Resource, Article

In choosing to take a trip to Israel/Palestine, persons need to reflect carefully on what type of tour they wish to join. Read about the different types of tours that we have come across in our years of leading groups on pilgrimages there.

August 17, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

Not only can we learn from the history of the land and its peoples, but the present conflict also presents an opportunity to learn about God’s justice and peace from people who are seeking it with diligence and grace.

August 11, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

What does Jesus’ command mean for us as we extend care for people in our neighbourhoods, communities, and churches?

August 4, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

This is the sixth sermon of a six message series written by Pastor Jack Van de Hoef based on the book Live Just.ly by World Renew and Micah Challenge.

August 2, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

The King’s University became involved with Khadr’s case after his lawyer presented at a King’s conference. Students and professors became involved in initiatives such as prayer groups, correspondence, rallies, and tutoring.

July 28, 2017 0 2 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

This is the fifth sermon of a six message series written by Pastor Jack Van de Hoef based on the book Live Just.ly by World Renew and Micah Challenge.

July 26, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

This is the fourth sermon of a six message series written by Pastor Jack Van de Hoef based on the book Live Just.ly by World Renew and Micah Challenge.

July 20, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Prayer

The Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee of the Christian Reformed Church invites you to pray along with us for missing and murdered indigenous women.

July 14, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

This is the third sermon of a six message series written by Pastor Jack Van de Hoef based on the book Live Just.ly by World Renew and Micah Challenge. 

July 12, 2017 2 0 comments
Blog

Jesus calls us to love our neighbor. Part of loving our neighbor is creating systems, budgets, policies, that create a community where all people can live abundantly, starting with their basic needs.

July 7, 2017 0 1 comments
Blog

The Climate Witness Project now has teams in 71 churches and more than 450 partners working hard to educate people on climate change, advocate for more just policies, and steward energy well. Learn how you can get involved!

July 7, 2017 0 1 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

This sermon on Isaiah 58 is part of a series based on the book Live Just.ly

July 6, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Workshop or Training

Join us Thursday evening for a free webinar where you'll learn how to be a successful climate advocate in your district!

June 28, 2017 0 2 comments
Blog

How do we each listen well to voices from cultures different from our own and voices within our cultures, while discerning whether those voices are leading us closer to Christ or away from him? Here is our take on it.

June 23, 2017 0 6 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

This sermon is part of a series based on the book Live Just.ly

June 22, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

Despite the United States’ strong legacy of humanitarianism and refugee resettlement, it is poised to offer its weakest response in nearly a century.

June 14, 2017 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

I am Canadian and last week a new bill was passed in Ontario which adds 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' to what is considered 'in the best interests of the child'.  It also removes the 'religious faith a child is being raised in' as a matter that is to be considered.  It also will...

June 10, 2017 0 1 comments
Blog

For international relief and development staff working with communities on the front lines of climate change, the compounding effects of a slight increase in sea level or temperature can mean the difference between success and famine.

June 9, 2017 0 2 comments
Blog

What stood out to me most is how World Renew strives to help the people who are most vulnerable – many of the families we learned about could not afford home insurance or were not able to qualify for assistance from the government.

June 8, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Type Not Listed

It's ready! Download your copy of the World Refugee Day toolkit today. How will your church celebrate and remember refugees this June (and beyond)? 

May 29, 2017 0 2 comments
Blog

The Joy Smith Foundation (JSF) is an organization working to end human trafficking. Read about the work JSF is doing and how you can make yourself aware of the danger of human trafficking and keep your loved ones safe.

May 26, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

Are you interested in helping your congregation learn more about immigration? Find two friends and be Blessing Not Burden Partners!

May 15, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

So what can we do about the violence in our neighborhoods? How do we avoid either minimizing it with easy answers or throwing up our hands because it overwhelms us?

May 12, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

I think the church is the perfect place to reclaim Mothers Day. To put down our wallets for the day and instead spend some effort making the world a bit more habitable for those who will come after us. What’s more mom-like than that?

