Through the Looking Glass...

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I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." — Lewis Carroll
 
I am fascinated by talk generated with the recent "date" the CRC had with the RCA. True we were once one, and then there was that messy divorce — what was it over again?

Many have indicated, like a recent Banner editorial, it was just a misunderstanding of where we were going and with "how we do church & culture." True, that was part of the process, later along with Christian Day Schools among other things; but now we have overcome these "petty" differences and can arrange a "renewed romance" between denominations!

Before we run headlong off the cliff with the rest of the "over-amored lemmings," perhaps we should carefully see where we have been in order to plot out the journey before us.

Could requiring a good read of Divided by a Common Heritage: The CRC and the RCA at the Beginning of the New Millennium, a rather insightful book and part of Faith Alive's livery of products, be a help to find a way?  You may not agree with all of what the authors have discovered in their research, but one item stands out from their analysis: originally the CRC stood for purity of doctrine and scripture for the sake of unity; while the RCA stood for unity in the face of fights over doctrine and scripture.

I am sure there are other books, authors, and discussions that could also help us distill this "love potion" we are brewing.

Now really, there should be a little more common ground between those two aforementioned stands and perhaps a little hand holding will find a way! Certainly many of the periphery problems separating us as denominations may have dissipated like the storms we experienced lately — but remember, that split back in 1857 was one of those "category 7 tornados!" Lives and families were torn apart, there was considerable damage to livelihood and culture, and both were strewn about the familial landscape.

Too … time does heal.

In the meantime, have we changed so much that we have become once again the same? Perhaps most importantly, have we grown closer together for the right reasons?

Does this mean we cannot become closer in word and deed — nah … we already have. However, I do think out of respect for the "cultures" and institutions that have been created over 154 years — for both the right and wrong reasons, we owe ourselves a second look before we embark on any journey. Most certainly, becoming better neighbors and collaborators on this "blue marble" for kingdom causes wouldn't hurt!  In all, I have also observed though we continue to "see through a glass darkly," our cups are overflowing with "grace through every generation."

We began with a quote from Lewis Carroll, and now at the end — one more that perhaps speaks to our need as we think of CRC & RCA romancing,

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."  - -

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Perhaps your comment about "originally the CRC stood for purity of doctrine and scripture for the sake of unity; while the RCA stood for unity in the face of fights over doctrine and scripture..."   is very significant.   While we are asked and commanded to be unified as Christians in the body of Christ,  it seems that unity at the expense of truth always leads to the lowest possible denominator.  Somehow that is not true unity either is it?   Now we have a church in the RCA supporting homosex marriage.   How can you be unified with that?  Doesn't it rather demand the same sort of response that Paul gave us when he talked in Corinthians about "  I hear that one of you is sleeping with his father's wife, and you are proud... rather cast that person out...."    or another place in Corinthians, "when you gather together, you are not really celebrating the Lord's Supper (because you are selfish and don't share or wait for others)...."    Paul was interested in unity around the truth, but it could not be sullied by approval of immoral and ungodly conduct. 

It is better to find unity in Christ among denominations, which denominations can share with each other (or better - which individual members of different denominations can share with each other), and to distinguish the disunity of untruth and immorality in the distinctions between denominations. 

Participant

Always speak the truth, think before you speak, and write it down afterwards.-Lewis Carroll
 

In any analysis, caution is the word.

For instance, while the RCA did approve the Belhar Confession as a "forth," it did so with a rather significant group of Classes dissenting: 32 for and 13 against adoption.  So don't throw the baby out with the wash- perhaps you would find the same number of dissenters when you raise gender issues.

The CRC is fairing about the same, and it wouldn't surprise me if you find a 2/3 for and 1/3 against any changes in the recent "hot button polity issues."

Even the authors of Divided by a Common Heritage indicated in their final "what if" analysis- out of a potential 400,000 plus in a "new" denomination, there could be about 100,000 that dissent and vote with their feet and choose another route.

Then there are those who perhaps would simply drift away...

There are definitely pluses and minuses in any speculation on the recent "date" between the denominations; but do we find a "fit" to go together, or go it alone?  Could the denominations be good for each other- really now!  Think, have we not learned a lot over  the 154 years, both good and bad?

Of course, it is quick and easy to cite items like the church in New York.  If you read some news reports today...all of New York is going to (excuse me) "hell in a hand basket" with odd gender court decisions.  However, again- look carefully and see if there are those who in that very church continue to fight quietly for the "sonshine" of the infallibility of God's Word.

What lessons have we learned or are learning?

I think I have fallen in love with Carroll's writings- blame that fellow who wrote in the Banner- of Cabbages and Kings, what was his name- Eppinga. 

Non-the-less, I will leave you with just one more "carrollism,"

 

That's the reason they're called lessons, because they lesson from day to day.