Harry der Nederlanden

At the final session of the 2004 Forum for World Evangelisation, the new international director of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelisation (LCWE) Dr. Ted Yamamoni stressed once again the importance of holistic mission that combines words and action. Evangelisation must, for example, also address the AIDS pandemic.

Almost 1600 participants from 130 countries met in Pattaya, Thai- land for a full week (Sept. 29 to Oct. 6) to address a host of issues related to taking the good news to every corner of the world. Al- though meeting in Thailand, the forum is named for Lausanne, Switzerland, where the global co- operation among evangelical churches under the leadership of Billy Graham was launched 30 years ago. The document that forms the “constitution” for this

October 25, 2004 _

re What the Crusades were 4 really like.... p.16







59th year of publication

TUS tae ae Me ee eee

Iraq and the roots of terrorism

Harry der Nederlanden

“Are the Americans and British facing a humiliating retreat from Iraq?” asks one of a growing num- ber of articles that seriously en- tertain the idea that conditions are becoming so intolerable in Irag that staying is counter-productive. Even some conservatives are call- ing for the US to cut its losses and pull out, because, as they see it, nothing the coalition can do is go- ing to make the situation any bet- ter. The harder the coalition strikes back at the insurgents and jihadists, the more violence it is forced to do and the more Iragis turn against the “occupiers,” sce- ing them as the problem instead of the solution.

The weekend before | sat down to write this saw two car bomb-

ings in Baghdad that resulted in over 20 deaths. It was reported like a normal weekend in Baghdad. Since the bombings began, there have been some 125 suicide attacks along with other bombings, assas- sinations and attacks. The unrelent- ing violence is bringing Iraqis to the end of their tether; even strong sup- porters of the American invasion are on the brink of despair. Along with the daily threat of the suicide bombings, there are the daily kidnappings for ransom and the skyrocketing crime rate. “At least under Saddam...,” they are begin- ning to say.

A couple of weeks ago Ameri- can casualties passed the 1,000 mark, Americans are beginning to ask: How many more young men and women must give their lives

to achieve ... what? What is genu- inely achievable in [raq? Even the Bush administration seems to be

backing away from its vision of

establishing a stable constitutional democracy in Iraq, one that rec- ognizes the rights of minorities, women and all faiths. If it is im- possible to establish such a gov- ernment for any amount of time beyond the US presence, why stay? If the US presence only in- cites more killing, why not with- draw as soon as possible? However, in the endless stream of bad news, there are glimmers of hope. At last Muqtada al Sadr, the clene with his own army, is urging his followers to put aside their weapons and instead become part of the political process. Some of his followers have been turning


LBRARY EDEEMER iE eS a a taal A 2 } GARNEF Ri aa ad +/ ANCASTER N LOK 104


in their guns. The chief cleric of the Shiites, Ali al Sistani, is urging his people to take part in the up- coming elections.

On the down side, an associa- tion of Muslim scholars claiming to represent some 3,000 Sunni mosques is telling its members to boycott elections. Because of the violence that continues to domi- nate the so-called “Sunni triangle,” it is doubtful Sunnis would ven- ture to the polls in great numbers anyway; it is far too risky. Suicide bombers have taken to targeting such line-ups.

The elections in Afghanistan, however, are another sign of hope. Even under threat of attack from the Taliban, Afghanis turned out in huge numbers to vote, refuting the claim put forward by some that

cooperative venture is the Lau- sanne Covenant, drawn up in 1974, which bound together evan- gelism and social action in a com- mon biblical framework.

The meeting was opened with a taste of Thai culture, Thai cui- sine, music from the Thai Classi- cal Orchestra, Thai dancing and choirs from Christian schools in Thailand. Dr. Paul Cedar, LCWE Executive Chair, told the gather- ing that “we have come together from the North, South, East and West” to participate in the Forum “under the leadership and lordship of Jesus Christ.” Dr. Cedar em- phasized that the Forum is not just a Lausanne conference but one in which every international network of Christian leaders was invited to participate.

