CRC Executive Director Signs Petition Regarding Refugees

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Steven Timmermans, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, recently signed a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence expressing concern about the moratorium placed on refugee resettlement in the U.S.

“Our care for the oppressed and suffering is rooted in the call of Jesus to ‘love our neighbor as we love ourselves,’” the letter said. “As Christians, we have a historic call expressed over two thousand years, to serve the suffering. We cannot abandon this call now.”

Timmermans said he signed the letter because “I’m expressing the intent of Synod 2010’s decision when it said to ‘speak out against and seek to reform laws and practices concerning the treatment of immigrants that appear to be unduly harsh or unjust.’”

He said that in the U.S., the immigration of refugees involves a thorough vetting process and then resettlement through many religiously affiliated agencies. “Since there has been no reported evidence of the U.S.’s vetting practices to be deficient and because it is largely people of faith running these organizations for resettlement, which for me engenders trust, I think the actions of the recent executive order fit Synod’s target: treatment . . . that appear[s] to be unduly harsh or unjust.”

The letter acknowledges the crucial role of government in protecting from harm but said compassion and security must coexist. It also noted that in addition to welcoming persecuted Christians, there must also be a welcome for “vulnerable Muslims and people of other faiths or no faith at all.”

The letter closed with a promise of prayer for both elected leaders and the vulnerable individuals whom their decisions directly impact.

Among the 500 evangelical leaders who also signed the letter were Timothy Keller, Bill Hybels, Ann Voskamp, and Richard Mouw.

To those Christian Reformed Church members who may disagree with Timmermans’ action, he says, “Please call me. Let’s talk because we’re brothers and sisters in Christ, all trying to live out the call of the gospel."

About the Author

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

See comments (7)


It would be nice (necessary really) to see a copy of ED Timmermans' letter before passing any kind of judgement, pro or con, on it (I'm not seeing a link to it in this article).

Can anyone provide an phone number or email address to contact ED Timmermans?  My email address is if someone could send me that.  I appreciate ED Timmermans' willingness to discuss this.  First, though, I'd want to have a copy of the letter so I can know what it says.

Hi Doug,

It was a technological glitch that the link to the letter got dropped. You should be able to see the link now. You reach Dr. Timmermans by calling 616-241-1691 (main switchboard) and asking for his office. 

Thanks Gayla ...

Thank you for signing this. It's encouraging to me that I can share with my refugee friends that my church is FOR THEM. While this is a dark time, it's also an opportunity for God's people to shine.
I read in full the order that President Trump signed regarding this issue. More people should do so before jumping on the band wagon to comment. The Order was narrowly defined and highly specific to countries in which a large percentage of the population have a very negative view of America and Amiericans. To provide extra safeguards and/or to ensure the safeguards in place are working is the role of any sovereign government . For a church who's members represent a very broad political spectrum it should be very cautious to speak out publicly. If it does so it should so only after having consulted in the broadest possible assemblies every time it wants to comment. To rely on very broad pronouncement previously made is a bit tricky IMHO.

Amen! I'm proud of the CRCNA leadership to take this courageous and Jesus like position.

It is very interesting that wealthly countries, such as Saudi Arabia, that are in the same region have not taken in any refugees.

Isn't it also curious that most of those that have poured into Europe purporting to be regugees are young males of millitary age?