Amendments to the Three Documents

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The proposed amendments are so PC that they have bad grammar, bad sentence structure, and all sense of poetry has been removed. The committee has removed every pronoun referring to God. Many of the word substitutions change the meaning and intent of the statements but most will neither recognize nor care. As a recent convert to the CRC, there are two changes in theology of which I approve but most old timers might not. First, there is an implication that process theology might be acceptable. More important, isn't the federal headship of Adam a CRC doctrine? In every reference to our fall into sin, "Adam" has been replaced by "Adam and Eve." The human race was cursed because Adam and Eve sinned. If this is a back door to officially give females equal access to every office of the Church, fine with me ... you ladies can't do much worse than we males have.

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What three documents are you referring to?

Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, Canons of Dort. Are there any others? We have no authority to change the ecumenical creeds.

I believe that the committee dealing with the word changes would be interested in your views, especially if you can give some specific examples (where one or the other 'translations' was not correct and where the choice that was made was in error.  The committee decided not to re translate all the documents but tried to choose the best existing translation.

None of the original documents were written in poetic style as far as I know. Again an example would be appreciated.  Translation of poetry is very difficult. How to keep the metric (or other poetic device) without changing the meaning?  The psalms is an example. All we can find out about the poetic device (first lines begin with the different letters of the Hebrew Alphabet for example) can only be recognized in the footnotes.  I believe that in these documents the meaning of the sentence is paramount.

 

What I have found about "process Theology" on wikipedia is interesting; Many facets as described seems close to a Reformed view. However, the following shows Process Theology is not identical to Reformed Faith, as I understand it.

The Christ of process theology does not represent a hypostasis of divine and human persona. Rather God is incarnate in the lives of all humans when they act according to a call from God. Jesus fully and in every way responded to the call of God and so the person of Jesus is theologically understood to be “the divine Word in human form.” Jesus was not God-man in essence, but fully identified with God at all moments of life.[6]

Headship is certainly a Reformed concept. The term "federal headship" is a bit foreign to the CRC I believe and with the Women in Office issue has been refined in concept and application. 

There is certainly biblical support for Women in Office as well as certain passages that make it an issue for many, but the change you refer to is not a 'back door' method for same. The CRC  has used many direct methods to argue for or against. 

I believe that using 'Adam and Eve' is more exact. In the past, Adam was held as the representative of the whole human race, but with such emphasis on Women's rights and responsibilities, Adam may only be seen as the representative of  males and Eve the representative of females. If that is the case for many readers, it is better to explain the whole human race is meant by referring to both Adam and Eve.

"Amendments to the three documents" may not be the most appropriate for this forum. It may be better to have it discussed under 'elders'. However, I do not see any reference to this topic

 

Slightly off track . . . but do any of the changes add or subtract from the ways we may love God or love our neighbors? If not, then why do they matter?

For 6000 years, as I think someone recently noted in "The Banner," the primary goal of the Jewish religion has been a proper attitude and actions towards God and neighbor. The primary goal of Christianity is proper thinking about theological propositions. To me, this is a Big Deal! The phrase "Judeo-Christian" religion makes as much as "Christian-LDS" religion.  The Jewish to Christian jump is larger than the Christian to LDS jump. The main difference is the LDS more honest about the requirement of good works.

The change in the three documents was to simplify the common hymnal that is to be published. The CRC requested the inclusion of the three documents; hence the attempt to find common wording.

You may like to check the Belhar confession, also before the churches for comment. This document is certainly about how to love our neighbour.

The three documents were written in the time when detailed theological statements were thought to be very important in the Western Church. I doubt they have the similar impact today.

I believe that the jump to LDS is quite large. See Heidelberg Catechism #24 for example:

http://www.crcna.org/pages/heidelberg_spirit.cfm#QandA 62  

I believe that the phrase Judeo-Christian is possible because we both consider the Old Testament to be the Word of God and use it to understand how to love God and neighbour.  

Any group that considers Jesus only as a great prophet but no mediator between God and man is actually quite far away from Christianity even though they may agree with many of the practises how to love our neighbour.

"Proper thinking about theological propositions" may have been very important during the Reformation for protestants to distinguish themselves from Catholics . However to claim that as the only 'goal' of Christianity goes a bit too far since the mandate of Christians is to love God and neighbour. 

 

 

(The large print giveth and the small print taketh away. I love arguing the small print) Q & A 62

Q. Why can't the good we do
   make us right with God,
   or at least help make us right with him?

A. Because the righteousness
   which can pass God's scrutiny
      must be entirely perfect
      and must in every way measure up to the divine law.^1
   Even the very best we do in this life
      is imperfect
      and stained with sin.^2

Agree 100%. A better answer is because Jesus settled the sin problem and reconciled humans to God. In other words, our being "right with God" is a done deal and can't be improved upon.

