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It is both interesting and telling that there isn't a category to talk about the denominational structure, given the fact that this occupied a considerable amount of time at the last meeting of Synod and it certainly occupies a lot of the BOT's time.

That seems to send a strong message...

November 15, 2011 0 9 comments

Where can I find information on this subject and what are the rules/processes around this issue.

September 22, 2011 0 2 comments
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This could be a way for singles to connect - for friendship, encouragement, ideas, and even planning & sharing events.  A way of connecting to each other & perhaps some groups would form out of different areas & start planning events.  This has happened from various different...

September 8, 2011 0 1 comments
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I'd like some thoughts/feedback on this book Don't Invite Them to Church.

July 29, 2011 0 3 comments
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Here's a thought for all of us: what's wrong with being clear about the fact that we're not clear about some things?

Let me be clear (Ha! Ha!) ;-)

There are some things about which the Bible is very, very clear. Like, for example, the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the...

May 3, 2011 0 9 comments

For as long as I can remember my parents' church has put together a book with pictures of every family every 3-5 years, and the process always goes something like:

-Choose a national company to take photos (they don't charge for the session or the resulting book)

-Family schedules a...

April 21, 2011 0 3 comments

Wondering if a church "opts out" of the Minister's Pension Plan, even temporarily, if it's possible to pick it up again in the future? Or is it a case of once you're out, you're out??

April 2, 2011 0 1 comments

I am a first term elder and council clerk who is now going to be partly responsible for guiding discussion and voting on a few  "hot button" issues - selling a parsonage in order to fund new ministries and a renovation/addition, as well as gathering perspectives now and  voting in May on ...

March 29, 2011 0 6 comments
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Before posting a new topic in the Let's Talk About . . . discussion forum, please read the following guidelines.

March 17, 2011 0 0 comments
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Now all we need is a CRC e-harmony.

August 31, 2010 0 1 comments
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Just wondering if anyone has gotten a chance to read Mark Driscoll's take on doctrine according to a Reformed perspective: "Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe"?

June 2, 2010 0 4 comments
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Has anyone else read this book? I found it very exciting and challenging but haven't heard much discussion of it within the CRC circles in spite of it being on a few Top 2009 lists.

May 3, 2010 0 2 comments
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We're reading through and discussing N.T. Wright's book, "Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church." Has anyone else read this book with a group from church? I'm curious to hear about how other's feel Wright's theology .

March 2, 2010 0 2 comments

We've recently done some demographic work in our church and have realized that the following categories of people make up almost 50% of our people altogether:

Singles (traditional un-married sense) Spiritually single (married but spouses are not attending church at all and/or are not...
February 18, 2010 0 1 comments



I don't know what Churck Missler means. To begin with, Alpha and Omega are Greek letters, not Hebrew. Maybe he's referring to the Greek Septuigent of the Old Testament. Could you help me out, do you have a specific point to make about the blog I wrote? I want to apologize, I didn't listen to the three hours of Chuck Missler's sermon or teaching. I'll listen when I get some extra time. 

posted in: Who was Adam?

Chuck Missler mentioned in his first session, listed below, that there are a couple of Hebrew characters near the word 'God', in the first verse of the Bible, i.e. In the beginning God created ...., i.e. characters that mean 'alpha & omega'.  Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Jesus, our Lord, is there in the beginning as we also see mentioned in the book of John.  


In Genesis 3: 15 and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


In John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 


It is puzzling how can one claim to "believe in him" but doubt that He created the way He told us in Genesis and summarized (in stone) in Exodus 20:11


Chuck Missler - How we got our Bible Session 1 (OT) ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE7fnqPpWMA )

Chuck Missler - How we got our Bible Session 2 (NT) ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8au1UUN_qw )

posted in: Who was Adam?