May 11, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Poem

Hamza was part of a group of people from three different CRCs who attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington DC. Hamza wrote this poem about his experience at the conference.

May 5, 2017 0 0 comments

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We cannot face racism without "keeping records."  And racism in this country has a long and spotted record.  This is not an individual, isolated event.  It is part of a long story of inequality and dismissiveness in the U.S.  And it has been most obvious in the South.  Saying that we must address an event, rather than its history or causes is like trying to treat an alcoholic by getting him to stop drinking only rum.  No, this is a systemic problem.

Thanks for this insightful post.  :-)

Justice is an important biblical principle, and certainly there were miscarriages of justice to Mr Khadr, yet there is also the need for justice to be seen to be applied to those who were risking and giving their lives to protect innocents against terrorism. Mr Khadr's father and family aligned themselves with a terrorist group that targeted innocents as being a legitimate form of warfare. While young, he was still old enough to know right from wrong. It is easy to wipe his affiliation with a terrorist group away, to blame his family, to focus on his age, but why was he in a battle zone if not to participate. Was he treated wrongly? I will agree with this, but has he truly been been held accountable for his presence in a battle zone? I wonder. I realize this is likely not to be a popular view on this site, but if we are going to talk about accountability, it needs to be practiced both ways. 

Thank you for posting this! It gives some much better insight into the Omar story than what we hear on the news or read in the papers. And I think a huge thank you to Kings for reaching out to this young man, giving him a chance to start again. May mercy and understanding continue!

Hi Terry, Thanks for your interest! The recording is now available at this link: http://bit.ly/2tQQCmL.

This article is under the social justice category and I am wondering if there is any thoughts on the economic results of some of the  climate legislation that is being promoted, much of it would increase the cost of housing ,transportation and food. There are many in our society living on very tight budgets and could not incur these extra expenses. I would like to see this side of the social justice aspect included  with the stewardship side and how they both could be addressed.. We have to be concerned about the working poor and those on fixed incomes as well.

A faithful (federal government) budget would, perhaps first of all, be one that did not spend more than it took in, except for special circumstances perhaps, and those circumstances probably don't now exist.

With respect to Community enCompass, while this article claims it  "relies on the generosity of donors," and "leverages ... government funds," it would seem, unless this article simply gives the wrong impression, the truth is the other way around.

Let's take one of the examples given here, SNAP.  When the latest federal legislation regarding SNAP was enacted, the House version wanted to get rid of "auto qualification" because that method of qualifying was being badly abused, by both individuals and many state government.  The Senate bill did nothing to curb that abuse.  OSJ lobbied in favor of the Senate bill, and the Obama administration went all out to increase the number of SNAP recipients, seemingly by any means possible.

A SNAP reduction and this point may well do nothing more than curb the abuse that wasn't but should have been done in the past, and reduce the SNAP roles to where they should be.

I have yet to see OSJ take on any program abuse, lobby for the curbing of any government social program, or ever express the concern that federal programs might create life crippling dependencies for some, especially when these programs always expand and never contract like a one way ratchet.

A faithful budget "does no harm," whether to future generations who will have to pay back the deficits we accumulate now, or to those who grow dependent on federal largesse that incentivizes in a destructive way.

Am I suggesting government should not provide a "safety net"?  Not at all.  I'm suggesting that the federal budget should be faithful in all respects, that ever and only increasing-in-size-and-scope entitlements can and often are destructive (hurting instead of helping), and that lobbying/advocating ONLY in favor increasing or maintaining government social programs is, on the whole, quite unfaithful.

I wasn't able to attend the webinar. Was it recorded? I do have the documents that were distributed.

With respect, Danielle, the comment policy isn't a comment policy (since there is no commenting) but an apology for the decision not to have commenting.

It does point out that other CRC agency sites also don't offer commenting, but none of them recently told Synodical delegates, repeatedly, that the point of their sites was to have conversation, as OSJ. repeatedly claimed to Synod about Do Justice.  And of course that was my point.  Don't tell the decision makers that this blog is a conversation when its not.  

