Thank you Renee

Yesterday, July 31, New Brunswick Seminary feted Renee House on her 25 years of service to the seminary and as she leaves the post of dean. It was appropriately an in-house event since she has been so much a part of the life of the seminary — and the seminary part of her life. Her service as librarian continues to reverberate and her time as dean (twice!) has served the seminary very well.

In this post, I want to acknowledge her service to the church. She is a General Synod Professor and served (serves) the church in a variety of ways. But as professor at the seminary, she inspires, encourages, guides, teaches class after class of students as they prepare for ministry in the church. Her reach extends far beyond the seminary.

She will continue a relationship with the seminary as she continues to teach. But thanks Renee, for your service to the church!

Is the RCA a hierarchical church?

The civil court case by the Classis of Central California against the Consistory of the Miraloma Community Church (founded in 1942 as Grace Reformed Church in San Francisco) resulted in a ruling on September 15, 2009 by a California Court of Appeal that affirmed the decision of a lower court. In 2008, in a 21 page (6886 word) decision, the San Francisco Superior (lower) court had upheld a decision of Classis to supersede the Consistory because the proper procedures as set forth in the RCA Book of Church Order were followed. Ergo: without classis’ explicit approval the Miraloma Consistory as such was ruled as having no authority to dis-fellowship from classis and to incorporate itself as an independent body identical to the original body, including its assets, except for the existing by-laws. Continue reading “Is the RCA a hierarchical church?”


This summer I’ve been reading 19th century Dutch ethical theology (J.H. Gunning, Jr, and Chantipie de la Saussaye, Sr.). Yesterday Ch de S remarked how the principles of their theology appeared to have few to no takers and their influence would soon die out. I don’t have the time — and perhaps not the expertise — to  explicate all of what they were about. My point is different. Their perspectives didn’t die out, but found their way into the 20th century with people like O. Noordmans and A. A. van Ruler. These were enormously influential in Dutch 20th century theology. And more. Their influence is not waning but waxing even into the 21st century.

I find this of interest because we so often get discouraged in pushing a point of view. When CI got started a few years back Dan Meeter, I think, cited his favorite theologian, Donald Rumsfield, in saying this would be a “long slog.” Indeed, fashionable causes take the front burner. And we may think our reflections soon to be left behind. But ideas have a certain persistence to them.

More — our point is not to be right. It isn’t even for a “point of view.” It is to be faithful to what we think God is calling us to be about. Then, if it is so, it will persist. If not, then, properly, we will disappear, likely not even to show up in a footnote anywhere. But if I get my Reformed theology right, it’s not about us, but about the glory of God and the coming of God’s kingdom.