."  The fact is that Augustine spoke in a context, and that his meaning of "literal" is different than that of today commonly used.  Augustine's hermeneutic changed throughout his life, and while Augustine was a pioneer theologian, and much respected, even Paul said that his own words should be examined in the light of scripture.  So we know that Augustine was not infallible, and his words also need to be examined by scripture itself.  

Hi Neal Vanderwerff,

You mention that the loss of membership in the CRC community over the past 20 years is "due to women in office...and the homosexual agenda." I'm wondering how you've come to that conclusion. Sadly, my family and I are no longer members of the CRC and still grieve that loss, but your assumption for why we left could not be further from the truth.  

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