And true, you post some of the Do Justice articles to the Network (which is then a conversation one step removed), but only some, and by my observational metrics, the picking and choosing of which to post, to meet your metrics, is strategic indeed.  One could even conclude the point of the selection pattern is to avoid conversation.

Thank you for sharing those thoughts, Jack. 

Hi Doug, we've had this conversation before. Here's our comment policy, in case you haven't seen it. Our goal is to post one Do Justice piece per week on the Network. I've just reviewed our metrics from this quarter and we met that goal. 

Thank you, Danielle, for providing some helpful background and perspective on the Synod discussion about articles on Do Justice. Thanks too for encouraging us to listen, dialog with, and learn from a diversity of Christian voices from backgrounds and with experiences that differ from our own.   I learned many years ago during my studies at Reformed Bible College (now Kuyper College) that all truth is God's truth no matter the source. Therefore, I can learn from, be blessed by, and grow closer in my relationship with God by listening to and getting to know people from cultures, backgrounds, experiences, nationalities, and even religions that differ from mine. That being said, I am deeply grateful for the good and very important work done by the Centre for Public Dialogue and OSJ!  

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and heart in this post, Danielle!

My concern about the articles published on Do Justice, aside from the content of some of those articles, is that at Synod, they and the Do Justice site, were/was repeatedly described as a conversation while in fact OSJ has quite deliberately decided to not allow commenting.  That's simply not a conversation.  Indeed, I wonder how many Synodical delegates just assumed commenting was allowed on Do Justice, that is, that it really is a conversation facility.

I do realize that some Do Justice articles are posted here, on the Network, where they can actually be part of a conversation.  But those instances are very few, and if I'm not mistaken, none of the Do Justice articles that were included in the Minntonka overture were reposted in th Network.  And even if they were, the audience of the conversation would necessarily be a different one.

Which is why I think Do Justice articles should be open to online commenters.  Just like Banner articles are.

I would urge some caution, Michelle, in light of some of the CRC's prior statements which may or may not line up with the links you provided.

To my knowledge, the CRC hasn't developed a 'position statement' on gender identity issues. But it has on the issue of homosexuality and even 45 years ago the 1973 report it approved said:

"It is important to understand that homosexuality is not the result of any conscious choice or decision on the part of the person to be homosexual."

And the CRC position statement goes on to say:

"Persons of same-sex attraction should not be denied community acceptance solely because of their sexual orientation and should be wholeheartedly received by the church and given loving support and encouragement. Christian homosexuals, like all Christians, are called to discipleship, holy obedience, and the use of their gifts in the cause of the kingdom. Opportunities to serve within the offices and the life of the congregation should be afforded to them as to heterosexual Christians."

If synod came to that conclusion about homosexuality 45 years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if it comes to the same conclusion about gender identity when that is studied.

We may soon find out, because Synod 2016 has appointed a study committee to "articulate a foundation-laying biblical theology of human sexuality that pays particular attention to biblical conceptions of gender and sexuality." So we can look forward to further clarity from that report. 

But it's noteable that synod, in the makeup of the study committee, said it wanted the committee to include a gender dysphoric person. And all committee members are to adhere to the CRC's biblical view of marriage. So, even in forming the committee, it seems that synod doesn't view those two things as incompatible. See: https://thebanner.org/news/2016/06/synod-2016-appoints-a-committee-to-st...

I hope these CRCNA references are helpful.

Why isn't Saudi Arabia and Iran taking muslim refugees from Syria? Why aren't we bringing Christian refugees, who are the most vulnerable?

 

Once upon a time, the federal government required sponsors for immigrants, who would be responsible for the financial needs of the immigrants.  Good system for multiple reasons.

Today, the federal and state government predominantly funds immigrants.  Thus, we need, or want, more federal budget dollars.

I would suggest going backward, in both policy and budgeting.

