Letters to the Editor

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Weather Wonders

Thank you to Joanne De Jonge for “Winter Weather Wonders.” It is 1 degree Fahrenheit tonight and we just got home from an across-town drive. My husband said, “What are those lights?” I replied, “Light pillars. I just read about them in The Banner.” It was a beautiful display of white and colored pillars.

—Cheryl Buist
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Exile Experience

Mariano Avila’s article “Leaving Home” based on Matthew 2:13-14 immediately brought to mind Madeleine L’Engle’s children’s book Dance in the Desert. Beautifully illustrated by the Russian-born artist Symeon Shimin, it too tells the story of Joseph, Mary, and the young Jesus’ flight to Egypt. With her wonderfully imaginative, playful way of telling a tale, L’Engle demonstrates that Jesus is the King of all creation. Visually and without dialogue she pulls together the Genesis 3:15 prophecy with the poignant words of Jesus in John 19:26-27.

—Frank De Vries
Abbotsford, British Columbia

I wonder how often we make the Bible fit our thoughts, feelings, or beliefs and overlook what it clearly says—for example, when we think that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ exile to Egypt was done in poverty (“Leaving Home”). God clearly provided financial means from the magi before he told Joseph to flee to Egypt. As always, God equips us for the tasks he asks of us.

—Jim Morren
Conrad, Mont.

Dementia

I would like to add a few things to the article “Dad, Descartes, and Dementia.” My husband spent nine months in a Christian nursing home in the Alzheimer’s unit. I often visited during their chapel time. I received such a blessing hearing the singing of people who no longer knew their families but remembered the hymns and enjoyed singing them. When we picked up his things after he died, a nurse told us, “Elmer changed my life.” When he got agitated, he loved to have the Bible read to him, and then he wanted to pray. Prayer was the most important thing in his life. I can just imagine the big smile on his face when he opened his eyes and his mind was clear and he saw his Lord. God moves in ways we cannot comprehend.

—June Walcott
Muskegon, Mich.

Pushing, Pushing, Pushing

Amidst all change, the essence of worship remains unchanged (“Pushing, Pushing, Pushing.” Worship is an encounter with God. Some contemporary services are more about the worshipers than the One who is worshiped. Notice the subjective content of many praise songs, the shift from an order of worship to a program, and from preaching the Word to topical messages. The promise is greater relevancy. For all the faults of the past, I miss Old Testament and Catechism sermons. What is more relevant than, for example, the second table of the law? Must we adapt to the modern world? Yes. But there is one thing the world lacks and the church has: God. Keep central what is central.

—Nick Loenen
Richmond, British Columbia

Lloyd Rang tells of the cathedral in Peru and the mixture of Incan and Roman Catholic art and symbolism (“Pushing, Pushing, Pushing”). Interesting. But I disagree that “echoes of Incan civilization . . . remain part of worship.” The cathedral emphasizes the virgin Mary, and some Quechua (Incan descendants), when appearing to worship Mary, are instead discreetly worshiping Pacha Mama, the Incan goddess Mother Earth. In Bolivia, recently reelected president Evo Morales wants schools not to teach Christianity but rather the rituals honoring Pacha Mama. To think that syncretism is healthy is misleading and dishonors Jesus Christ.

—Mike Frederksen
Gallup, New Mexico

Our Story

Amen to Rev. Lou Wagenveld’s In My Humble Opinion article “Immigration Is Our Story.” I fully agree that we and our politicians should show compassion and keep families together by passing immigration laws that allow paths to citizenship. This should also include the “Dreamers” that were brought into this country as young children. Our governor continues to deny driver's licenses to the Dreamers even though the courts have ruled this to be unconstitutional. Dreamers have been allowed to stay by executive action.

—Herman Klap
Sahuarita, Ariz.

Jurassic Ark

It seems Mr. DuMez believes his views are rooted in a “literal” reading of Genesis 1 (“Speaking of Jurassic Ark). Discovering the literal meaning of a biblical text does not necessarily mean approaching it with straightforward chronological assumptions. In its traditional sense, “literal” 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. One can hardly suggest that Augustine, writing in a.d. 415, was motivated by a compromising desire to “accommodate” Scripture with our current scientific theories!

—Jon Van Hulzen
Lynden, Wash.

With great interest I read articles such as the two on origins (“Speaking of Jurassic Ark” and “We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur”). It seems that by now we should have established a building block of absolute truth to use as a foundation for the analysis of origins issues.

The science of nature is an incomplete human endeavor with many different theories that continue to disregard significant biblical nature-changing events such as Noah’s flood and sin’s curse. These realities, I believe, will make absolute scientific truth regarding origins impossible to establish prior to Christ’s return.

—Gene Zoerhof
Holland, Mich.

Having been a science teacher for many years, I know that the topic of evolution and creation science is still a hot-button issue between believers and nonbelievers (“Speaking of Jurassic Ark” and “We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur”). I have wrestled with what the Bible says and what science says about how we came to be here on earth. I have come to the conclusion that there is little to be gained by getting into arguments with nonbelievers and some believers who insist that Earth is a certain age. I am sure we have heard all the pros and cons of the issue. If we allow ourselves to be drawn into a position that suggests that we should treat the Bible as a science text, then we allow the ground to be cut from beneath our feet.

—Matt Gregory
Port Alberni, British Columbia

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Should Augustine be used as a justification for old-earth creation?  What did Augustine actually say?  "Perhaps we ought not to think of these creatures at the moment they were produced as subject to the processes of nature which we now observe in them, but rather as under the wonderful and unutterable power of the Wisdom of God, which reaches from end to end mightily and governs all graciously. For this power of Divine Wisdom does not reach by stages or arrive by steps. It was just as easy, then, for God to create everything as it is for Wisdom to exercise this mighty power. For through Wisdom all things were made, and the motion we now see in creatures, measured by the lapse of time, as each one fulfills its proper function, comes to creatures from those causal reasons implanted in them, which God scattered as seeds at the moment of creation when He spoke and they were made, He commanded and they were created. Creation, therefore, did not take place slowly in order that a slow development might be implanted in those things that are slow by nature; nor were the ages established at plodding pace at which they now pass. Time brings about the development of these creatures according to the laws of their numbers, but there was no passage of time when they received these laws at creation.2"

"Furthermore, Augustine believed the genealogies given in Genesis to be literal chronologies and that the pre-Flood patriarchs lived to be around 900 years.3 He also stated, “Unbelievers are also deceived by false documents which ascribe to history many thousand years, although we can calculate from Sacred Scripture that not 6,000 years have passed since the creation of man.”(Answers in Genesis)  2. Augustine. The Literal Meaning of Genesis, translated by John Hammond Taylor (1982), Vol. 1, Book 4, Chapter 33, paragraph 51–52, p. 141, italics in the original. New York: Newman Press

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