I was so pleased to read Rev. Vander Zee’s feature on Mary (“Our Lady Too"). What a great reminder! Since Mary is the mother of God, she is the mother of the church, and since Jesus is our brother, she is the mother of us all. Mary is the New Eve, and the Ark of the New Covenant. St. John describes her as the Queen of Heaven clothed with the sun and crowned with the stars.
She is all of these things, and she loves us.
Then and Now
Our denomination officially believes there are two legitimate, biblically supported positions on the issue of women in ecclesiastical office. In this interview (“Then and Now: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women in the CRC"), The Banner paints a narrative that only the egalitarian perspective is reasonable and compassionate to those women in office. While I lament my complementarian position saddens some, synod holds the position to be equally valid. It is distressing that The Banner glosses over that there could be any alternative view. Perhaps in our commemoration, we should mourn the disunity and broken relationships this issue continues to engender 20 years later.
Erik J. DeVries
Editor’s note: For the CRC's official position on women in ecclesiastical office, go to crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/position-statements.
As one who has had a career in residential land planning, I agree with a number of the observations about the hospitability of some of our neighborhoods (“Hospitable Neighborhoods").
Yet I am a bit perplexed by some of the word choices: “creating” a “strategy” of “simple steps” to “design a society” that “encourages” development of “inhospitable neighborhoods.” These words mimic much of the jargon I have heard at a number of academic land planning conferences. They are more than a bit inflammatory.
In my opinion, these “undesirable” effects are the result of many and varied factors from a number of sources over extended periods of time. Certainly not clearly predictable or avoidable; not deliberate or planned.
Suburbia with all its foibles has become a “new normal” for millions of Americans. We can't go back. Yet we can still be as neighborly as we choose to be. No excuses. And we can enjoy driving to the coffee shop or community parks. (The good Samaritan was a long way from home to meet his neighbor.) In comparison to the residential environments worldwide, I'd say we have a much to be thankful for in this country.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
In response to “It’s Time to Seek Other Seas”:
The Bible gives us the true history of creation. God's Word must be the final authority on all matters about which it speaks; not just the moral and spiritual things, but also its teachings that bear on history, archaeology, and science. What is at stake is the authority of Scripture, the character of God, the doctrine of death, and the very foundation of the gospel. If the early chapters of Genesis are not true literal history, then faith in the rest of the Bible is undermined, including its teaching about salvation.
New Sharon, Iowa
Re “Biblical Justice and Same-Sex Marriage”: Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff, a former professor of philosophy at Calvin College, says yes to same sex-marriage. The problem is that he purports his personal reasoning and ignores what the Old and New Testament say about this issue.
All of us are sinners, the LGBT community no more than any of us. Only when we confess our sins and shortcomings can we embrace God’s amazing Grace, through faith in our Savior who died for all of us.
Debra shows her love of the psalms as her way of life (“A Memoir in Psalms”). Her choice of text ripened her spirit. Reading Psalms you can find more psalms of lament, corporate confessions, illness, and political complaints. David cried out to God in despair, yet moved “from weeping to rejoicing.”
As a long-time member of the CRC and frequent reader of The Banner, I wanted you to know how grateful I am that you are the editor-in-chief. I find you to be honest and humble and wise. I don’t mean that as a quote from your article (“A Little Wisdom,” Nov. 2016) but as an observation of what I hear coming from your heart. Thank you for serving our denomination.
Burr Ridge, Ill.
I thought the September editorial (“Flying the CRC Kite”) was terrific!
High River, Alta.
The Persecuted Church
Thank you for the informative article by Kevin denDulk and for directing our attention to the plight of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world (“Peace for the Persecuted”). For a complete understanding of “peace,” we need to acknowledge two aspects of persecution.
First, persecution is a consequence of the spiritual warfare that rages most furiously in those parts of the world where Satan’s influence is strongest. Therefore den Dulk is on target in asking us to pray with and for people who are persecuted.
Second, peace comes when those who do not know Jesus begin to turn to him. This is much different than the world’s definition of peace. The number-one priority of the church today is our evangelistic calling.
David Stravers, Mission India
Grand Rapids, Mich.
A Hot Iron
I believe that synod had the right to accept the minority report which rules that homosexual practice and marriage is in conflict with the word of God (“IMHO: A Hot Iron”). What follows as a caution against the involvement of officebearers in a homosexual marriage ceremony, though, does not go far enough. It should have cautioned everyone who professes Christ as their Savior and the Word of God as the infallible rule of a Christian’s life.