I want to thank you for your thoughts here. First off, there’s nothing that you wrote that I wouldn’t agree with. I agree with it all. Also, like you, I feel the Genesis story is also based on real events and not a fable or some kind of parabolic poetry. The problem with English speakers is they don’t appreciate the depth of meaning found in the original Hebrew words of Genesis. There is so much more written in these texts than I have found in any English translation that I have ever read. All translations fall short of the original language.  My advice to reading Genesis is to get a good Hebrew-English concordance of the Old Testament and with a little effort you can see what it is I’m talking about. And, as for all those articles pointing to a single woman’s Mitochondrial DNA as the origin of all of humanity I’ve also have read and agree, would seem to be evidence for the existence of a Hava or Eve, or Noah’s wife at the least. Also I’m not at all opposed to the idea that Eve may have been born miraculously from Adam. The problem is the text itself says there were other people at the time of Adam and Eve. Genesis chapters 4 and 6 speak to this. For example, in chapter 6 you have several curious texts that say the daughters of Adam were either married or taken by the Sons of Eloyim (which can mean a whole variety of things) and were also taken by the Nephalim or the fallen/ tyrannical ones. These two sets of people are not identified as sons of Adam, in fact both texts seem to imply it wasn’t a good thing that the daughters of Adam were married or taken by these people. There is such a wonderful bountiful depth here in Hebrew Bible that I wish more people could come to appreciate.

posted in: Who was Adam?


"My findings were that the probabiity that Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 is narrative is between .999942 and .999987 at a 99.5% confidence level. I conclude therefore that it is statistically indefensible to argue that this text is poetry."  Steven Boyd (Ph.D Hebraic and Cognate Studies, Professor of OT AND Semitic languages) 

Chapter 1 (Genesis) was written in the Hebrew language which is consistent in using one structure for narrative and quite a different one for poetry.  Hebrew poets like David used a SVO (Subject Verb Object) structure like English.  In general, if the Hebrew goes VSO it will be narrative, but if it is SVO it will be poetic."  Charles Taylor (Ph.D Linguistics, Professor of Theology).

Genesis One is definitely in Verb Subject Object structure, i.e. Narrative.


"The Search for Adam and Eve", was a Newsweek article by John Tierney, Lynda Wright and Karen Springen. This  article of January 11, 1988 stated: "Trained in molecular biology, they [scientists] looked at an international assortment of genes and picked up a trail of DNA that led to a single woman from whom we are all descended”. 


Maternal mitochondria DNA is passed relatively unchanged in the female line only.  Over time, mutations occur in the DNA of humans.  How many mutations have occurred since Eve?  How fast do mutations occur?  In other words, what is the rate at which the mitochondrial DNA clock runs?  If the number of mutations since Eve were known, then one could calculate how long ago mitochondrial Eve lived. 


"Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock", is a Science article by Ann Gibson. Article of 2nd January 1998 stated: “Mitochondrial DNA appears to mutate faster than expected, prompting new DNA forensics procedures..."  For example, researchers have calculated that mitochondrial Eve - the woman whose mtDNA was ancestral to that in all living people - lived ... using the new clock she would have lived a mere 6000 years ago. 


“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." Robert Jastrow


Unique Origin of Eve


Ever wondered why our LORD God chose to make Eve as recorded in the Bible?


“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:21-23

Luke traces the family tree down through Heli, father of Mary, mother of Jesus, through David’s son Nathan, until we read in Luke 3:38:

“... Seth, who was the son of Adam, who was the son of God.”


Therefore Adam, the son of God is related to the Son of God (our kinsman redeemer). 


As Eve is related to Adam, Eve is also related to our kinsman redeemer.


"And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living."  Genesis 3:20


“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth”  Acts 17:26a


“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”  1 Corinthians 15:45


"Every word of God is flawless” Proverbs 30.6a

posted in: Who was Adam?

Hi Keith,

Thanks for your post.  The headline sure grabs attention!  : )

I agree with you that pornography is probably a big problem, deserves more attention than we give it, and has the potential to seriously harm of Christ's Church.