I fully support, contrary to my denominational bureaucracy,  apparently, shifting some authority and responsibility for environmental concerns from the federal government to the states.  The proposed budget represents that perspective.  It is a misinterpretation -- or perhaps just political partisanship -- to suggest the proposed budget represents lack of concern for what the CRCNA likes to call Creation Care.

I'm so thankful that President Trump had the common sense to pull out the biggest hoax since evolution - Man made climate change and the Paris agreement.

Thank you for that encouragement, Karen! I'll pass that along to the others who worked on the resource as well. Appreciate it. 

This is a wonderful resource, Danielle. Thank you for including such great ideas for talking with children about how they can welcome and love the refugees in their community. 

Hi Harry, 

CRC synod spoke on the issue of climate change recently. In 2010, the synod of the CRC instructed that a task force be formed to study and present a Reformed perspective of creation stewardship, including the issue of climate change. In 2012, the Creation Stewardship Task Force presented its findings in the Creation Stewardship Task Force Report (read the summary here). Synod 2012 responded by affirming its findings and adopting its recommendations, thereby becoming one of the first evangelical denominations in the United States to affirm the scientific consensus on climate change, calling it a "moral, religious, and social justice issue," and calling its denominational bodies, congregations, and individual members to private and public action. 

You can read the statement by Synod 2012 here, along with its recommendations to churches.

The church as organization has no business getting involved or supporting or not supporting this type of action. Members can make up their own minds whether or not to participate. 

I see nothing in the mandate of the CRCNA to get involved in this either way. Surely those who work in the CRCNA office have other things to do.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing. Love hearing the personal reasons behind why you're marching. Also, Rick, the "Polar Bears Matter" line is awesome!

Be careful who you march with. The website for this event shows disrespect for the president of the United States and suggests that he is out to harm the people of America. As Christians who are taught to respect our leaders, the president of the United States should not be addressed as “Trump”.

The average temperature of the earth’s surface has always been slowly changing. The reasons for this are immensely complex, and I believe still not well understood. One example of sources of confusion is in applying the term “greenhouse effect” to one of the causes of global warming. Greenhouses become warmer inside primarily by preventing convection; our atmosphere can become warmer when, primarily infrared light is impeded as it radiates into space. Do man’s activities such as creating carbon dioxide, water vapour, heat, and dust, to name a few, affect the average temperature of the earth? Probably, but to what extent?

If you want to march for Jobs, Justice, and Climate, then would you also please march to protest the persecution and murder of the Assyrians, Copts, and other of our brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Middle East? Are you also marching to protect the unborn? Whichever march you go on please carpool or take a bus to minimize your contribution to man-made emissions.

Peter Davis

"Whatever conclusions we come to with respect to particular policy approaches (and we should be humble here), we should be agreed that health care for the poor is not merely a matter of charity. It is a matter of justice. Our representatives should know that this is where the Christian tradition stands." A direct quote from Tuininga's article.

Governments all over the world have taken over the responsibility for the healthy, the ill and the poor. In the case of conflicts, procreation and euthanasia with startling and unexpected consequences. 

How we deal with these issues at an educational institution or a think tank is one thing. 

Here is where VandeGriend's last comment makes sense to me.  The CRCNA has just joined two of its "ministry" organizations together that might have been better privatized. Then they could much easier speak on behalf of their supporters and make a positive position known to governments. In Canada we have an organization called Cardus (and there are probably others) that do a very good job speaking to governments with considerable expertise supported by research.

 

I agree. I thought Tuininga's article was quite good indeed, including its restraint.  That is, he clearly states there will be differences among those who hold to his basic premise about how to accomplish it, and that the institutional church is not competent in making those decisions.

I don't there is much difference in opinion, inside or even outside the church, that one obligation of the institution of government is to provide a "safety net" for all, which includes food, water, shelter, basic education, freedom from force applied by others, and basic medical care (and perhaps more).  What is less agreed upon is: (1) how government might most effectively and efficiently do this, (2) how government might do this without itself causing injury (help without hurting), (3) how government might do this without injustice to others (who government will ultimately force to do it, via taxes or other mandates).

