Comment Stream

Resonate Global Mission June 24, 2019

Roger, Justin works in Cambodia and his reflection discusses an interaction with someone from a Buddhist background, not Islam.

Resonate Global Mission June 24, 2019

The PIER, Friendship CRC, and Providence CRC have reimagined VBS a bit and started hosting Backyard Bible Clubs in their neighborhoods. They said it generally takes fewer volunteers to facilitate. The groups are smaller, so it's easier for adults to build relationships with the kiddos. And, because these clubs are hosted in neighborhoods, kids can attend even if they don't have transportation. You can read more here:

Denise Posie June 21, 2019

Does your church currently have a family leave policy in place? We would like to add to this post by including a couple examples from U.S. and Canadian churches. We are also looking for stories about taking a leave to care for a family member. Your church and name will not be included in the post. We've been asked to include more examples for our churches, pastors and staff to consider. We would like to hear from you. Send your response to Thanks for helping us!

Roger Gelwicks June 21, 2019

      Thanks, Justin, for explaining your approach to evangelism, especially in working with those of other religions such as those of the Muslim persuasion.  I think your view of Christianity has clouded what you believe Muslims believe.  Even as there is great variety within Christian belief, so there is with Muslims.  You talk of yourself as a “real, live Christian.”  Many Christians (nominal) think of their life and works as a reflection of their attitude toward God.  “I’m basically a good person.”  In such thinking their works are not kept on a score sheet of pass or fail.  Their life of caring about and for others is a reflection of their respect, and love for God.  They know God is a forgiving God and they don’t see themselves as an enemy of God but as a friend.  It’s not so different from you, who think of works as an expression of love and gratitude.  The big difference is that you think of yourself as worthless before God, apart from Jesus.  Others don’t consider themselves as worthless, but as a valued creation of God.

       There are differences among Muslims, as well.  In that your Muslim neighbor saw both Christianity and Islam as good, he didn’t see the other religion (Christianity) as the enemy.  Both are concerned with doing good.  I doubt that your neighbor saw his own religion primarily as a set of ethical rules, a list of dos and don’ts, as you suggest.  His living by an ethical standard of good was merely a reflection of his heart and love for Allah (or God).  Muslims also believe in God’s forgiveness and that God doesn’t expect perfection of his creatures.  So, much like many (so called) Christians, Muslims believe in doing good as an expression of love for God and neighbor.

Maybe you, Justin, need to rethink what contributes to the superiority of Christianity over that of Islam.

Bonnie Nicholas June 21, 2019

We are thankful and encouraged by the overwhelming support for these recommendations at synod, and request your ongoing prayer support as we work out all the details of implementation. Special thanks to the committee that put in so many hours on the report, and also facilitated a presentation and a liturgy that were meaningful and very powerful. Seeing all the stones, each representing a painful story, and a person who had been harmed by abuse was moving. It was a sacred space, surely the Lord is here, and is working among us.

Tom Ackerman June 20, 2019


I wasn't reading anything into your comment, either, just making an observation. And maybe some small irritation about the timing and discussion. 

Thanks for the well wishes and the same to you. 


Harry Boessenkool June 20, 2019

What synod approved regarding the way the church wants to change the MS process will bring to the fore what people in the pew feel about the ministries they want to support. So the in `pledge` (whatever that really means) my congregation may state that they do not support any funds for OSJ or the Canadian equivalent. We might suggest cutting air travel and reduce the pledge for Synodical expenses.  I think the leadership has punted the membership and financial issues down to Classis and the churches and hope and pray the problem will be resolved.

Eric Van Dyken June 20, 2019

Hi Tom,

I wasn't reading too much into it beyond passing on what was reported, but I do agree with you that when things get compressed, time for serious engagement evaporates.  Synod can be a bugger that way.  I do think that part of the reason that this particular advisory committee may have been late to report was the complexity of the multiple issues assigned to them.  Whatever the reason, I think we all desire robust consideration.  It's kind of like the last agenda item of a long Consistory meeting - some things tend to get short shrifted.  Be well, Tom.


Tom Ackerman June 20, 2019


To be clear, this is what happens when issues get delayed to the last session of Synod. There is no time for discussion because there is a hard deadline to finish. If you listened to the words of the president at the beginning of that last session, you heard him tell the delegates that he didn't want any discussion. (Well, it wasn't stated quite that bluntly, but it was clear.)