However, I feel that homosexuality has a much, much bigger impact than the way it's outlined in your post.  It may be the case that only 1% of the population has same-sex attraction (though I think the matter is more complicated than this), but I believe that many more people are affected by the matter than just those who experience same-sex attraction.  At the very least, others would include family members and friends of sexual minorities.  Then there's the matter that quite a few people feel that same-sex relationships are not prohibited by God's Word.  Then there's the matter of same-sex marriage, which affects us as citizens of our countries.  Then there's the matter that, as I've heard it at least, the *main* impression many people in North America have of the church is "group of gay-haters."  Wow, that's pretty sad.  And on it goes. 

In fact, I think the 2nd paragraph of Brett Turner's earlier post gets at these realities.

And Aaron Vriesman's (hi, Aaron!) post assumes that there isn't a biblical argument for approving same-sex relationships - which, agree with it or not - there is such an argument.  Many Christians (yes, not all) who accept same-sex relationships feel they are doing so not by ignoring the Bible but are doing so for *biblical* reasons. 

A few of these items I'm raising are *not* issues that pertain to pornography.  Each issue has its own challenges, to be sure.  I think, though, that homosexuality is a much bigger issue than what is argued for in this forum.

That's all. : )

God bless,


You are on to something here. Pornography is an industry bringing in billions of dollars each year and the statistics of even ministers using it are shocking. Plenty of studies have shown its harmful effects on the mind and relationships. Except there is one thing that pornography doesn't have going for it that homosexuality does. Nobody in the church (that I know of) is arguing that viewing pornographic material is acceptable to God, but there are significantly loud voices calling for full inclusion of those who publicly and proudlyy live in a same-sex union. I know and have counseled people who struggle with pornography. Each one is fighting it and ashamed when they cave to temptation. Even though they are sinning, they repent and would never encourage anyone to do down their road.
Both pornography and homosexuality are serious problems challenging the church, but more dangerous than sinning itself is believing and preaching that sin is not sinful.

Hello Keith. I reckon you are right. Pornography is the silent poison of our modern society. I even once saw an episode, dont watch it these days, of the Simpsons and in this episode there was reference to pornography as if it were normal and ok. If I recall it correctly Homers wife Marge either offered to get him some or actually did. It was bizzare! A cartoon on in prime time when children watch it!

The homosexual issue is odd though as its pushed at us all the time. Here in Australia it is. Often we hear our polititions talk about supporting it and same sex marriage etc... I even went to a local comunity centre once and saw in the childrens area a large poster promoting same sex couples, telling the children that if a boy likes a boy and a girl likes a girl its ok because its the same as a boy liking a girl or visa versa. Strange times indeed i reckon.

Thanks Peter and Daniel for your replies and welcome. Yes I beleive as you both stated yourselves concerning Hewbews 4 and try as I may can see no other interpretaion for it. Guess there are, now days, many odd doctrines around and that people read into scripture what they want it to say. Many thanks again.

Hello Brett,

Like you I'm new at this but not so young anymore and unfamiliar with this medium.

As to your question, the rest to which the author of the Hebrews refers to is three-fold 1) the rest of God after finishing His work of creation (4:4); 2) the rest Israel was to enter when entering the promised land (4:8), and 3) the rest promised to God's people when they are resting from their work when "crossing their Jordan" (4:9).

The author is urging his audience to make sure they do not fall short in paying careful attention to what hey have heard, namely the message of salvation (2:1-4), as the Israelites did when on the way to the promised land they were disobedient in their unbelief to the message to them. He is urging this lest they/we by their/our disobedience of faith or lack of faith/trust in the Lord fail to enter that rest. 

The mention of the seventh day (4:4) is a referrence to the Genesis creation account of God's rest. Relating this to the other two kinds of rest in this passage, indicates that there is more to this rest than just physical rest, as if God were tired as we may be tired after a weeks work. This in turn should give us pause to use this text to claim that all of creation was made in six days as we have them today. Apart from science there are just too many questions around the creation account to know exactly how it all happened other than that God created all and it was very good when he completed it. In the meantime we do well in our preaching and teaching the message of salvation to stick to the way that He has given it to us without making all kinds of claims about how things actually happened from a scientific point of view.

