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Christian Reformed delegates confront the Gereformeerde Kerk

Rev. C. Boomsma, chairman of the C.R.C. Interchurch Relations Committee, addressed the Gereformeerde Kerk in the Netherlands concerning growing differences between the denominations. Some of the same questions which have been disturbing the church in the Netherlands have also been troubling the C.R.C.—but not to the degree and intensity as found in the Netherlands. Rev. Boomsma admitted some of this as he addressed that church:

It is not that we have refused to acknowledge the changing world. I say this, because we are aware that there are those among you who see the Christian Reformed Church as hopelessly bound to tradition and isolated from the trends, concerns and vital issues of late 20th century society. A review of our church’s activity over the past years will show that we have addressed numerous issues of current significance: marriage and divorce, racism, ecumenicity, capital punishment, nuclear war, the nature and extent of biblical authority, homosexuality, world hunger and world poverty, women in ecclesiastical office and so on. We continue to wrestle with questions such as the role of women in office, and the proper interpretation of Scripture in the light of biblical criticism and the findings and hypotheses of science. In fact, our agenda of issues is not so different from that which has occupied you in the past twenty-five years. . . .

We know somewhat of these mentioned struggles in the C.R.C. and the disagreement which has arisen concerning these matters. The differing views have created considerable unrest in the C.R.C. But in the Gereformeerde Kerk of the Netherlands, these questions have received answers obviously un-Reformed and un-Scriptural. Rev. C. Boomsma addresses two of the most troubling problems: homosexuality and the role of the Bible.

This serious divergence between us has come to clear focus in the issue of homosexuality. Let me briefly summarize our criticisms of the way by which you come to your position in your report. First of all, we hold that you have too easily accepted a psychological appraisal of homosexuality that has been popularized by the gay rights movement. . . . 

Secondly, a careful reading of your exegesis leaves us with the distinct impression that you have approached the texts with preconceived conclusions. As a result your interpretations seem strained, speculative and implausible. We wonder, too, why you failed to deal with relevant Scripture teaching about sexuality, such as in Genesis one and two, which we hold has a strong bearing on the problem. 

Finally, we are troubled by the treatment you give to the relationship of love and law in chapter four. If the meaning of love is not shaped by the revelation of God’s will for man’s life as set forth in the law, what does determine the content of love? And, we ask, how was it possible to write the entire chapter with no consideration, not even a reference to the Sermon on the Mount?. . . . 

But in and of itself, the homosexuality issue is not creating the crisis in our relations as churches. It is rather how you have been and are dealing with this problem that arouses deep concern about the movement and shift among you. We fear it is a movement in which your distinctiveness as a Reformed Church is blurred, in which the place of the Bible seems to be increasingly ambivalent among you, in which we observe you too readily acquiescing to the current climate of our times.

The Rev. C. Boomsma continues by pointing out some of the statements made in the report of the G.K. which was entitled: God Met Ons. The reason for deep concern is obvious. The G.K. of the Netherlands has gone far down the road of apostasy. And the C.R.C. has still close ties with that denomination- though the C.R.C. does not use the term “sister church” anymore. As Boomsma points out, many of these same “problems” have arisen in the C.R.C. The influence of the G.K.N. on the C.R.C. is evident. It remains to be seen whether or not the C.R.C. will take a strong stand against the present position of the G.K.N. (The above quotes were from Calvinist Contact, October 29, 1982.)

The Union Question

The Calvinist Contact, October 22, 1982, records an incident where eight York University professors refused to belong to a faculty union and refused to pay union dues. The question is not settled there yet and has been appealed to the Ontario Supreme Court. Of interest is the argumentation of one of these professors, Walter Beringer. According to the report:

Walter Beringer, member of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Lutheran Church in Willowdale, has been in opposition to union membership since 1975. “The union’s preoccupation with money is not right,” he said. “We could do our job better if we were less concerned with feathering our own bed and more interested in instruction and the wellbeing of the University. 