As to these other "devil is in the details" questions, the institutional church (the CRCNA in particular) ought not pretend expertise or moral authority in behalf of its members.

That would be wonderful to get some of these resources posted. Most of the resources that Safe Church offers have been gathered and/or created by way of congregations facing these issues. Safe Church is happy to be a part of gathering and sharing information that can help all of us in our various ministries.

This sounds great! I'd love to hear more about what you learned so that we can share it with other churches. Maybe some of this could end up as a resource on the Safe Church Ministry site so that other ministries and churches can share it? 

HI Shannon, 

Thank you for your post! I appreciate all of your points. 

 

Paul 

If this persuades congress to enact more stringent clean energy standards it would also mean higher energy costs. from a social justice perspective wouldn't this be a hardship and added burden to the working poor and those on fixed incomes?  I think we should encourage stewardship of Gods creation but not mandate it through the government, as with all the commands in the Bible it should come from the heart not a law.

I'm so excited to see how God will continue to use both of these ministries for His Kingdom.  My prayers are with you, Reggie, as you take on this new role.  I pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment as you juggle the mandates of both offices and as you work to integrate them when appropriate.  My prayers are also with all of your staff.  Change - even good change - is always tricky during the time of transition.

What I hope, and pray, is that under new leadership, political lobbying and other political spoutings off about what government is doing, as opposed to what we are doing, becomes a much, much lower priority for OSJ.  After all, it is not the case that CRC members are in lockstep as to their theories of the role of government, economics and international relationships, and it is the case that the CRC has Article 28 in its Church Order.

How this institutional church (CRC) and its members might respond to those suffering from injustice, hungry, and in need of mercy is beyond a big enough task for us to take on.  We don't need to also take on political lobbying, as if there is nothing else that we can uniquely do (because there is lots of that) or as if we haven't covenanted together to be an ecclesiastical, and not a political, institution (because we have, see CO Art. 28).

Larry I think you have given a good and agreeable reply in terms of the meaning of these words.  But without your explanation, these words are often misunderstood.  

The problem is that in many ways, capitalism is rather ruthless.  If you don't pay your loans, your property may be sold.  If you lose money at what you do, you may sell your business at a loss.  Larger entities usually buy up and absorb smaller ones, because they have the equity to do so.  A successful new business may end up putting other older businesses out of business.  

Yet, that does not mean that capitalists are necessarily ruthless at heart.  I understand there is a group of billionaires challenged to donate half or more of their income... is Warren Buffet or Bill Gates included in this?  

Materialism as a philosophical concept is certainly anti-Christian.  But most people do not understand it as a philosophical ideal, but simply as a part of reality, of common sense.  God created material, and he created us to live in the material world.  Material and goods are not evil, and even wealth has purpose.  It is very difficult for poor people to emply others or provide others with income.  

 

Anyway, thanks for your clarification.  

Larry: Just as to your #1, abstract concepts ("ruthless capitalism") don't violate commandments, even if people do.  "Capitalism" literally and merely refers to the idea that if one does not consume all that one earns but saves some to invest, that "capital" will generally increase future return, proportionate to the amount invested and not consumed.  (Many poor people have used that methodology to become not poor -- I did, having literally nothing when entering my adult life).

OK sure, there are all kinds of other imprecise definitions of "capitalism," but those definitions are just political rants or epithets being thrown about.   A "free market economy," a phrased that many would syntactically equate with "capitalism," ruthless or otherwise, and one I would prefer to use instead of word "capitalism," means that the government declines to use the power of the sword to force its citizens to "not be selfish."  I think I ought not be selfish, that being selfish violates God's law, but yet I don't think government should restrain me (or others) if I (or others) choose to be selfish, by pointing a gun (or sword) at my head, even if government should restrain me from entering the home of another and taking his money.

This is the difficulty of preaching about broadly labeled political ideas.  It can be done, but ...
 