Wishing you much wisdom and grace,


Hey, Keith, while I do share some of your concerns, I think the language and tone of your post is unnecessarily inflammatory.  Are you intentionally inviting (or inciting) alarm and dismay? Is it true that Calvin is in "serious financial trouble"?  i don't have inside information , but what I read and hear suggests to me that people HAVE been let go, that Calvin and especially its new president have handled this situation with candor and transparency, and I know of at least one major donor whose giving has INCREASED in the light of the way Calvin and its president are handling the challenge.  In any case, I think your rhetoric is overblown, and therefore contributes less than it could to a healthy community response to the problem Calvin is facing.

Dear Brett:

First, welcome to the Network! Good to hear from you! I hope you find much good spiritual food here. 

To your question, first let me say that I believe quite firmly that I don't know the details of HOW God created the world, EXCEPT that I know that a) He did it (it was NOT an accident), and b) that it was GOOD. 

I have read many, many articles, and theological works regarding creation and I can honestly say that, regardless of whether you want to argue for a "not-literal 6 "days" " of creation or for a "literal 6, 24-hour days", I can see nothing relevant to that argument in Hebrews 4, or the surrounding passage.

The whole context of the passage relates to perservering in doing the "good works" that God has given for us to do. The writer of Hebrews uses the positive example of how God did "good work" for six days and then entered His rest--a well-deserved break from all he had done. The author of Hebrews then goes on to give the negative example of how the people of Israel, after they were rescued from Egypt, did NOT do the faithful work that God had called them to, at first, and so that whole generation was denied entry into the "rest" of the promised land, and had to wander the desert for 40 years instead.

The writer then connects this to us, saying, in effect, "Follow God's pattern laid out in creation: do the good work laid out for you, then, when it is done, you will be called into His rest. Don't shirk that work like Israel did!"

To somehow take this passage and make it about how many days (or what kind of days) creation took would be to completely miss the point of the passage, and to throw an interpretation on there that really doesn't exist. 

Hope that is helpful. 

Blessings on you and your friend. May God draw you closer to him always.

Is the Synod legally liable for Calvin College's debts? In other words, will the congregations be asked to pay off the debts if worst comes to worst?

Thank you Kieth. My thoughts , very well expressed.

This denominational structure issue just won't go away ... and Synod's decisions (or indecisions) didn't help the situation. There is, more than ever, a cultural divide along the U.S.-Canada border. We are bound together in overseas ministry but our 'kingdom response' ... within Canada and the United States ... is and needs to be different. The Canadian regional office and committees are more politically engaged and are more ecumenical than the U.S. counterpart. Each country has specific needs and focii (Canadian churches can't get their heads around the need for quotas to guarantee racial equality within boards)

There is value in remaining together as one binational denomination for the time being, but operating as two separate and equal regional synods. Each has an executive director and each has a board of trustees. Each holds its own biennial synod (The CRCNA is one of a very few denominations still meeting annually) and sets its own agenda. Both should continue to share joint ministries overseas such as World Renew, World Missions, Back to God International and others.

We can try the two-region approach -- U.S. and Canada -- for a decade, each legally autonomous to meet IRS/CRA standards. By then we will be in essence two separate denominations.

The problem is -- and here's the rub -- no denominational task force will ever recommend that kind of separation and no synod will ever approve such a plan because three-quarters of the delegates are American and they simply don't understand what all the fuss is about.

I can't envision an amicable separation, even though I am a deeply loyal Christian Reformed member. I envision some future synod, when confronted with a reasonable proposal for Canadian autonomy, to once again turn down the recommendation. But then I also envision Canadian classes refusing to send delegates to the subsequet synod as a 'final straw' .. the ultimate protest that we've had enough. Sadly, I think it may come to that.


