Marriage as Covenant
Thank you for the solidly biblical article “Marriage as Covenant.” “The church must call people to holy living” is something we need to hear and take seriously. I’m reminded of Ephesians 4:22-24 (“. . . put on the new self . . .”) and Leviticus 20:7-8 (“Consecrate yourselves and be holy . . .”).
The Bible is very clear about the meaning and purpose of marriage. Will we submit to the divine authority of Scripture?
New Sharon, Iowa
Thank you for Scott Hoezee’s fine article (“Does Preaching Have a Future?” But there is a significant lack in Hoezee’s analysis. Preaching is vital for the church to be strong. Period. But, we forget that when we ordain men and women we say they are “ministers of Word and sacrament.” In reality, they preach each Sunday but give the sacrament of Holy Communion (“the means of grace”) much less often, though most churches are doing better than the four times a year of former times.
In John Calvin’s view, the Word gives context for the sacrament, even as the sacrament gives culminating fulfillment for the Word. The two are meant to be together, like two sides of a coin.
So my suggestion to my friend Scott Hoezee is that he see the art of preaching in the larger context of the whole drama of worship, that is meant to disclose God’s grace to the people of God.
—Ronald A. Wells
Lessons of Liberation
The memorable article “Lessons of Liberation” deteriorated into a partisan political diatribe after asking the question “Have we learned anything?” Every issue selected was clearly intended to show that because of [U.S.] President Obama’s actions and policies we haven’t learned anything. President Bush’s questionable actions and policies are conveniently ignored. This partisanship has no place in The Banner.
—Ronald M. Leistra
Love That Cover
I was mesmerized by your front page image on the October 2015 issue. Never have I been so affected by a painting [Rick Beerhorst’s Birds Eye View]. I love it. Already framed one and sent it to my son. I will be framing more and giving them as gifts. Thank you so much.
—Jacob De Boer
Buena Park, Calif.
Holy Catholic Church
The editorial “Holy Catholic Church” quotes the Apostles’ Creed as saying “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church.” The creed does not say that.
It does say, “I believe in God the father . . .; in Jesus Christ . . . ; in the Holy Spirit.”
The creed goes on to say “I believe the holy catholic church, the communion of saints. . . .”
The word “in” is left out because we do not have faith “in” the rest of the statements. We believe those statements to be true, but they are not a matter of faith.
Perhaps it would be more correct to say, “I believe that there this is a holy catholic church. . . .”
—Robert W. Lubbers
Spring Lake, Mich.
Thanks for your editorial “Doctrine Still Matters.” I grew up in a contemporary evangelical church that focused heavily on Scripture but did little formal theological instruction. So I grew up knowing the Bible but wasn’t able to see the big picture or to really make sense of it until I was taught Reformed theology. As you write, I needed those “theological keys to open up the treasures of the Bible.”
Your idea to use the Contemporary Testimony for catechesis is worthy of further consideration. I say that because I used it recently for a pre-Profession of Faith conversation, and the young adult student expressed appreciation for this contemporary expression of our faith.
Thank you for encouraging us to rediscover our common identity as a denomination.
—Leon H. Johnston
I read the October editorial (“Doctrine Still Matters”) with hope and excitement. I believe Len Vander Zee has hit the nail on the head. These “keys” he mentions are indeed missing in large part because of what we as youth and adults have and are being taught. I applaud his willingness to point this out, and I encourage the Faith Formation team to pin this editorial on the walls where they meet as a reminder of the significance of these theological keys in the lives of Christians. The Bible clearly indicates that for lack of knowledge, God’s people die. We live in a world where we so desperately need this knowledge to help shed light into an increasingly dimly lit path.
In the editorial “Doctrine Still Matters” there is a sentence that troubles us: “But the Bible is not enough.” We see the danger that Reformed theology is used as a template over the Bible: what fits in the theology is accepted; what the theology does not address is disregarded. Theology is human work. The Bible is sacred: God’s unfailing Word, which we are not to add to or take away from (Rev. 22:18-19).
Is not the Holy Spirit able to explain God’s Word?
—Jan and Jacoba Voorbij
No New Children’s Curriculum
A senior administrator is quoted as saying “Development of new materials has to be driven by congregational demand” (“No New Children’s Curriculum in Development.” Where was the congregational demand to dissolve Faith Alive? Or to amalgamate and restructure Home Missions and World Missions? These “demands” all came from internal CRCNA personnel and were rubber-stamped by synod. Another person was quoted as saying, “When Faith Formation Ministries was formed, we were not given any instruction about curricula, and neither were we told to propose a process for development.”
How many congregations will it take to “tell” these senior folks what to do?
I believe congregations are sending a message to the CRCNA hierarchy in two ways: (1) they are implementing their own programs and (2) sending less ministry shares.
—Harry and Joanne Boessenkool