Path toward Unity

Shiao Chong’s article “The Path toward Unity in Christ” (Jul/Aug 2017) was an excellent contribution to the call for unity and reconciliation in the body of Christ. With over 43,000 denominations in the world, we continue to live in flagrant disobedience to clear and persistent biblical commands and assume an impunity from resisting calls to unity or even sanctioning further division.

Calvin warned of “dismembering” Christ’s body. We in the Reformed community should heed advice like that given in this article.

Wes Granberg-Michaelson
General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
Grand Rapids, Mich.

  Accreditation Denied

The news item about Operation Christmas Child upset me (“Operation Christmas Child Denied Accreditation for CRC Offerings,” Jul/Aug 2017). I, along with other ladies of my church, have been knitting hats, mittens, and scarves for the shoeboxes [for Samaritan’s Purse] for years. An older lady had been knitting while visiting her husband at the hospital. A nurse from the Philippines asked her about it, and the lady said she was going to quit knitting after so many years. The nurse started to cry and said, “Don’t quit! I was a little girl in the Philippines who lined up at Christmas time to receive one of the shoeboxes. It was the only gift I ever received.”

Many children have no father and never receive a gift. We will keep knitting.

Joanne Beukema
Abbotsford, B.C.

In the Banner news report “Operation Christmas Child Denied Accreditation for CRC Offerings,” three delegates were quoted; one in favor of Operation Christmas Child and two opposed. In the very same Banner is an appeal from World Renew: “Free a Family from poverty for less than $1 per day.” Does that program rob the dignity of the family? What about other efforts, local and worldwide, to share resources with needy neighbors?

Is the objection “robs the dignity . . . of the fathers in being able to provide for their families” to be applied evenly? Were any other charitable social giving programs subjected to the same standards?

Susan A. Boer
Kent, Wash.

Let’s not deny children and their parents around the world the joy of receiving something because people in our rich country want to share Christ’s love with them (“Operation Christmas Child…”). As a denomination, we do vacation Bible school programs throughout the U.S. and Canada. Samaritan's Purse Shoebox program is another way of reaching children and their families in other countries. It teaches our children to share with others in countries that don't have what we have. We do not “throw things” at these children. [These gifts] are given in love, with prayers that the children and their families will experience and find God’s love for them

Peter and Minnie Herfst
Kitchener, Ont.

  Resonate Global Mission

As a denomination we are slowly losing our identity (“A New Name for a New Agency,” Jul/Aug 2017). Our Christian Reformed World Missions and Christian Reformed Home Missions are now called Resonate Global Mission. What gives? Are we afraid of using the word Christian? It was bad enough that CRWRC was changed to World Renew. Christian World Renew would have sounded a lot better.

We are Christians and we are known for our love. We all should be very proud of this fact. Now with these name changes the word Christ is nowhere to be found. It sounds to me that Synod 2017 is ashamed of using the word “Christian.” Our forefathers fought very hard for our denomination since we separated in 1834.

Gerry J.  Segger
St. Albert, Alta.

Now Christian Reformed World Missions and Home Missions are merged into one. This is a good thing. But now we have a new name that excludes the name “Christian” (“A New Name for a New Agency”). Maybe de-emphasizing the “Christian Reformed” had benefits, but the loss of the name “Christian” is not without import. If some reject us because our organization carries the name of Christ, then perhaps the time has come to follow his command in Matthew 10:14 and shake off the dust from our feet, going on to those who will accept them.

It is my hope that the name change could be reviewed. Would a denomination-wide vote on this issue be useful?

Gerald H. Bandstra
Midland Park, N.J.

Editor's Note: Please see the letter from the New Mission Agency board printed on page 8 of the July/Aug issue for the rationales for the agency's new name, which include the inability to protect the name "Christian Reformed Global Missions" in Canadian patent court and security for some of our missionaries.

For my whole career I worked for the CRC’s World and Home Missions agencies. My experiences led me (and many others) to this “missiology”: Word and deed are always to be together. Sadly, in spite of great efforts, World Missions and World Relief were never able to merge and in practice illustrate how powerful such a joint ministry can be.

Now we have a different merger: Resonate Global Mission. While we may get used to “Resonate” as a name (“A New Name for a New Agency”) I fear this merger is one more sign of weakness in our denomination. While it unites the geography of foreign and domestic, it does not address the underlying absence of a coherent holistic and funded missiology of Word and deed.

Lou Wagenveld
Holland, Mich.

  Correction

In "Gathered to Inspire Ministry" (Sept. 2017), Mountainview CRC was incorrectly placed in St. Catharines, Ont. Mountainview CRC is in Grimsby, Ont. We regret the error.