Lastly, and this also has to do with the future structure, I think it's time for Canadian churches and classes to hold one of those Canadian Ministry Forums such as we had in Edmonton many years ago. A properly called, delegated meeting (four from each classis, if I recall correctly), where we identify what makes us uniquely Canadian when it comes to a Christian Reformed presence in Canada.

We had a hastily called conference in Toronto a few months ago, called by one classis, that seemed more political than visionary. That won't  do. Let's do it right; have the Canadian Director of Ministries call the meeting, set the agenda, and moderate the discussion. And give each classis the time to properly choose and send their delegation to this national conference.

The Christian Reformed Church (in Canada?) has a prophetic word for Canada. That kind of message cannot be crafted and sent from a synod meeting held in Iowa or Illinois or Grand Rapids. Semantics? Not at all.

I completely agree with you Kieth. Our current structure is not working and tinkering with it will only drain resources which could be used elsewhere.

Working together  on common ministries can work, but only as it seems right for us in Canada, We are all grown up here. Let's start with a Canadian regional synod .


The simple truth as I see it .


I was disappointed in the synod just held . The Canadian question was simply dismissed as a noisy child in the room!



Andrea, I was recently reminded of the what you shared in this post.  Thank you again for your reflection on what Christ has done for us.

posted in: Lent and Leverage


There has been an article about the flooding posted on The Banner website. You can read it here:

Massive Flooding Impacts Christian Reformed Churches in Southern Alberta

Henry thanks for your comments. I am a bit older and also a keen observer of the CRCNA. In my final term on one of the CRCNA Boards (as a vocal Canadian). 

In a recent news release I noticed that Joel B and Peter B have been reappointed as ED and key Assistant. That is too bad. Peter (recognizing the key support he has been) should have been replaced by a Canadian. That would have been a wise move.

In my previous comments you will know that I do not support a "seperation" of the Cnd CRC or even a Canadian Regional Synod.  But let's keep on talking. It's interesting that the CRCNA spends a great deal of effort figuring out how to diversify its leadership. I might suggest that the search committee for the ED get the concurrence of every bi-national board before any recommendation is made to synod. They do that by providing their top three picks one of whom must a Canadian!

great reflection, Andrea!

posted in: Lent and Leverage

Awesome God-story! Thank you for sharing. 

I especially like the quote from Lauren Winner. Where is it found?

posted in: Lent and Leverage

Thank you, Andrea. This was a beautiful posting with wonderful reminders of our shortcomings and God's awesome goodness.

posted in: Lent and Leverage

Thanks Andrea. Many of us in Wisconsin resonate with your thoughts on rain. The crops are drying up, the joy of watching rain (and dancing in it). We realize that much more rain is needed and that it is too late to save some of the crops. We pray that the church will come together with a comunal response. On your thoughts of the drought stricken souls, we must continue to pray for that "living water" that only Jesus can supply. God's grace is so powerful and yet, we often fail to recognize it. A Friday morning rambling:) KP

posted in: The Parched Place

I happened to be changing channels and ended up watching  The Good Wife.I was surprised when the woman said she was a member of the Christian Reformed Church of North America!!  The next day I talked to one of my friends who also happened to see the show--she almost fell of the couch :)  We both waited for the credits--only 2 names--We both thought for sure it was written by Paul Schrader--Calvin class of 68--I did find something on line--author--studied at Weslyan College. Our God is full of surprises and humor--it must have been providential that both of us "HAPPENED" to see the show.

Thank you for your supportive comments Richard. For this to happen, it needs to come from the grass roots, and not the traditional leadership. It must be a bottom up appraoch to have any success.

I listened very carefully to "The State of The Church" address given by our interim E.D., Joel Boot, last evening in the Meadowlands Fellowship CRC Church. He mentioned at the top that the state of the church was "critical" I agree with his view on a number of levels. However, I find it interesting and very telling that he does not mention the issues surrounding  our bi-national status.I am afraid our friends do not "get it" . I get it that this Synod will be working on this issue again. It's high time Canada convenes it's own CRC synod.