Harold Kallemeyn June 20, 2019

Dawn, Your classy prose warms the heart of us cross-cultural wanderers wishing we too knew the ropes. 

Hugs from our home to yours,

Harold Kallemeyn

Eric Graef June 20, 2019

That was a "refreshing" read Kate. Thank you for sharing and keep up the writing... you have a gift.

posted in : Grace Like Rain
Karen DeBoer June 20, 2019

Kate Kooyman, this is awesome. Thank you.

posted in : Grace Like Rain
Eric Van Dyken June 20, 2019


Perhaps you are following along with Synod, but two things of note per The Banner:

1. "Only 2 speakers - one for, one against. #crcsynod voted - and the motion carried. Synod 2019 did NOT accede to overture 8. Synod 2012's assertions on climate change stands."

2. "The key consideration is to fully answer: “What is an ecclesiastical matter and what is the rationale for determining it?", re: Church Order article 28 #crcsynod"   "Now #crcsynod discussing about the Adv Comm's recommendation to instruct the Council of Delegates to clarify "ecclesiastical matters"."    "#crcsynod votes YES to adopt the Adv Comm motion, instructing the COD to research & define rationale for making those decisions in dealing with political/justice matters, & report back to synod 2020."



Let us know if you need any further assistance Sharon! [email protected] 

Staci Devries June 20, 2019

Tim, we also tried several Bibles and came to the same conclusion. The Jesus Storybook Bible is both Biblically sound and engaging (even for little kids). 

posted in : Children's Bibles

Thank you for this thoughtful response! We'll be sure to share it with the church requesting help. 

Doug Vande Griend June 19, 2019

Tom: If these facts are so, so clear and indisputable, we certainly don't need Synod to tell reiterate the clear and indisputable facts.

Readers can make up their own minds about whether they think the institutional CRC should be the arbitrators about this facts for all its members, but I do have a question for you though: where does this stop?  About what questions that I listed and the thousands more beyond that, all of which involve moral and ethical issues, should the institutional CRC refuse to be the arbitrators for all its members? 

It seems to me you make no distinction between the institutional CRC and the organic church.  I think that's our baseline difference.

Tom Ackerman June 19, 2019

Well, here we go again, Doug. I was sorely tempted to sigh and ignore this response, because we have had exchanges before. However, for those that may have missed them, I am going to reiterate some of the points I have made before.

  1.  "It is the current near-consensus of the international scientific community that climate change is occurring and is very likely due to human activity". “The above is also a scientific statement, even if the fields of science relate not to climate change but polling and statistics.  I disagreed then and disagree now that there is a near consensus of the international scientific community about climate change.  The Task Force and Synod simply assumed it did.”
    Response: this statement is arrogant and condescending. You can disagree all you want. You can also disagree that the earth is round, that humans walked on the moon, that smoking is very likely to cause lung cancer, etc., but that does not make it so. The statement in italics is factual, not political. The statement I posted provides references to the IPCC reports and the US Report on Impacts. If you want more references on consensus, including statements by the national and international community, I refer you to and the references therein. We, the Task Force did not “assume” this. We looked at the relevant published information and this is what it says. Let me state it very simply for you. Less than 1-2% of the climate science community hold any view other than the one in italics. If you have any credible references to challenge this, please feel free to cite them. But your personal disagreement with the statement, in the absence of any references, is irrelevant.
  2. “And to say, "... and is very likely due to human activity" is a statement that on its face lacks scientific seriousness.”
    Response: Really? What is the basis for your denigrating comment? This statement is a DIRECT quote from the latest IPCC report. The scientists who wrote that report would be shocked to hear that they lack seriousness. Had you bothered to even read the IPCC summary (let alone the report), you would find that “very likely” is DEFINED to be a probability higher than 95%. So “very likely” doesn’t mean 100% (and no one said that it did – way to raise a straw man!). The statement means exactly what it says, at the 95% level of probability.
  3. “Both the Task Force and Synod intentionally accepted and adopted answers provided by some highly qualified climate scientists and rejected the answers provided by other highly qualified climate scientists.”
    Response: Another blatant attempt to promote a false dichotomy. We took NO statements from individual scientists, pro or con, but instead relied on peer-reviewed scientific reports. As I have stated earlier, the vast preponderance of these reports are consistent in their conclusions. In fact, I know of none that take the position being espoused by you.

