Prof. Decker is professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Seminary.

New Editor for the Banner

The Rev. John D. Suk, 36, has been nominated to be editor of the Banner. Suk, co-pastor of the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Christian Reformed Church, is the only candidate Christian Reformed Church Publications Board is nominating. The synod will be asked to approve his nomination in June.

In an interview with the board, Suk said he sees the Banner as a vehicle for keeping people informed and for changing their minds. “We want to move people along in their Christian life,” he said. At the same time, Suk added, the magazine needs to be exhilarating. “I’d like to give readers a feel that the Christian life is an adventure; it’s not just a duty.”

Before moving to Ann Arbor, Suk was pastor of Redeemer Christian Reformed Church, in Sarnia, Ontario, from 1985 to 1989. Suk was one of two nominees presented to the CRC Publications Board by a search committee. The other was Rev. Carl Zylstra, 44, pastor of Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa.

Currently Dr. John H. Krommenga and Rev. Harvey Smit are serving as interim co-editors of the Banner.


Dutton Pastor Banned From CRC Pulpits

In August 85% of the male membership of the Dutton (Michigan) Christian Reformed Church voted to support the consistory’s decision to secede from the denomination by legally disbanding the Dutton CRC and transferring the assets to a new ecclesiastical corporation, Dutton Independent Reformed Church. Following this action Classis Thornapple Valley, in which Dutton CRC resides, declared Rev. Paul Murphy to have the status of one deposed from office. Classis also recognized the minority as the continuing Dutton Christian Reformed Church. At its January 26 meeting the classis voted to close or disband the Dutton CRC. Only seven members of the minority. indicated to classis that they wished to continue as the Dutton CRC. In another decision the classis declared that the seceding pastor, Rev. Paul Murphy, should be banned from CRC pulpits because of his status as one deposed from office. Classis said that “the action of classis at its September 3 and 15, 1992 meetings, declaring the status of Pastor Murphy in the CRC as though deposed from office in the CRC according to Article 14b of the Church Order of the CRC, implies this negative response” to a question of the Dutton Independent Reformed Church about whether Murphy may preach or lead worship in the CRC.

Of the twenty-three pastors who have recently seceded from the CRC only three have been declared by their classes to have the status of one deposed from office. These are Rev. Murphy, Rev. Arthur Besteman (pastor of Beverly CRC Independent in Wyoming, Michigan), and Rev. John De Koekkoek (pastor of Agassiz Independent Reformed Church in British Columbia).

At least two churches, Escondido CRC and Ontario CRC in California, are sending overtures to the June synod urging an end to the deposition status for seceding ministers asking that “ministers resigning from the ministry of the Christian Reformed Church because of conscientious theological objections to developments in the Christian Reformed Church should be regarded as having been honorably released, not as having been deposed.”

It will be very interesting to see what the CRC synod does with this.

Reformed Believers Press Service

Church Membership Declining in Germany

In the February 15 issue of the Standard Bearer we reported on the sad state of affairs in the church in Geneva, Switzerland in an article under the title, “Ichabod.” Something similar is happening in Germany, which cradled Martin Luther and the Reformation. Germany has turned its back on the Bible. According to a recent survey done for the German Bible Society in Stuttgart and for the Protestant Churches in Germany, 84 percent of people in former East Germany and 78 percent in former ,West Germany seldom or never read the Bible. In all of Germany; two-thirds of the unchurched said there was no Bible in their homes.

At the same time the Protestant Churches in Germany are reporting that increasing numbers of people have given up their church membership over the last three years because they no longer want to-pay “church tax” payments administered by the government.

All this is not surprising when one considers that it was German theologians who gave birth to higher criticism of Holy Scripture and who thus became the fathers of 19th century liberalism. Martin Luther by Gods grace had once brought the church back to the Bible. For Luther the Bible was God’s inspired, infallible Word the only rule for the faith and life of God’s people. This was the formal principle of the Reformation, Sola Scriptura. For the higher critics Scripture is merely the writings of men. If that be so, why bother to read the Bible?


President Clinton and Abortion

On the second full day of his presidency Mr. Clinton made good on his campaign promise and rescinded all abortion-related executive orders which had been enacted in the Reagan and Bush administrations. The executive orders of Reagan and Bush which President Clinton rescinded are: “The Title X regulations – dubbed the “gag rule” by critics – which prohibited federally funded family-planning clinics from counseling about abortion.

* The Mexico City policy, which forbade U.S. support for international family-planning organizations that actively promote abortion.

* The prohibition of fetal tissue obtained from induced abortions being used in federally funded research.

* The ban on abortions being performed at U.S. military bases overseas.

In addition, the President ordered the Food and Drug Administration to review its ban on importing the French abortion pill RU 486 for personal use. Mr. Clinton said he enacted the directives out of his vision of an America “where abortion is safe and legal, but rare.” The anti-abortion leaders say the net effect will be just the opposite. Richard Land, executive director of the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission, says, “The new President has taken actions . . . that will result in the deaths of untold millions at the hands of the abortionists.”

Abortion-rights advocates are jubilant over the new policies. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, says; “With a stroke of his pen, President Clinton . . . changed the abortion debate forever.” She’s right. President Clinton’s actions will usher in a new era in the abortion debate.

Richard Land is right as well. Abortions will increase dramatically as a result of Mr. Clinton’s actions.

Such flagrant transgression of the sixth commandment of God’s Law of Liberty will only incur the wrath of God. No one transgresses even the least of God’s commandments with impunity.

Christianity Today