Well then. This Synod or the ED should do the right thing and provide more transparency on Compensation. Let's do the right thing and get er done!

We are long overdue for a Canadian synod.  Thanks for your article HL.  Our provincial and federal governments have important pieces of legislation before it on bullying, on the beginning of life and there is no direction from the Canadian offices. I suspect because all things must be vetted by our US offices; it is a top down structure from a foreign country. In Canada we have a lively ecumenical scene that is very different than the US, and it is stalled by the bi-national nature of our denomination.  Material is produced in Spanish, Korean etc, but where is the French material?

Thanks for your comments, Harry. I appreciate your insight. However equality with our American friends in the CRCNA is something I am pessimistic about after many years of observing our church governance.

I invision a Canadian synod eventually. Only then can we as a truly Canadian church sensitive to our own cultural reality. I also think only then can we work as a equal partner with our American friends and our shared mission.

HL makes some  good points but not enough facts to support them. While the world is globalizing our churches are trending to congregationalism (and  regionalism).  In a voluntary organization that is usually an easy solution.  The boards of the Denominational Ministries are well represented by Canadians so we can have an impact.

The impact of the GR "HO" is, and I agree with with HL, a real challenge.I am just in the process of looking at some of the financial data in the Acts of Synod over the last 15 years. I am far from finished but what I see so far is interesting in a good way. The CRCNA has many strengths that would be difficult to replicate IN BOTH USA and CANDA if we were seperated.

The discussion on how we should organize as a church is in the works and comments like those of HL should be very welcome. Let's make sure the task force who working on this has strong Canadian input.

Like HL, I too have woked for international organizations in both Canada and Holland. I am all for partnerships across boarders of which CRCNA ministries have literally hundreds.

Let's continue the discussion.

For more reading and a much better written analysis of the subject , go to the Banner article by Gayla Postma, in the March, 2012 issue of the banner, titled "WHY BEING A BI-NATIONAL CHURCH IS SO IMPORTANT"  

One of the practical results of the "religious freedom" clause of the US First Amendment (to the Constitution) is that churches don't have to file forms 990.  CRWRC must, I expect, because it is not a church.  It is a separate, public benefit/charitable corporation (thus, 501c3 qualified/recognized), but not a church.

Which means, among other things, that Guidestar will never have these figures for the CRCNA (including its agencies), nor for any other church for that matters.  Such figures would only be published if the CRCNA decided to publish them.

As a matter of policy, I think most local churches make all expense information (including salaries of pastors and others) openly available to members.  I would think doing the same at the denominational level (to CRC Members) would be the wiser path to follow.  Transparency is almost always a good thing for non-profits (churches included).

in the U.S., IRS 990 forms provide similar information. Interestingly, when checking on Guidestar, CRWRC's are available but I did not see other agencies or CRCNA.

I know that some of the members of Communities First Association are involved in setting up such programs. You could visit their website to see if any are near you: http://communitiesfirstassociation.org/members/

Donn Hansum from Volunteers in Action in Denver, CO is very good.  Check out the website: www.volunteersinaction.info

for more information! 

I have often done this type of speaking over the years.  Feel free to check out my profile and have someone get in touch, if interested.  Best wishes.  David Crump

Maybe the Network needs to consider having a posting of members who do training and on what topics.  Church leaders can then view the list to determine if any of them are a fit for what they need.


Here's the rest of the info:

The audience is a smaller congregation in Denver, CO.  They did not specify a topic, but they are looking for someone who is "both good at teaching by lecture and teaching by hands-on group actions."  That's all the information I have.

I hope that helps.

To Kimberly - I do training and workshops for church leaders, pastors, and pew members.  If you can find a way to contact me, I can explain more.  I have a pastor's letter of recommendation. 

What part of the country are you from?  What topic are you trying to adress?  Who is your audience? 

We get all uptight when our stand on homosexuality is exposed, yet we turn down the opportunity to revisit the stand and  rethink how we should treat the GBLT person in our midst.  Hmm...