Dear Ed,

I'll try to answer your questions in the order they appear in your post.

1.  Ruthless capitalism is capitalism that violates the 8th commandment as defined by Lord's day 42 of the H.C.

2.  Materialism is the kind of materialism that precludes people from heaven because their first love is money rather than Jesus.

3. Irresponsible socialism is a socialism that ignores loving your neighbor as yourself, "working faithfully so that I may share with those in need." Q&A 111 0f H.C.  It also violates the sixth commandment as described by the H.C Lord's Day 40.

4.  I think that the pulpit should never bully except through the power of the preached word.  It may make me uncomfortable but then I need to ask is it my defiance of the Word or my obedience to God's word at bottom of this.

5.  Amen to Christlikeness.

Larry

 

Thanks, Larry

Yes, you are overlooking the ones I am referring to. They are the endorsement through the Office of Social Justice and the drumbeat in the Banner of a one sided approach to Global Warming, Fossil Fuels, Open borders, Sanctuary Cities, etc. Recently, Rex Tillotsen, our new Secretary of State made the observation that the best way to lift a country out of poverty is a reliable flow of electricity and the best way to get that is through the use of fossil fuels. But you will not find that perspective in the Banner or in the Office of Social Justice.

When you feel the need to preach against "ruthless capitalism" just how is that defined? Have you, like many of us and our children, watched a business in which you invested your life and your life savings go into bankruptcy because you were not ruthless enough? Just drive through the thousands of shuttered stores in strip malls across the country and try to imagine the heartbreak behind those covered windows. Or is ruthless capitalism just another name for success? Was King David a ruthless capitalist? How about Abraham?

And what is this "materialism" of which you speak? Materialism employs people to make the material. Money always goes somewhere. What may look to you as squandering, may be an intentional and loving way to provide employment to others. Perhaps you remember the 1986 Tax Act. In it, a tax of 10% was levied on all luxury yachts. In this misguided assault on materialism, Chris Craft in Holland, Michigan went out of business and threw a lot of highly skilled Christian workers out of work. 

And "irresponsible socialism" needs a whole lot of explanation. To me the Office of Social Justice is irresponsible socialism.

I resent the use of the pulpit as a bullying position because members of the congregation may have a completely different motivation or set of facts than the pastor may suspect, but they have no opportunity to respond. I resent the use of my ministry shares to advocate for or against social policies closely aligned with one political party. To be sure, there will always be differences between a "tough love" vs "gushing love" approach to helping. But from the pulpit, I want to hear the part about "love" rather than one kind or another. Then I can find those who are committed to working to help as I am convinced Christ would have me work.

In short, I want a church that equips me to be Christlike, not a church that assumes it has the answers, especially when those answers are divisive, or in my mind often wrong.

Thanks for asking.

 

 

Number wise the crcna would certainly be better off if she had not debated women in office for 25 years.  The result was a kind of compromise that said both ways of interpretation of God's word were appropriate. However the compromise did not work.  We ended up with the URC with nearly 20,000 give or take leaving the CRC.  It would have been hard not to talk about it since each year we elect new elders and deacons.

If I hear you correctly you imply that there were other divisive positions the CRCNA has taken.  May I ask what they were: capital punishment, abortion, marriage and divorce, peace and war,maybe I'm overlooking theone(s) you are thinking about.  Help me out here, Ed.

Thanks

 

 

 

Please be a bit careful when you list those things you feel you must preach about, Larry. You see, 81.5% of evangelical Christians who voted, voted for a president who advocates controlling the border, enthusiastic capitalism, a degree of materialism and individual responsibility. And he was supported by a great number of evangelical pastors. Apparently you have a better insight into what scripture teaches, or you are a lot smarter than them, or you have a different bible.

Sure, you can preach on some of these topics, but I can just as easily walk out of your church never to return. Sure, you can ostracize another third of the denomination, but then do not cry when the denominational offices are starving and on the road to extinction. You have reduced your potential market to a very small percent of the population that needs the love of our Lord. You only have a message that resonates with guilt ridden liberals. You have made salvation contingent upon political views. That is the problem when you bully the institutional church, either a local congregation or the denomination, into taking a stand on social issues.

