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"let‟s recall the genre distinction made above between the historic Confessions that are doctrinal standards and recent declarations about social-political issues. BC clearly fits the latter, not the former, whatever it was named."

For me this is the heart of the issue, is the Belhar truely a Confessional statement on par with the Three Forms of unity or is it a social-politial statement that sounds really good? I don't think it rates on the level of the Three Forms of Unity and am a bit distressed that we as a denomination would so quickly and willingly make it equal to them. I agree with Coop that it should be received as a statement that we indorse but not on the level of our Confessions and Creeds. Coop also makes a good point that one reason we may be so willing to allow them equal status with our other Confessions and Creeds is because an appretiation of those Confessions and Creeds have fallen on hard times in our denomination.

Hey Steve;

My concern with adopting the BC  is: Will it force us somewhere down the road into a situation where we wil either have to accept same sex marriages or be deemed as practicing injustice and prejudice against homosexuals according to the BC? I say this because as John Cooper pointed out the BC language has been used to do just that in other denominations. We live in a world where "Tolerance" is the cultural religion of the day and can easily be used against us as it has in the church affiliated schools in Canada. It is something to seriously think about. The wording of the BC is so open to interpretation that I have some serious concerns how it could be used, or more to the point, how it already has been used. It isn't a theological treaties by any stretch of the imagination. It is clearly a religious-social-political statement. I'm not sure I'd even want to see it used even as a testimonial.

So, any thoughts on how to go about this? Spiritual discernment as part of the work of Classis? I say this as a former Charismatic Minister, now a Ministry Associate in the CRC. Elaborate-please!

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?

Rob Braun on August 9, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

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. 

Egypt is a powder keg ready to explode and the Christian community there stands to lose the most when it happens. The economy is run by the military. Expecting the military to give up control either economically or politically is not likely to happen anytime soon or in a peaceable way. Why should it? They have control of all the levers that run everything in this society. The recent dissolution of the democratically elected parliament, by a supposed judicial decision, shows how empty and powerless the new President and his government really is and how all powerful the military is. This is where our prayers should be, like Syria, things can go very wrong, very fast when the Egyptian people realize how their being played by the military. They are figuring it out. Our prayers need to be for the Christians in this society that they don’t end up on the wrong side of events when everything hits the fan. This will take a miracle. The Christian community in Iraq was virtually destroyed by the war there. The Christian community in Syria is, for the most part, in support of the Alawite Syrians who have ruled the country for the past forty some years. If the Syrian rebels take control, the Syrian Christians there stand to lose big. Pray that divine wisdom will be given to the Christians of Egypt so they can successfully walk the very dangerous political tight rope they have found themselves on.

How do we teach the simple meaning of Scripture? The Apostle's Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer by using the Heidelberg Catechism to make it plain. I guess I don't understand what hold's people back from explaining the Scriptures by using the Confessions. The whole idea of creating them in the first place was to make the Scriptures make sense to the common church member. I suspect that for those who find them out of step or out of reach for the average church member's theological grasp are those who, themselves, haven't been trained in them. I'm a bit concern by remarks like, "The Confession's language doesn't speak to me". Again, why is that? Where has our confessionally based church failed to make what is supposed to define us make sense and be relevant to the average person in the pew as well as the person in the street?

Rob Braun on June 29, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks JIm.

Yeah, I miss those Classis days too. And I appreciate the effort you put in on this and don't be surprised if I show up at yours and Roses' door some day.

Still, it deeply concerns me that there is this trend in our denomination away from a commiment to the confessions. Just check out the responses I get from my Banner articles. Sometimes I wonder if people know what church they belong to? Honestly, we are a confessionally based church movement-at least I thought we were? Yet, it's hard to believe it at times? And, it does make me wonder what is at the root of this trend? Maybe there needs to be a class in the seminary that teaches how to make the confessions relevant to the average church goer and the times we're in?