Keynote speaker for the open- ing, Dr. Roger Parrott, 2004 Fo-

Continued on page 3....

Muslims don’t want democracy.

Iraqi determination

An e-mail letter from Ryan Stiles, an American who volun- teered to serve in lrag, conveys something of the resiliency and determination of the lragi people:

“They are truly remarkable,” he writes. “Every lraqi serving his country faces kidnapping and as- sassination. And the threats are not limited to themselves: their fami- lies are threatened as well.

“I was over at the Police Acad- emy (the one that took the car bomb yesterday). | talked to a tiny (4°11) female Iraqi police officer. She conveyed to me that when she leaves work everyday, she is of- ten followed. She takes elaborate

Continued on page 2...

GE 2


Trad. continued from page |

counter-surveillance measures to lose them. Another female police officer who was a friend of hers was killed on the way home the day before. And yet, even today, there are more volunteers to sign up to be members of the Iraqi Police than there are slots to put them in. The Iraqis refuse to give in to the terrorists, and daily risk their lives, and their families’ lives, to make Iraq work. They have shown me the true mean- ing of ‘service’.”

The letter also reveals something of the desperate conditions under which Iraqis have been forced to live. Most are not mo- tivated by the ideal of service, but join the police or the national guard because it’s the only work they can find. They risk assassi- nation daily in order to feed their families. The risk extends even to translators, sev- eral of whom have been murdered, and without them nothing can be done, for very few British or Americans speak Arabic.

Life is dangerous for coalition troops, but it is doubly so for any Iraqis and others who try to help in the reconstruc- tion of the country. It is not just American incompetence that has slowed down ev- erything from turning on the power to train- ing policemen. The insurgency and terror- ism have scared off workers and rendered rebuilding in some areas almost impossible.

Indeed, as the Americans are forced to resort to heavy weaponry to dislodge in- surgents, more damage is being done. Fallujah has been one of the main hotspots. The locals are getting so sick of it that they are turning on the foreign jihadists, accord- ing to interviews with locals published in the Washington Post. Recently fighting was reported between the two groups. One lo- cal leader called Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda leader, “deranged.”

Reporting Iraq

It has been difficult to judge the progress, or absence of it, in the recon- struction of Iraq because the reporting has become so politicized. But the tendency of journalism to focus on the sensational also means that while all the bombings and as- sassinations are covered, the mundane work of restoring Iraq’s infrastructure does not get covered. Those who believe the intervention in Iraq was a mistake in the first place and that the administration practiced deception to draw Saddam into the War on Terror keep reporting on Iraq from that perspective.

Over the last year, reporting about Iraq told us less about Iraq than about the inner workings of the American government, not only of the present administration but of the Clinton administration as well. The re- port of the 9/11 commission laid out the inner workings of the various agencies in the US involved in intelligence and how the various little kingdoms interact with the White House, diverting attention to debates about reforming the CIA. Richard Clarke's

Saddam's picture among the ruins

book on his struggles to make terrorism a priority in the White House, diverted “blame” away from the actual terrorists to laxity on the part of the Bush administra- tion. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal once again provided fodder for those eager to paint the Americans as the real terrorists. And in between there were all sorts of lesser scandals being unearthed concerning dis- tortions of information about Weapons of Mass Destruction, links between al Qaeda and Iraq, Saddam’s nuclear weapons pro- gram, the inadequate size of the army, the lack of pre-invasion planning for post-war security and reconstruction, and so on. It’s a wonder that the US administration was able to focus on the work of putting Iraq back on its feet. And it’s an even bigger wonder that so many Americans have con- tinued to back Bush’s resolve to see the Iraq reconstruction through to the end.

It seems impossible to put the wisdom or folly of the initial decision out of the pic- ture, to put it in the past as water over the dam and to focus instead on Iraq and the needs of the people there. Part of the rea- son is, I believe, because judgments about the beginning of the war and judgments about what needs to be done now in Iraq flow out of diverging views of history.

