Creation debate more relevant than tuna salad
Re “Creationism vs. evolution discussion a waste of time” (Letters, July). I hope Bob Semple was kidding when he requested a stop to all discussion on creationism vs. evolution, implying that the question has less relevance than tuna salad.
To frame the debate as a question between creationism and evolution is to present a false choice. Do not confuse the naturalistic explanations of evolutionism with the recognition of divine action through evolutionary creationism.
Efforts to avoid a challenging dialogue are usually motivated by fear or ignorance, attitudes that are best overcome by love and serious study. We owe it to the bright young people in our churches who are entering the science fields to at least give a basis on which to build a rational, coherent, and godly philosophy of science.
Please pass the tuna salad.
Keller more helpful than McLaren
I have been following some of the discussion around the emergent church movement (e.g. the recent issue of Direction devoted to the movement, last fall’s seminar with Phyllis Tickle in Winnipeg, and a review of Brian McLaren’s book A New Kind of Christianity in the June Herald). It is not difficult for me to see why the movement may carry some attractions.
My concern is that some of the proponents for the emergent church, and specifically Brian McLaren, are not likely to help the Christian church find its way in the world in which we live and want to make our witness for Jesus Christ. He opens the door for a greatly diluted gospel, seriously undermining the authority of the Scriptures to direct us in our faith and life.
Let me suggest an alternative approach. Read The Reason for God (2008), written by Manhattan pastor Tim Keller. It addresses virtually all the same issues as McLaren, yet with vastly different outcomes. If any have followed the work of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, where Keller is pastor, they will know that it has touched thousands of lives and spawned scores of churches. For me this book had the ring of truth. This is not a book to make one comfortable. But neither does it leave one uncertain about the Scriptures’ essential message and the gospel’s essential meaning. That is not the case with A New Kind of Christianity.
C2010 report card
Celebration 2010 has come and gone. I attended all sessions of this memorable event. Most of the activities warrant warmest commendation as do the people who organized that busy week. Here are some subjective evaluations.
The following items deserve an A+:
- Facilities and food at TWU, at Chandos Pattison, and at North Langley.
- RIM sessions and workshops at TWU.
- Reports from overseas.
- Video and other electronic enhancements.
- Kindred Productions and other displays.
- Saturday Vancouver tour.
- North American testimonies.
- Classy emceeing by Valerie Rempel and Steve Berg.
- MCC, MBMSI, seminary, and Church Planting BC reports.
- Music and singing at the RIM sessions.
- Canadian convention banquet.
A few items perhaps warrant a lower mark, but let’s not assign a grade which reduces the average, even slightly.
Were there then virtually no shortcomings? Yes, there were some. Let me mention seven.
- The advance publicity confused a lot of people. (Note: many seniors don’t use the internet.)
- I saw no secular media people in attendance and neither saw nor heard one word reported in any media. Were media people not invited?
- The cost was much too high. Why follow the example of the corporate world? At $379 per person ($758 per couple) not counting accommodation, many could not afford to attend this historic celebration.
- The low attendance was disappointing. Other Canadian MB and joint U.S.-Canadian conventions have been larger.
- Local and regional MBs who were not paying delegates were barred from attending certain sessions. Why? That’s a “first” which greatly grieved me. By what rationale should our open brotherhood/sisterhood practice such exclusion? This precedent must be set aside!
- The events took place at too many places. The result was a lack of continuity and cohesion.
- Most importantly, I missed having a large public assembly to celebrate the 100th year Canadian and the 150th year denominational milestones. A massive praise event could have been held. There are 15 MB churches in Abbotsford, and another 60 within a 75-minute drive. Abbotsford’s eight other Mennonite churches should have been invited and also the 50 or so other local evangelical churches! We might have had the amazing MEI marching band, a mass choir, the West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir, the Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir, and even more missionaries!
Oh yes, I was both blessed and inspired, but as I reflect on more than a half century of attending MB conventions, including the large and memorable 100th year celebrations in Reedley, Cal., I also think of what might have been!
John H. Redekop