As you know, preaching from the confessions is what I'm known for and I often wonder why others have difficulty doing it too. People often comment to me how much they love the unique way I handle the confessions and the obvious love I have for them. And you did read my complaint correctly, I do blame the pulpit in our churches for the general theological "dumbing down" that is going on. For me, this trend of abandoning the confessions in our preaching is abandoning the heart and soul of who we are as a church movement, Again, the confessions are what define us. If some don't want them to "limit them", I would suggest some other church movements that think creeds and confessions are just works of the flesh. I use to belong to one. It winds up being a theological "every man for himself" situation on what comes out of the pulpit-an absolute theological chaos. Is that where we're heading to? Is this what we want? Do we want a church movement that allows every "wind of doctrine" to blow through our churches? I hope not.

Rob Braun on June 30, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


I know your love for the confessions. I know it personally because I have witnessed your examination of Licensed Exhorters and Ministers of the Word when you were in my Classis as well in sermons in which I've heard you give. This I have absolutely no doubt about. My concern is by taking the route of a "Covenant" we are basically conceding that the Confessions are some how inadequate, or are too theologically obtuse to hold anyone's conscience obligated to them. Again, why did we feel we needed to go this route instead of putting into affect a program to promote the relevance of the confessions in our world today and help our people understand their simple theological beauty? As I pointed out before, the "Covenant" puts us on the wrong path going in the wrong direction. My fear is, if we keep going in this direction, we as a movement or denomination will become theologically irrelevant. We'll be mirroring the philosophy of the darkened world around us rather than shining the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, this after all is the reason for the confessions-they are written to aid in making clear the simple meaning of the Gospel.

Rob Braun on June 30, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


I was a Charismatic Pastor for nearly 15 years and worked very closely with that movement with the blessing of my Classis for about 5 of those years, Believe it or not, the group I'm working with is very, very interested in Calvinism. Why not? Calvin is renown as the "Theologian of the Holy Spirit." In fact, a string of these churches I inter-act with even have a Bible School that teaches out of Berkhof's Systematic Theology and Calvin's Institutes. Also, some years back I was invited into a church to teach a church history class and then a theology class. The HIstory book was RB Kuiper's and the theology was from Berkhof's "Church in History". I also taught the Heidelberg Catechsim in one church. Along with this, there is an ever growing interest in Reformed theology in the Southern Baptist movement as well. Just take a look at Christianity Today on line. It is article after article about this growing trend among our Baptist brethern. We are sitting on the edge of an explosion of interest in Reformed teaching in the Evangelical church community. So, my simple point is; Why are we acting like we're getting tired of being Reformed right when everybody else around us is just getting excited about it? We need to appreciate what we have, getting excited ourselves about it's simple beauty and being prepared to explain the hope that is in us. We have answers that many, many fellow Christians are very interested in. We can help them by helping ourselves.

Rob Braun on July 2, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


I guess I haven't made my biggest concern over the CO. It is that it allows Office Bearers to not agree with the confessional doctrines of the church and yet still be allowed to "Guard the Table and the Pulpit." This is where I'm concerned the most. I guess I have been beating around the bush here way too much. My concern is that we could easily allow someone into the Eldership of the church that is a three point, two point, none point Calvinist. (5 point is a full Calvinist-Tulip-for those who were wondering). As a case in point: We even had to make a synodical statement on "Infant Baptism" at this very same Synod because it too is starting to lose favor for many in the CRC. Again, the Officers of the Church are there to protect the biblical, theological and confessional integrity of the church and its pulpit. How can they do that if they don't agree with, or simple don't know or understand, what it is we believe? (And whose fault is that they don't understand the confessions of the church?) In my opinion, we'll end up with the "King/Prophet Pastor" who alone declares and knows what it is that the church will believe. I've already been through that and I don't want to see or wish this experience on anyone else, especially for us in the CRC.

Rob Braun on July 3, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Yes, Yes Yes, Steve, you are entirely right. The CO statement is ambiquious but the original intent of it was to give a loop hole for people who were never educated in the confessions, didn't understand them or simply don't agree with them. This here is my original concern: Why did we feel when churches sent us ovetures that their office bearers didn't understand or know the confessions that they were signing, why did we feel that "dumbing things down" for them was the answer rather than pursuing the opposite direction and come up with a way to get them educated?

By the way, I do a series of teachings on the Catechism that is basically what I feel the job of the confessions are for-"The Simplicity of the Gospel."

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