Category: Theses on Denominational Life

  • A CAPACIOUS FAITH: THE GRACIOUS THEOLOGY OF GEORGE MACDONALD

    THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 9 In reading the gospels, what strikes one first is the capaciousness—the roominess—of the faith of Jesus. Where others draw lines, he does not. With those that others exclude, he sits down to dinner. When he meets a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, she, according to her contemporaries, belonging […]

  • CONFESSIONALISM: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CONFESSIONAL CHURCH. THESES ON DENOMINATIONALISM 8

    Soooo, we—we Christian Reformed (CRC) types, that is—seem to be having a discussion about confessionalism: what it means to be a confessional church. As is often the case with conversations like this in churches of whatever kind, we are backing into it. The CRC Synod 2022 declared its interpretation of Question and Answer 108 (Q&A […]

  • HOLD THOSE GRAVAMINA: WHY FILING A GRAVAMEN MIGHT NOT BE THE RIGHT MOVE FOR THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH SYNOD 2022

    If Synod 2022 of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) has done anything at all, it has popularized an obscure Latin-based word, “gravamen.” The word is used in the law to mean the weighty part of a complaint, from gravis, “heavy.” But that’s not how it is used in the CRC church order. In the CRC universe, […]

  • WHAT THE SYNOD DID NOT TALK ABOUT: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 7

    Start with a question: Where in the deliberations of synod–Synod 2022 of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC)–was attention given to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)? I realize that synods, whether CRC or any other denomination, are focused on their own stuff and rarely bring up anything happening in other denominations, but this was a synod […]

  • WHAT TRUE ORTHODOXY LOOKS LIKE: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 6

    One of my correspondents recently put an interesting question to me: “Are there any truths that you would include in a summary of Christian (or perhaps, Biblical) Orthodoxy? If so, what would they be and how would you arrive at them?” There may well have been a barb in the question, something like, “Clay, do […]

  • WHITENESS: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 5

    Kuyper and the Square Inch In these posts, I’ve been reflecting on denominational life. My focus has been on my own denomination, the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), especially the CRC after Synod 2022, but I intend these reflections to be applicable more broadly to denominationalism in general. Which said may make you wonder where I […]

  • ABRAHAM KUYPER AND THAT PESKY SQUARE INCH: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 4

    A question I’ve been asking in these posts about denomination life is not only what happened at Synod 2022 and what is happening in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) at present but what a renewal of denominational life might look like, and not just for the CRC but for any denomination and theological tradition. In After […]

  • GATEKEEPING: THESES ON DENOMINATIONAL LIFE 3

    A lasting image of Synod 2022 of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) is of the synod as gatekeeper, swinging the gate shut on people in same sex marriages, locking it, and saying: No more of that. The same for those who would question whether a belated atonement theology known as “penal substitutionary atonement” is the […]

  • 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 […]