I see no point in engaging over a set of questions purposely chosen to be argumentative. (I am sure we could have an interesting argument about the moral imperative of high-speed rail.) It appears that Synod may charge the Council of Delegates with determining what the Church means by “ecclesiastical” and to what extent that includes issues of justice, which I think is a good idea. It is my opinion that if the church ceases to speak on critical issues of social justice, then the church has lost its salt and light. Is climate change a critical issue? Well, we are on a path to a much warmer world, with corresponding changes in fresh water availability, food availability, and weather extremes. People will die, ecosystems will be decimated, and entire population groups will be displaced. These are the conclusions of the climate impacts community. You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I think this is a critical issue of social justice.

Samuel Sutter June 19, 2019

I happen to think that our denomination would feel less segmented and more unified and connected with local churches if we'd pray across classes. 

I only help lead CANE, so I'm going to throw this out there - if you'd like to pray about local churches in Classis Atlantic North East, you can sign up at - we send something out roughly every two weeks. 

(seriously, sign up and pray)

Jan Korvemaker June 19, 2019

Thank you, Dawn ... for being real!  For sharing and describing reality for most of us,  regardless of where we have been all our lives ...

There is so much about so many things that are difficult to understand or navigate ... but sometimes it just seems that we are expected to know all that we need to know, when we need to know it, without being told and then do it right ...

I want to give you a hug!

Shalom and God bless, JanK.

Resonate Global Mission June 19, 2019

That sounds great! What church are you part of? Why did you decide to start the satellite? 

Sharon Vander Meulen June 19, 2019

Thanks for the reply.

My preference is to put our support behind World Renew. I downloaded those DMC resources before I posted (hoping they will assist us in our discussions). 

Lisa Petersen June 19, 2019

There is no way to thank Jim enough for the way he contributed to my life and ministry.

He shaped me during a very impressionable time in my life, and his words stick with me consistently. I took CPE with Jim at the Crystal Cathedral. Fourteen years later, I am now a hospital chaplain at a trauma center and in the ordination process with the Episcopal Church.

The task that Jesus has for us is simple: show care and kindness to those around you. Through this, lives are changed, people are healed and the Kingdom of God is realized. Thank you, Jim!

Dorothea Dot Kirkendall June 18, 2019

Thank you for your article "Getting the Feel of It". We can identify. My husband and I have served for 47 years with Wycliffe Bible Translators and continue to do so. We worked mostly in South and Central America, with some short times home in the US along the way. We returned from our foreign assignment to permanently resettle in the United States three years ago. We understand the feelings of being on the outside of all that is going on. The struggles with Social security, cell phones, and retirement savings are very real. However, we can assure you that it will get better. We now know how and where to slide or insert our credit card when we are making a payment. We have learned the difference between Medicare A and B and what it means to have a Plan F. We are beginning to understand to whom it is okay to give a hug, and are finally learning to withhold the kiss on the cheek, which was such a common part of the Latin American greeting. My eyes leak also, as I identify with what you are going through. As a less recent returnee to American culture, I welcome you home. And I pray, "Lord, comfort and encourage Eugene and Dawn Michelson as they go through all the steps of adjustment along the reverse-culture-shock road. Help them to stand tall when something embarrassing happens, to laugh with others at their own mistakes, and to know with certainty, that just as you guided them into familiarity in the African culture, you will do the same here, because now they are home.  Amen."

Doug Vande Griend June 18, 2019

This article claims "The Creation Stewardship Task Force Report does not take its own position on climate change science, precisely because the Task Force members collectively were not experts in climate science."

I disagree with this claim.  The report and Synod's actions based on the report do indeed take positions as to questions of climate change science, as well as about statistical analysis and polling (what scientists believe what), and chooses among the various positions highly qualified climate scientists hold to boot.

Synod 2012 said:

    "...  climate change poses a significant threat to future generations, the poor, and the vulnerable"
    "... climate change poses a significant challenge to us all"

The above statements cannot be made without presupposing (taking positions as to) conclusions about climate change science.  To assert the above but deny taking a position on climate change science is a baffling proposition that makes no sense.

