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This is good, evangelism one of our biggest roles as church leaders, and frankly, something we're not very good at.  Thanks for the nudge. 

There's obviously better places to find an answer than my answering in a comment section.

But I think at the very least as a short answer evangelism done for the purpose of obeying and honoring God. Gospel proclamation is commanded. In Reformed theology the end result is out of our hands, but the act of proclaiming the gospel is something that we should do regardless of the perceived outcome. I think the Reformed distinction between the visible and invisible church places this task at a more central role than in a dispensational atmosphere.  It is at the very least one of three marks of a church in the Belgic confession. (which I hope is fairly uncontaminated by dispensational theology) 


I think about this every year - the crowd got it wrong... be like the crowd. 

There's something here about the difficulty in discerning providence that preaches well though. The disconnect between really really wanting solutions and the fact that God's are not ours needs to be pointed out as often as I struggle with seeing God's hand in events. 


Henry, I have not been privileged to the committee's discussion, and was a bit surprised at this angle... I assumed/or at least wondered about the following line of argumentation:

1) Premise: Language meaning is determined by usage not etymology. (e.g. what words meant when used matters for interpreting past decisions.)

2) Premise: Previous synods (agree with them or not) would have used "unchastity" to describe homosexuality without having to explicitly define because that definition was baked into their own culture and usage of language.  

3) Conclusions: For "unchastity" to not include homosexuality in its scope would be a change from how previous synods defined the word. (obv previous synods wouldn't know that the word would be redefined in the future) Thus there was an agreed upon position, and a non-traditional understanding of the issue is... well, non-traditional and should be argued as such. 

I'm not expressing an opinion on the topic per se - but I'm wondering if this line of reasoning makes scene?




I think that's an (obvious) answer to the question - the report is positing that the definition of the word unchastity has changed  culturally without synodical reflection and was previously understood to include homosexuality, a statement which is only necessary to be explicit about due to a contemporary change in usage. 

Henry is obviously really smart - I really respect his opinion. I appreciate his push back to leaning too much on Ursinus - Personally, I give more weight to what synod understood. I'm just curious how Henry responds to what seems to me to be the really obvious answer to his question. (e.g. the word 's definition changed in last 20-50 years without synodical approval)  








Henry, - Honest question --> What way forward can you imagine as an outcome that achieves unity without avoiding a position? I suspect fear of a split is a prime motivator for both sides of issue. But both sides also want to be affirmed.  What in your view would be a unifying solution. 



That seems straightforward in terms of polity.  

We are however is a talking about a pragmatic issue (e.g. your accurate, well-stated assessment of the high cost of a split) and I'm not convinced that lettings councils decide would manage to avoid such a split.  I would argue pragmatically that your approach while it more straightforward from a synodical standpoint would actually create more relational conflict since the can of worms is given to local church to go off (mixed metaphors, but if there were a theological/cultural can of worms/bomb - this might be it). 

I do fully agree with you on what we need to avoid... I just am not convinced there's an easy way forward, or at least that it's as easy as what you suggest.  :-(  I hope I'm wrong. 


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

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

(seriously, sign up and pray)

Goshen CRC had a library up until last year. No one used it :-(, and we wanted to use the space for our exploding kids ministry, so we gave away all the books and made a new nursery. 

my 2c. I think books/information has gotten a lot more accessible. The real value churches provide is curation.  So instead of a library, we encourage folks to read and pass along books. Ths pastor will buy books and give away. But either way, for better or worse, our unused library is no more. 

Word of mouth is the best. Two step plan. 1) You read a good book, if you like it then 2) Tell someone else to read it. that simple.  Getting access to book is easier than ever. (I mean, even we the CRC have our faith alive resources readable online for free). Some folks use their local libraries and request books (which an added bonus is that good resources make their way into public libraries.) Some folks use Audible and listen to books constantly, others borrow from the initial reader.  Or for some resources I'd love to do more book club small groups. Over all people and culture seem to trump rooms of books. 

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