Reunion talk - CRC/RCA

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Josiah

Puritan Board Senior
R. Scott Clark has a good post about this at the Heidelblog.

It’s probably true that there are no substantial, principled reasons to remain separate, but who has moved since 1857, the CRC or the RCA? To ask that question is to answer it. The RCA “Americanized” very quickly in the 19th century and the CRC resisted for about a century. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, the push to make the CRC a truly “American” (what some of the old Dutchmen in the CRC used to call “Methodist” or revivalist) church has been underway for several decades.
Gradually over the last 60 years, the CRC has gradually abandoned her confession (theology, piety, and practice). She isn’t even mouthing the words any more. The very thing feared by Foppe ten Hoor and Louis Berkhof and others, in the early part of the 20th century, has come to pass. The CRC has become a broadly evangelical denomination. On its present path the future of the CRC is clear: the RCA, the home of those paragons of Reformed theology, piety, and practice: Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Is that the witness for Christ for which Mr DeVos hopes and if not, how will he or anyone else prevent it when the CRC and the RCA merge?
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I strongly suspect that Clark is right. Very little, if anything, actually separates the RCA and CRC anymore.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Brethren, help me with the inside baseball.

CRC, according to Clark, resisted assimilation until the middle of the 20th. I have always thought of CRC as one step short of the mainlines due to my experiences with a couple of my more "progressive" profs in seminary who were Christian Reformed ministers (Smedes and Daane). In the midwest does it have a more conservative reputation?
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
There are yet faithful Christians in the CRC, but in my opinion, they are frogs in a kettle being slowly warmed to boiling.

Brother McFadden, it is not necessarily the midwest, it is also its rural congregations in Ontario that are holding, if only barely. And there are yet good CRC theologians, but they are fewer and further between than ever before. Where is the hope, but in godly reformation? The seminary is ordaining women, Calvin College holds for itself a female chaplain, and the cry of 'Soli Deo Gloria!' has been replaced with 'Social Justice!'
 

Craig

Puritan Board Senior
In my experience...there's little difference between the RCA and CRC in practice...for the most part. Academically, they are largely in agreement...though the RCA's New Brunswick Seminary is supposedly very, very liberal. I attended an RCA church for over a year, even teaching the youth and interning for a summer...it was basically an evangelical church that was a bit more traditional (hymns, no contemporary music). The pastor is Arminian (he told me so, though he was okay with me being a Calvinist) and they only had one female elder (I got the impression this church was an anomoly in the RCA...quasi-conservative).

I visited a couple of different CRC churches and those varied from traditional "feel" to a full on theater experience. However, a number of these, even the ones that were highly performance driven, had catechesis.

I tend to see the RCA as more liberal, through and through...the CRC is nearly lock-step, but with more congregations remaining Calvinistic.

Perhaps the most frightening, and disgusting, of experiences I've had involved going to a synod meeting in the RCA and visting Western Seminary in Holland, MI...I'm very glad I left the RCA and very glad I didn't take that pastor's advice of going to Western!
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Many CRCs up this way no longer have catechism classes, they have 'Fish', sort of like a public service team. Not to mention one evening service every two weeks, etc. If there's no desire to hear the Word, why even bother?
 

bisonrancher

Puritan Board Freshman
I could be wrong but I believe that on the whole the RCA leans further to the left and does not have the same support for Christian education that is found in the CRC.
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
Many CRCs up this way no longer have catechism classes, they have 'Fish', sort of like a public service team. Not to mention one evening service every two weeks, etc. If there's no desire to hear the Word, why even bother?
Fish? :eek: DH will endure a CRC service from time to time but the ride home is.....interesting. Note that Chicago area is a LOT more conservative than GR.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
The CRC that I saw with "Fish" also has female deacons, elders, and a slick one hour show that passes for a service. Another CRC (where my father attends) has none of the above and still teaches catechism. Thus yes, I agree, there is a wide variety of church practises all falling under the name "CRC".
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
The CRC that I saw with "Fish" also has female deacons, elders, and a slick one hour show that passes for a service. Another CRC (where my father attends) has none of the above and still teaches catechism.
:rolleyes: That first church sounds horrid. If by "fish" you mean that horrid management video from the Seattle Fish market then that is many levels of wrong. The newer RCA's here are trying to emulate Rob Bell and Mars Hill (and doing it badly).