Synod 2012 also said:

    "It is the current near-consensus of the international scientific community that climate change is occurring and is very likely due to human activity"

The above is also a scientific statement, even if the fields of science relate not to climate change but polling and statistics.  I disagreed then and disagree now that there is a near consensus of the international scientific community about climate change.  The Task Force and Synod simply assumed it did. 

And to say, "... and is very likely due to human activity" is a statement that on it face lacks scientific seriousness.  Are we to believe that only humans constitute 100% of the activity that creates climate change?  Of course not--no one believes that.  So what does the statement mean?  Good question--lacking any good answer, but a political point was made despite the scientific ambiguity of what was said.

The fact is, all climate change questions have been deeply enmeshed with political questions, such that real scientific answers are hard to come by.  These days, even honest scientific answers are hard to come by.  Such is the reality, even within the scientific community, when questions become highly politicized, and there are few if any sets of scientific questions (plural) today that have become more politicized than those involving climate change.

Both the Task Force and Synod intentionally accepted and adopted answers provided by some highly qualified climate scientists and rejected the answers provided by other highly qualified climate scientists.  In fact, almost all of answers by all climate scientists result in part (how much is not known) from conjecture, from making assumptions and projecting off those assumptions.  All climate computer model use assumptions in their algorithms and project/predict based in significant (perhaps critical?) part on those assumptions.  Even the IPCC makes its claims in the form of "degrees of certainty," which by definition means it acknowledges and has concluded that answers given about climate change are based in part on assumptions made, that is, on conjecture.

I'm not suggesting these aren't important questions, nor that climate change questions don't involve moral or ethical concerns.  The questions are important and do involve moral and ethical concerns.  But there are millions of questions (involving human actions or human responses to circumstances) that are important and all of them involve morality and ethics.  Should legal systems use "code pleading" or "notice pleading?" That's an important question in my world, law, about which I have a strong opinion and it too involves morality, ethics--and justice even?  Whatever the right answer is to this question, my church (the CRCNA) should not "take a stand" one way or another. 

CRC members should be allowed to decide for themselves on all sorts of questions, scientific, political and otherwise, that involve morality and ethics.  Should "we" pursue nuclear fission power production or put our bet on nuclear fusion production?  Should "we" ban GMO foods or allow them?  Should "we" build a high speed rail transportation system in California?  Should "we" try to establish a human colony on Mars?  Should "we" restrict the number of satellites in orbit to avoid space becoming a junk yard?  Should "we" regulate the internet more than is currently done?  Should "we" have a single-payor healthcare system in the US?  Should "we" break up Amazon, Facebook and Google under the Clayton Antitrust Act?  Should "we" stand in solidarity with the citizens of Hong Kong who as I type are marching in mass to resist a proposed law that would allow China to extradite people from Hong Kong to China?  Should "we" impeach Donald Trump?  Should "we" become a "democratic socialist" country, ala Bernie Sanders?  Should "we" support the Venezualan people in their current attempt to overthrown their dictator who refuses to leave?  Should "we" have an independent Federal Reserve System?  Should US public school be mandated to teach Spanish?  Should "we" have an open border?

I could go on of course, with not hundreds but thousands -- even millions -- of other questions on which the CRC could "take a position on" as to issues clearly not ecclesiastical but yet "important" (even very important) and that clearly involve moral and ethical concerns.

We need to be more honest about resisting the temptation to make the denomination our megaphone for our personal positions on ALL of these questions and the millions more the CRC could take up.  One overture to Synod 2019 wants the CRC to take a stand against Israeli injustice to the Palestinians, a set of questions not as complicated as climate change perhaps but also far more complicated than the overture authors are willing to admit, and also clearly not ecclesiastical.

Let's start being more honest here.  Let's abandon our political ways.  The institutional church has enough work to do (and disagree about) without taking on questions that are not ecclesiastical.  To be clear, the organic church should take on literally everything, politics included (hey, I've done law and politics for my entire adult life), but the institutional (CRC) church should NOT, and it long ago recognized that it shouldn't in creating Article 28 of its Church Order.  Let's choose the wiser path.