The Duelfer Report

Charges about the presence or absence of weapons of mass destruction and ties to Islamic terrorism were shrugged off by the Bush administration, which pointed in- stead to the evils of Saddam’s regime and his ambitions in the region. Although the recent Duelfer Report was covered by the media as confirming once again that there were no WMDs (something that hardly needed confirming), the thrust of the re- port was very different. It supplied evi- dence that sanctions were not working, that they were being undermined by UN corruption, and that Saddam was already making preparations for their complete

collapse. Although he didn’t have the hardware, he was spending billions derived from the oil-for-food pro- gram to get his weapons pro- gram out of mothballs and to revive his megalomaniacal dream of uniting the Arab world under his rule. The report suggests that had Bush and Blair not tackled Saddam when they did, we would almost certainly be facing an even more danger- ous foe in the near future. But in history such pro- jections are extremely iffy.

Addressing the roots

Another reason the Bush administration treated al- Qaeda connections lightly in- volves its broader view of the politics of terrorism. Many charge that US policy does not address the roots of terrorism, but its aim was precisely to do that. The root of terrorism, in its view, is the lack of freedom and opportunity open to the young people in Muslim dominated lands, and this is causing some forms of Islam to morph into a fundamentalism that breeds hatred and violence. The more such fundamentalist ideas spread, the more the Arab world shuts it- self off from the very ideas, institutions and structures that will bring employment and freedom. Democratic freedom, in this view, is essential to enable the Arab world to break out of its downward spiral.

By removing the most vicious, most hated tyrant from the heart of the Middle East and turning that nation into a show- case for democracy, a living proof that Islam and democracy can flourish together, Bush was addressing in a typically Ameri- can way the roots of terrorism.

Bush and his advisors, I believe, are right in seeing that they must address something much wider than cells of al-Qaeda terror- ists. Whether that can be done by “nation building,” that is, by giving the Iraqi people democratic institutions, remains to be seen. From the beginning, it was a huge act of faith, It assumes that human nature is more important than history and tradition, that in the heart of every people there is a natu- ral yearning for liberty and democracy, and that this can overcome the lack of any long period of gestation.

Usually, when critics talk about address- ing the roots of terrorism, of course, they have something very different in mind. They speak about the injustice of the huge gap in wealth between Muslim countries and the West. The assumption is that ter- rorism arises from resentment by the poor of the privilege, wealth and position of the powerful: the desire of the servant is to be like the master.

No doubt, there is a measure of truth to

this, but not for al Qaeda and for Wahhabi Islamists in general. Osama himself comes from a wealthy family, and many of the suicide bombers, too, come from relatively prosperous homes. They reject the mate- rialism and decadence of the West in no uncertain terms. But some of their stron- gest condemnations and threats are saved for their co-religionists, the Shiites, calling them heretics, “the most evil creatures un- der heaven.”

Both visions of how to address the problem of terrorism are deeply rooted in Western views of history one right wing and the other left. Ironically, here it is the conservatives who have embraced an op- timistic view of human nature. The left wing is more pessimistic about the ability to export democracy, largely because it is more relativist and multicultural. It no longer believes that there are norms and institu- tions that are good for everyone and neces- sary for human flourishing and happiness. Or at least that’s what the left often says. The assumption that resentment.and yio- lence decreases when there is greater eco- nomic equality suggests otherwise. At heart, we are all more or less married to liberal ideals.

I don’t have a supra- Western persyec-

tive to offer on Iraq. I do think k inhi ti to stop going over the war rationale

charging Bush and Blair with deception and dark motives. They are both ironically two of the most deyout Christian leaders we have seen in quite some time. That. does not warranty the wisdom of their decisions,

_ of course. The Americans have been guilty

of all sorts of failures, stupidities and even wickedness, and, as Niall Ferguson puts it, what is needed is “double helpings of humble pie all around.”

