Will the Christian Reformed Church of 2057 be anything like the denomination of 1957?
The answer, according to Rev. Scott Hoezee, is yes . . . and no.
In his new book Grace Through Every Generation, published to celebrate the CRC’s 150th anniversary in 2007, Hoezee describes how cultural shifts and major synodical decisions of the last half-century have prompted changes in the CRC that were perhaps unthinkable two generations ago. Yet he claims that our core denominational creeds and values haven’t changed, though the way they’re interpreted and expressed has.
“Pick almost any denomination you want,” Hoezee says, “and you will discover that there is a great variety of viewpoints within that denomination—that is, denominations are not the monoliths they once were. . . . Although some of us in the denomination may articulate some of [our] tenets a little bit differently than others in the CRC family, those with ears to hear can detect a common core.”
Hoezee recognizes that changes have not come swiftly or painlessly nor has the CRC simply bowed to the winds of culture.
“Deep in the DNA of the Christian Reformed spirit is the tendency to come apart and be separate, to maintain doctrinal purity precisely by not being too much a part of the surrounding culture,” he says.
Hoezee spends a chapter reviewing how synods have dealt with a litany of potential identity crises even beyond the headline-grabbing issues of homosexuality and women in office—issues such as election and the means of salvation or the nature and authority of Scripture.
While the book pays special attention to the work of synod, Hoezee also details more organic denominational changes, such as the rise of the CRC in Canada, multiculturalism, and diversity of worship styles.
As he considers the past 50 years, Hoezee sees the CRC wanting to become more inclusive of those inside the church and accessible to those outside—all without forsaking its theological roots.
“I hope the book will be read and enjoyed in the context of a celebration that will be one part looking back and one part anticipating the future God has in store for us,” he says.
Grace Through Every Generation is available from Faith Alive Christian Resources. For more information call 1-800-333-8300, go to www.FaithAlive Resources.org, or visit the bookstores at 2850 Kalamazoo SE in Grand Rapids, Mich., or 3475 Mainway in Burlington, Ontario.