Our Question Box

Dr. Leonard Greenway, pastor of the River· side Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan is in charge of Our Question Box. This department is for everyone. Questions from all ages are welcome.

From a reader in British Columbia:

Question One: It is the custom in the CRC at present to have Synod approve the classical representatives on certain boards (e.g. Board of Trustees). Is that not a bit of a dangerous practice which could lead to hierarchism? That makes it look as if Synod has the highest authority in the church, while actually the Consistory has that position. It seems to me we are turning things around here. I realize that Classis is not a Consistory, and that also Synod‘s approval may just be of a formal nature, but yet I question the practice.

Answer: That there may be hierarchical tendencies in our synodical procedures is a subject that deserves separate attention, but as regards the matter presented in this question, my impression is that Synod’s approval is little more than a formality. I cannot at this moment recall an instance where Synod has refused to endorse the choice of a Classis.

Question Two: Somewhat along the same line, don’t you think that in recent years we (the churches, individuals, etc.) are much too ready to go to Synod with problems, and have Synod make a binding decision or rule for us? Should there not be far more study and tackling of problems on the local level, rather than having Synod decide on everything? That way we could also eliminate some of these hefty tomes of Agenda and Acts (which a lot of our elders look at with horror).

Answer: To this I reply with a hearty affirmative. “Home work” is becoming increasingly unpopular with school children, society leaders, and Consistory members.

Question Three: Don’t you think there is a real danger today among our people (fathers and mothers) in delegating their responsibility in training their children to other agencies: Sunday School, Catechism, Christian School, Calvinettes, Cadets, etc.? All these agencies are fine in themselves, but I fear that parents tend to become slack on their responsibility: the other agencies are doing it anyway. I still believe that the teaching of the Bible, etc. in the home is of fundamental importance, and some of these other agencies become liabilities instead of assets, if parents let up on their task in the home.

Answer: An entire article could be devoted to the issue raised here. We are making excessive use of the familiar promotional idea, so commonly heard in Christian School propaganda, that the Christian Day School is an extension of the Christian Home, and that Christian School teachers take over at the point where parents necessarily have to stand back. I fear that “extension” and “take over” in many areas covered by our Christian School system have become completely substitutionary. Parents simply foist on teachers the responsibilities which first should be borne and honored in the home. This partly accounts for the traditional P.T.A.’s loss of popularity. Collaboration between parents and teachers, with mutual respect for each other’s spheres, is disappearing.

This may not be the place to say it, but I cannot resist the urge to make the following comment: It is my impression that many students in our Christian School system are confused about the what and the why of Christian Day School training. I fear there are some bad “leaks” along our “dykes,” as regards our Christian Education Philosophy, and I believe that all three institutions involved in this cause—home, church, school—must share in the blame.