Another thing that is needed is to stop indulging our perverse need to blame America for the violence. The mass kill- ings, which are taking more Iraqi lives than American, are not the acts of freedom fighters or resistance heroes. If the “in- surgents” desisted and allowed the process of normalization and rebuilding to happen, the Americans would withdraw in a few months. Iraqis would assume policing du- ties and Iraqi leaders could hash out the future of their country on their own.

But the al-Qaeda mindset thrives on an- archy and violence. It stains the world with the blood of innocents wherever it goes: Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, France, Nigeria, Spain, the US. It is the perpetrators who are guilty; not those who oppose them,

It is high time we stop espousing this victim theology that lays the blame for all poverty, oppression and powerlessness on the past or on those more fortunate. It harms those who accept the role of victim more than the rich. And it does little to in- spire the latter to enter into the right kind of partnership.

ee ee

_,..continued from page | rum Chair, urged participants to

- gatch hold of the fresh wind of

God, drawing on sailing _ metaphors. He said that it takes certain skills “to sail where God leads us.”

Our willingness to sail with God’s wind, said Parrott, is expressed by six benchmarks: unwa- vering trust; outward vi- sion; constant prepara- tion; gentle patience; navi- gational sensitivity; and complete effort. Much like the global weather patterns, he said, this wind is interconnected around the world in ways that we don’t understand or often see, starting with a slight breeze that becomes so strong it topples every- thing in its path.

Parrott re- minded partici- * pants that this ~~ same wind of the Spirit blew at Pentecost, blew again at Lausanne

1974 and can once again blow across the 2004 Forum. He con- cluded by saying that the wind will blow in Thailand if partici-pant’s solé-desire is to live, work and relate to each other in a way that catches the wind of God.

The committee does not have a central headquarters, but the leaders and deputy directors throughout the developing and developed countries maintain con- tact and network through elec- tronic communication and meet- ings. Periodically position papers are published to stimulate discus- sion and action among evangeli- cal churches.

This is the fourth such global meeting organized by the Lau- sanne committee, this time for the purpose of developing specific action plans on a number of dif- ferent fronts. In subsequent years, there will be regional meet- ings to further flesh out and implement the basic directions worked out in Thailand.

The Lausanne mission state- ment “The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world” was taken as the organiz- ing framework, but was further broken down into sub-themes. World, church, gospel was bro- ken down into 31 issues, with each group led by participants selected

prior to the forum from lists supplied by inter- national church leaders.

A full year of preparation pre- ceded the meeting, as participants absorbed research and dialogue submitted to the Forum from some 4,000 Christian leaders and thinkers from all around the world. The many diverse Issue Groups like those on globalization, the per- secuted church, holistic mission, AIDS, future leadership and so on have, thus, been functioning long before the actual meeting.

Fifty-one percent of partici- pants were from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America while 49 percent were from Aus- tralia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Western Eu- rope. The Forum attracted many youn-ger leaders, with 70 percent of the participants under the age of 50 and 30 percent over age 50. Twenty-three percent were fe- male and 77 percent male.

The new internation director of

LCWE, Dr. Ted Yamamori ex- pressed the hope that the Forum “will catalyze a fresh movement in Lausanne, equipping partici- pants with the knowledge of, and strategies for, the issues facing the church in the 21 st century.”

Yamamori said the appointment of

new Regional Deputy Direc- tors allows Lausanne to be a decentralized and deinsti- tutionalized group. Yama-mori was born and raised in a Bud- dhist family in Nagoya, Japan. After his conversion, he began preparing his life for the ministry with a passion to be utilized by God in the cause of world evan- gelization. He was first introduced to Lausanne by his mentor Dr. Donald A. McGavran, pioneer in modem church growth thinking.

Dr. Paul Cedar emphasized that the focus on grassroots solutions to the 31 issues impacting global evangelization is especially impor- tant because ultimately the work is up to the local churches. The goal, he said, is that “Issue Groups provide not merely theo- retical or hypothetical insights but very practical proposals and sug- gested strategies that will be implemented under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in regions, na- tions, cities and local churches around the world for the glory of God and the advancement of his Kingdom.”