Answer 62 creates more problems than it solves because there is no objective test for regeneration except continuing good works. 

Second, if all our good works are in the same basket then all our evil works are in the same basket and it is the same basket. There is no such thing as an intrinsically good or intrinsically evil act. There is only good or evil intent. But we are not mind readers readers and can only know one's stated intent thus there is no basis for discipline, said to be one of the three marks of the true church.  

Or look at it this way. If we are not legally obligated to obey God's commandments then there is no punishment for ignoring God's commandments. "Law without punishment is merely advice." What is the legal basis for a church sanctioning a member? Insufficient gratitude? What is the objective test for sufficient gratitude?

The Catechism builds the argument carefully right from Sunday #1 to #52, answering most of your questions.

Discipline needs to be done prayerfully, and very carefully since all we do is stained with sin. If a member needs discipline it is likely because the person does not seem to be bothered with his/her sin and the sin may be very difficult for others.

There are quite a few problems in trying to have an 'objective' test. 

for instance http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Matthew+25 (vs 31 etc)  shows clearly that Christians will not know about the "good works" they did.  Our problem is that once we think we know we did a good work we then tend to be quite proud of it which could actually nullify it all.

How can we tell the real reason a person did something well.  Was it due to thankfulness or spite? And then we realize that we can hardly do anything 100% and so the Catechism builds the argument that any 'objective' test will not work; That all is a gift - even all the good works.

We can then live and be thankful for such gifts we receive and try every day again.

 

It is an interesting problem. It has been my philosophy that sometimes one has to do something even if it is wrong and take it up with God later. Does that also apply to trying to do something that is right?

If no act is intrinsically good, then what about our "hero" industry? These days every public employee or GI who gets himself killed is automatically a "hero." How else would fat old men convince young healthy people to go into harm's way? (Me, I became a police officer because I got laid off at Boeing and needed a job.) Roofers and welders - people with really dangerous jobs - need better organization.

Hi Bill, Your second commit under answer 62  is a false assumption that the act is separate from the intent. Evil intent cannot produce good works and good intent will not produce evil actions. Now there are good intentions that can produce a undesirable results and evil intentions that produce results that appear to be good. By committing

 unrepentant evil acts you open yourself to judgment of fellow believers. Sanctioning a member is the churches attempt to get the member to repent and change not a form of punishment for a particular act.  Did you get sanctioned?

Hey Bill, Would you like to talk sometime?. I sense a hurt that is affecting a fellow believer and would be my privilege to help.

If your in Everett , were only 1.25 hrs. apart .    1429 Macdougle First CRC    (correct)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks

Ken

No, not  hurt.  I don't take anything personally. No one has offended me. I hope I have offended no one.  Maybe my sense of humor is a different. Bad logic and things that don't add up offend me. Consider me an observer, not a participant. What would space alien see on this list?    

Thanks for the offer. Be happy to talk/write off list (I hate telephones).

[email protected]

 

[quote=Ken]

Hey Bill, Would you like to talk sometime?. I sense a hurt that is affecting a fellow believer and would be my privilege to help.

If your in Everett , were only 1.25 hrs. apart .    1429 Macdougle First CRC    (correct)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks

Ken

[/quote]

>Hi Bill, Your second commit under answer 62  is a false assumption that the act is separate from the intent. Evil intent cannot produce good works and good intent will not produce evil actions. Now there are good intentions that can produce a undesirable results and evil intentions that produce results that appear to be good. 

 

The Law of Unintended Consequences  - then no such thing as justice in this life and "truth" is whatever 12 randomly selected people on a jury panel think it is truth. Pilate was wise when he responded, "What is truth?" In The Bible, the bad guys get the good one liners - except for St Peter. My favorite  Bible Verse, "I'm going fishing."

 

>By committing unrepentant evil acts you open yourself to judgment of fellow believers. Did you get sanctioned?

 

No, not me. Like most of us humans, I'm adept at hiding my sin nature and fitting in. Only the State of Oregon makes me nervous. I never know if I am to drive 15 over or 20 over the posted speed limit. <G> 

Thanks Bill,  Those comments were interesting.

Now and ever the common assumption is that if someone does something that is considered right or good  the person who is dead will go to heaven. 

When Jesus showed what is important  He seemed to turn everything around and upside down but not completely!

The end result of all our figuring should to leave most of the figuring out and leave everything up to the Lord.

That means leave heros heros, be happy with what seems to be good, and stay away from evil, and whatever seems to be bad without needing to know exactly what our Lord would say about it every time.

