CRC Executive Director Attends White House Gathering

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As president of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., Steven Timmermans was part of the U.S. president’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, a White House initiative aimed at using interfaith cooperation and community service to build understanding between different communities and contribute to the common good.

So it was in his former role that Timmermans attended a White House forum in September for college presidents and other supporters of the initiative. But Timmermans, now executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, hopes that church members too “are lifelong students of history, geography, theology, and sociology so that in our communities and neighborhoods, we know how to relate to those of other faiths (or no faith at all) in a hospitable way that the Holy Spirit will use.”

Timmermans said he was struck by a talk given by David Campbell, director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame. “His research suggests that one of the most significant engines of civic engagement in our society is religion—particularly via social relationships built into congregations,” Timmermans said.

Congregations often have to learn and relearn the local contexts in which they worship and minister, he added. Participation in community-based efforts could be for some a powerful tool that propels ministry. “Dr. Campbell talked about the ‘nones,’ that growing segment who identify with no faith tradition. He noted that involvement of people of faith in civic matters can show these ‘nones’ what faith can do in real and authentic ways,” he said.

Timmermans noted that some people greet the term ‘interfaith dialogue’ as a threat, “as if it is trying to find the lowest common denominator among religions.” He doesn’t agree. “Pluralism doesn’t demand some sort of bland commonality; [it] requires that we step into the public square with our religious identities intact.”

“This project isn’t focused on greater Christian unity or cooperation but rather on interfaith literacy and understanding, so desperately needed in a world of deadly conflict and terrorism in the name of religion,” Timmermans said. “I hope that as we await the synodical study committee on [religious persecution] and then act on it as well as on our continuing call to be witnesses, we would become more able to be agents of reconciliation used mightily by the Spirit.”

About the Author

Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.

See comments (19)


One World Religon is coming sooner then we think. We all want a culture of peace, however, if you do not conform to this new world order, you will not be tolerated. Its unity or else... , you know the bumper sticker, Coexist.

The Vatican (Roman Catholic Church ) is the headquarters under the United Nations agenda to bring all religions under its umbrella using ecumenical and interfaith movements to accomplish their agenda of compromising the truth.- Christ alone.

"And you will be hated by all for my name's sake, but the one who endures to the end will be saved." (Mark 13:13)

"There is one Lord, one faith, one Baptism" (Ephesians 4:5)

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

''Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

Kevin, I'm sorry but this kind conspiricy theory and vilification of the Roman Catholic Church has no place on this web site.  Please keep your hate speech to yourself.  All christians are part of the body of Christ, not just the ones you like.

Kevin...You are so right...This is not hate speech as Henry is accusing...He seems to know nothing of what you are talking about...or what is truly going on...Being a "watchman on the wall" is not hate is the best form of love there is as you and those like you are warning and knowing you will get comments like Henry's..Your post is filled with the Word...What you are saying is so true about the Vatican...all you have to do is read the paper to find that out...but there certainly is alot more truth to be found if you want to...THERE IS A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT coming and The WORLD COUNCIL of churches is the organazation that will help bring in the ONE WORLD CHURCH...This article shows how folks just fall for it...Pray for discernment folks!    Keep up the good work Kevin...

Wow I really didn't think this kind of paranoia and hate for the Roman Catholic Church was part of the CRC.  Stop reading dispensational theology. The current Pope has been a blessing to the world, we should all be thankful that the Lord has given us a leader like this.  We are one body!

Kevin, do you expect that, when you leave this earthly domain and enter "into the arms of Jesus", you will be comfortable praising God together with Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, American Reformed, Coptic Christians, Orthodox Ukrainians and Roman Catholics? Is this a valid question? If it is, is it not time to practice this on this side of the "great divide"? It seems to me that the infinite splitting of the body of believers into smaller and smaller entities is not conducive to bringing the Good News.

Kevin and Marj, why don't you listen to my favorite RC and once you're done let me know what you think.