Each Issue Group was told to think in terms of ABC; Action steps useful to the churches; Books and publications to provide further help; and Continuing ac- tivity for regional consultations in the years ahead.

Here’s an example of what two groups were doing:

Issue Group #3: The Persecuted Church

Why is it important? The in- terdependence of the worldwide Church calls for our deepest em- pathy toward those who are cur- rently in situations of persecution. “If one member suffers, all suf- fer together with him.” I Cor. 12:25 Action Plan

Pray for interceders for the per- secuted church, accepting our in- terdependence in sharing the gos- pel in our time!

Listen to and learn from Chris- tians in situations of suffering and persecution. We are incomplete without them.

Make the Word of God freely accessible to those under perse- cution.

Resource them in practical ways and sensitively hold up the universal declaration for their Hu- man Rights.

Issue Group #17: Redeeming the Arts

Why is it important? God, the original artist, revealed himself cre- atively. His Word is 75% story, 15% poetry and 10% Greek lin- ear thinking. Despite the univer- sal use of story, and the increased


visual orientation of our world, the Church has reversed this divine pattern. Today, 90% of commu- nication by the Church is instruc- tive in nature —- only 10% con- tains a narrative or creative ap- proach,

Action Plan

Secular artists are discipling the Nations! The Church must pass on its transforming story through artistic expressions that move the whole person and cap- ture the imagination.

Ideas have consequences. What we believe determines what we do. The Church must aban- don its suspicion of the arts in order for it to recover a biblically- based understanding of the role of the imagination to express “True Truth.” The attitude of the Church is that if it moves and has color it can’t be Christian.

The Church must become a community that celebrates cre- ativity and the arts a commu-' nity where the artist is supported, discipled and spiritually account- able.

[Pictured are speakers Dr. Tetsunao

Yamamori (top) and Dr. Roger Parrott

(bottom), conference building and some of the participants. }


There are many ways to minimize your tax liability. I can help you make sure your heirs receive the maximum amount from your estate.

Clarence Weima, CFP


Phone: (800) 488.9817 Senior Financial Consultant SOLUTIONS BUILT AROUND You. Email: clarence.weima@investorsgroup.com

Investors Group Financial Services In

TORONTO 2004 AMSTERDAM Via 7 Martinair




VERSTRAETE TRAVEL & CRUISES (Offices in Aurora & St.Catharines) 36 Secord Dr. St.Cath. ON L2N IK8 Tel: 905-934-4414 or Long. Dist.1-800-405-6088 Visit us at www. verstractetravel.com


Guest Editorial

From old boxes to new triangles

Dr. Rem Kooistra History means change

My long-time friend Lloyd Burghart wrote an interest- ing article entitled: “Church geometry: from boxes to tri- angles.” I thought it might be beneficial to reflect a bit more on this article.

Burghart begins with the well-known observation that we live in a changing world. Any historian will agree that history shows us a picture of constant change. The only thing that does not change is change itself. Today I am different from what | was yesterday.

We use boxes

Burghart rightly says that we like to put things in boxes. We do this so we know what we are talking about.

Boxes have three dimensions, but for our purposes it might have been better had we chosen an object with only two dimensions. In our experience we often notice that there are almost always two parties, two sides to the prob- lem. We divide almost automatically in pro and contra, for or against.

This seems to be characteristic for our human society. It seems that we are born for a two-party system. If we are not progressive, we are conservative; if not republi- can, we are democrats.

Such divisions have always dominated our discussions and our history. In the Netherlands there were the “preciessen’ (rigid) and the “rekkelijken’’(flexible), later also the “heavy-weighters” and the “light-weighters.” It became also the struggle between the “right wing” and the “left wing.” It is a division which is global, universal. Even within the left wing of any party there is a right and left section.

Early church history.

In the history of the early Christian church we see Au- gustine on the right and Pelagius on the left. Augustine believed that we were completely corrupted by sin. He put it this way: now we are in the situation that we cannot not sin, which means a loss of the situation in Paradise when we also could have chosen not to sin. At the end of time the situation will be that we cannot sin any more.