Joel Boot writes a blustering article in defense but we dare not actually make a move to change anything.  I think it is alot of ado about nothing.

Why doesn't Joel Boot write to the Florida Family Association about their nasty boycott of the the Muslim T.V show "All-American Muslim"?   I think that would say more to the outside community who is looking at the CRC. 

The character's representation of the CRC's position is certainly one sided.  She rightly emphasizes a strong view of Biblical authority and the continuing relevance even of Old Testament texts.  But what she fails to mention is extremely important.  Already in the 1973 report there is a strong emphasis on care and support for the homosexual person.  We have not done that well.  Actually, objecting to homosexual practice while loving homosexual persons is very difficult.  CRC individuals, in all regions of the continent, have tended to gravitate to one side or the other at least in practice and sometimes theoretically as well.

The Banner has an article on-line about this already


First off, Canadian viewers will have to go the Global TV web site, specifically http://www.globaltv.com/thegoodwife/video/, to view the episode.  CBS won't let those of us living north of the 49th parallel to see it on their web site.

Second, I definitely believe that one of the writers has to be of CRC background.  People who aren't familiar with the CRC usually call us the Christian Reform Church, making it sound like we're in the business of trying to rehabilitate youth who have run afoul of the law.  In addition, who else would pick this specific denomination?  Or is it possible that the CRCNA has become the denomination people associate with the TeaPartiers?  I sincerely hope that isn't the case.

Although I don't agree with the character's political or theological beliefs, it probably truly reflects the zeitgeist of the CRC in the Chicago area, where the series is based.

My wife and I were watching the show two nights after it aired. We were quite surprised by the first mention and then even more surprised by the second. And in the second they seemed to get the theology quite straight. Could one of the writers be of CRC background?

The second occasion, the character says something about we taking Scripture as authoritative when asked about a Leviticus text about homoxexual acts. That is a good representation of our view of Scripture. The character is then thrown a question about the next passage and stoning and again she responds with an answer that feels CRCish.

The first occasion is interesting.  The character of the lawyer asks her if she is a Christian and I believe her answer was "Yes, I am Christian Reformed."  Isn't that like us to see our identity as Christian Reformed before Christian.  At least that was what I picked up in my formative years in the CRC in the late 60s, 70s and 80s. Now that may not be true for all of us, as I hope it is not true for me today, but I suspect that part of the CRC culture has been that individuals define themselves first as Christian Reformed before they do as Christian.

Case in point:  I remember well while working on my M.Div. at CTS I was doing some hospital visit de-briefs with the chaplain at Holland Hospital who happened to be RCA. He challenged me re. pastoral identity that I need to see myself first and foremost "A minister of the word in church of Jesus Christ" and not "a minister of the word in the CRCNA." Notice that he did not say not to think of myself as the later, but the later must follow the former.  Somewhere in the last 22 years of ordination I have grown to the point of agreeing with him.

How about you? What do you think?

I deeply appreciate your profound thoughts, Richard. You must be family!

I like the notion of two separate denominations -- the US and Canada -- with a partnership agreement covering the overseas work of CRWRC, World Missions, Back to God, etc.

These are two separate nations, two unique cultures, each with their unique perspectives on ministry and opportunities for ministry. But we're united when it comes to overseas mission opportunities.

It is not surprising that we don't hear much from the "Canadian leadership" about the notion of two separate structures. As it stands, the Canadian leadership is accountable to the American leadership, ad it just wouldn't do to complain to the 'boss' about going on your own. When I last checked -- a few years ago -- the Canadian CRCs account for one quarter of the delegates at synod. Any suggestion to part ways will need considerable American support and that hasn't happened in past attempts to raise the issue at synod.  That notion therefore needs to come from BOT as part of its structural review.

I acknowledge that creating two denominations won't solve the larger issues around authority and accountability, but it may help shape the response to those issues.