If, instead you focus your preaching on salvation through the blood of our Lord, individual Christians are allowed the freedom to respond to social issues as an expression of their love for our Lord rather than as a duty to the institutional church. I am convinced that this individual expression offers a far richer blessing.

Respectfully Larry, I think you are failing to distinguish between biblical admonitions to people and biblical admonitions to governments.  I am obliged to be a good neighbor even to those who have committed crimes like theft or drug dealing or even rape or murder.  Notwithstanding my obligation to those, government's obligation to those same persons is different.  Government  is obliged to curb those evils, which may often mean prosecuting and incarcerating those people.  

Your and my roles are often quite different than government's role.  We may be required to turn the other cheek, but government couldn't do what God would have government do if its policy is turn-the-other-cheek based.

I'm not saying I know that the current administration's policy on this immigration time-out is good policy, but I am saying its duties, responsibilities and obligations are not correctly understood by applying the lesson of the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Again, this doesn't mean the administration's policy is good policy, but, as I have suggested, neither you nor I nor the institutional church (nor even the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals frankly), are privy to the information required to in order to determine the wisdom of the administration on this policy.  Congress gave this power, and the right to have the information, to the executive branch.  Some in Congress have the right to the information, and to oversight, but you don't, I don't, and the institutional church doesn't.

Beyond that, there are plenty of neighbors that we can be good Samaritans too.  There is no lack there I don't think.

I want to thank everyone who has expressed themselves on this topic, especially Matthew for starting it.

Larry

Jesus parable applied to a man who was left behind by robbers.  His parable could also have included a robber waiting in ambush to attack anyone who might choose to help.  His parable could have included or been about a robber pretending to be hurt and robbed so that he could attack unwary helpers.  But his parable wasn't about that.  It is important not to conflate or blur the distinctions.  

It seems you are arguing and preaching to the converted, those who want to help refugees who truly need it.  But you are ignoring all the other real issues and thus your preaching will simply allienate those who are concerned about protection of the innocent.

All that I meant by referring to the parable of the good Samaritan is that Just as the priest and Levite must have had "good" reasons not to give practical help to the one robbed so it seems we are finding " good reasons" why a temporary ban on certain refugees is acceptable.  But Jesus did not see it that way.  He asked which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?  The expert in the law said "the one who had mercy on him"  Jesus told him "Go and do likewise"

Perhaps I'm wrong.  You might be a good samaritan every day of your life but why can you not be a good samaritan toward Syrian refugees right now.  Is there ever a time someone in trouble is not our neighbor?

I'm not following Larry.  How is it that someone has said or otherwise suggested "we cannot be good samaritans in our world"?  I see that being done all the time by Christians.  I practice it quite regularly.  I advocate it.

I think the priest and the levite in the parable of the good Samaritan would have been comfortably at home in your world of logic. Too bad that we cannot be good samaritans in our world.

You are taking some logic leaps there Larry but I assume you know that.  In case you don't, I can't imagine how exactly you can make the case that any kind of ban on Syrian refugees by a sovereign nation for a finite period of time for whatever reason is unbiblical.  Too much nuanced knowledge is required, and there are too many variables that potentially come into play, in my view at least, to be able to responsibly declare the scripture will always be violated when such a ban is implemented by a particular sovereign nation.

And I can't follow you when you say you must preach about all the things you list, BUT on the other hand, I think you certainly can preach on topics than involve greedy capitalism, irresponsible socialism, materialism, etc.  It might take some degree of in-depth knowledge about the subject matters to have the sermon come off as "credible" and not a cheap political pitch, but sure, these subjects are, or their component parts at least are, the object of scriptural admonitions.