Agustine confessed that without Christ we would never be able to reach that state. But Pelagius believed that we could also do much to save ourselves. Augustine believed that our will was dead, but Pelagius was more optimistic,

Christian Courier

Founded in 1945 An independent biweekly that seeks to: report on significant events in the Christian community and the world; express opinions infused by Scripture and rooted in a Reformed perspective; provide contact for the Christian community.

EDITORIAL TEAM & PRODUCTION STAFF Editor: Harry der Nederlanden editor@christiancourier.ca Circulation: Rose der Nederlanden subscriptions@christiancourier.ca Accounts/Advertising Manager: Ineke Medcalf-Strayer ads@christiancourier.ca

The publication of comments, opinions or advertising does not imply agreement or endorsement by Christian Courier or the publisher. Please contact circulation if you cannot afford the

subscription price but want to receive Christian Courier. Christian Courier 1 Hiscott St, St. Catharines ON L2R 1C7 Tel: (905) 682-6311; 1-800-969-4838 Fax: (905) 682-8313; Web site: www.christiancourier.ca Publications Mail Registration No. 09375 We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Government of Canada, through the Publications Assistance Program (PAP), toward our mailing costs.

teaching that our good will was sick, but not dead.

The Reformation.

After the Reformation the battle flared up again in the controversy between Gomarus and Arminius. The follow- ers of Gomarus saw themselves as the “true” Calvinists, but the followers of Arminius were less orthodox and later became known as the Evangelicals. They believed we had lost much by sin, but that God had left us with a free will. Billy Graham put it this way: “God wants to give you sal- vation, but he cannot do so unless you ask for it.”

The twentieth century.

When I came to Canada after the Second World War, a similar division existed within the Christian Reformed Church. There were supporters of the Zorch and Trumpet (T&T) and of the Reformed Journal (RJ). The T&T people often felt that they were better (more orthodox) than those from the RJ, but the RJ people often felt culturally supe- rior to their T&T brothers and sisters.

[Those raised in The Netherlands will think in this con- nection of the different emphases of De Bazuin and De Heraut, or of Het Gereformeerde Weekblad and Centraal Weekblad.

Similarly, there were the differences between the Se- cession (Afscheiding, 1834) and the Doleantie (1886) and later between the Theologische School of the Reformed (Gereformeerde) Churches in The Netherlands and the Free University in Amsterdam. |

A new situation

Burghart offers us a new perspective. He wants to re- place the old boxes and their two direetions with a new triangle which of course has three sides. He calls the three sides of the triangle: the confessional, the evangelical and the transformational. Burghart observed: “These three emphases are always in a dynamic tension.”

I will follow Burghart’s example. Under the confessional Burkhart understands: “holding to the historic reformed creeds developed in the 1500’s (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dort or the Westminster standards), The evangelical emphasis “stresses a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the need for an indi- vidual conversion experience.” And, finally, the transfor- mational emphasis relates Christ to culture and sees the church as being a change agent in providing a biblical so- cial justice model in society.”

It would not be too difficult to find examples of all three emphases in every historical period. During the Age of the Reformation there were groups which stressed the need for personal faith, and in some evangelical churches today we observe a movement towards the transformational agenda.

It is also important to notice that we find these three emphases reflected in all churches and in all major reli- gions. There were periods in the history of the Christian Reformed Church that the main emphasis was on the con- fessional side of the triangle. I think here of the long con- troversy about “women in office.” Lately, it seems, many feel that something is missing in the evangelical message. I think here of what is happening in South America and also in Southern Africa, especially the work of Nelson Mandela. Even in Islam we find these three emphases reflected in some way and with different applications, depending on cultural developments,

Burghart about Burghart.

