Author: Clay Libolt

  • THE NEW CALVINISM: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 2

    For some time now, I’ve detected a new and sometimes dissonant voice in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), particularly at the annual synodical meetings, many of which I have attended lately as a reporter for The Banner. It is a voice that was prominent at Synod 2022. It speaks a theological language more Westminster than Heidelberg […]

  • THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE (1)

    Introduction: Trouble ahead.  It’s no secret that denominationalism, a form of church life invented by Americans for America, is in trouble and has been so for some time. Denominations are splitting (or have already split), several over the issue of same sex marriage. Others are rocked by sexual scandal, lately the Southern Baptists and including notably […]

  • WHAT HAVE WE LOST? THE CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH POST -SYNOD 2022 (Part 1)

    In the larger scheme of things, the dissolution of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), should it eventually happen, is ecclesiastical small potatoes: one more immigrant denomination absorbed into the morass of American evangelicalism. But it makes me sad if for no other reason that for many years, in the old prizefight metaphor, the CRC hit […]

  • READING SCRIPTURE THROUGH THE EYES OF PAUL

    Informed Imagination in Practice Reflections on Synod 2022 A note for readers for whom “Synod 2022” in the title above means nothing. The synod in question is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church that met most recently this past June. On its agenda was a report prepared by a committee appointed to […]

  • PASSION

    When I arrived in Grand Rapids in the middle 60’s, the locals called him “Littlefaith.” His name was Duncan Littlefair. Littlefair, the Reverend Duncan Littlefair, was for 35 years, from 1945 to 1979, pastor of Fountain Street Church in downtown Grand Rapids. Fountain Street was a large and flourishing congregation under Littlefair’s leadership, filled with […]

  • SYNOD 2022 ONCE AGAIN: Is there a hole in the center of the decision on confessional status?

    Dear readers, a short preface for the post that follows is in order. I am publishing this post (as also the one that preceded it) in an effort to understand and respond to an action taken by the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church declaring the position of the denomination on sex between members of […]

  • CLOSED DOORS AND OPEN WINDOWS

    Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, summer comes slowly, often not arriving until the end of June. Today, June 24, is the first real summer day of the year. We have the windows open. A gentle breeze blows across the waters of the sound. The waves sparkle in the late afternoon sun. On a […]

  • INFORMED IMAGINATION: A PARADIGM FOR BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

    How should we approach the Bible? It’s become increasingly clear that the approach taken by post-Reformation conservative Protestantism—the approach many of us were taught—is a dead end. I would count the Chicago Statements on Biblical Inerrancy (https://defendinginerrancy.com/chicago-statements/) as the beginning of the end for that approach, although it will be a long time with us. […]

  • THE GOD WHO PUSHES AND THE GOD WHO PULLS: What the Bible Says about Saving the Human Race, Part 1

    THE HUMAN PLIGHT Before one can be clear about a solution, one must be clear about the problem.  Or, to put this in theological terms, one’s view of salvation must be closely tied to one’s view of what’s gone wrong. For the past few posts, I’ve been looking at what the Bible has to say about […]

  • READING PAUL: THE TWO APPROACHES OF DUNN AND WRIGHT

    In the past two posts, I’ve been writing mostly about the (capital P) Problem with the human race: what’s gone wrong. The Bible has much to say about that, much that is ignored in popular theology, which tends to focus on a mistaken interpretation of the Genesis 3 narrative. The biblical idea of human evil […]