Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors: You “Open Letter to the Leaders in the CRC” deserves an open response from me in your pages, particularly since a significant portion of it is addressed to our denominational seminary. Your (implied) call to obey decisions of synod is well-taken and enthusiastically endorsed by the Calvin seminary faculty. Such obedience has been and continues to be our firm conviction and teaching concerning all matters (ordination, candidacy and calling, ministerial training, ministry share support, etc.). When we pick and choose which denominational policy decisions we will and will not support, our claim to being united in Christ is hollow and our promised loyalty empty. By signing the form of subscription, we have pledged loyalty to our three forms of unity and to process ecclesiastically any differences we may develop with our confessions. Similarly, concerning synodical decisions with which we as individuals (like you) may not always agree, we will follow the ecclesiastically prescribed channels to register our concerns and to propose changes. Meanwhile we will fully comply with those decisions. Many of us belong to congregations committed to this course of action and are strongly opposed to ecclesiastical disobedience. Some of us in churches that have digressed from synodical policy on the ordination of women have spoken or written courageously against these actions. If any of us would participate in divergence, we are ready and willing to accept the ecclesiastical consequences. This our integrity as Reformed church leaders requires, as it did of our forefathers who gave their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, and their whole bodies to be burned rather than compromise their faith. Your suggestions that the faculty might produce pastors “at war with the church” and that it withholds candidacy recommendations because applicants are opposed to the ordination of women are sinister and destructive of the church’s confidence in its seminary leaders. With conviction and enthusiasm we teach and expect students’ loyalty to the church as an expression of their loyalty to Christ. Each year we heartily recommend candidates who think that the Bible permits the ordination of women and candidates who think it does not. We find it difficult to recommend candidates that show signs of dividing the church over this or other non-confessional issues. May the Lord of the church give all members and especially office-bearers the required graces to live and serve to God’s glory. Sincerely, James A. De Jong, President Calvin Theological Seminary