It is also worth noticing what Burghart tells us about his own development. He writes: “In my 68 years, I can look back and see what emphases were dominant at dif-

ferent stages in my life.” Burghart confesses: “I grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist background where the domi- nant emphasis was evangelical.” But during his university years and the early years of his marriage, he was intro- duced to Reformed teaching which persuaded him to be- come a Presbyterian. This changed the form of his tri- angle. The confessional line became longer and thicker you might say. But after he moved to Canada and worked in Christian schools for 21 years, for 7 years in port ministry and now for the last 3 1/2 years as a pastor, he finds that the transformational emphasis is now the strongest.

It might be interesting if we all tried to draw the triangle of our lives and of the changes that occurred with it or within it during our life time.

Where are we now?

The interesting question for each of us is where am | at present? Am I climbing or slipping? As I wrote in the be- ginning: life is a history of change. We don’t stand still. Burghart feels his “direction has been generally upward.”

What about mine and yours? What about the church as a whole? I asked a good friend about this and he hesitated. Finally he said: “Church-going has diminished consider- ably in these last years,” But it was not with full convic- tion. My friend felt also that there are other factors to be considered. In his article Burghart asks: “Where will we be in 2040? What will my triangle look like?” His article

ends with some uncertainty in these words: “Maybe, just maybe, it will truly become equilateral. Wouldn’t that be

something?” Now we Christians have always been pretty good na- vel-gazers. I am sure that some readers only see the down-

ward trend. Our Lord himself asked, “Will the Son. of Man.

find faith on earth when he returns?”

We may not be too pessimistic about the future. And we don’t know when Christ will be with us again. There might still be a time of progress or of return. i Conclusion.

We always must keep in mind that the Lord builds his kingdom. He has promised us not only more indifference and backsliding, but also that the gates of hell will not pre- vail. God knows his people and nobody will be able to pull them out of his hands.

This is also the secret of God’s kingdom: there might be more children of God than you expect. One Salvation Army officer said it this way: When Christ returns you will be amazed, for there will be many you did not expect. And many you did expect to enter the Kingdom of God will not be there. And you will be amazed that you are there as well. Amazing grace!

Do not identify yourself with God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom does not depend on you or your faithfulness. Some people always think that God cannot succeed without our help They ask who will defend the gates of Zion when I am not there?

Try to live the Christian life in all sincerity and simplic- ity. Concentrate on the fruits of the Spirit as described in Galations 5.

Be steadfast in your faith and confession,

Live close to God, enjoy his presence in your life and work every day.

Be always eager to help in transforming the values of our present generation. May the three sides of the triangle be under construction as long as you are here.

Dr. Remkes Kooistra has been writing for this paper almost

from its beginning. He is now living in Holland Christian Homes

proline sical smtp ony foe gn om mat fee

ee aa

ee a eo

ahs e ors e wi ath A 21 rica is « lied in

Response to Mr. James Joosse

Mr. James Joosse is scathing in his criti- cism of the Podhoretz essay (CC, October 11), which I reviewed favorably in the Sep- tember 13 issue of this paper. I want to respond briefly to the main points of his critique.

He condemns President Bush for singling out the Axis of Evil as demonizing the “other”. Since when is it wrong to call re- gimes that reduce whole nations to prison camps, treat people as expendable vermin, rule by terror, imprisonment, large-scale murder, invade a neighboring country, and threaten to unleash a nuclear holocaust on the world, as evil?

I am at a loss how to apply to such re- gimes what Mr. Joosse calls the “impera- tive to embrace the enemy in love...” Does the love command not call for helping to free the oppressed and to call evil evil? That's why I look on the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq as a good deed. Just ask the cou- rageous leaders of these nations.

Mr. Joosse acknowledges that evil is real, but that “no one has a monopoly on good or evil?” True, we are all sinners in need of grace. But I reject what many now regard as the moral equivalence between the demo-

cratic West and the wretched tyrannies that have declared war on us. (In fact, the greater threat to peace.)

Instead of calling such tyrannies by their right name, Mr. Joosse re- fers to the current U.S. military ef- fort in Iraq at the very least as a form of “criminal negligence and at worst, crimes against humanity.” Who is doing the demonizing now?

