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Conservative Compassion

Like Monte and Tammie, we have a daughter who identifies as LGBTQ. My wife and I know by experience what it’s like to hold conservative Christian values and grapple with balancing grace and truth. Many do not share our conviction of unconditional love and acceptance of a family member who is LGBTQ. The choice for us comes down to either having no relationship with our daughter and the spouse to whom she’s legally married or just accepting them. I understand that people who have not gone through what we have don’t understand our position. I have to question myself: Am I showing mercy and compassion? Do I take Jesus’ command to love my neighbor seriously? The reality is that we all struggle with sin, no matter who we are. If we shut the church doors to sinners, how will we get in?

Greg Tiffany // Hudsonville, Mich.


Heeding Ben de Regt’s call to compassion would make our churches and families healthier, more Christlike, and more loving. As a pastor, I've heard too many stories of children rejected by their Christian families and churches because of their sexual identity or orientation. Thanks for reminding conservatives that extending the love of Christ and the hospitality of his grace is not being soft on sin. But could that hospitality be extended further? Some of us have studied the Bible’s teachings and come to biblical convictions that contradict some of the conclusions of the Human Sexuality Report of 2022. Such views have not been met with compassion in our denomination. Instead of the “cosmic hospitality” of the gospel we are being told that the Christian Reformed Church is no longer a home where we are welcome. Perhaps “conservative compassion” might extend to those of us who disagree about biblical interpretation as well.

Rob Jansons // Monroe, Wash.


I’m not sure how “conservative compassion” is different from … any other kind of genuine compassion. Christian compassion should never be politicized. The 1973 and 2022 synodical decisions about homosexuality take pains to state that homosexuality itself is not a personal choice, but an inborn characteristic. Forbidding two committed homosexual persons from expressing their love for one another is as harmful and unloving as doing so for committed heterosexual couples. There are many serious theological questions surrounding just a few biblical texts. Should contested knowledge claims trump the Bible’s overwhelming and uncontested teaching that love is the fulfillment of the law? Read 1 Corinthians 13:2. Humility and unconditional love are far better than the hubris of a certain faith about what the Bible might or might not say about how two people may love each other.

Robert W. Bruinsma // Edmonton, Alta.


Thank you, Ben de Regt, for your article in the March Banner. Jesus’ question “Why are you so afraid?” really struck me. What is it that makes us fear inclusion? Many of us learned John 3:16-17 as children. Those verses encompass God’s story. We have split hairs and churches over the years about infant and adult baptism, women in office, and now LGBTQ issues. We are not the “deciders” of who God loves. Jesus did not come to condemn or exclude.

Linda Siebenga // Blackfalds, Alta.


Monologue vs. Dialogue

Thanks, Dale Melenberg, for your excellent article on dialogic preaching (“Monologue vs. Dialogue,” March 2024). One of my professors at Fuller Theological Seminary once remarked that “monologue preaching is the most ineffective means of communication ever devised.” That may be an exaggeration, but for too long we have held this up as God’s preferred way of communicating. It’s not. Implementing your discovery will be most difficult for those preaching in megachurches—another reason to appreciate the advantages of a smaller congregation. The best size of all is the small group (having) conversations around tables.

Rev. David Stravers // Fountain Hills, Ariz.


Faith Struggles

I just read the “Big Questions” page in the March Banner. I was very disappointed in the answer to the 50-year-old struggling with his faith. There was a lot more emphasis on reading and listening to what others say rather than letting God speak to him through the Bible, especially the words of Jesus in the gospels. I have found that joining a small-group Bible study using the Discover Your Bible study books is the best way to grow closer to God and understand his will for our lives.

Jannette Bos // Cambridge, Ont.


Church Buildings

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema’s concern espoused in “The Church is Not a Building” (March 2024) must echo many in the CRC who question why some pastors call their church building the house of God. That’s a biblical reference to Jewish places of worship. The Christian church is a spiritual entity, a gathering of believers regardless of place of worship. Christ’s church is not built with bricks and mortar. Believers are living stones that make up the church—and Christ is the capstone.

Joe A. Serge // Oshawa, Ont.

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