Doug,

You have greatly relieved my mind.  I thought you and the others did not want me or others to preach or teach that a ban on Syrian Refugees was unbiblical.  Now I understand you as saying the institutional church may preach against all things that are contrary to scripture such as banning refugees, immigrants, racism, sexism, ruthless capitalism, irresponsible socialism, materialism etc.  So we agree ministers in the CRCNA must preach the Word of God on all these matters and let the chips fall where they may. 

Larry

 

But Larry, the CRCNA already opposes "slavery, apartheid, racism and sexism."  No one opposes that institutional "speaking out" because such speaking out is ecclesiastical (CO Art. 28), just as is speaking about about homosexuality or the human obligation to be a steward of creation.

But it would seem you want the CRCNA to be a political lobbyist as well, as if there is no distinction between pronouncing, as an ecclesiastical matter, that racism is sinful and lobbying congress to pass certain legislation that, say, deals with nuances of voter registration requirements.  There is a difference and even the IRS knows the difference.

To plumb the specifics of your posture on this, would you also want the CRCNA to train paramilitary forces just in case a Hitler-like despot takes over, so that the CRCNA can not only oppose this "Hitler" in words but also with deed?  If not, why not?  

Or to ask another way, just what are your jurisdictional limits, if any, for the CRCNA?  What should Church Order Article 28 allow the CRC assemblies to take up beyond "ecclesiastical matters" (the present church order imposed jurisdictional boundary)?

 

It sounds to me like Doug, John, and others would approve, like the church in Germany once did when they refused to speak up against Hitler, of such ethical issues as slavery, apartheid, racism, sexism.  I do not buy it. Do you really mean the institutional church has no obligation to officially speak out against such evils?

Your easy distinction between individual Christians and the church as institute is tidy but it denies the church of being salt and light in the real world of evil.  If fellow Christians cannot accept speaking out against such evils I suggest they should take it up with God.

Just how much should the Church [in this case the CRC] get involved with anything or everything?

     It appears that a number of comments, including an allusion in my previous post, touch on the fact that a church, in this case the CRC, needs to prioritize its engagements. I wonder at times, if this is one of its greatest challenges, especially when it holds to the idea of "every square inch" is Christ's. It appears that idea, is then taken to mean, that the CRC should get involved in "every square inch" of engagement on this planet. 

    A while ago Palmer Robertson penned an article entitled "Toward a Reformational View of Total Christian Involvement" in two parts, and  suggested the following:

 Sadly the church today has assumed that all the labors of the Messianic kingdom must be funneled through its assemblies. Sadly the church has taken upon itself a role too great for its resources. Sadly the assembled form of Christ's people has lost faith in the working of Christ outside its own assembly halls. The result of this tragic assumption by the church of all that which rightly belongs to the Messianic kingdom is two-fold: first, the most essential task of the church, which is to concern itself with that particular revelation embodied in Christ and incorporated in Scripture has been neglected; and, secondly, by wrestling from the kingdom members their initiative in every realm of human existence, the church has robbed kingdom members of their proper and effective role among the world today......

Receiving its impetus and direction from the church, working individually and in groups as servants of the Lord Christ, the kingdom of Christ assaults every structure and seeks to bring every thought of man into sub-mission to Christ. Christian political organizations direct their efforts toward bringing the secular state into conformity with God's intention for the state. Christian social group strain their efforts to seek social justice among men. Christian educational organizations demand that every philosophy be brought into submission to the lordship of Christ......

So long as the church assumes to itself all the prerogatives which belong to these various ways of God's working in the world, its central task and calling, its unique mission to the world shall be dissipated.

....more later...enough said, other than he sketches out three positions in part 2 of his paper, and here he echoes what has been expressed in some of the posts above:

.....the liberal expands the church so that it engulfs the kingdom. As a result, the church is forced into involvements too deep for its competence. The church usurps those areas of concern which belong rightly to Christians in their vocations, and at the same time neglects its distinctive responsibility of expounding Scriptural truth to its people. The result is that kingdom members lack the theological depth necessary for accurate and significant action, while the church issues ineffective decrees on subjects beyond its competence.

Hope that helps.

John

 

 

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