De Moor to Retire from The Banner

Rev. Bob De Moor informed the Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church this week of his intent to retire as editor of The Banner effective end of August 2015 to go from half time to full time parish ministry at West End Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alberta. The Banner is the official publication of the CRC.

“I’m definitely anticipating being back full time in the pastorate,” De Moor said in an interview. “It was my first love, and it still is.”

De Moor has led The Banner as editor in chief since 2004 after a year as the interim editor. Since 2006 he has divided his time between The Banner and his role as pastor of preaching and administration at West End.

De Moor has shared his role at West End with copastor Gordon Pols. It is Pols’s impending retirement from his role that prompted the West End council to request that DeMoor work full time now for West End. “It was understood from the beginning that I would eventually be full time at West End,” DeMoor said, “and with Gord’s retirement, the council felt this would be a good time.”

De Moor has been under fire for much of the past year for controversial articles published in The Banner, which culminated with Synod 2014 lamenting the publication of those articles and De Moor apologizing on the floor of synod for how the articles were presented.

However, De Moor said, his retirement from The Banner has nothing to do with that. “I wanted to see that through,” De Moor said. “I also wanted to see The Banner put in a good place in the denominational restructuring, and I believe it has found that place.”

Rev. Joel Boot, who served as the denomination’s executive director until this past summer, expressed appreciation for De Moor’s work. “We are very grateful to Bob for his years of service, but also for remaining at the editor’s desk during this recent ‘storm,’” he said. “It is a gift to the magazine, to the denomination, and to his successor that he acknowledged mistakes, made changes, and saw us through to a better understanding and reconciliation and to continued thoughtful consideration of the issues.”

The Banner has been through many changes during De Moor’s tenure. When he came on board, the magazine was a subscription-based, biweekly print magazine with a static website that mirrored the content in the print issue. It has since moved to a monthly magazine distributed to every household in the denomination with changes in format. Articles are now shorter and more varied because of the larger and wider readership The Banner serves. The magazine launched a new website in 2011 and continues to look for new ways to communicate digitally. De Moor said that the magazine needs to continue moving forward into other environments such as social media. “Now that people communicate in other environments, The Banner  needs to be there as well.”

Steven Timmermans, the CRC’s new executive director, noted The Banner’s long history of informing, encouraging, and challenging the church. “During his 11 years as editor, Bob has helped to write the most recent chapter of The Banner’s history, and I'm exceedingly grateful for the gifts he has shared with us.”

As he prepares to take his leave from the magazine, De Moor expressed the hope that The Banner would continue to be the kitchen table of the CRC, and that more people—those who are on the periphery and younger people—would be drawn to that table.

He noted that The Banner and the CRC as a whole need to tackle the hard issues, to find ways to bless one another and help each other grow. “I do believe that we need to become more humble about what we understand Scripture to actually mean,” he said. “We fully believe the Bible is God’s Word, but we must realize that both our interpretation of Scripture and our understanding of creation are human works, fallible human works, so we need a greater humility. We need to become more charitable, listen more carefully to each other, and do a better job communicating with each other in a way that is useful.”

“I continue to love the CRC,” he said. “And I hope the church will continue to grow and thrive and will be able to stay together, particularly when we face difficult issues—that we will hold on to each other, celebrate what unites us rather than complain about what divides us.”

He also had a word of advice for his successor: “You need to have a thick skin, but you cannot be calloused. You have to let it hurt a little bit. The truth spoken in love can still hurt.”

The Board of Trustees mandated its executive committee to begin the search for an interim editor of The Banner. An interim editor would serve until a new editor is appointed by Synod 2016. A nominee is expected to be appointed by the Board in February 2015 for ratification by Synod 2015. 

After De Moor leaves The Banner, he’ll have approximately 16 months until he plans to retire from ministry in December 2016. And after that? “I have no idea,” he said. “In God’s good time I’ll find out.”

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

See comments (7)

Comments

He will be missed - Pastor DeMoor didn't shy away from controversy and integrity. I became an avid Banner reader since he became editor. God bless you in your future endeavors.

Thank you, Bob, for your work!

Bob, I do think you're irreplaceable! Ok, perhaps not completely, but gigantic shoes to fill nonetheless!

Although I think it is always important to have open exchanges on culturally controversial issues in the church, we are, after all, a "Confessional Church" and I would hope that those discussions would always lead to a confessionally relevant conclusion. A good example of this is found in Article Seven, on "The Sufficiency of Scripture" in the Belgic Confession which states, in brief, several things. First its preamble "We believe that this Holy Scripture contain the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it." Then it makes a very relevant statement to the same sex debate. It states, “Therefore we must not consider human writings—no matter how holy their authors may have been—equal to the divine writings; nor may we put custom, nor the majority, nor age, nor the passage of times or persons, nor councils, decrees, or official decisions above the truth of God, for truth is above everything else.”

Well Bob can retire knowing he took the folks who read the Banner anymore down a road they may never recover from...He is as much deceived as many who he has led down that dark road...May God open his eyes...spiritually is our prayer for him...Yes we should discuss those "issues" to inform...everyone who has read the Banner in the last years knows it was not just for information all those articles were written but to take us all to a different "place" to accepting ideas that are NOT from the ONE true God...of the Bible...our prayers go with that man as Holy Spirit can do great things in our hearts...

I may have been as critical of Banner content -- and Bob DeMoor -- as anyone.  But I have respected, admired and appreciated the Banner's -- and Bob DeMoor's -- commitment to keeping the online Banner open to comments (as a kitchen table), including those that express disagreement with vigor.  I believe and have said that The Network is a better place for the CRC kitchen table (ironically, I'm banned from posting there) than the the online, but that certainly can be debated.  What counts more is that the Banner -- and Bob DeMoor -- have at been true to the commitment of allowing all to sit around this "kitchen table."

In a broader sense, I do have this large concern.  I consider Bob DeMoor a very honorable person and a brother in Christ, as I did prior editor John Suk (who has since left the CRC and renounced many CRC positions/perspectives), but I really have to wonder why the CRCNA bureaucracy is so seemingly fixated on having Banner editors who so "push the envelope," to the point sometime of seeming to more disagree than agree with the CRC's historical and present positions/perspectives.  It's almost as if "pushing the envelope" is regarded as a good thing in and of itself. 

I've discussed my local church's experience with this before but it is worth discussing again.  My local church attracts many of those outside the CRC tradition (non-Dutch, non-culturally CRC) who find a home in our church because of its theological perspectives and positions.  They find our church a refreshing church fellowship amid a sea of other options.  But then when they start reading the Banner, they start wondering just what Christian Reformed" really means.  We've lost several several good families because of that.  While the denomination officially bemoans the loss of members and the ugliness of mono-culture, it presents a picture of itself that contradicts itself (and many if not most local church), thereby creating confusion in the minds of the non-Dutch, non-culturally CRC people who would join and stay with our church if only we were what we officially say we are (sans the envelope pushing stuff).

I don't think there is anything bad about having a Banner editor and editorial staff who/that is somewhat unqualifiedly delighted with the CRC's historical and present positions/perspectives.  I'd even go out on a limb and say it is a good thing.  Maybe I'm naive to think that way, but if so, I still have a lot of company within the CRC membership.

 

I can wish him well, but I agree that as Rev. DeMoor's predecessor seems to have left the CRCNA for much more liberal denomination it would be nice to see someone more "balanced" as the next editor rather than keeping the current streak of having progressive/liberal leaders. There are certainly many articulate voices for traditional views in our denomination and it would be nice to see more of them in the Banner.

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