When I share my faith with Catholics, my heart is broken. It's like trying to unscramble eggs. The Roman Catholic Church is not our equal, or some other form of Christianity. No, they are our mission field. There is a contrast between Roman Catholism and Biblical Christianity .The Reformers got that. Consider what they said about the Pope. The five Solas at the bottom are the terms which identified Protestantism and the Reformation at the end of the 1500's 


Martin Luther: "We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist...personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that of Antichrist." (sermon on Aug18, 1520)

The Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Synod stated in 1938:  "the prophecies of Antichrist have been fulfilled in the Papacy...We accept (the historical position) that the Pope is the Antichrist...because among all the antichristian manifestations in the history of the world and the church that lie behind us in the past there is none that fits the desciption given in II Thessalonians 2 better than the Papacy."

Zwingli (former Catholic priest): speaking of the Pope-"I know that in it works the might and power of the Devil, that is, of the Antichrist."

John Calvin: "Let my readers understand that I am here combating that opinion with which the Roman Antichrist and his prophets have imbued the whole world-viz. that the mass is a work by which the priest who offers Christ, and the others who in the oblation receive him, gain merit with God."(The Institutes to the topic Book IV, "Of the Popish Mass")

"It would be equivalent to Antichrist for anyone to make bishop to be intercessor between God and man."

John Knox: " For the gospel to make headway in Europe, the people there would first have to learn to identify the Pope as "the very antichrist, and son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks" (The Zurich letters,199)

The London Confession of Faith and the Westminster Confession: "The Pope of that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; with whom the Lord  shall destroy with the brightness of his coming" (Chapter 26 of the London Confession,and chapter 25, VI of the WC) 

 Wesley:"He is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, poperly styled the Son of Perdition." (Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms pg110)

"The Pope exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped...claiming the highest power, and higher honor...claiming prerogatives which belong to God alone."

Charles Spurgeon: "The Protestantism of England is the pay-master of the Pope.  I am ashamed that sons of the Reformers....should bow themselves before the beast, and give so much as a single farthing to the shrine of the devil's firstborn son.  Take heed to yourselves, ye Protestants, lest ye be partakers of her plagues; touch her not, lest ye be defiled.  Give a drachm to her, or a grain of incense to her censors, ye shall be partakers of her adulteries and partakers of her plagues.  every time you pass the house of Popery let a curse light upon her head: Thus saith the Lord:-'Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues. For he sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities" (Sermon 250, "War,War,War")


What must I do to be saved? Sola Fida- Faith alone

What must I trust? Solus Christus- Christ alone

What must I obey? Sola Scriptura- Scripture alone

What must I earn? Sola Gratia- Grace alone

What is the point? Soli Deo Gloria- God's glory alone





I believe there is a lot to criticize about the leadership of the CRCNA, an institutional church, interjecting itself into the political sphere. Compromise of historic doctrine started far before Dr. Timmermans in this area. I do not follow the conspiracy theories about the United Nations, RC church etc. though. The issue is that the leadership of our denomination has become increasingly "mainline" rather than evangelical in their orientation and are inclined to do what mainline Protestants do.

Really?  The infallible Martin Luther?  500 years makes no difference?  We are all equals.  Pride goes before our fall, and our numbers are dwindingly due to the CRC sectarian tendencies.  It might be helpful to attend an RCC a few times before you condemn them to hell and declare the pope the anti-christ.  Heaven help the CRC if such ideas are still common among the pews.

Kevin, you cite a lot of long-dead people. I've also heard, from some of my Lutheran friends (yes, I do tend to hang out with a lot of non-Reformed people, even with the ones-that-shall-not-be-named who adhere to a "detestable error" [Heidelberg Catechism]) that, if Luther were alive today, he would not have felt the need to take the actions he took that led to his excommunication from the Roman Catholic church. In other words, the current Roman Catholic church is not the same as the one in 1521.