Now what is the difference between Kingdom Seekers and GEMS? The URC's here have the former.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
GEMS is where my daughters used to go, they are very trendy, have a magazine that reads like a toned-down "Seventeen" (what's hot now, how to be 'green') and Bible study is present but lasts about 5 - 10 minutes. Now in Sheffield they attend Kingdom Seekers, and Bible study lasts about 1/2 an hour, and there is more focus on traditional activities, instead of 'saving the environment'.

-----Added 5/28/2009 at 08:19:00 EST-----

The newer RCA's here are trying to emulate Rob Bell and Mars Hill (and doing it badly).
Two of my cousins from the "Fish" church were going to a wedding in GR and the second biggest item on their agenda was attending Mars Hill and being part of the Rob-bellion.
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
Now what is the difference between Kingdom Seekers and GEMS? The URC's here have the former.
I was wondering about that. Until about a year ago, we had GEMS at our URC. Now they're called KS. I was wondering why they'd changed it.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The article speaks not really of anything about serving God through His Word as a calculation in a proposed merger.

The article makes it sound like two bland social organizations, with a couple different emphases.

I would not think the author has grasped the context of his story, but if the author is accurately characterizing the condition of the two organizations, it doesn't seem to matter much whether they do merge, or remain separate because neither is described for standing for much of anything.
 

Seb

Puritan Board Junior
This is another disappointing development in the CRC. I'd like to see Rich DeVos butt out and move on to something else.

About 8 months ago the Banner (CRC's monthly magazine) ran an article that strongly supported re-merging the two denominations, but if you can judge by the Letters to the Editor in the next couple of issues, the average CRC member and many Pastors don't support re-connecting the two.

My understanding is: the original split 150 years ago was over the RCA's more liberal positions on:

Exclusive Psalmity
Lodge Membership (Masonic, Moose, etc.)
and Christian Day Schools (supporting private Christian schools for children)

EP seems to have gone by the wayside, but from what I can tell, thankfully the school issue is still a big one.

This, like most of the other problems in the CRC, seems to be a push from the top down, many in our congregation blame Calvin Seminary and the Canadians (no offense to anyone) in our denomination.

We have an RCA congregation here in town and we have a few former RCA members in our congregation - they're not in favor of returning to the RCA in any manner.

Don't give up on all of us in the CRC. There are still some doctrinally sound and conservative congregations in the CRC that are fighting for her to return to where she was, but our heart is continually broken over the direction the CRC's leadership continues to wander.
 
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Heldveld

Puritan Board Freshman
The newer RCA's here are trying to emulate Rob Bell and Mars Hill (and doing it badly).
Interesting to note that DeVos' son, Dick, attends Mars Hill. I would agree that much of the church planting efforts of both denominations are heavily influenced by emergent/missional type thinking. So goes the future for both denominations.
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
The newer RCA's here are trying to emulate Rob Bell and Mars Hill (and doing it badly).
Interesting to note that DeVos' son, Dick, attends Mars Hill. I would agree that much of the church planting efforts of both denominations are heavily influenced by emergent/missional type thinking. So goes the future for both denominations.
The words "emergent" and "missional" scare me. :eek:
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
GEMS is where my daughters used to go, they are very trendy, have a magazine that reads like a toned-down "Seventeen" (what's hot now, how to be 'green') and Bible study is present but lasts about 5 - 10 minutes. Now in Sheffield they attend Kingdom Seekers, and Bible study lasts about 1/2 an hour, and there is more focus on traditional activities, instead of 'saving the environment'.

-----Added 5/28/2009 at 08:19:00 EST-----

The newer RCA's here are trying to emulate Rob Bell and Mars Hill (and doing it badly).
Two of my cousins from the "Fish" church were going to a wedding in GR and the second biggest item on their agenda was attending Mars Hill and being part of the Rob-bellion.
:eek::banghead::barfy: Rob-bellion? :rolleyes:
 
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