Eric Graef June 18, 2019

Thanks Staci. That would have been my other question... if it had multiple admin who post, much like this blog or church twitter accts. Thanks

Staci Devries June 18, 2019

Hi Eric, thanks for the question. I'd recommend asking @crcbanner (on Twitter). I'm not sure if it's a single person or collaborative effort. 

Ken Libolt June 18, 2019

Our church is starting a satellite startup in our town! Unfortunately it comes at the cost of ministry shares to the CFC! But I like this idea, grassroots evangelism aimed at the non church attenders that live with us! We are planning home gathers and a  different approach than a traditional church. I am excited! Thank the Lord!

Eric Graef June 18, 2019

I would suggest using financial support in a much different way that will be theologically/philosophically different BUT will also be more long-term, sustainable and bear great fruit for the Kingdom. Let me explain:

Our church provides free counseling to members first and then if there is room in the schedule, we also offer free counseling to anyone. Now with that said, we DO have a full-time staff member who is a certified Biblical Counselor, but part of his job is also to train lay counselors within the church who will go on to help counsel others. Lord willing, the number of those being trained will continue to grow. The need and demand are great! One thing we also realize is that "everyone" needs counseling and its with this understanding that we hope to remove the stigma that only "those" certain people need counseling. Truth is, we all go through things in life that need to be addressed biblically. Not only this, but Scripture seems to indicate that ANY spiritually mature Christian should be competent to counsel. Perhaps not what we normally think of in a formal setting (which is what we normally think of and what we do have in place at our church with set times and meeting places) but rather in everyday informal ways. How do we counsel others? The truth is, we give people counsel and advice all the time, but much of it is rarely biblical, and can unfortunately fall into the category of the "wisdom of the world." What if we not only saw counseling as a need for everyone, BUT also viewed every believer as being trained to "admonish one another!" It is for this reason (trusting the sufficiency of God's Word for everything pertaining to a life of godliness) that we grieve the almost assumed, acceptable practice of out-sourcing counseling to the "professionals."  I realize this may be far more (or different) than what you were asking for, but this is how I would encourage your whole church. I see that you are in Canada and so I'm not sure if it is the same (I'll look for you) but there very well may be a Biblical Counseling Training Center near you where both staff and members could attend and be trained. I would highly recommend budgeting money to that end... and the fruit you will see will be great. Its so much more! In addition to counseling, it's an easy way to evangelize and disciple others.  I realize that not every church is in the position to hire a full-time staff member to focus on this... however, this does not have to be the case. If there are already funds under consideration to be designated for such a purpose, then I think training up leaders within is a much better solution. Now once that is in place and more and more are being trained to counsel, you of course will have to come up with different "policies" in regards to implementation and availability. And the problems you have will be different, but very GOOD problems. Trust me, word of mouth does wonders when lives are being transformed by the power of the Gospel and when the Holy Spirit speaks through the Word.

It does look like Biblical Counseling is on the ground in Canada, you can check out this link:

Here is one article that may be more informative concerning counseling in Canada:

I hope these resources help you, but more importantly the whole body of Christ.


Samuel Sutter June 18, 2019

In simple terms, our church tries really hard to help folks with what they need. We work hard at helping with kids  programming, and have seen lots of new families respond to our showing God's love to kids. 

We're also (this month) working at starting up a health care clinic, with a few partners we're trying to provide free medical and spiritual care to folks (mostly a local immigrant community) who need it the most. 


Eric Graef June 18, 2019

Thanks Staci. Question: who is the individual (admin) who actually posts the tweets for "The Banner?" Thanks!

Ron Vanden Brink June 18, 2019

A good place to start researching your decision (and decisions like this one) would be   I'd suggest you download the 2 documents under "Guidelines for Preparing an Offering Schedule".

(Let us know if these tools are helpful.)

Also, have a look at:

Organizations on this list have been reviewed and approved by the annual synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.  Some primary requirements for receiving accreditation with the CRCNA include:

That the agency not duplicate a ministry that is being performed by a CRCNA agency.

That the agency soliciting the CRC for support is closely related to the CRC's integral work (works of mercy, of Christian education, or the distribution of the Word of God.)

That the agency is closely allied with CRC ecclesiastical task and can be recommended to the entire denomination for support.

Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo June 18, 2019

International Needs is an organization that does similar work to World Renew.  So that is why they are not on the list of accredited non-denominational agencies for churches to include on their offering list.  See the attached website link for the list of agencies that are:

World Renew continues to be internationally renowned for the quality of its disaster response programs and has the unique approach of working intentionally with local churches to make an impact in their communities and ensure a holistic approach.  It is worth noting that MoneySense magazine rated World Renew as one of the top 10 International charities of choice for 2019 people to donate to.  Many Christian international development agencies replace or displace local churches instead of strengthening their capacity and presence to be a sustainable ministry long after the agencies and their programs have left.  World Renew feels strongly that God's presence is most powerfully felt when the church has an active role in nurturing faith in integrated ways with all the community development programs that are done.

Given all this, why would CRC congregations want to invest in other development agencies that do similar work to World Renew?

Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, World Renew Director (Canada) 

CRC Communications June 18, 2019

In addition, there are attendees coming from non CRC churches and international churches. We are excited by all the ministry sharing that will take place! 

Ken Bosveld June 17, 2019

Thank you for sharing this information, Shirley.

The Bridge App, which is now available for CRCs in Canada, has placed the very highest priority on data security for its Give function.  Secure giving via credit card is currently available for churches that have activited the Give function, and the capability for debit giving and recurring transactions will soon be available.

Martin Vegt June 16, 2019

Lubbert:   Well yes, Israel is in many peoples mind already an apartheid state , Israelis and Palestinians are being kept by walls, segregated by different licence plates, forced to live in bandustans which are areas designed to keep communities apart with many discriminatory laws, and much more. I already wrote about this in an earlier post.

Again, the UN ESCWA report called "Israeli Practices towards Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid"(2017) by Professors Falk and Tilley which concluded that Israel is an apartheid state which was declared to be a crime some time ago. The unpopular Nation State Law was no help here either; it made non Jewish people groups second class which was already the case but this basic law formalized it.There are probably more states that could be called apartheid states but for now we are talking about Israel.

BDS...Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment: We did not ask for BDS in our overture but other churches have done this. Started by Palestinians themselves, it is one of the few peaceful options they have even if it hurts their own economy. Israel has lobbied hard for governments to declare it illegal in US states and lately Germany. But they are being challenged in the courts.

Lubbert van der Laan June 15, 2019

Hi Martin... 

Thank you for the clarification. Appreciated. I'm used to quotations following a statement, not before.

Nonetheless, Gary Burge has been challenged for holding this very position, i.e. Israel is "mov(ing) to deny the right to vote and other democratic participation by people other than Jews" which was provided as grounds in the 2nd overture to classis.

Though the revised 2nd paragraph in the overture to Synod removes this sentence, it now intimates Israel is in the process of establishing an "apartheid regime." A matter on which Gary Burge has also been challenged, raising questions about the veracity of the overture's source material.

Yours in Christ,

Martin Vegt June 15, 2019

Sorry, should read "Nation State Law"

Martin Vegt June 15, 2019

Lubbert, Nick and Jennifer:

Re. the incorrect statement in the "Basic Human Rights" part of the "Grounds" for the second Classis BC SE being referred to is not from Gary Burge's book "Whose Land....Whose Promise" but from one of our overture team members for which I took the blame for not double checking that statement. Professor Burge's book was written before the Nation State came into being and I am sure he knows his facts.

The separate paragraph underneath about the fifty-eight evangelical leaders letter was taken from professor Burge's book.


Lubbert van der Laan June 15, 2019

Hi Nick…

Therein lies the complexity of the issue. The falsehood lies not with either Martin or Jennifer, but the quote cited in the 2nd overture to classis from the book by Gary Burge, Whose Land? Whose Promise?: What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians provided as the Human Rights grounds for supporting the overture. 


Though the overture to Synod excludes the factually incorrect quote, “In the State of Israel, the most recent move to deny the right to vote and other democratic participation by people other than Jews is alarmingly distressing by anyone who hopes and prays for a peaceful coexistence in this region,” the overture still substantively cites a book which has been challenged for factual errors.


An alternate cited source might have been a better choice in the overture to Synod.

Ken Libolt June 15, 2019

I am pleased you do respect other people, Jennifer.

