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Focusing on Orthodoxy
I received a twofold blessing from the September 2022 issue of The Banner. First, the editorial “Further from Revival” is what my soul needed. Too often I fall into a loveless orthodoxy. Thank you, editor Chong! Second, my fear of the Christian Reformed Church losing its orthodoxy was somewhat alleviated by the article “What’s Wrong with the Rapture?” The article echoes our Reformed confessions concerning the return of Christ. Please continue doctrinal studies in The Banner. But the burden does not rest only on the shoulders of our editor. This is a plea for all CRC churches to make sure our children and young people become well grounded in a loving orthodoxy. After all, for decades our confessions were called the Three Forms of Unity.
Doug Aldrink // Dublin, Ohio
Kudos to Corey Van Huizen and Tyler Greenway on the article “Preaching to Promote Conversation” (September 2022). (It was a) very insightful way of looking at the topic of preaching, and I would assume it’s not just younger people who desire conversations around biblical topics. It could have an outsized impact if widely adopted.
John Erro // Oakdale, Calif.
When I finished reading the Behind The Banner blog post, “Why We Publish ‘Controversial’ Articles” (thebanner.org), I thanked our Lord for your clear voice. I know you must often feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, but if we can’t or won’t hear each other, then we really don’t have a communion of saints any longer. Please carry on with this work; you are in my prayers.
Bart van der Kamp // Delta, B.C.
Thank you, editor and staff of The Banner. You are charged by the CRCNA to walk a fine line amid divergent and often strongly held perspectives. I think you do it with grace, thoughtfulness, and, as the “Why We Publish ‘Controversial’ Articles” article suggests, you are biblically prophetic. Please keep us thinking and in dialogue with others.
Curtis Korver // Port Alberni, B.C.
Signs of Hope
I wanted to take a minute to thank you for your column “Signs of Hope” (October 2022) and for many of your previous columns. Reading your words over the past few years has often given me hope for this denomination (and) for the church itself. Your work is consistently thoughtful, humble, and clearly Spirit-led. I will not say which side of the current debate I stand on, but I have greatly appreciated your attempts to write where the Spirit has led you without taking sides. As the wife of a journalist, I am aware of how difficult that can be.
Mary Steensma // Rochester, N.Y.
The article by David Ryden really resonated with me (“Church, Can We Talk About Hospitality?”, July/August 2022). Why are some churches so friendly and others not? I decided part of the reason is that “Christian Reformed” sometimes seems to be not only a denomination but an ethnic group. I would invite people home for lunch on Sundays but was told they always go to a grandparent’s house. Birthdays were celebrated with families. So, after being unsuccessful in getting church members to our home, we began to invite international students from Calvin College. They for sure were not a part of the Christian Reformed “ethnic group” and had no family in the country. I wish all congregations could look past our last names and our looks and assume all of us are a part of the Christian family, first of all, and just happen to be members of a Christian Reformed church!
Elisabeth Beels // Grand Rapids, Mich.
I appreciated your coverage of Synod 2022 (July/August 2022). In particular, Shiao Chong’s trenchant lament and David Koll’s five thoughtful conclusions about where our denomination is going modeled the kind of biblical imagination and prophetic critique we very much need at this moment.
Wilma van der Leek // Surrey, B.C.
A friend gave me a copy of the Synod 2022 issue. What a sad read. … The CRC still seems to be concentrating on punishment and retribution. Fortunately the Bible teaches us, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). That’s the Word I try to live by even if I’m often unsuccessful. My late brother was right when he said, “We talk too much about sin.” I feel your pain, and I will pray for you.
Willem Hart // Toronto, Ont.
Another way to understand Synod 2022’s decision to discipline Neland CRC (“Neland CRC Ordered to Comply,” July/August 2022) is to see … that love is not about enabling sinful behavior, but it is about confronting Neland, holding them to account, disciplining them, and even punishing them. The decision of Synod 2022 is showing love to our brothers and sisters of Neland.
Judy De Wit // Sioux Falls, S.D.