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Letters to the Editor: October 2015

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Don’t Walk Away

Reading the Banner editorial “Don’t Walk Away!” should deeply concern biblical Christians. Unity is found in the received teachings of God as revealed in the inerrant Bible. To seek unity apart from this is idolatry. The examples of denominations seeking the latter should be ample warning of the judgment that awaits those engaging in open rebellion against God’s design by calling good what God has clearly called sin. Those who truly love God humble themselves before his truth in his Word.

—Wesley Kwong
Portland, Ore.

In the recent editorial “Don’t Walk Away”  [Bob DeMoor] encourages the “local option” in the issue of same sex marriage. It seems this is becoming the default street for the CRC. And there is certainly something appealing about this option: everyone is right, no one is wrong. I suggest we walk a more difficult and more faithful way: a biblical-theological trail that connects us deeply with the shape of God’s Word, our theological heritage (including previous CRC decisions), and the church’s witness for 2,000 years. In the long run, the “local option” is a dangerous road to walk.

—Johannes Schouten
Burnaby, B.C.

Dear Editor: First we missed you as our pastor and now we will miss you as the editor of The Banner. You have faithfully challenged us for an open discussion on issues of theistic evolution and homosexuality and not tried to sweep this under the ecclesiastic carpet. A big thank you, Bob.

—G. Lieuwen
Langley, B.C.

A Modest Proposal

Re “Synod 2015 Launches Denominational Structural Overhaul”: I propose a change in branding. To reflect Jesus’ leadership style, the denomination could have a chief foot washer instead of executive director, suffering servants instead of directors of ministries, and TIPS (temporarily important people society) instead of executive staff. Would it not be fun to read Banner reports of TIPS meetings? More importantly, the suggested titles brand our leadership as followers of Jesus rather than kings of industry.

—Nick Loenen
Richmond, B.C.

Mocking God

I support the opinion expressed in Robert Joustra’s article “Mocking God” . Anyone who wishes to impose a Christian theocracy on America (and there are many walking the halls of Congress) need only substitute “pagan” or “Hindu” or “atheist” or “Scientology” or any other religion and it is clear theocracy of any kind in our fallen world is to be resisted at any cost. Thankfully the framers of the Constitution favored no particular religion and instead established freedom of religion with a religiously neutral government. The recent Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling may not please you or reflect your understanding of theology, but that is irrelevant to the Constitution, and thank God for that. It leaves to each individual the right and responsibility to live with integrity within his or her religious context without government coercion.

—James VanderMolen
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Elder as Shepherd

While Louis Tamminga’s statement that Church Order Article 65 gives elders the responsibility for pastoral care of the congregation is accurate in the context of his article (“The Elder as Shepherd,” he has omitted an important detail from Article 65: all officebearers actually have the responsibility for pastoral care. Therefore, much of the advice he gives applies to deacons, ministers, and commissioned pastors as well.

—Terry Woodnorth
Endicott, N.Y.

Ministry Shares

I wonder if the chart on ministry shares (p. 54, July/Aug. 2015) is incorrect. Could the colors and what they represent have been reversed? (Ed. note: yes, they were; please see Corrections box on p. 5 of the September issue.)

Also, it would be helpful to know on what type of membership number the shares are assessed. Obviously it is not on total membership of a congregation. Would it be confessing members? Some other designation? Knowing this could help explain the struggle some congregations have in meeting their ministry shares budget.

—Bruce Nikkel
Pella, Iowa

Psalms in the Night

Reading the lovely, poetic reflection by Didy Prinzen (“Psalms in the Night) reminded me of the song by Canadian singer-songwriter Carolyn Arends called “Getting Ready for Glory.” Carolyn wrote the song after hearing her grandmother say, “I spend most of my time now memorizing psalms and hymns--preparing for glory.” What a beautiful way to spend the winter time of life!

—Christine DeRuiter
Abbotsford, B.C.

Thank you to Didy Prinzen (“Psalms in the Night”) for her encouragement to those of us entering the winter of our lives. I was reminded of two important lessons: How God is always faithful and how important it is to encourage our little ones to memorize Bible passages.

—Joyce Steen
Suttons Bay, Mich.

Unequally Yoked

Pastor Numan (“Unequally Yoked”) suggests that instead of a “No Trespassing” sign on the gate of marriage for Christians, there should be a “gate of grace, where any can enter as long as they respect Christ. . . .” This is a sad misleading for Christians. God does not limit his love, and yes, some unbelieving spouses may choose to follow Christ, and that is a wonderful grace. But we will be most blest as a church and as families if we choose the path of obedience to God. Back to Paul’s words to the widow of 1 Corinthians 7:39: “She is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.”

—Marnie MacLeod
Houston, B.C.

Our German Heritage

One thing not mentioned in the news story by Janet Geidanus regarding the Gerry Segger Heritage Collection at the King’s University in Edmonton (“Preserving Stories of the Dutch-Canadian Immigrant Experience,” April 2015) was the German Reformed tradition. The first-ever Reformed seminary was established in Emden, Germany. Until the year 1900, about two-thirds of all the ministers in the Christian Reformed Church originated from Germany. And let us not forget that the Heidelberg Catechism originated in Germany.

—Gerry J. Segger
St. Albert, Alta.

Synod 2015

The Synod 2015 cover (July/Aug. 2015) is so very suggestive. What is “over the hill” after the two paths merge? Is the CRCNA over the hill? OK, we walk by faith. But the real “historic decision” was made some 30 years ago when CRWM and CRWRC could not find the way to “join.” That inability of the CRCNA to get Word and deed together is unlikely to change now with World and Home Missions becoming “one global mission agency” with the mandate to “bring the gospel holistically.”

Neither of those agencies have track records nor budgets that can match (now) World Renew on the deed side of the ledger. The world is more interested in our actions than in our words. Too little too late?

—Lou Wagenveld
Holland, Mich.

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