Nick Loenen June 14, 2019



“Lie” is a strong word. You use it several times, even “blatant lie,” Yet, without any evidence. And to whom is this directed? Apparently, proponents of the Overture, but the primary proponent cannot be accused of lying. By your own account, Martyn did not know the information was mistaken and when he learned it was untrue, he withdrew it and apologized. Lying requires intention to deceive. Where is your evidence Martyn, or anyone, had intention to deceive?


You refer to it as a mistake but you assert it was intentional by placing the word in quotation marks. Again, where is your evidence? In the absence of evidence you attribute motives and make accusations grabbed out of thin air. You might want to apologize and show the graciousness Martyn showed when he was shown to be mistaken.

Jennifer Roosma June 14, 2019

Thank you Doug, for your comments. We are joining you in that prayer. If there is a church order article to deal with this situation, taking it off the agenda, all the better! 

Seriously, how can one ask CRC people to vote knowledgeably on such a complex and yes, divisive issue. We were thankful for the Advisory committee in place at Classis BCSE who patiently went through the overture twice in 2018.

Even then, it was rather unnerving to watch a roomful of European Canadians vote on such an overture.

Last year, when Gary told me Classis BCSE was voting a second time on the overture, I had asked him, out of curiosity, if I could read the overture. I hadn’t taken interest in it previously in the Spring.  On glancing through it in October, I immediately spotted a blatant lie - which none, including the advisory committee nor Gary, had seen! ( I won’t go into detail here, you can talk to BCSE for proof of this, and I’m happy to provide my email thread to them).

The author of the overture apologized publicly about the “mistake” and told Gary and me later that a friend had been helping him with listing all the UN resolutions against Israel and writing about the Nation State Law, and that he hadn’t had time to check the work his friend had done!

The problem is that lies like these are used to push the “apartheid” label and BDS agenda.

This explains why I have written strongly to refute inaccurate statements...


To respond to Ken Libolt, I have plenty of respect for people who hold different faiths, theologies and political leanings, and there are many situations in which I can agree to disagree. However, in this situation, I do say something when CZ people make anti-Arabs comments and say they shouldn’t be in the Land, and I do say something when the pro- Palestinian side distorts the facts by presenting only one side of the story, and often with the agenda of de-legitimizing the right of the State of Israel to exist.

Lies lead to dangerous and hateful race propaganda, and I will not let that go without speaking up.

As followers of Jesus, let’s not give up hope for true peace and reconciliation in that part of the world- through honest dialogue, prayer and appropriate action.







Dean Johnson June 14, 2019

I have reason to believe that the Injil the Quran is speaking about is The Gospel of Thomas and the original Gospel of Jesus. This is also mentioned as a possibility in the online IslamicEncyclopedia. org under the search term Injeel. The Clear Quran puts it this way, "This Quran... is a confirmation of the scripture that preceded it... an elaboration of the previous or former Book," Surah 10:37.  This former book could be the Injeel or The Gospel of Thomas. Both Thomas and The Quran share 114 divisions. Aligning saying to surah, extensive similarities in thought, word, and rhetoric are clearly seen. It seems that each of 114 surahs in the Quran is a confirmation and an elaboration of each of the 114 sayings of Jesus.  Corresponding sayings and surahs appear to share common themes and key words. These two holy writings are deeply interconnected. They provide clarity to each other, and interpret one other. Stated again plainly, the Quran was given as an elaboration of the Injeel. 

The New Testament also speaks extensively about this Gospel given to Jesus who then gave it to his disciples. I believe the New Testament will eventually be seen to be an expansive commentary on this Gospel of Thomas, and of this Testimony of Jesus. The many canonical references to "The Gospel of Christ", "The Testimony of Jesus", "The Doctrine of Christ", "His Sayings", "The Preaching of Jesus Christ", "The Gospel of God", "The Word of God", "The Everlasting Gospel", and even just "The Gospel" could all reasonably be direct references, and sometimes even veiled references to the Injeel or "The Gospel of Thomas." Said in the language of the Quran and the New Testament, The Gospel of Thomas is "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to show unto his servants," Revelation 1:1.

C.f. (The Quran and The Injeel Connection)  and  (The Gospel of Thomas New Testament Cross Reference Study)

Thanks for the opportunity to share.


