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Written on 11/11/2019

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Extra Blessings

I want to thank you very much for the articles in the September Banner about the body of believers helping parents who have higher education costs due to the abilities of their children (“Extra Costs Bring Extra Blessing,” Sept. 2019). As we promise parents at baptism, we will help to nurture the faith of their children. We as members of the church should be challenged to work to fulfill that promise and help to make Christian education available to all children at all levels of ability.

Laureen Leo // Sheboygan, Wisc.

Twice on Sunday

Perhaps we should find new grounds for worshiping twice on Sunday rather than abandon the practice (“Synod Proposes Dropping the Second Service Requirements,” July/Aug. 2019). What I have been suggesting (yes, we are the only CRC in miles to have an evening service), is the first service enables us to come together to receive the grace and mercy of God after a week in the world, while the evening or second service enables us to be empowered by God and propelled by God into the next week. Just a thought.

Paul Hansen // Artesia, Calif.

Gambling with Your Faith

In “Gambling with Your Faith” (Oct. 2019), John VanSloten describes a greater problem than many Christians realize, and it’s not just with commercial gambling. There are many ways in which people toy with God’s providence in the name of entertainment, and regardless of the motives or results, God’s will is trivialized. The Bible speaks of providence but not of “luck.”   VanSloten’s insights and experiences alert all Christians that faith in God is our best assurance for the future.

Michael DuMez // Oostburg, Wis.

Country Music and Alcohol

I read Micah Van Dyk’s article “Why Country Music is Obsessed with Alcohol” (Sept. 2019). I appreciated his conclusion that Christian music listeners should be careful not to overlook idolatry in the lyrics they hear. However, I believe his article made a few logical leaps. First, I feel it is a large generalization to conclude that country music as a genre has turned alcohol into an idol after referencing only two songs. Also, his claims about artists having alcohol addiction struggles, artists pretending to drink onstage, and country fans feeling pressured to drink heavily to have a good time all come without supporting examples. Surely Christians must be careful about the secular content they consume in any area of life. In my experience, country music is less focused on alcohol than Micah claims, which misrepresents country music to listeners who are unfamiliar with it.

Graham Vanderwoerd // Brantford, Ont.

Revisionism

Thank you for your article “Revisionism” in the Vantage Point section of the October (2019) issue. At the age of 35, I continue to realize that some of the most faithful and spiritual people I know identify as LGBTQ. I also realize these believers are some of the most hurt by the church. I appreciate the author specifically pointing to what the New Testament may or may not say about same-sex relationships. May we let the love of God and the grace that we receive from him lead us as we continue to examine how best to love and support all of God’s people.

Amy Wigger // Hudsonville, Mich.

The “Revisionism” article in the October 2019 issue is concerning. Simply put: we should not revise the morals of the Lord. When Jesus was asked about divorce (Matt. 19) he referred back to Genesis. The boundaries are clear: one man leaves his father and mother to unite to his wife (Gen. 2). Throughout the Bible, homosexuality and therefore same-sex relationships are sinful because they are a violation against God’s created order, and therefore God’s morality. I pray that all people will read the Bible and remember that “I the LORD do not change” (Mal. 3:6).

Anthony Cattoni // Lethbridge, Alta.

Thank you for printing Rick Kruis’s thoughtful Vantage Point piece on revisionism in the last issue. I believe it’s imperative for The Banner to be a space where a range of views on LGBT+ inclusion can be shared as we anticipate the study committee’s report in 2021. Please continue to publish stories and articles concerning sexual orientation and gender identity, especially (wherever possible) ones written by LGBT+ members or former members themselves. I pray we as a denomination can listen more to those whose lives, well-being, and relationships with God are most at stake.

Julia Smith // Grand Rapids, Mich.

As members of the Christian Reformed Church who believe that the Spirit and Word of God continue to shape us more into the likeness of Christ, we agree with the sentiment expressed in “Revisionism” by Rick Kruis that we should be open to reformation. …

However, we disagree with Kruis when he asserts that an openness to revision will produce a retraction of our current teaching that homosexual activity is sinful. We are convinced that when we search the Scriptures, we’ll find the change needed in the CRC is that, in love, we should address all forms of sin with more urgency, including same-sex activity and teaching that promotes it.

In Revelation 2 Jesus addresses the church in Thyatira. He rebukes the believers in that city because they tolerate teaching that leads people into sexual immorality. The Bible is clear that homosexual activity is sin. ... Just as Jesus loved the Thyatiran Christians through his rebuke, we hope our call to repentance is received in love.

The Council of Almond Valley CRC // Ripon, Calif.

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