I think the task force would miss an excellent opportunity if it did not address the binational nature of our country. We are the only denomination that covers both sides of the border. Presbyterian denominations have split down geographic lines and so did the Reformed Church in America with the creation many years ago of the Reformed Church of Canada. If the CRC continues to talk with the Reformed Church in America about eventual union, would we leave out their Canadian counterpart -- the Reformed Church of Canada .... a more conservative wing of the RCA?

Everything needs to be put on the table, including the value of our binationalism.

Hi uncle Keith!

Good thoughtful post!

I do agree that from a structural perspective (including the legal aspects of our respective incorporation papers), as well as some issues with Canadians dealing with visa and employment issues to attend seminary, it seems wise to at least seriously consider separating the Canadian and U.S. CRC's.

There are lots of reasons to remain united too, and you mention many of them. I would add that our overseas efforts (CRWM, CRWRC, BTG, etc.) are better because they are bi-national. (BTW, CRWRC Canada receives huge amounts of money from the Canadian government, not only from Canadian CRC members.)

As one who believes form should follow (not define) reality, the bigger question is this: do we have 2 defacto denominations that cooperate by a joint-venture agreement, or do we have one denomination that needs 2 structures to legally operate in our different legal systems?

In my (very limited) experience the CRC in the U.S. and Canada are becoming less alike (not more alike) as time goes by. This differentiation is mostly cultural. I sometimes hear my US counterparts talk about Canadians as being a bit 'weird' or 'strange.' This is more than merely where you put the spoon when you set the table, or whether it's called a napkin or a serviette. The spiritual milieau is different and so is the 'feel.' Being in a classis that borders Canada, we often have Canadian synodical deputies. Occassionally a Canadian deputy will ask a question of a ministerial candidate that has us in the U.S. shaking our heads and looking at each other with the (sometimes) unspoken question "Where did that come from?" I suspect the 'weirdness' is felt from the other direction as well. There are probably other ways to describe our different cultures, but you get the idea.

This would suggest that our structures will eventually follow that trend, should it continue.

I suspect that some Canadian CRC members feel held-back, restrained, or directed by their U.S. counterparts in ways that are not always entirely comfortable. The U.S. CRC is more than 2X the size of the Canadian, and with the cultural differences, sometimes (often? always?) the U.S. CRC emphasis wins the day.

Yet, we don't hear a call by any in the leadership of the CRC of Canada to separate (unless I'm missing something). Until we do, it seems we do have one denomination in two countries and two (similar but distinct) cultures. As long as we do, our structure should reflect that unity.

Good discussion!! I was a delegate to Synod 2010, and heard much about the structure.

Change is needed--as is obvious by what happened to two top people who were very good at what

they did.   I discussed with Bob DeMoor,  at synod one day, the editorial he had written in The Banner, (quite some time back now) and it seemed to me that he hit it right.  Things were OK up until a certain point ,and the things got screwed up, probably be the BOT making changes.

Has anyone in the "heirarchy" of the CRC ever considered retaining---Arrow Leadership, of Vancouver & Portland

to help us walk through a "redo" of our denominational leadership structure?  These are Christian people who

have helped restructure such organizations as World Vision, Salvation Army, etc. to be the most effective they can

be.  Just some thoughts.  Alan

Sherry, You are probably finished with this book, and have moved on to something else by now!   It was only today that someone called my attention to your note, posted way back in July.   I was SO taken by this book!  My church, Grace in Grand RApids, is near downtown in an old neighborhood, characterized by many of the things that happen to old urban neighborhoods as they age.  We are trying things as we experiement with ways to engage our neighbors and be truly WITH them, and FOR them, and this book is an excellent resource.  I won't repeat here all the things I said here.  I hope you were aware of the blog.

For Grace the trick is to get a small congregation of very busy people to focus on one new thing.  We've been deeply involved for the past 8 months or more in a city-wide program to boost the graduation rate in our public school system.  One small piece of this effort has been a series of ten-week programs for ten selected families from our immediate neighborhood.  Grace ran ours this fall.  Sustainability and followup is now our big challenge and opportunity.

I'd love to hear more of your group's experience with your community!