Hey Billwald, forgive my un-knowledge of what is where in the Bible, it sounds like you are testing the limits of how far you can go, (which kids and adolescents do, it's a part of growing up), is that different from hiding our sin? doesn't  Paul  (I think, straighten me out if needed) not write the question that if we accept the Christ, our sins are forgiven and so we can sin more so that grace can abound? the answer to that is, by no means. I think that we are sinful by nature, even after accepting Jesus as your saviour, and so we are "as if without sin before God". So, us doing something wrong and deal with God afterward is a bit like the Roman Catholic Church and their indulgences, which set Martin Luther on the path to reformation. But, you're not alone, I wouldn't be far off the mark if I say we all do it, besides why are we in church? to show how good and holy we are, a condition we should strive for, but also one we like to use too much, keeping others away as well. It looks like the proverbial circle, and nothing is new under the sun doesn't it.

OK Bill, I can't resist. Forgive me for my lack wisdom in doing this but I'm totally depraved anyway. So here it goes.

"The Law of Unintended Consequences  - then no such thing as justice in this life and "truth" is whatever 12 randomly selected people on a jury panel think it is truth. Pilate was wise when he responded, "What is truth?" In The Bible, the bad guys get the good one liners - except for St Peter. My favorite  Bible Verse, 'I'm going fishing.'"

We have justice Bill because we believe in Jesus. As far as truth is concerned it is defined by God. Incidentlly," there is no justice" is a truth statement which would prove"s both of your axioms incorrect.

Thanks for the banter,

Ken

>We have justice Bill because we believe in Jesus.

And people who don't believe in Jesus don't have justice? 

We talking about justice in this life or in the next? I've seen very little evidence of justice in this life. 

We want justice for other people and mercy for ourselves. If there was justice we would all be in hell. 

Is there not some relationship between the things we call "sins" and the things we think that God should judge? (Justice is connected to judging?) Protestant Christianity claims that all sins are equal in God's sight? Is it a sin to violate civil/criminal law? Ergo, most every person who drives a car is guilty of rape and murder in God's eyes?

Doesn't the Bible claim we are all liars and no one seeks righteousness? Is this a correct statement? Am I the only person on this lis who is by nature a liar? Am I the only person who, at least in part, wants "fire insurance" and who doesn't always seek righteousness? Don't we mostly lie to ourselves about our motives?

Is it "just" that Jesus died for my sins or is it God's mercy?
 

Thanks Bill ,Now we are talking! Your last statement should read because of God's mercy, Jesus died for our sins.Jesus's sacrafice is our only source of righteousness and yes, we are lie lying scumbags who constantly sin. That is what make's Christian belief so profound. Salvation is a gift! If you start to believe you are going to earn it, you will be frustrated  by the apparent lack of justice. This is a human perception that Jesus explains well in Beatitudes. Bill , believe that this gift is true and things will change in your heart. You will realize our depaviaty has to be given to Jesus or walk around with a ball and chain of guilt. When you start that process you can feel ythe peace grow within you. Jesus made it real simple when he stated He was the fullfilment of the law. Just love God first and you neighbor as yourself.( Forgive me for the paraphrasing and I Know you are completely aware of these concepts) The stronger the faith the more our human side is put in check.

I really hope this helps Bill, I have been on roller coaster of life too but right now this belief sustains me.

God bless you

Ken

I appreciate Ken's statement.  It is true, however, that police see many horrible activities and situations which may make their lifeview different from 'ordinary' folk who may hardly, if ever see these situations first hand.  Questions such as can God forgive this?  Could God not have prevented this? may well be a daily experience for many police.

Could the only way out be daily prayer where the police can honestly express his/her feelings to God, and let God show the police his love in some meaningful way?

Ken

AGREE 100%!  I claim to be an orthodox Christian because I accept the ecumenical creeds as true. I am probably hetrodox (modern) CRC. I was a dispensational Christian until I read the Institutes cover to cover twice. I rejected (OPC) presbyterian interpretation (Everything is TULIP) of Calvin and the Bible. I never heard of the CRC until we moved 5 blocks south of Everett CRC. I like the Dutch interpretation and the old Dutch ways. I signed on with the CRC and then discovered that our elected leadership is trying to dump the reasons for which I enlisted.

Personally and off the record <G> I think Christianity got off the track after AD 70 when the Jerusalem Synod disappeared and Paul's gentiles took control but we have what we have and there is no way to erase 2000 years. We don't know what was lost. compare 2nd century Church and Jewish (rabbinical) leadership policies. The Church tried to erase all dissenting opinion but the rabbis included dissenting opinion in the Talmuds. (NOT that I'm an expert. Most of my Jewish info comes from Jacob Neusner's writings.)

The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus died for the sins of the world and the Resurrection resolved and settled the sin question between God and the human race. All the rest is commentary. The commentary got bogged down on the money trail 1500 years ago. Money controls every denomination including the CRC. From what I can tell our World Missions and CRWRC is the most honest and authentic representation of Christianity of all the denominations. 

bill

That's great Bill, glory be to God. I'm inclined to agree with you on church history. You have a remarkable knowledge base and it's nice to have you with us. Your questioning of things is a attribute I wish more people had.