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all descernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ."  (Philippians 1: 9-10)

"Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not incompetent to try trivial cases?  Do you not know that we are to judge angels?  How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!"  (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)



Kevin I have no idea what you mean to say with these few random bible quotes

Henry, I have been accused of hate speech, yet the verses I qouted above exhort us to take responsiblity and judge and test all things. As Christians we are called to judge righteously by using the word of God as a plumb-line to discern truth from error. We have to be willing to be corrected by the Scrpitures. How can Christians defend and proclaim the Gospel without discerning what the Gospel is?

"As we practice the gift of discernment let us question our motives.  Is our objective to be obedient to God's word for the purpose of helping, healing, correcting, warning and sharing in the spirit of love? Does our discernment lead people towards truth and righteous living? Are we concerned for the purity of the body of Christ? Have we come to acknowledge that when the gift of discernment is not exercised, the church cannot be purged of error and sin and the name of Jesus Christ cannot be fully glorified and honored as the Holy Head of His Body, the Church.  -Mike Gendron (former Catholic)

Tjalle...I see Kevin did not answer your question...he may not think it worth answering as it is so demeaning and has nothing to do with the point he was trying to make!   But this statement I will make...There will be many folks from all denominations in heaven...of course!  even though the "heads" of their denominations may be evil...There will be many from the CR and Reformed church who have sat in church all their lives who will not be in heaven cause it was all "religion" to them..which means works...and not a relationship with sad as it is all in the head and not 18 inches down to ones heart.... Kevin is not splitting the body of believers...he is telling what is truth...Tjalle I would look into what he says about the "Vatican"..and then pray for discernment..

Henry: Do the words 'ad hominem' mean anything to you? Also, have you examined whether or not there might be a connection between the Vatican and the United Nations with regard to religious unification efforts? Have you ever read the oath of office for the Society of Jesus? No one doubts that all Christians are members of the body of Christ. However, not everyone who says "lord-lord" is necessarily a believer. The fact that our executive director thinks pluralism is harmless is worrisome to me. Pluralism only cuts one way. It eventually rules in everything BUT Christianity. My 24 years in Air Force chaplaincy convinced me of that truth. Participating in 'inter-faith' services is counter-productive. However, talking with and 'reasoning' with members of other faith-groups is always wise. The apostle Paul always did. Would Jesus pray to Allah? I doubt it. 

The same could be said about the CRC from the RC perpspective, we all live in our own thought bubbles, none of which can claim the whole.  Did I ever mentioned Allah?  No, so stick to the point.  Are we or are we not brothers and sisters with 1.2 billion Catholics?  Of course we are.  And since we are saved by grace, and not by our conceptual works and thought projects, the differences of believe don't really matter in the end. Or do we need our own little private CRC corner of heaven to assure us that all the other believers didn't make it in?  We are one body called to work toward unity, neither male nor female, nor Jew and Greek, regardless of our differences. Christianity is a global movement united by Christ himself and not by our feeble attempts to give conceptual form to the life in Christ regardless of the fact that all denominations try too.

Marj, what was "so demeaning" about my comment?  As to why Kevin did not reply to my question, that's up to him to explain. Anything else would be speculation.  I'm not about to determine which, if any, "heads of denominations" may be evil. Let's leave that up to God, shall we?  I agree with your comment about the "head" and the "heart".  As to the Vatican, it's amazing to me how a denomination has been able to withstand the onslaught of the media.  Take, for examples, the RC stand on abortion and same-sex union.

Henry:The point was pluralism, so I assumed Allah was part of the discussion by default. The RC couldn't make the same case about the CRC since we don't have anything to do with the UN as far as I know, but I could be mistaken. And it does matter what we in fact believe. Christianity has settled dogma thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit in the history of the church. No one is free to simply make it up as we go along. 

The CRCNA has been active in supporting the United Nations "Millenium Development" program. It is a government-centered agenda. Again, I do not think there is anything conspiratorial only that it is a wrong-headed agenda pushed by some of the denominational bureaucrats. I'd encourage those concerned with the actions of Dr. Timmermans and other leaders to discuss this with your local Pastors and Elders as I have. Often they are unaware of what is going on at the denomination.