“I felt strengthened by the necessity of speaking up for my conscience. My conscience is based on my belief, my upbringing, education, the memory of my parents-my whole being. It represents my whole set of values.” 

Professor of economics, William Jordan stated his reasons for opposing membership in the union. “I oppose compulsion and favor voluntary association and actions. I don’t accept the adversarial but the cooperative mode of relating. The union applies physical, mental or emotional violence against individuals. What right do we have to withhold student marks in a dispute with the University? 

“I find support for my position in the Bible. I cannot change the union by joining them anymore than I could change the Ku Klux Klan by joining them.”

Thus others also recognize the wrongness of union membership and themselves refuse to belong to such union. It is a sad state of affairs when one, for conscience’ sake, refuses to belong to the union, yet is compelled to do so—or lose his job. Religious liberty and freedom, it seems, does not apply under certain circumstances.

Israel and Millennialism

Christian News, November 15, 1982, contains an editorial which speaks of the position of the millennialist towards Israel and its prime minister. There is a moral and spiritual question involved: can believers welcome and approve the action of unbelievers? Can there be fellowship between these? Some seem to think so. The editorial states:

Sincere but sadly misguided Christians for Israel have invited Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who has been responsible for tremendous bloodshed and suffering, to speak at a mass rally at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas on November 16. 

Dr. W. Criswell, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention is a past president of the SBC. Dr. Criswell recently rightly protested against liberal professors in Southern Baptists’ seminaries and colleges who reject the inerrancy of the Bible and attack other doctrines of Christianity. 

However, Dr. Criswell, along with many of his Israel supporting friends is a millennialist. They contend that the Jews today are still God’s chosen people and that Israel has a divine right to take over all of Palestine and throw out the Palestinians who have been living there for centuries. Note what Pastor Paul Burgdorf says about this entire matter in this issue of CN. The views of these Israel-First millennialists could lead to great havoc throughout the world. 

How can any Christian side with such a terrorist as Begin? Yet Fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell, Dr. Criswell, Dr. Olson, formerly head of the National Association of Evangelicals, are among Begin’s chief supporters. They make all sorts of excuses to cover up for the murders for which Begin has been responsible. 

They should read the large sections in The Christian News Encyclopedia on the Jews, Israel, and Millennialism. Many of these millennialists are like Billy Graham who maintain that the sincere Jews today can get to heaven without Christ and that a Jew like Begin actually worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Begin’s god and the god of anyone else who doesn’t accept Christ as his Savior from sin is a pagan idol who doesn’t exist. These millennialists should let their friend Begin know that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and forget about meddling in politics. . . .

So do those, otherwise noted as “fundamental” and “conservative,” run into difficulty when it comes to their millennialism. Note especially how that some have even made Begin to be “God-fearing” apart from Christ and salvation through the cross.

Incidentally, this same issue of Christian Newscontains a full reprint of the article of Rev. Robert Harbach, “A Minister-Rabbi Conversation” which appeared a few issues back in the Standard Bearer.

Mormonism

Various reports have appeared in the press about a change recently announced in the “Mormon” organization. I quote one from Clarion, November 19, 1982. It indicates the attempt of that group to make their organization to be “Christian” and less objectionable in the eyes of the observer.

Concerned that their church is often viewed as un- Christian, Mormon leaders announced that a new sub-title is being added to the Book of Mormon proclaiming it to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” 

The change, which will appear in all future printings of the book, was announced here at the 152nd general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). 

While Mormons say that they “believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ,” it is not a standard Trinitarian affirmation. They hold that God and Jesus Christ are separate entities who have progressed to a divine state, and that individual human beings may also become gods and goddesses and creators of world. Unlike Christians, who believe there is one God, Mormons believe the masculine God has a feminine counterpart.

All this indicates the deceptive nature of the sects—seeking to come in the name of Christ while denying the fundamental doctrines of Scripture. This is not Christian.