What is an especially perverse effect of “demonizing” the U.S. is that it plays right into the hands of the terrorists who are now doing everything possible to obstruct the re-building of Iraq and to demoral- ize the American people.

Can anyone ever forget the obscene spectacle of the delirious crowds all over the Arab world who praised Allah at the news of the horrific crime on September 11, 2001?

Or the pictures of mutilated bodies of four men hanging from a bridge in Fallujah surrounded by cheering crowds? These Americans were murdered because they had come to help re-build Iraq’s badly damaged infrastructure.

As I write this the grotesque pictures of Mr. Kenneth Bigley’s beheading are televised all over the Arab world. The “crime” of this British engineer was that he too had come to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq.

May we not say that such deeds bespeak a mindset that the Bible calls satanic?

Mr. Joosse is entirely silent about the ha- tred instilled in the followers of Osama bin Laden and similar religious fanatics, who kill indiscriminately, even little children. How should we respond to that kind of perver- sion of religion?

This is the question that lies at the heart of this controversy, and Mr. Joosse’s com- plete silence on that score is, to put it mildly, a serious omission.

Harry Antonides

Christian Courier thankful for faithful readers

Here with my cheque for another year. This is the 50th year I am reading your paper, enjoying every issue. I am close to blind and read it with a viewer.

I wish you God’s blessings now and in the future. I am 96 years old.

With friendly greetings,

Wilhelmina Gent Willowdale CRC


We must hear the call to repentance

Thank you for your thorough and insight- ful analysis of the World Alliance of Re- formed Churches’ document entitled “Covenanting for Justice in the Economy of the Earth.” Most of the points you have raised and the arguments you articulated were presented by me and other delegates to the 24th General Council meeting of WARC in Ghana,

The several days of discussion about the document at the General Council meeting resulted in a more nuanced and better-ar- ticulated statement than that with which the discussion began. Unfortunately, the state- ment had not been written in advance of the meeting and therefore the Reformed churches from around the world did not have an opportunity to discuss it prior to the meeting. No particular delegate to the meeting commits his or her denomination to the document. This document will gain credence and acceptance only insofar as it is received by the assemblies of the more than 240 Reformed churches represented at the meeting. In fact, the CRC Church Order Article 50-c specifies that “decisions of Reformed ecumenical synods [councils] shall be binding upon the Christian Reformed Church only when they have been ratified by its synod.”

Even though the document was penned at the meeting, there had been seven years of intellectual preparation for it. The prepa- ration followed from decisions made by WARC in Debrecen in 1997. In several re- gions of the world, Reformed churches came together to study and reflect upon Scripture and the world situation (economi- cally, environmentally, racially, religiously, etc). Out of these regional meetings a gen- eral consensus began to form about the shape and content of a prophetic statement regarding justice in the economy and the

Canada Mail: REGISTRATION NO. 9375




email: subscriptions@christiancourier.ca

Subscriptions: Canada (G.5S.T. incl.) one yr. (25 issues) $40.00 two yrs. (50 issues) $75.00

Christian Courier Member of Canadian Church Press and Evangelical Press Association



U.S.A Overseas $32.00 (US) one year - $85.00 $60.00 (US)

Advertising deadlines: display advertising: Tuesday, 9 a.m. (13 days before publication date); classified advertising: Tuesday, 9 a.m. (13 days before publication date).

See classified pages or web site www.christiancourier for more details.

(ISSN 1192-3415) Published biweekly on Mondays.

Address all correspondence to: | Hiscott St, St. Catharines ON L2R 1C7

Tel: 905-682-8311 or 1-800-969-4838, or fax: 905-682-8313

e-mail: Advertising: ads@christiancourier.ca Subscriptions: subscriptions@christiancourier.ca

environment. Since the CRC has just re- cently joined WARC (late 2002), we did not participate in regional gatherings and as it turned out the North American churches in WARC had done very little advance prepa- ration on these issues. Most of us were caught by surprise, and that is a bad way to enter a discussion of this importance. Having said