Martin Vegt June 14, 2019


I happen to have a friend who is a Christian born and raised in Jerusalem. He has no right of return. He is very sad about that. I can go back to bike in my old country where I grew up any time I want.

So I went to check that out. I witnessed the mess over there, not a cruise or a pleasant vacation.

It was very disturbing. You should check it out. I did not go to Turkey, my niece from Aldergrove is working there and in Armenia with a Christian Mission, we gladly contribute to her work. I know what happened there, I read the latest biography about "Lawrence of Arabia "a few years ago, it explained how the whole place was divided up by the colonial powers, mostly Britain. After a while the whole thing smelled to "high heaven" and Lawrence refused to be knighted right in front of the king. In the British Mandate they gave most of the land of Palestine to the Jewish people which we all loved for the sake of the Jewish refugees, it's just that there were people living there. But now the Jewish Israelis are the colonial power. It's somewhat similar to us in Canada being the colonial power and we  have to make things right with our indigenous people to be reconciled with them.....but in Israel they are continuing their colonial occupation full speed ahead. In Canada we don't put blame on the indigenous peoples for living here. Why do we want to put equal responsibility on the Palestinian peoples?? So I am doing all I can for all peoples in that area because we are all God's creatures, it is a justice and reconciliation issue that even "The Banner" can touch on. Why can we not talk about human rights issues re. Israel just like we do about Myanmar? I saw a newspaper headline from Israel sometime ago that read "Israel needs to be saved from itself!"; as if to say "we can't do" it to the world.   52 years is enough.


BDS is not the same as antisemitism, nor is criticism of the state of Israel antisemitism as Lubbert implies. The state of Texas had to back down because it impeded peoples free speech. 



Michele Gyselinck June 14, 2019

I am not a missionary, but I wouldn't last long without my church family which acts as my anchor to sanity.  In fact, while I was completing a Bachelor's degree in Sherbrooke, QC, my work term coordinator who had taken me under her wing, impressed upon me the fact that I needed a support network to get well and stay well.  She worked at developing it for me there, and when my mom decided it was time I move back to Montreal, the First CRC to which I had belonged since I officially joined it in 1977 became one of its pillars.  

Ken Libolt June 13, 2019

I think you missed my point Doug, but that’s ok!

Doug Vande Griend June 13, 2019

No, it's not hard to "see some of the reasons for our denomination decline," but it's not just about this overture but also other overtures (over the years) that asked the CRC to venture deep into non-ecclesiatical (political) side-taking.

If any organization, institutional church or otherwise, expands its mandate (jurisdiction if you will), it risks division.  And the more it expands (especially into the political unless it is a political organization), the more the risk.  The reason is, or should be, obvious: the members of the organization didn't become part of the organization in order to "be one" as to matters the organization "was not about" when they joined.  Real world translation: I'm not part of the CRC because I want the CRC to lobby and take positions on political issues in my behalf.  (It was the same with the downtown Salem organization board I was on member of, and the Parrish Little League board I was a member of--when asked to take political positions, I said "no", whether I agreed with the political position or not).

Now I think political questions are really, really important and certainly one of Kuyper's "square inches" if you will, and I regularly join forces with others (in other organizations) to take those questions up, and when I do, I seek to do so from a deeply biblical perspective.  Still, I'm not a member of the CRC in order to take up that square inch of life (there is a time and place to take up the questions involved in all square inches of life), and so I appreciate the CRC Church Order Art 28, by which CRC councils and members covenant that they will stick to "ecclesiastical matters" (translation: not attempt to become political activist representing all CRC members).  Taking up this Overture 6 would break that covenant.  It should be ruled "out of order" as a contravention to the constraints provided by our "Church Order covenant" (CO Art 28).  I pray Synod does just that.  The only other choice is to deepen division by forcing institutional consensus on a non-ecclesiatical matter.

Ken Libolt June 13, 2019

It’s not hard for me to see some of reasons for our denomination decline after reading these comments! It makes me sad that we can’t agree on much! It’s depressing to see this supposed respect for opinions of other people when most just want theirs to be the right one! This subject is important but our approach is leading to no action for any group! I concentrate on what I can do for the Lord that’s within my capabilities and accessible. I don’t agree with everything our church does but I still try to support God’s purpose and kingdom!

Staci Devries June 13, 2019

Thank you for sharing this opening!