CRC Position on Creation and Science Remains Unchanged

| |

Synod declined to make any official declarations in response to the writings of two Calvin College professors on issues of human origins but, rather, decided to wait for a report from the college.

Rev. Peter Jonker: “There need to be boundaries, but we are also concerned about creating an atmosphere that does not stifle those around us from doing their work with all their curiosity.”

Photo: Karen Huttenga

“There need to be boundaries, but we are also concerned about creating an atmosphere that does not stifle those around us from doing their work with all their curiosity,” said Rev. Peter Jonker, Classis Grand Rapids East.

An overture (request) came to synod from Classis Central Plains to declare part of a 1991 report the official position of the CRC on creation and science.

“We need to say something because the perception is that the denomination believes in evolution. I have had to say in council meetings and in interactions with those outside the denomination—no we don’t,” said Rev. Jon Gorter, Classis Central Plains.

However, Synod 2011 found the proposed section “inadequate” as an official position statement.

Rev. John Gorter: “We need to say something because the perception is that the denomination believes in evolution.”

Photo: Karen Huttenga

“The issue is whether or not what is stated in [the 1991 report] . . . can do the job that we want it to do,” said Rev. Dan Gritter, Classis Grand Rapids South.

Rev. Scott E. Hoezee, Calvin Theological Seminary faculty adviser at synod, said, “To make something an official position of the church is a big deal, so to lift out a section of a 20-year-old report and to make it an official position of the church is very dangerous.”

Elder Chad Werkhoven, Classis Columbia, focused on the proposal being a first step. “I know it’s short and I know it’s incomplete, but it’s a starting point. We have a responsibility here.”

Rev. Stephen M. Hasper, Classis Georgetown, reiterated the church’s current position. “We have the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort, and they speak quite eloquently to it. It’s not that we have no position,” he said.

“It’s one of the largest issues facing the church. What we’re dealing with here, the whole church is dealing with,” said Jonker.

After an extended debate, synod decided to limit its response to requiring Calvin College to send to synod its report on the balance of academic freedom and the church’s confessions.

For more coverage while synod is in session, including webcasts, photos, discussion forums, reports, and more, visit the Synod 2011 website.

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

See comments (6)

Comments

“We need to say something because the perception is that the denomination believes in evolution. I have had to say in council meetings and in interactions with those outside the denomination—no we don’t,” said Rev. Jon Gorter, Classis Central Plains.

We don't? Speak for yourself. Atheistic evolution certainly, but do some pastors really think that the CRC rejects all evolution? That's certainly not the official stance of the church over the past few decades.

Typical for synod to dodge the the problem. There is no issue in God's Holy Word there are men who make the problems. These two professors should be fired if this is their belief.We have God's word and our doctrines that make it very clear what we believe, did they not sign the form of subscription.We want to change it's wording as well another watering down of things in the CRC. Wake up people.

I will never say yes to evolution.
In fact, I believe what the Bible teaches for the past, present and future. Nothing else more to discuss in this matter.

"CRC Position on Creation and Science Remains Unchanged" —Which is..., YES we do believe in evolution, or NO we do not believe in evolution?

All this "yes - "no," "black-white" agitation regarding creation / evolution is counterproductive. Do we really want to be fundamentalists - with a second by second description of exactly how God created us based on a current interpretation of Genesis? Or do we want our schools to assume the process of origins common to atheists?

Very few of us - exceedingly few of us - are capable of sorting out the details of a long religious and scientific history which often collide over the question of human origins. Collisions like this in religious bodies like synod tend to produce heat - church splits, suspicions, polarization - over issues that have nothing directly to do with the church's mission.

We're a church, not a scientific think tank. We have our confessions and the wonderful testimony that says in so many words, "Our World Belongs To God.” Let's not try to pontificate beyond that.

"There are questions at issue between Christians to which I do not think we have been told the answer. There are some to which I may never know the answer: if I asked them, even in a better world, I might (for all I know) be answered as a far greater questioner was answered: 'What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.'"
- From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

"We ask how the Nature created by a good God comes to be in this [depraved] condition? By which question we may mean either how she comes to be imperfect--to leave 'room for improvement' as the schoolmasters say in their reports--- or else, how she comes to be positively depraved. If we ask the question in the first sense, the Christian answer (I think) is that God, from the first, created her such as to reach her perfection by a process in time. He made an Earth at first 'without form and void' and brought it by degrees to its perfection. In this, as elsewhere, we see the familiar pattern--descent from God to the formless Earth and reascent from the formless to the finished. In that sense a certain degree of 'evolutionism' or 'developmentalism' is inherent in Christianity
--From Miracles by C. S. Lewis

X