I went through a divorce while I was a member of a CRC (“Divorce Care,” Apr. 2017). Almost 10 years later, it remains the most painful experience of my life—not the divorce but the way I was treated by my former church. I was sent a letter of admonishment from the pastors and elders in which I was told I would receive their support only if I tried to reconcile with my husband. I was told by one pastor that I was "severely, clinically depressed" while my other pastor strongly urged me to convince her that my marriage was bad enough to justify divorce, seeming to invite me to disparage my husband, which I would not do.
Because I was the one who initiated the divorce, I received no pastoral care, very little outreach from fellow members, and no effort from the elders to understand my pain. All this from a church that is considered "progressive" in the denomination. One particularly painful exchange was when an elder greeted me with what I hoped were going to be some words of kindness; instead she said, "I'm just so disappointed in you."
It is my prayer that no one else will be treated the way I was. I hope church leaders will realize that behavior like this creates long-lasting pain and disillusionment with the church. I am still not a member of a church and doubt I ever will be.
I believe that the "good news" that the disciples proclaimed after Jesus' ascension was that the kingdom of God had already come through Jesus' death on the cross, that it was present in the here and now, and that it would come in its totality when Christ returns (“Anticipating Christ’s Inauguration,” Apr. 2017).
In 1 Corinthians 15:20-25, Paul speaks of Christ reigning in his kingdom; in Philippians 2:9 he states that Jesus has been exalted to the highest place. "God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them" (Heb. 2:8).
Perhaps we do not implement God's mission of reconciliation, forgiveness, and sacrificial love in anticipation of Christ's inauguration. Rather, as children of the reigning King and ambassadors in his already-established kingdom, we have the joy and privilege of discovering and uncovering more and more of his kingdom, for his glory.
Calvin and Kuyper must be in tears! (FAQ, Ethics, Apr. 2017). Are we to believe that every inch, with the exception of economics, belongs to our Lord? The exact opposite is true! Scripture is full of direction both for macro and micro economic outcomes and how we might influence the structure of these systems to optimize outcomes. A macro system that rewards hard work and risk taking and innovation wins every time. The five- and two-talent servants in Matthew 25 doubled their master’s monies entrusted to them. Their economic system must have provided them with this potential. Clearly there are implications for rule of law, our environment, training and education, benevolence and giving. However, a Jubilee recipient of family land who has no training or ambition to generate an income from that asset will soon be forced to sell the land once again. A temporary reset at best!
We may disagree on the extent of government involvement in our economic system, but Scripture is quite clear what is expected of us. An economic system that optimizes our ability to meet these expectations is my vote! He is Lord of all . . . every inch!
Beyond Our Fears
Some thoughts as I read “Beyond Our Fears” (March 2017):
I have lived all my life in the United States. At a certain age I became a member of the Christian Reformed Church. At a certain age I also became a member of the Republican Party. At a certain age I was drafted into the U.S. Army, where I became acquainted with people who had different viewpoints than I did. I came to respect those with different views and they respected mine.
It is my understanding that we citizens of the U.S. (and Canada) have a right to our viewpoints. I believe we should make use of our freedom to lovingly respect the rights of fellow humans.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Gift of the Law
The well-written “The Gift of the Law” (Apr. 2017) may provide comfort to some Banner readers, but it is one-sided. For balance, another article perhaps should be written about the liberty we have in Christ. The law that Jesus came to fulfill was the Torah, the entire New Testament, and not some set of ceremonial laws fabricated by the Scribes and the Pharisees. The article appears to be caught in the Lutheran dilemma of law versus gospel.
Harry A. Van Belle
We enjoy your Punch Lines (in general), but a couple of the ones in March 2017 were offensive to Christians.
High River, Alta.
The Punch Lines joke [about the zoo] (March 2017) is not funny. It’s disturbing.
Salmon Arm, B.C.