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I believe the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America should merge. Please tell me why they shouldn’t. I mean that literally. Please respond to this blog and tell me why they shouldn’t.
This is not a new conviction of mine. I remember sitting in a seminary class almost thirty years ago discussing Paul’s great calls for unity in I Corinthians and the professor passionately lamenting the sinful nature of the fractures in the body of Christ. Naïve kid that I was, I raised my hand and asked, “Why don’t the RCA and CRC merge?” I remember his answer clearly. The first reason was women’s ordination. In the intervening years, that’s been solved. The second was that a lot of denominational employees would lose their jobs. That reason causes two distinct thoughts to come into my mind.
- I don’t believe the purpose of a denomination is to employ people.
- Haven’t the cutbacks caused by the poor economy in recent years already left each denomination’s staff so thin a merger would actually help?
Whatever differences remain don’t seem significant. What are the differences? Sunday evening worship?
I know (and applaud) all sorts of missional initiatives being done together between the two denominations. I know (and applaud) that the Pillar Church in Holland (where so much of the bitter divorce happened over a century and a half ago) is reconstituting itself as a joint CRC-RCA congregation. I know (and applaud) that West Michigan’s most influential philanthropist wants to see the two become one in his lifetime and his generosity has sparked many joint ventures.
I just wonder what’s stopping a full merger from becoming reality.
When Branch Rickey was about to tell the world he had signed Jackie Robinson to break the long-standing color line in baseball he told a friend of his plans. “Branch,” his friend said, “All hell will break lose when you do this.” “No,” Mr. Rickey told his friend, “All heaven will rejoice.”
Heaven will rejoice if the CRC and RCA came back together. Why shouldn’t they?